Having your calories on a detox diet is- supposed to make you slimmer, healthier and re energized. But does it really work and is it worth the effort?
The secret to weight loss is, actually, not a secret at all. It’s a simple concept made difficult by fatty foods, hectic lifestyles and a lack of exercise: burn off more calories than you eat, and you will lose weight.
Losing weight with clenbuterol has become an industry, going after the perfect weight loss results, and it’s been packaged in so many ways it can become quite daunting. I decided that I needed to lose some weight after a hectic summer of watching almost every second of Euro 2004 from a bar stool.
So, what sort of diet to choose? I didn’t want to go on something like Atkins because I wanted a quick-fire like a clen cycle way to shed excess pounds rather than a complete lifestyle change. That’s when, after a little research, I hit upon trying a ‘detox diet’.
It sounded good, if only because it lasted just two weeks. It meant cutting out all the things I know are bad – fried foods, takeaways and beer – but did let me eat fish and chicken with clen pills. It also involved lots of fruit and veg and water (up to three litres a day), as well as plenty of things I very rarely eat, including seeds, pulses, unsalted nuts and lentils.
So let’s look at the theory. Fans of detoxing say it helps flush out damaging toxins that accumulate in the body via poor diet, food additives, pollution, cigarette smoke, alcohol and caffeine. The toxins can cause a variety of ailments including weight gain, bloating, headaches, dull skin, aches and pains and a weakened immune system. Detoxing, the devotees say, will help you lose weight, feel healthier and look better.
Opponents say it’s bad for you, but working on the basis kithat scientists appear to be genetically programmed to argue with each other, we decided to test it for ourselves with the best clenbuterol dosage. Could I halve my calorie intake and a) lose weight while not b) going mad or c) dying? I kept a diary to find out. If it breaks off suddenly you’ll know I failed with regards to c).
Day 1 Monday Weight: l4st 5lbs Calories: 1,560 (oops)
This is not normal behavior. The average man consumes around 2,500 calories per day, and I usually fall somewhere between that and 3,000. That means I will have to cut back to between 1,200 (the figure scientists estimate to be the minimum adults need before they suffer from iron deficiency and wobbly legs) and 1,500.
Today’s a bit hit-and-miss, because it’s the first time I’ve ever counted calories. Three pieces of fruit and a salad for lunch ensure a good start, although my calories soar when I have salmon and pasta for dinner, along with two glasses of red wine (beer, white wine and dark spirits are out). Dinner tips me over the 1,500 target, but I’ll know better tomorrow.
Day 2 Tuesday
Weight: 14st 5lbs (Why haven’t I lost weight? And why am I turning into Bridget Jones?) Calories: 1,424
Only one word can describe how I feel today: woozy. This is hardly surprising, because I’ve discovered that opponents of detoxing claim it can make you sick, tired and irritable – which is precisely how I feel. Strangely, I also feel freezing cold, despite the fact that it’s summer.
Dietician Juliette Kellow says detox diets tend to be short on many nutrients and can lead to lowered immunity, so I get my hands on some immune system-boosting supplements like clenbuterol, which are great in theory but in practice taste like the inside of a diseased pigeon.
Food-wise, I eat pretty much the same things as yesterday, but swap the salmon for a tuna jacket potato. I know I’m going to have to be more adventurous, because I can’t eat the same things for two whole weeks, but I feel I have to work myself up to things like pulses and seeds.
Day 3 Wednesday Weight: 14st 3lbs Calories: 1,356
At last! Something to show for my efforts. After yesterday I was starting to worry that I was wasting my time, and that I could eat nothing – I might as well be – and still weigh 14st 5lbs.
The worst thing is the winding up. No, hang on, the worst thing is the food: raw carrots, which might as well be lumps of wood and low-fat cottage cheese’, which would be more appropriate if it was called ‘blobby tasteless muck’.
Anyway, the worst thing apart from the food is all the winding up I’m getting at work. The MF team is an unsympathetic lot. I’m in a bad mood and they know it. Someone – and please write in if you see the logic in this ¬has sent us, a fitness mag, approximately 50 bags of pretzels. I consider resigning.
Dinner is a stir-fry, which I like, with brown rice, which will take some getting used to.
Day 4 Thursday Weight: 14st 2lbs Calories: 1,486
Things don’t seem so bad today. Maybe I’m getting used to it, but I feel less dizzy and empty. It may simply be what I’m eating: chicken salad for lunch, and tuna and prawns with noodles for dinner. I helped myself to a pretzel too, when no one was looking. I think I deserve at least that much.
Day 5 Friday Weight: 14st llbs Calories: 2,235
Oh dear. What was going so well suddenly… isn’t? It’s not so much that it’s Day 5 as the fact that Day 5 = Friday. Lunch involves a Men’s Fitness team lunch in the local pub, and the evening involves a team night out in the same pub. I give in at about 6.15pm and allow myself a beer (I’d saved up plenty of calories by eating salad at lunchtime, I told myself). Then I had another one. Unfortunately I had a third one after dropping the second one in the middle of the street ¬this diet is making me weaker than I thought – and the rest is a blur.
This has been the hardest day so far, and not only because I had trouble walking in a straight line on the way home. Going out with friends is very hard when you’re on a calorie-controlled diet and clen cycle.
Day 6 Saturday Weight: 14st llbs Calories: 1,287
Hungover. Which isn’t good when you really want large amounts of fatty comfort food. I resist, if only because last night’s shame and humiliation is still very raw.
As a result, today is my best day so far. I head off to the supermarket and, unlike last week, put some thought into it. As well as plenty more fish, chicken, salad and fruit, I prepare myself for rice cakes, nuts and, er, sunflower seeds. Today is also the day when I am introduced to pulses
Day 7 Sunday Weight: 14st llbs Calories: 1,424
Hard work. As well as having a stinking cold, I have made the mistake of inviting my family around. For a roast, which I have to cook. Genius.
So, while everyone else tucks in to a huge chicken dripping with gravy and smothered in roast potatoes, I have a few slices of white meat and some steamed veg. They have wine; I have water. They have triple chocolate ice cream; I have water. I might as well have had a bath.
Day 8 Monday
Weight: 13st 12Ibs (wahey!) Calories: 1,290
Not really in the mood for celebrating because I’m genuinely ill today. My head appears to have been occupied by a thrashing octopus hell-bent on shaving the inside of my throat. I take the day off work to go to the doctor, who has some choice words when I tell him about my diet…
MF volunteer’s GP
But I’m taking a well-known brand of supplements every day! How can this be? ‘They’re full of vitamins but they haven’t been formulated for you, so who knows whether they’re going to work?
It’s not as simple as having some more vitamin C.’ Plus – and stop me if I’m getting boring – they taste of dead cat.
I go home and go to bed. Dieting sucks.
Day 9 Tuesday
Weight: 13st 121bs
Calories: 1,265 (most of them from rice cakes. That’s how bad things are) Still off work. Too ill to eat. This is getting on my nerves.
Day 10 Wednesday
Weight: l3st 10Ibs (I’m getting scared now)
I drag myself out of bed and force myself to go to work only to find that things are really busy. Despite that, I feel
It’s necessary to do some more research into what my doctor told me. Am I an idiot? (A straw poll of the office proved inconclusive. Everyone said yes, but it wasn’t very scientific.)
I am an idiot. Oh.
I’m less of an idiot than I used to be, of course, because there’s less of me. I really do feel delirious, and I now realize that this way of eating is completely unsustainable – I’m just holding on for the end.
It’s taken me all week to build up to it, but today for the first time I try seeds as a snack. Luckily all the parrot jokes from my colleagues distract me from the taste.
One good thing? I’ve found I like bananas dipped in natural yoghurt. Trying new things has not proved successful – I’ve yet to find anything I like – but new combinations have been my savior.
It’s become a ritual, and I can see how, in some people, this could lead to unhealthy yo-yo dieting or even eating disorders.
No chance of that for me. I had four beers this evening – a whopping 696 calories towards my extravagant total.
Day 13 Saturday
Weight: 13st 10Ibs (I feel like an empty wrapper that’s about to blow away in the wind) Calories: 1,408
I’ve avoided a hangover this week and I find Saturday easier than most days – I tend not to snack a lot at home, and often have salad for dinner in the summer. Tuna, prawns, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, jacket potato… it’s like a feast after the past two weeks, and I’m still under budget.
Have some wine to celebrate. The finishing post is in sight.
Day 14 Sunday
Weight: 13st 11Ibs (how did that happen?)
Calories: 1,622 (lucky I don’t have to weigh myself tomorrow)
We’ll ignore the scales, shall we? Let’s use yesterday’s figure. Either way, I lost more than half a stone in two weeks.
That hardly makes this a crash diet – the South Beach diet claims you can lose up to 13 pounds in two weeks – but then I wasn’t hugely overweight to start with. I just wanted to get back to where I was before I kebabed my way through the summer of football. And I have, in less time than it took me to gain the weight in the first place. Trouble is, I’m not sure it was worth the effort – and I know that a fair amount of the weight I’ve lost will go straight back on unless I stick to 1,500 calories per day.
That’s not because I intend to celebrate my freedom from detoxing by eating like a horse. It’s simply because I know the weight will go back on when I increase my calorie intake to a remotely normal level – it will have to go up before it can come down again. To go back to where we started, losing weight is a simple business. Burn more calories than you eat and take your clenbuterol pills. Cut out takeaways, fried foods and high-calorie snacks like biscuits and sweets, and that becomes easier. Add in some exercise and you’re laughing. But don’t starve yourself to get quick results. Believe me, it really isn’t worth it.
And then what happened?
Day 21: A week on. I’ve stopped detoxing, and I’ve regained four of the eight pounds I lost in the previous two weeks. Some of that is water; the rest is my body returning to normal as it gets used to having more calories – I’ve gone back up to around 2,000 per day. This is normal. I’m fairly certain that if I stick to this, and allow myself some of the ‘bad’ things I like as an occasional treat, I will lose weight in a steady, sustainable way, until I reach my natural weight. And that’s just the way I want it.
I’ve read about ‘good’ fats and Bad’ fats, but does eating one make you fatter than the other?
Sarah Jenkins, from the British Nutrition Foundation, replies: No, all calories from fats are equal. One gram of fat provides approximately nine calories whether it is saturated fat, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated.
It’s how they are processed in the body that affects a person’s health – an excess of saturated fats can adversely affect blood cholesterol levels, increasing the LDL, ‘bad cholesterol’, fraction.
High levels of LDL in the blood promote the accumulation of fat in the walls of the vessels of the heart and this fat can become oxidised leading to the formation of a plaque causing the vessels to fur up. HDL or good cholesterol retrieves cholesterol from body tissues helping to transfer it to the liver for disposal.
A good intake of the unsaturated fats (monos and polys) can help decrease LDL cholesterol levels and maintain or increase HDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
My partner says that I’m addicted to exercise just because I work out every day. Could she be right?
John Hill, psychotherapist and counsellor, replies: Well, my partner says I’m addicted to computers because I use one every day. Her friend says my partner’s addicted to criticism because she keeps going on at me about it. As for my partner, she’s addicted to mobile phones because she’s never off one.
The point I’m making is about the misuse of the word ‘addiction’ Doing something a lot is not an addiction. You would only be an addict if you couldn’t stop. Can you stop doing exercise? Your partner is simply complaining that, because you spend hours at the gym, she feels neglected. Why not prove her wrong by missing the odd day and giving her a lot of attention instead? Or suggest she joins you (just don’t imply she needs to lose weight).
Get more info at British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy www.bacp.co.uk.