Diet HELL

6 Aug

Over the years I have tried many diets.  Many, MANY diets.  I have wasted so much time, energy and money on diets that could have been spent on just eating healthily and exercising but I was looking for the ‘quick fix’.  I didn’t want to exercise; I just wanted to magically lose weight with minimal effort.

I decided I would write about all the diets I have been on in the past and I asked my trainer, Natalie Carter of New Outlook Fitness, for her opinion on each one.

So, let’s go down a trip of memory lane, shall we?   Take my hand and hold on tight – I’m going to walk you through the depths of…

DIET HELL!

*insert creepy laugh here*

Diet Name: SureSlim

SureSlim was attractive to me because of its claims that people could lose weight quickly and safely with minimal exercise (Warning!  Warning!  Stay away from quick fat loss diets!).

They design a program for you based on the results of a blood test and take a holistic approach in correcting your metabolism and any hormonal imbalances in your body.  I’m not entirely sure how all of this works (let’s face it, I’m no scientist) but what I do know is I handed over my $700+ and felt incredibly hungry from then onwards.

Pros: It does teach you about eating healthily and portion control and I did lose a little weight.  They also provide ongoing support and weigh-ins.

Cons: You have to weigh everything meticulously, it’s very calorie controlled, there’s a long list of foods you can’t eat (a VERY long list), it’s ridiculously expensive and it’s time consuming.

Trainer Says:

I remember when SureSlim came to town and the hype that surrounded it. Like all “fads” and “quick loss plans” it caused a big stir and then once people tried it they realised that deprivation was involved and self-control was required.

I definitely do not see any harm with getting blood tests to identify any underlying hormonal imbalances but you will definitely get better results from healthy, calorie controlled eating.

Focusing on removal of processed foods from your diet (e.g white breads, pastas, hydrogenated oils, sugar-free foods, desserts, soft drinks, microwaved meals, etc) and increasing the intake of fresh veg, fruit, whole grains (quinoa, barley, brown rice, oats) low-fat dairy, essential fatty acids and lean proteins (red meat, fish, chicken, legumes) will have you seeing results in no time without the deprivation.

Diet Names: Optifast, Celebrity Slim and Tony Ferguson

These diets are extremely low-calorie and low carbohydrate meal replacement programs.  The aim is that when your body’s energy intake is restricted, it draws energy from your own fat stores to function.

I kept coming back to these types of diets because I would always lose a couple of kilos quite quickly.  The trouble was that as soon as I stopped, the weight would pile back on.  The shakes themselves don’t taste too bad however after having them for 2 or 3 meals a day it starts to get very boring and my, oh my, does your tummy rumble.  Constantly.

Pros: Weight loss occurs quickly.

Cons: Boring, restrictive, you become constipated, your breath stinks, you’re constantly hungry and tired, and most of the weight comes back on when you start eating regular food again.

Trainer Says:

I don’t even want to comment on this, do I have to? Do I really… Ok fine. Urgh!

I recently heard a report that the average women will spend approximately $40,000 on diets in her lifetime. $40, 000! Here’s a tip, for  free: Low calorie and low carbohydrate diets DO NOT WORK LONG TERM. Do you really believe you can live on chocolate shakes for the rest of your life, let alone 3 months? Try not to kid yourself.

People, especially women, are drawn to these diets because of their promises of dropping a dress size in 2 weeks or “getting rid of your bloated belly”. If you’re not bloated already, you will be after drinking these suckers. They are filled to the brim with fake ingredients with long names and artificial sugars.  A lot of these shake diets cause digestion problems which result in diarrhea/constipation (these are so common, it’s scary).

Please don’t believe any claims these companies make. You cannot safely drop a dress size in 2 weeks.  A lot of the weight loss is muscle loss and water loss due to calorie deprivation and as quickly as the scale told you it was gone, it’ll be straight back there, when you carry on your regular eating.

Again, control what you put into your mouth, exercise and the results will come fast.


Diet Name: Lite n Easy

Lite n Easy is based around calorie and portion control.  The meals are nutritionally balanced and you can choose from a few different calorie programs to suit your needs.  It’s convenient as they deliver it to your door and the meals actually don’t taste too bad.  Some are quite delicious!  But it does start to get boring as the meals rotate on a monthly basis so you find yourself eating the same things over and over again.  I’d rather come up with my own nutritious meals!

Pros: Convenient, easy and I did manage to keep my weight under control with loses here and there.

Cons: Expensive, the meals are very very small and it gets boring after a while.

Trainer Says:

Whilst convenient for some, I don’t recommend regular eating microwaved meals.  Microwaved meals contain higher amounts of sugar and salt (to preserve them and also add flavour). Fresh is always best.

Controlling calories is not a bad thing, as it is an essential part of losing weight, but if you stick to consuming approx 1300-1600 cals/day (depending on your  sex, weight, activity level) you will be able to choose the foods you like and eat whatever your heart desires, even treats.

Another down side of Lite n Easy is the lack of advice it provides on healthy eating. When you have something delivered and put in front of you everyday, you have no responsibility or knowledge of how it was prepared or what the ingredients are. This diet teaches you nothing about HOW to eat healthily, unfortunately. When you have the knowledge about what to eat you can easily take a trip to the local supermarket and find healthy options.


Diet Name: Atkins

The Atkins diet has been around since the 70’s.  Basically, the diet involves restricting carbohydrates to switch the body’s metabolism from burning glucose as fuel to burning stored body fat.  This process is called ketosis.   You can buy these little strips from the pharmacy and you urinate on them (gross) to find out if your body is in ketosis mode.  This is how you know if the diet is working.

It involves eating practically no carbohydrates at all and lots of protein and fats like cheese and oils.  Sounds like a treat to most people as it means lots of bacon and eggs breakfasts and cheesy delights however you soon grow tired of limited meal choices and fatigue from lack of carbohydrates hits you HARD.

I don’t recall losing any weight on this diet however I probably only gave it two or three weeks and ditched it as all I wanted was some fruit!

Pros: Bacon and egg breakfasts!

Cons: Limited choice, lacking in essential nutrients, fatigue, bad breath, constipation and boredom.

Trainer Says:

Dr Atkins is dead! He really is… maybe because he followed his own DIE-t.

Your body needs approx 100-130g of Carbohydrate per day to function. It is detrimental to vitamin and mineral levels to restrict certain foods.

Many studies have shown that the results people get from following this diet are due to the fact they are controlling calories and nothing to do with the removal of carbohydrates.  You can still lose weight and eat carbs (fruit, grains, etc) if you reduce the portion sizes and types you eat.

Add some exercise and the weight will drop off. Ditch the headaches and mood swings and have a workout instead of following this crazy plan.


Diet Name: Soup Diet

I don’t even know where to start with this one.  Soup diet.  How ridiculous.  Okay, so really, you just eat vegetable soup for 7 days and as each day goes on you get to include another element.  Eg.  Day 1 you eat as much soup as you like plus any fruit except bananas.  Day 2 you eat as much soup as you like plus vegetables including one baked jacket potato with a little butter.  Get the idea?

It’s a short-term diet that’s supposed to result in up to a 6kg weight loss however that loss is mostly fluid loss.

I didn’t lose. One. Kilo.

Pros: Nothing.

Cons: Everything from bad breath and flatulence to extreme hunger.

Trainer Says:

Very similar to the shake diet. They all promise the same thing, but results are short-lived and no one likes to starve.

Your metabolism slows down to virtually nothing whilst on the diet – which is the worst outcome for anyone wanting to lose weight. You need it to be firing on all cylinders and working effectively.  Think about a car, it goes better if it’s filled with petrol and oil, right? Your body works this way too.  When you eat nutrient dense foods regularly (4-6 times per day), your body becomes a FAT BURNING machine.

In addition to these diets I have also tried Xenical, which is a drug designed to block out the fat in the foods you eat which can result in… um, DISASTER (read: oily pooh is nobodies friend) and laxative teas (waking up in the middle of the night with severe diarrhoea is also nobodies friend).

Now that you have read all the diets I’ve tried I hope that it takes the temptation out of trying them for yourselves.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Eat healthily, know your portions and EXERCISE.  If you want to lose weight and keep it off for good then this is your only option.

Rightio!  Scary, wasn’t it?  Please release your hand from mine – I’m going to have nail marks for a week!

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7 Responses to “Diet HELL”

  1. Chanel August 6, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    That was incredibly scary! I’m shaking my head at some of these! I previously did something similar to Atkins, but I am SO much happier now I’m just eating healthly food! 😀

  2. Briony August 10, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    They have brought Tony Ferguson to Boots here in the UK and promoting it like mad as “Australia’s #1 weight loss program” (or something like that). Looks like pure hell to me! I’d hate any kind of diet involving pre-made foods or shakes. Spew.

    Keep up your great work 🙂

    Briony
    http://www.theglasgowfoodblog.blogspot.com

  3. Briony August 10, 2010 at 10:26 pm #

    I don’t think my previous comment worked! Damn.

    Anyway, was just saying that Tony Ferguson has been introduced to Boots Chemists here and is being promoted like crazy. To me, that is my idea of torture, I could never live on shakes or pre-made meals. I literally would die!

    Keep up your great work, I enjoy reading your blog 🙂

    Briony
    http://www.theglasgowfoodblog.blogspot.com

    • Amanda August 11, 2010 at 10:14 am #

      Hey Briony! Yes, they both came through but were in my spam box! Doh!

      Stay away from the evil shake diets! Haha! 😀

      Thanks for the comments! And great food blog BTW!

      Amanda

  4. PoP November 17, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

    Amanda it would be super if you could work out how much you have spent and then let everyone know so you can scare them off the diet path 🙂

    • Amanda November 17, 2010 at 9:38 pm #

      Oh it would be thousands. The sureslim programme alone cost me over $700! What a waste of money when all this time
      I could have been spending it on good food!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. the d word. « - August 16, 2010

    […] isn’t involving radical diets, but all the good stuff – healthy eating, frequent, effective, and fun exercise, and cutting […]

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