Tag Archives: diets

Lose weight AND exude methane in just two weeks!

Magazine diets are always good for a giggle. Nine out of ten weeks, Grazia will ask questions with meaningless answers, such as, ‘What body type are you?’ a) Tiger/b) Antelope/c) Bear. Or, ‘What kind of dieter are you?’ a) Hunter/b) Alpha/c) Feline. My favourite so far has to be, ‘What’s your diet temperature?’

When not asking inane questions, they’re fussing over the next super-régime, which will inevitably complicate cookery to such an extent that, while you’re on the diet wagon, your every waking thought will revolve around food.

Take the edition a couple of weeks ago, which boasted a 14-day pre-beach blitz, devised by none other than Lowri Turner, the shock-columnist who will opine on just about anything in order to stay in the limelight. Now, I can think of a lot of things to call Lowri Turner, but ‘nutritionist’ isn’t the first that springs to mind. Nevertheless, that’s how she was billed, having graduated from the Institute of Optimum Nutrition in 2009.

With her new diet, LT has continued her unbroken run of consistently managing to enrage me. Clutching the pages of my magazine a little bit too hard, I simmered and stewed as I sat on the tube scanning her Beach Panic Diet.

Firstly, I wondered inwardly, would sane people really consider faffing about buying itty-bitty quantities of this and that – half a pepper, 50g of feta, 3 asparagus (do many asparagus become asparagi?) – to follow this dispiriting and underwhelming collection of uninspiring, badly-photographed dishes? Leaving a fridge full of festering perishables just before they go away?

Secondly, has anyone checked to see whether the average human being can survive eating six cauliflowers, 16 eggs and 12 egg whites in a fortnight without exploding? Is that what a degree in nutrition is all about – boldly going where no risk assessment experiment has gone before?

Lastly, and most perplexingly, why do nutritionists serve up so many inverted commas – why are they intent on making food ’food’ in disguise? Is it to avenge the lampooning of ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith, the original Lady Muck, and her ‘credentials’?

Perhaps it’s another tao of Nutritionism. If so, Lowri has certainly embraced it – with her ‘noodles’, ‘hummus’, ‘fettucine’, ‘pizza’, ‘bread’, ‘rice’ and ‘couscous’, she’s really ‘spoiling’ us. (Editor’s note: as ‘rice, and ‘couscous’ should all be read as courgette, so ‘spoiling’ should be more accurately translated as torturing…)

If you’re a cauliflower and egg devotee, good for you – get your Beach Panic freak on. Wrap your chops around ‘magic microwave bread’. Feast on vanilla whey protein powder. Munch plain, unseasoned, dry-fried squid rings with strips of courgette. Forget the actual hummus you used to enjoy and simply exist on pretend ‘hummus’! 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No sugar, Sherlock

So despite the glossy mags’ regular fawning over every press release claiming to be a miracle-worker for the heavier-bottomed among us, the truth has finally, er, outed. There is no quick fix for losing weight. Well duh.

I’m no stranger to the surge of hope these articles generate at times of self-disgust or post-prandial regret, nor the wave of surprise and prick of curiosity that the approved foods listed consist of more than alfafa sprouts, linseed and the obligatory ‘handful of nuts’ snack. But I’m also far too familiar with the suspicion and growing disappointment felt when, once committed to said diet, you’re weighing out 100g of granola and realise you’re staring at starvation itself. And I seem to be the only person on first name terms with the ‘small potato’ – it’s real identity is always, always revealed as a new potato and makes you want to weep for the casually cruel euphemisms bandied about by magazine editors.

I once decided to detox my body in order to lose half a stone in three days and kick-start a new way of living, as recommended by Mireille Guiliano in French Women Don’t Get Fat. To do this, Mademoiselle Guiliano advised me to boil up a large pot of leeks and eat portions of the leeks and the cooking liquid at regular intervals for three days. AND NOTHING ELSE. I dutifully trotted off and bought two kilos of leeks. Later that day, my housemates returned to a house floating on a cloud of leek-scented steam (and a faintly manic housemate).

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