Over on HelloGiggles, they have a series called One Week Diet Diaries, in which each of their main contributors takes on one of the fad diets for one week and keeps a journal for us to read. They’ve done the Color Diet, the Gwyneth Paltrow Diet, and the Intermittent Fasting Diet, to name a few. I was eyeing the Fast Metabolism Diet since I had heard it worked well and it made sense in theory. So, even though it’s pretty restrictive, I committed myself to one week out of the “required” four, two if I liked it enough to continue. Another long post lies ahead, so feel free to meet me next week when I’m talking about books again!
The Fast Metabolism diet is “not simply a diet. It’s a lifestyle change.” Somehow, the author opens the book by saying she’s got the diet that has her eating ice cream from one hand and some other yummy thing from the other (I stopped paying attention at the mention of ice cream). Of course, the ice cream is after the four weeks, because there are lots of things you’re not supposed to eat when trying to recharge your metabolism: wheat/gluten, soy, corn, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, added sugars, artificial sweeteners, anything that has brought you happiness, etc. This list is where everyone I talked to said, “Hold the phone. That’s not going to work.” And I said, “Yeah, maybe not, but it would be good to learn that I can live without some of these things. What can it hurt?”
The other aspect of the FMD is that you keep your body guessing so that once it adapts to processing one kind of food, you confuse it and it backpedals to take care of the other kind of food. So, the process goes like this: Days 1-2 are for healthy grains and fruits; Days 3-4 are for lean proteins and green veggies; Day 5-7 are all of the above plus healthy fats and oils. And you need to eat 3 meals a day plus 2 snacks timed at about every 3 hours. Seems easy enough, right? So, here’s the shortened version of the diary I kept during the diet.
Day 0 – Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping:
I spent $150 on groceries. That’s twice the cost of what I normally buy, and all of it would require prep work. Plus, I could only eat certain things on certain days, so the possibility of food going bad was annoyingly high. I had one beer, and lots of Bengali food that night knowing that I couldn’t have either during the diet, if ever at all. I also found the FMD online forum and started reading other people’s experiences, questions and answers.
Days 1 and 2 – Healthy Grains and Fruits:
Fruit and Grain? That seemed easy. OMG, this is what plain oatmeal tastes like?! Add stevia and more blueberries liberally. Mango for snack, brown rice and tuna for lunch, strawberries for snack, chicken and broccoli with brown rice for dinner. I also bit off all my fingernails with anxiety over the diet. I checked the forum several times a day. On day 2, one of my students brought in cronuts and I was met with the first diet sabotage choice I made. I had a sliver of cronut. Who can resist a fad breakfast dessert? Not me! I was extra good the rest of the day with similar meals for lunch and dinner, even though there was pizza all over campus that day. I was invited to dinner, but ate at home before I left in order to avoid temptation of ALL kinds.
Days 3 and 4 – Lean (Animal) Proteins and Veggies ONLY, aka OMG THE WORST:
Egg whites and spinach for breakfast at 5:30 a.m. because you have to eat before you work out and only 30 minutes after you have woken up. Ugh. I was a little more tired than usual in Barre Fly, and started to feel nauseous, but pushed through. Cooked a bunch of chicken with dried herbs and turkey bacon, then cut them up into snack and meal portions. I also made a salad and cut veggies for several snacks throughout the day. New revelation: Celery with fresh-squeezed lime juice and a pinch of salt and pepper is fantastic! Balsamic vinegar served as salad dressing. Day 4, rinse and repeat and try to ignore the nausea and sadness you are feeling. Also, that headache is from caffeine withdrawal. It’s going to be ok! Also, for full disclosure, I had 2/3 of a glass of a Pinot Noir after dinner with Weddingbee friends. That night, I also ate dinner in my office before meeting up with them.
Days 5, 6, and 7 – Days 1-4 and Healthy Fats and Oils
Phase 3 is supposed to be easier but it’s a little harder. It’s not all of the above. It’s only a few things from above and mostly new things, according to the FMD app food lists. I called in sick that day because I wasn’t feeling any better. Being home was harder for me to keep track of when I was supposed to eat, and I was tempted by things I guess I wasn’t supposed to eat. Where the meals had been pretty straightforward in Phases 1 and 2, in Phase 3, they were varied. You’re supposed to have fruit with lunch, but not with dinner? Grain with dinner, but not lunch? Celery on the side with your oatmeal breakfast? That was difficult for me. But I made it through. Fats were helpful though: olive oil, avocado, raw almonds and cashews, almond butter, etc. Again, for full disclosure: I had a plain margarita during this weekend.
After Week 1: I lost five pounds. That’s awesome! With the old calorie counting method and working out, I was gaining weight, but not really losing inches, either. This diet seemed to really work, but I bet it was just the crash of cutting so much crap out of my diet. Something that helped me was always having a wealth of healthy snacks ready to go in case temptation got in the way.
Week 2: I made it to Day 5, and then I realized I was just sad. Day 4 left me feeling ill again, and I was ready to be done, plus I only lost one pound in addition to the previous five. It didn’t feel worth it.
Conclusion: I know my sadness was attached to how I feel emotionally about food. Food does make me happy. Healthy and unhealthy, alike. It was great to eat mango and watermelon in Phase 1, but disheartening not to be able to in Phases 2 and 3. I liked my new snacks. I have never had a problem with controlling myself around food. I am a taster, but I don’t binge. Without the option of tasting something and getting it out of my system, I was getting really bummed out. I’ve decided to stay as gluten-free as possible, as well as caffeine-free, and artificial sweetener-free. It’s hard to find gluten-free products without soy or corn, but I’ve been trying to avoid those as well. I like the principles, but the cyclical nature was very hard for me, as was the grocery shopping. I’m glad I did the diet. It helped me figure out that I can live without some of these foods that have been proven to impede weight loss. And my idea of “snack food” has really changed. I know how to choose the healthier foods now for those in-between times when it’s not time for a meal. But I also don’t feel bad when I have ice cream with my girlfriends or a glass of wine with family. There you have it, my One Week Diet Diary.
Have you tried any drastic diets? Did you triumph or give up?
P.S. – Thanks, someecards, for all the perfect sentiments.