It’s January, which means there’s only one way to attack that post-Christmas bloat belly: detox. The latest diet craze, an adaptation of the infamous GM diet: the 7-day ‘All You Can Eat Diet’, purports to help you lose between 5lbs and 11lbs in a single week.
Other than the odd Slim Fast back in the day, I’ve never been one for fad diets. I’ve been doing the 5:2 diet (or intermittent fast day diet) for over 18 months now, with satisfying results that I’ve been able to maintain through sensible food choices and regular exercise.
Plateauing at the same weight for over 6 months, and after seeing it demoed on Channel 4’s How to Lose Weight Well, I decided to give the All You Can Eat (AYCE) a bash. I weighed myself on my Wii Fit for my most accurate measurement (oh how easy it is to misread scales), and prepped myself for a week of nutritional boredom.
The rules are very simple: you can eat as much as you like, but you have to eat the same of each thing each day. Here’s how it went:
Monday: Fruit (except bananas)
God, I hate fruit. Not the taste, but the texture. There’s something about the slushy, softness of it that makes me feel all wibbly. My alternative? Blend the daylight out of it. Thank Christ for my Nutribullet. Breakfast was a fruit smoothie with melon and grapes. Followed by actual grapes (the one fruit texture I can abide). Lunch was another smoothie. Dinner? An M&S fruit salad smoothie, with grapes for dessert. FML.
Tuesday: Vegetables (except tomatoes)
I’ve opted for a green smoothie this morning, with a small amount of apple for sweetness. Big mistake. Not only is apple not allowed, it gives me migraines. Cue feeling sick and faint all morning, until a delicious lunch of homemade vegetable soup and sweet potato (gentle cooking and frying is allowed, as long as you use the 1-calorie spray). Dinner is a vegetable stir fry with lashings of soy sauce (also permitted), but I have a banging headache and I go to bed at 9pm. Not a good day.
Wednesday: Fruit AND vegetables (except bananas and tomatoes)
Horrah. Variety (sort of). I start the day with a carrot, cantaloupe and ginger smoothie, followed by more vegetable soup and sweet potato for lunch, and another vegetable stir fry, with grapes for dessert. So actually, more or less the same. I’m suffering now. It’s just sooo repetitive.
Thursday: Bananas and milk
What? Weird. I force a banana down me and nearly gag, so it’s going to be another blended food day…this time in the form of milkshakes. I opt for almond milk for my milkshakes and go a bit off piste with chocolate soya milk cartons and dried banana. The weirdest thing about today? I’m really, really enjoying it. The milkshakes are delicious. I’m full. And apart from my idiotic attempt to trick my brain into thinking I like the texture of bananas, I’m could get used to this. I’m feeling energised, lighter and positive about the next three days.
Friday-Sunday: Protein and vegetables
This should’ve been the easy bit: small amounts of fish, meat or protein with as much green stuff as you like. This is how I eat normally. But it was actually the hardest to maintain for three days – three more days of monotonous, boring eating, without dairy, or condiments, or carbs. By Sunday, I couldn’t take another breakfast of poached egg, quorn ham and spinach, so I launched into some soya milk. It’s kind of protein right? And then an Actimel after dinner is fine, surely?
OK, sod this. I can’t wait for Monday morning. I’m weighing myself. Wii Fit, my old friend, be kind. The results?
7lbs in 7 days. That’s half a stone in a week. And I cheated. I’m in shock. Farewell Christmas weight!
A couple of my colleagues who did the diet with me have also lost similar amounts. So it obviously works, but is it sustainable? No way in hell. It’s boring. It’s weird. It’s great if you want quick results and want to purge your system, and I suppose it’s nice not to have to count calories (not that you get that many apart from on the ‘bananas and milk’ day), but it’s not a long-term lifestyle change.
I’m back to eating normally now (my Monday morning porridge and honey tasted incredible) and I’m sure I’ll have put on a couple of pounds by the weekend, but I don’t care. I’m going to continue with the 5:2 diet because I know it works for me, continue making sensible food choices, limiting my calorie intake on two days a week, and continuing to avoid that texture-bastard fruit for the foreseeable future.