Article Originally Submitted 2003
Having been in a stall for around a year, last December, I thought I would try and shake things up a little, so, having been pointed at this plan by various of my list-mates, I bought the book, and gave it a whirl!
The Plan originally took shape as a 2-week detox plan, on the iVillage internet site, but after so many questions, Anne felt that a full book was needed, so, the book expands on her initial thoughts, and also writes in on-going and maintenance phases of the diet.
I Like Anne’s writing style a great deal, and the background information she gives is very helpful, and filled in a few blanks that had never made 100% sense to me. i.e. The information she gives about the Liver was the basis of my “Weight loss and your Liver” Article in last month’s magazine.
What I don’t really like is the actual diet itself… The Food is very like the ’80’s style Weight watchers “Exchanges” plan, (for any of you that did that and remember what is was like), with some additions and subtractions…
1) Low-carb: Green Vegetables are Unlimited (To fill you up with the fibre), and you are allowed 2 low-sugar Fruits per day. No other Carb sources are allowed at all.
2) Protein Adequate: Only just though. 2 eggs a day, plus 8 oz of lean animal/fish. No Dairy, so cheese is out. You can use 2tbsp of Plain, unsweetened Whey Powder in Fruit Smoothies,but this counts as 1oz of that protein count. She does allow Soy (tofu/tempah), but only twice a week, so, in addition to the no cheese thing, I really don’t think that there is any way a vegetarian could do this plan.
3) Moderate Fat: The Only Fat sources allowed is Flaxseed Oil, limited to 2tbsp a day, and 400mg of GLA supplementation (either 2x1000mg StarFlower Oil Capsules or 8 1000mg Evening Primrose Oil Capsules) as well. NO other fats are allowed.
The main cooking techniques are Steaming and Grilling. I bought and used a Dry non-stick Wok to “Stir-boil”, in good low-fat Tradition! (I used to do that for WW as well!)
There are also some “Funky” bits to the plan:
Drink 2ltrs of Purified water diluted Cranberry Juice. This is called “Cran-water” You make it with in a 1juice:8water ratio. NO other beverages are permitted. Caffeine is right out!
1 glass of Lemon juice in Hot water before breakfast everyday (Although, the amount of juice is not specified… I just juiced a lemon.)
2 glasses of “Life-long Cocktail”: A quite horrific mix of 8oz of cran-water with 1 tsp Psyllium husks mixed in it… and you are supposed to drink it through a straw. I just gulped it down, and followed it up with another glass of tap-water.
Some very specific Herbs and Spices, used “to taste” (you are encouraged to use lots!) These are metabolism boosters. Cinnamon, Cloves, Cumin, Cayenne, Paprika, Dry mustard, Anise, Fennel, Bay, Dill, Coriander, Parsley, Ginger, Garlic. Using Apple Cyder Vinegar to make a dressing with the Flax oil is much encouraged, as is “Lemonizing” your foods, ie Squirting Lemon juice all over it to “cut” the fats!
Sweetening anything is actively discouraged. Also, the only sweetener allowed is Stevia… But, the diet is so restricting, there really isn’t anything you need to sweeten anyway! The best place to use this if you need it is in making up your Cran-juice. I needed about 1/8 tsp stevia powder to make the cran-water to my taste.
You are also encouraged to take a Broad-spectrum Vitamin and Mineral tablet, and she also says you can take Lipotropics (Ie Chromium, Inositol), and Liver Cleansing herbals.
You are eating 3 meals, 2 snacks. Aim to eat at a maximum of 3hrs intervals.
The Foods only add up to 1200 calories a day, which is a great deal less than all the other LC plans out there. I found the plan does put you into BDK (Small on my sticks) but I suspect that is more by dint of the starvation factor, rather than any other reasons…
I never got as far as using the rest of the plan, however, Phase 2 adds in up to 2 servings of “friendly carbs” a day ie 1 slice Sprouted grain bread, 1 small sweet potato, 1/2 cup of peas or carrots or Butternut squash. This adds in about another 100 cals. She does say to ease back on the FC’s if weight loss stops.
The Maintenance Plan is only 1500 calories… Still way too little to sustain a body IMHO, after all, most low-calorie diets that have this many calories in them at their loss levels! The basic premise is the same, and you can now add in Limited Dairy (2 small servings i.e. 1oz of hard cheese, or 1 cup low/no-fat yoghurt), and you can also add in 1 tbsp of Sesame, Rice-bran or Olive Oil.
You are also allowed to have a small amount of Nuts, or half an avocado, or smears of butter/dollop sour cream as “bonus foods”
The Book also includes Exercise, in the form of Rebounding, to get the lymphatic system moving waste out of the body, and walking. This part does make perfect sense.
You are also supposed to keep a food/emotion journal. and be in bed by 10pm… Guess who didn’t do that!
I tried this plan on 1st December 2002, and lost 8lbs in the 2 weeks I stuck at it. However, I found it incredibly hard to stick at. When I missed a snack, due to just not being used to eating at such short intervals, I got VERY hungry. My Hypoglycemia returned full-force, and I found myself obsessing about food. All in all, it wasn’t a happy time. However, I wasn’t craving for “naughties”, just more food in general!
As a long-term Low-carber, I also had problems drinking *just* the 2ltrs of the cran-water prescribed! So, I also drank 2lts of plain water everyday as well. No bad thing as far as I am concerned.
In conclusion, I think that as a book it is well written, and has a lot of valid information in it about how your body works, and how you can boost your metabolism with Spices and Lipotropic Vitamins/Minerals.
As a Stall breaker/Craving stopper, this may be a good “diet”, but that is all I think it is, just another crash diet. Although I am maintaining the loss the diet gave me, there is no way I could stick to the Plan as written… I went back to my usual LC plan after finishing, and felt so much more stable!
In my opinion, you could never live this diet long term, and certainly not for life!!!