Here are my two cents on fad diets – they’re waning fast…and thank god! The growing popularity of healthy eateries, Soul Cycle classes and those ever-benevolent Victoria’s Secret models, we are now being taught that fit (not frail) is foxy. Whilst there has been a definite shift in our attitude towards what is and isn’t healthy, there is much debate over the consumption of fats in our diet and why so many of us are still freaked out by it. As I have recently discovered, fat doesn’t equal fat, so I’m here to tell you why and, more importantly, how.
Rather than the usual ‘I wanna lose five lbs’…or some other such Regina George-esque sentiment, I was genuinely intrigued by this alluring concept of fat burning and weight loss. What a world, what a place – where I can eat butter, cream and pork products in unlimited quantities without resembling a Renaissance prince. And to fry without guilt…? It sounded too good to be true…but was it?
In very simple terms, cutting out sugar and starches stabilizes your blood sugar making your insulin levels (the fat storing hormone) drop. This increases your fat burning, makes you feel fuller for longer and most importantly, shifts those awkward areas of fat that the gym simply won’t. If you’re partial to ‘fritti’ foods or enjoy eating like Beowulf, you may find this easier than I did. It’s incredibly effective to the point of being staggering and the long-term gains are very much worth the initial discomfort.
SUGAR – Soft drinks, sweets, juice, pastries, ice cream, cereal, sweeteners
STARCH – Bread, pasta, potatoes, chips, crisps, all grains.
MARGERINE – industrially imitated butter with unnaturally high content of omega-6 fat. No health benefits, tastes vile and statistically linked to asthma, allergies and other inflammatory diseases.
LOW FAT – Anything. Double cream, whole milk and butter only.
FRUIT – Treat fruit as a natural form of sweets and eat once in a while.
MEAT – Any type, including the fat and skin on chicken. Try to choose organic or grass fed where possible as this has far more nutrients and is antibiotic and other-shit free.
FISH/SHELLFISH – Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring are great.
EGGS – Organic if possible. Fry them in coconut oil or butter.
SAUCES – Using butter or cream when you cook your meat will make you fuller. Home-made Hollandaise or Bearnaise are your friends.
VEGETABLES – Choose varieties that grow above ground such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus, courgette etc.
DAIRY – Always full fat, always check the label. Skimmed milk/semi skimmed milk is FULL of sugar.
NUTS – In moderation.
BERRIES – In moderation.
Here’s what happened:
Breakfast: 3 teaspoons peanut butter
Lunch: 2 eggs fried in coconut oil, two rashers of back bacon fried and half an avocado
Snack: Black coffee with double cream
Dinner: Sirloin steak fried in butter with three stems of broccoli
I felt fine. What the hell is all the fuss about? Cream, butter, eggs are pretty much the holy trinity as far as I’m concerned – fat burning daylight robbery.
Breakfast – two eggs fried in coconut oil
Lunch – 2 black coffees with double cream and a handful of brazil nuts
Snack – 2 teaspoons peanut butter
Dinner: Steak fried in butter and cream with half a small avocado.
I’m suddenly and shockingly reviled at the notion of melted butter or animal fat and friends, I think the novelty has well and truly worn off. All of this salty, fatty business is making me feel like some sort of depraved Viking so I make a giant ginger tea and shuffle around my flat clutching it like a pot of liquid gold. Do I feel good? Absolutely not. I have a headache and the taste of metal in my mouth.
Breakfast: 1 sad, cold fried egg
Lunch: Several nuts of varying types.
Dinner: Roast chicken with cauliflower rice and kale chips.
I rose feeling nauseous and dreamed of confectionary for most of my fractured nights sleep. I almost considered throwing in the towel after being sick, but fortunately I follow several different accounts of ‘the gap’ on Instagram.
I quickly got my shit together and stumbled to the kitchen where I knocked up two fried eggs I couldn’t eat. Is the point of this diet to make you feel so wretched you’re unable to consume anything?
I’m channelling my inner Arnie with mantras such as ‘winners never quit and quitters never win’ but it doesn’t help and I really want some dried figs.
I had a long meeting in the afternoon so I picked at a few nuts and gingerly sipped some water. My head pounded and my concentration wavered as I began to consider how dramatic and flamboyant it would be to faint in a meeting. Goodness, how exciting.
Breakfast: Coffee with whole milk and some almonds
Lunch: Steak with a kale, halloumi and avocado salad
Dinner: Veal chop and green beans and two glasses of red wine.
I felt like a different person upon waking and I almost floated out of bed. Was this what people call…natural energy? Whatever the reason for my newfound vigour, I jubilantly chewed my nuts. My mouth waters as though I were biting into a chocolate croissant (sidenote: this is no way means I wouldn’t have sold the shirt on my back for a pastry.) I walked from my meeting in Mayfair to Parsons Green where I was mercilessly beaten up by old friend/personal trainer Max. Max has followed this sort of diet (he calls it a lifestyle, I call it smug) for years now and claims you can fast easily for short periods because your body is so sustained. All of these enchanting feelings have me floating around serenely, and I felt as though I could finally accept mankind’s shortcomings and the fact that my ex-boyfriend is a steadfast a c-word.
I had a glass or three of wine at dinner to celebrate.
I slept badly because of the alcohol, so I got up at 5.30am and went for a run. Obviously the wine undid much of my hard work so I sprinted down the riverbank and instagrammed a few cute sunrise photos. I worked from home all-day and smoked too much. Normally when I lose weight it comes straight off my face and stomach, leaving the back love handles, saddlebags and armpit boob behind. Today I see a change, albeit marginal, in these areas and I’m stoked. Will I wear shorts to dinner? Yes, yes I will.
Breakfast: Two sausages. Coffee with double cream.
Lunch: half an avo with a handful of cashews
Dinner: Tuna sashimi, edamame beans and an entire bottle of prosecco.
Fast-forward to day 7 and I’m positively bouncing off of the wall with energy. Granted I was fuelled on Green Tea and positivity, but you know your body is in a cleaner way when herbal tea makes you feel like you’re on speed.
What this diet has taught and shown me is that you are very much what you eat. You eat shit, you feel like shit. Think about it – if you’re putting dead things like bread, sugar and processed food into your body, what can your body do with it? The answer folks, is nothing. You’re not feeding yourself – you’re just…eating.
I knowwww! Eating can be so much fun. But so can feeling more alive and well…even if it takes a few days of feeling shitty for. I noticed a significant decrease in hunger throughout the day and I totally lost the urge to graze. I lost 2kg in the five days and look considerable leaner and tighter than I did a week ago.
Was the juice worth the squeeze? For sure, and as I look back on this a month later I am still unchanged and have lost an extra kilo without lifting a finger. As much as your frenzied perusals through The London Eaters close-up, food-porn Instagrams will drive you wild with anger, the good news is that these vile feelings are the result of sugar withdrawal and you’re successfully but psychotically detoxing. Prior to this experiment, I would eat like a gourmet frat-boy. Now I am much more in control of how I feel through what I eat, which is, in itself, incredibly liberating.
Snacks of Note:
Detox Kitchen Beetroot Brownies
Cru Cacoa Macaroons
Sidenote: I worked out three times a week at Lomax. I would take two 1 hour spinning classes and one ‘Ripper’ (a high intensity, humiliating circuit based workout) with Blake or Danny.