Founders of Shape My plan talks to MumForce

Mum of two, Marie Duffy shed over three stone and was then inspired to set up a new meal plan business with her sister, which has recently welcomed it’s 10,000 customer.

I’ve attached before and after pics of Marie who’s weight gain reached its peak after the birth of her second child, Grace, who unfortunately had the added complication of being diagnosed with Cystic Fybrosis.  

Marie’s sister Edel convinced her to join a gym with her.  Edel wanted to tone up and Marie wanted to shift the weight gain.  Both were given tailored exercise programmes, but exactly the same meal plan, which struck them as strange.  The idea for their business was born. 

Launched in 2018, the result was, an easy-to-use online meal planner crammed with over 4,000 simple, family-friendly recipes, all tailored to the user’s goals.  

The Shape My Plan team saw a spike in new signs up to the service during the Covid lockdown.  Perhaps not surprising, as research they carried out found that over half of us have gained weight during the past few months.


53% say they have gained weight during lockdown, while 37% report an improvement in their physical fitness, reveals survey of over 700 people

Industry innovator, Shape My Plan releases new research as it celebrates welcoming over 10,000 clients to its tailored, family-friendly meal plans

A survey of over 700 people has revealed that 53% say they’ve gained weight during the Covid 19 lockdown.  Of those who gained weight, the majority (69%) reported a weight gain of less than ½ a stone, 28% between ½ – 1 stone and 3% gaining between 1 – 2 stone in weight.

The research, carried out by Shape my Plan, which provides tailored meal plans to individuals and the fitness industry, also found that 41% felt that the lockdown has dis-improved their diets, with 63% saying that they snacked more and 46% admitting that they drank more alcohol while in lockdown.

However, in terms of physical fitness, the research reveals that more than one third (37%) felt that their physical fitness had improved as a result of the Covid 19 restrictions with 43% also saying they have taken part in an online gym class since lockdown began.

Further interesting findings from the comprehensive survey were:

  • Asked about the role of nutrition and exercise in overall health, 80% said nutrition and exercise were equally important, only 17% said that nutrition was more important than exercise and 3% that exercise was more important than nutrition.
  • 55% said they were ‘somewhat aware’ of the nutritional value of food, 38% ‘very aware’ and 7% said they were ‘unaware’.
  • Thinking of why they exercise or eat healthily, 40% noted mental health as the most important motivator, with 27% motivated by ensuring a better quality of life as they get older, 21% for physical fitness and 12% motivated by physical appearance.
  • 68% are cooking new recipes during the lockdown, but 60% have never followed a meal plan and 86% do not track their calorie intake.

Marie Duffy, co-founder of Shape my Plan, commented:

This research is really interesting, it’s perhaps not surprising that our diet and exercise has been affected by these difficult times, but the findings also point to gaps in people’s knowledge in terms of the role of food and exercise in our overall health.  Having come on a weight loss journey myself, losing 3 stone, I established Shape my Plan with my sister Edel, to help others who want to take control of their lives with affordable and accessible meal options.  We’re delighted to have reached the milestone of supporting over 10,000 clients during the past three years and look forward to helping many more.”

Sisters Marie Duffy and Edel Littleton spotted a gap in the market when they both started in a gym in 2017, Marie wanting to lose weight and Edel keen to maintain weight and tone up.  Both were given tailored exercise programmes but exactly the same meal plan, which struck them as strange and so the idea for Shape my Plan was born. 

Shape my Plan meal plans are personalised to the goals of each individual, whether that is to lose weight, maintain weight or gain muscle.  The online meal plans have proved hugely popular due to their variety, flexibility and family-friendly nature, incorporating accessible household brands such as Cully & Scully, Strong Roots, The Dublin Meat Company and Chopped. 

Edel Littleton, co-founder Shape my Plan commented:

 “We’re so proud of Shape My Plan’s success to date, in particular that it has become a market leader of online meal plans for the fitness industry. As a result of the lockdown, we’ve obviously seen a slow down on the corporate side with gyms closing their doors, however we’ve experienced a notable increase in individual subscriptions during this period, as people recognise they can take control of their health and diet for themselves from their own homes. This research reinforces a lot of what we already knew, for example, that mental health is the main motivator for pursuing a healthy lifestyle.  In these hugely challenging times we’re delighted to be supporting those who need some dietary guidance and structure.

Visit for further information and follow us online @ShapeMyPlan

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Shape my Plan. Picture Andres Poveda