Monday, 28 March 2011

Day 2: Juice Yourself Slim

Day 2: Started day with a terrible headache, which I'm sure is not hunger-related, simply 'withdrawl'. Overall though, the day is going well so far, I had a 'blood builder' juice for breakfast (carrot, beetroot, apple, avocado) - thanks to the beetroot it looked more like a blood-milkshake, and a 'Hangover-Over' smoothie in Pure for lunch (Blueberries, banana, strawberries, low fat yoghurt, apple juice). Souper-Green soup planned for dinner. Ocado cancelled my delivery planned for this morning - but have promised to redeliver at the same time tomorrow - with a £25 discount by way of apology. Which seems to have cleared up my headache!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Diet #18, Day 1... Success!!!

Breakfast and lunch, look the same but taste completely different (honest!)

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Diet #18, Juice Yourself Slim

The Jenny Craig food is being delivered on Monday, and I need a consultation on Tuesday before I can begin - for any normal person, this would be a good excuse to put off dieting for another week. In the meantime, I (not normal person) found a copy of Juice Yourself Slim, by Jason Vale, aka the 'Juice Master', knocking around the office this week, and I've decided to do this whilst I wait for the food to arrive.

This is not a complicated concept - seven days following Jason's 'juicy' plan, drinking only freshly made juices, soups and smoothies, enough to drop half a stone (at least) and kick start a new, healthy attitude to dieting. The juicing itself is a little more complicated, requiring expensive kit, enough fresh fruit and veg to rival spitalfields market, 5 daily-made juices/smoothies/soups, and a series of increasingly complicated recipes.

Jason Vale comes across as more evangelical egomaniac than medical professional - the book is basically a soapbox for his ranting. The cover promises that you can 'lose weight without dieting', although I'm not sure what else you would call a week of juice-only fasting.

This is a long book, very long, and Jason is absolutely insistent that you must read and absorb Every. Single. Word. The problem for me seems to be that he says a lot of things that don't actually seem to make any sense when you think about them - just because he's written them, doesn't make them true. Here's some examples:

He makes lots of references to popular culture - celebrities, films and fad diets. He talks about diets only working the first time, 'Many people try to relight the inspirational fire using the same method that helped them to succeed before', he calls this 'The Sixth Sense Syndrome'.
"The first time that you see the film, the twist at the end is a complete revelation, but you can't possibly get the same revelation the second time round".
But when you think about it, you can't compare the calorie and fat-controlled regime of weightwatchers, or the carb-free atkins - both of which continue to work scientifically regardless of whether you've seen some shit old film with a washed-up Bruce Willis once or ten times. Jason also doesn't like the BMI system - he calls it antiquated - and says that:

"According to the BMI index, Brad Pitt is obese - yes, Brad Pitt, obese!"

Why, exactly does he single out the not-very-muscular Brad Pitt. Rugby players I can understand, but what's he got against Brad? Maybe he fancies Angelina? And this one's my favourite.  In his chapter 'The Juice Revolution', he says how people from all walks of life are seeing the results. 'Even Kate Moss has been at the wheatgrass shots'. Yeah, wheatgrass, I'm sure that's what Kate's been at...

Two common themes emerge with most of the diet books I've read - it seems to be necessary to slag off all other diets, and to either rubbish all the science, or highlight the science that supports your own case, even when it's the most tenuous possible. He says that:

'Over the past 10 years, there have been scientific studies carried out with regards to juices and smoothies'
but then fails to mention any more about any of them. Where were they? What were the results? When he does reference them, it's in the vaguest terms - Apple juice has a powerful effect on memory and 'can help' prevent asthma. "Polyphenols might play an important role in delaying the onset of Alzheimers" Resarchers said that "it was probably due to disease-fighting polyphenols". Can? Might? Probably? That's not science, that's conjecture... Anyway, he then goes on to totally rubbish science, in the chapter "What is science anyway", basically rejecting any findings that don't conform to his thinking with a "well, we once thought that the world was flat" attitude.

The science part: Jason is obsessed with the dangers of trying to medicalise weightloss, what he terms 'Pharmageddon'. The dangers of Phen-Phen, Vioxx, Alli and the like. My favourite line from the book: 'If you're overweight, the cause is not a slimming pill deficiency'. No, it's also not a chips or pies deficiency either!

Jason Vale also relies heavily on the anecdotal evidence that he receives via letters from successful 7-day juicers. My favourite is this one:

"Dear Mr Vale, My husband and I enjoy delicious juices as a result of reading your books. Not only do we have more energy and better health, but our hair is going back to the original colour"

 This worries me on a number of levels. I have no idea what my hairs 'original' colour is, but I pay my lovely colourist a small fortune every few weeks so that I never have to find out. Secondly, a weeks worth of juices (even a years worth of juice) can't possibly make your hair change colour...

Apparently, during the first few days, I may feel a degree of excessive hunger. According to Jason, this is not genuine hunger, but 'feelings of withdrawl'. Yes, withdrawl from FOOD!! He goes on to say that "this withdrawl is a slight, empty feeling identical to normal hunger". Hmmm, no food, a feeling identical to hunger... He then goes on to further clarify "if I didn't know how much food I have had, how hungry would I really be?" Fucking starving, that's how hungry! Apparently, "the principle is the same for many aspects of life. For example, if you didn't know how much sleep you'd had, how tired would you really be?" Seriously?? I have a full time job, and two small children who often wake me in the night for the most random of reasons. I don't know how much sleep I have, but I know that I'm fucking exhausted all the time!!

Anyhow, I bought a £100 top of the range juicer yesterday in Argos (don't say I'm not serious about this...) and have ordered the necessary fruit and veg (Ocado £40, Tesco £15, £1-a-bowl man 5 bowls). Let's just hope this gadget doesn't join the growing pile of 'seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time, waiting-to-be-put-on-ebay' items in the cellar (Vax carpet washer, kenwood blender, roller blades - to name but a few).

Silver Lining: Having convinced me to buy the juicer, Simon's agreed to join me for the week...

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Yesterday started so well: fruit for breakfast, chinese stir-fry vegetables with noodles for lunch, and a tuna nicoise salad  for supper. Followed by two large glasses of sauvignon blanc, and an emergency dash to the 24-hour tesco to buy two bags of strangely named but surprisingly delicious "wild and whippy" bars. Followed by a misjudged TOWIE marathon last night and a guilt-ridden hangover this morning: slightly helped by a pain au chocolate and large (and very expensive) coffee in pret for breakfast.

Weight remains a stubborn 10st4lbs, alcohol units a very respectable 7 (ok on day 4, but still...), but at least my cigarette count for the week is at zero!

If Jenny Craig can help me shift those last few pounds, she'll be my new G-d!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Bridget Jones' Diet

Finished off the Minstrels for breakfast. Please don't judge me, it's been a stressful morning at work! In her ideal world, Bridget would be living in the suburbs, driving little Tarquin and Cosmo to school in the Range Rover (only two minutes away, but the poor darlings have terrible hayfever, don't you know), and daydreaming about the dishy gardener.

Seriously, my mini yo-yo dieting is not proving successful, and I haven't actually shifted any weight this whole year, which is a bit embarrassing when you think about it.

So, change of tack, next week, I'm going to try Jenny Craig. Apparently, in order for this to really work, I have to do it a month at least, but I'm not sure my attention span is that long - but I'm going to give it a fortnight to prove that it's doable. Maybe the consistency is what I need to shift this last pesky half stone!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Diet #17, Bridget Jones Diet: Going according to plan, at least!

Yesterday morning: Spent £15 on yummy healthy food in M&S - plums, bananas, grapes, orange juice and muesli. Ate a delish healthy salad from Pure for lunch. Spoiled it all by dinnertime, which mostly consisted of Beer and a bag of popcorn. However, I did spend the night volunteering for a cancer charity, so what I lost in weightwatchers points, I made up for in brownie points.

Lesson of the day: Good intentions are soluble in beer!

Today's diet has already gone to pot, turns out our lovely Promotions Director Amy is a 'feeder' - I blame the Minstrels and M&Ms she brought back from her ski trip.

Oh well, tomorrow's another day...

Monday, 21 March 2011

Diet #17, the Bridget Jones Diet

Fuck fuck fuck. This morning, I have woken up feeling like shit. I feel a bit like Bridget Jones, 10 years later, who wakes up one morning, and realises that she's 10 years older and a stone heavier, two children richer, and a mortgage worse off.  That Mr Darcy leaves his pants on the floor every night for her to pick up every  morning, and still resolutely refuses to clear up the toast crumbs every morning. Cigarettes (weekend: 2) have gone up to £6.45 a pack, with another 17p due in the budget. Fuck, Bridget Jones worrying about the budget, for fucks sake.

This week, in her honour, I'm going to make up my own diet, the Bridget-Jones-(and-every-woman-of-a-certain-age-diet) - which involves waking up with the best of intentions, but an innate knowledge that by 10pm and the offer of a glass of wine, it will all go to shit. Ok, 8pm. If I can do it beyond lunchtime I'm onto a winner.

I should mention that I was ill last week, too ill to diet, so Carol Vordermans detox will have to wait for another week. I've also got one I really want to do called the Core Balance, a four-week guide, exploring the emotional as well as physical reasons for weight gain. I love the thought that I can blame my parents and my own sense of self-worth, rather than Mr Cadbury. Unfortunately, the book is too long to actually read, but as soon as I get round to it I'll give it a go...

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Diet #16, Carol Vordeman's detox

After a week of birthday parties to celebrate baby Poppy's first birthday, I'm scared to step onto the scales! A friend has loaned me Carol Vordeman's detox, so I'm going to try it for a week. I'm too tired to start today, and haven't even had time to open the book, but I'll get round to it this week for sure...

Not sure why I'm aspiring to Carol. She's a mathematician (I think we established in the last diet that my maths skills leave a lot to be desired), she's 51 (I have an irrational phobia of old people -  but that's a story for another blog), and she's from 'oop north (I get a nosebleed if I have to go outside of the M25) - so not exactly my ideal diet role model, but she's gone from this...

To this...

and if she can do the same for me, I won't complain.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

GI Diet #FAIL!!

I had a slight inkling that this wasn't working when I carefully chose low GI food last night - as toppings for my pizza!

This one definitely isn't doing it for me - firstly the GI of food is impossible to measure so you have to carry the book around with you, and secondly because only non-processed food has a low GI, so actually, it's the same as with so many of the diets I've tried - you lose weight because there's no sweets, no chocolate, no crisps, no processed food, not the GI index specifically...

It's Poppy's first birthday this week, so I'm going to enjoy the birthday cake(s), and start another diet on Monday.

N.B. Am sticking with the muesli (because it's bearable, and because I bought a massive bag of it), and taking on board the lessons about blood sugar levels, so not a total failure!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

How to calculate the Glycaemic Index of food?

This is basically impossible. The indices are measured experimentally, based on giving 10 subjects 50g of food and measuring their blood responses 2 hours later. So, unless a) I get a science degree to go alongside my non-existant maths degree, and b)I feed the girls on my team my M&S aubergine and lentil salad and then test them, it's unlikely I'll be able to work this out. Mostly because I don't like sharing food, and they think I get quite enough from them already, without actually giving me their blood.

M&S have done very well out of me today. So far, I have bought their 22% fruit muesli for breakfast, aubergine & lentil and tomato & mozzarella salad's for lunch, almonds, bananas, grapes and plums for snacks - and then ruined it all with two-for-one on jaffa cakes... But seeing as it's impossible to measure the GI of foods (plus, they virtually count as fruit anyway), we'll just assume it's all good!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Diet #15, The Glycaemic Index Diet

I am pleased to have survived to the end of Diet #14, Diet Chef. This morning, I was 10st 1lb - so I lost 4lbs in a week - which is pretty impressive. I have to say, whilst I liked the breakfasts, and I tolerated the lunches, I wasn't keen on the dinners - although this might be to do with the fact that I took the vegetarian options, which were always going to be less interesting than the meat variety - and my aversion to microwave food in general.

On the plus side, this is great for teaching portion control, and the food is certainly "better" than - in as much as it's actual food - but I'm quite relieved to be coming to the end of this week. Happily, I'm lighter than I started, so on the basis of that making it a successful diet, job done.

I'm moving on to the GI diet (Glycaemic Index). The book is a "need to know" guide, and it does something that I'm beginning to notice is somewhat of a pattern amongst diet books. It starts off by "slagging off" other diets that you might have tried "some diets are restrictive, requiring dieters to eat quantities of one particular food, like cabbage soup {ooh, I forgot about that one}, grapefruit {tick} or pineapple {coincidentally, I did this one a year ago this week, in a desperate attempt to induce labour}. Others, more complicated, have recommended cutting out a whole group of foods, as the original Atkins did with Carbs”. According to this book, the latest news is that Atkins has filed for bankrupcy in the States - there has to be a joke there about losing pounds on Atkins, surely? The book regularly refers to research, to doctors and to nutritionists - but never with names or surveys, which makes it feel like they're trying to hide behind the "science".

Anyhow, how it works is simple enough – at least that's how it appears at the start... When you eat starchy carbohydrate food, like bread, cereal or pasta, your body digests the starch and turns it into glucose, which your body uses as a source of energy. Glucose enters the bloodstream rapidly (think alcohol on an empty stomach) and your glucose level shoots up. The danger is that it then crashes down just as quickly. So the aim is to eat foods that keep your blood sugar steady, avoiding the highs and lows. More recently, "scientists and researchers" began to realise that not all carbs produced blood sugar rushes, because some were broken down more slowly, and they started systematic testing. Foods with a low GI (under 55) break down more slowly, giving a slower rise in blood sugar and insulin levels. There are "good" and "bad" carbohydrates – and you have to eat more good and less bad.

But this is where it gets so complicated, to the point where I wish I'd done a degree in maths rather than history. Basically, according to the book, the limitations of this are that the Glycaemic Index of food is measured in 50g portions - but you'd need just 10 teaspoons of sugar to get 50g of carbs - whereas you'd need 5kg of broccoli to get the same 50g of carbs. So, these clever (but still unnamed) scientists added another facet - the Glycaemic Load (or GL). The GL is calculated by multiplying the GI value of the food concerned by the number of grams of carbohydrates it contains and then dividing the total amount by 100.

The book helpfully simplifies this as follows:

GI value x grams of carb per serving / 100 = GL value

Unfortunately, at this point, my brain, addled by weeks of dieting has exploded! I'll have another read of this book later today, and start this one tomorrow!