Monday, 30 November -0001

Could 10 days REA LLY change my life?

As millions of us make (and break) our New Year’s resolutions, a slightly sceptical Rosie Millard tries the latest must-do diet and asks…

Written by Rosie Millard
In the current parlance of body shape, I am 'skinny fat'. I look fine with my clothes on, but a flabby horror without. I do a lot of running, but no weights. So I have a strong heart and lungs, but rubbish muscle tone. Plus, I take the five-a-day fruit diktat very seriously. Bananas on porridge, an apple for elevenses, entire bushels of grapes at a sitting. And I down at least two glasses of vino most nights.

All of this means an overload of sugar and carbs, which cause high 'spikes' of insulin, causing fat storage. In one major place. My non-existent waistline. Until my 10-day experience at Educogym, I was resigned to a life of M&S support knickers.

100 2197Educogym is the latest 'low-carb, high-protein' diet, but you also pile on the fat too. You eat nothing but cream cheese, double cream, smoked salmon and steak. No booze, no carbs, no fruit. Hence, no insulin is produced. You also pump iron with a trainer for 15 minutes a day, and take food supplements. Highintensity training is apparently much better to activate your lean muscles (which increase the body's metabolism) than running for hours on end.

Your body, depleted of its normal stocks of sugar and carbs, will search around for something else to use as energy. Like some sort of fat-guided missile, it hones in on your middle. The more fat you eat, the more you lose. At least that's the idea, according to Educogym's headmistress, Zana Morris.

A delightful woman from Northern Ireland with dimples in her cheeks and zero fat elsewhere, Zana begins my programme by handing me a 6lb lump of rubber. It represents body fat and is presumably meant to bring home the horrors of what so many of us carry around on our midriffs. She then subjects me to a measuring session (with fat calipers, oh yes).

And the results aren't good. The calipers reveal that my body is larded with a higher percentage of fat than it should be. But there IS hope. Zana hands me a diet sheet and some food supplements. 'See you tomorrow,' she says...

 

Rosie's Diet Diary...

with-fatDay One

I like this diet. Slabs of Philly, washed down with smoked salmon. Mackerel and broccoli for lunch. Pork chops and courgettes for dinner. Plus plenty of leg exercises with Zana. One hour later, I am on the loo as my body evacuates everything (sorry) in spectacular fashion.

Day Two

I feel weak and dizzy. 'Stop this diet immediately,' says Mr Millard. I go to the gym. 'Nobody has such an instant reaction to the diet,' says Zana. 'Maybe the mackerel was off.' Nevertheless, I bravely continue with the salmon and Philly. Six hours later I have to leave my dressmaking class for a vomiting session at home.

Day Three

Perhaps I'm the only person ever to be allergic to the Educogym diet. I'm enjoying the weights sessions at the Harley Street HQ, though. They are so quick that you hardly have time to realise they are hurting before they're over. And they DO make a difference. Later, I can hardly walk downstairs.

Day Four

Feeling better now. The children regard my regime of smoked salmon and Philly with fascination – and suspicion. 'But Mummy, you are still fat,' says one comfortingly.

Day Five

I shout at Mr Millard for serving chili con carne. 'I can't eat rice, or kidney beans! And you KNOW I have to have double cream in this,' I yell. He, meantime, is knocking back the red wine. The children taunt me by waving a glass of it under my nose.

Day Six

My father's 80th birthday and a giant family luncheon at a smart Wimbledon restaurant. I eat the salmon and the lamb – and nothing else. To offset my frustration I stand up and tell a very rude joke involving an elephant. 'That is so inappropriate,' tuts Elder Sister. The grandchildren all fall about in stitches.

Day Seven

Now that I can't graze from the fridge, I realise how much I used to. Not eating anything between lunch and supper is tough, though. A friend comes over with industrial loads of walnuts and pine nuts, on which I snack. 'No snacking,' smiles Zana later, while I do a stiff sequence of bicep curls.

Day Eight

Pret has clearly invented its Avocado and Crayfish No-Bread Sandwich for lowcarb, high-protein addicts. It's perfect, unless you add a mince pie. How do I confess to Zana?

Day Nine

'You are not doing the diet FULLY,' says Zana, as I do squats while bearing a huge weight. I've told her about the mince pie. But otherwise, not one single measly carb has passed my lips.

Day Ten

The day of reckoning. I am going to Paris later tonight and it's agreed that we will finish this first stage of the Educogym diet today. (The second stage is low fat with a dribble of carbs and continued gym-work.)

And it's good news. I have lost 5.5lb – a dress size. That's about the same weight as that lump of rubber I was handed 10 days ago.

In fact, I've scythed nearly two inches from my waist. Zana gets the calipers out. I now have 4% less body fat. I can see the difference in the mirror. That awful midriff bulge has vanished. It's still a bit flabby, but nowhere near the alarming size it used to be. My arms are toned, my back is slim. As promised, I've lost fat and gained muscle.

Shame I'm now off to Paris...

For more information, visit: www.educogym.com

Do consult your doctor before embarking on a new diet and exercise regime.

Follow me on Twitter @rosiemillard

...and all those other fad diets

Cabbage soup, baby food, fresh air... it's amazing what some people will live on to stay slim, says Katy Pearson

The Dukan diet This protein-based diet soared in popularity this year after Carole Middleton was said to be a fan. It promotes a weight loss of 7lb. But constipation is a side effect and eating so much protein can put a strain on your kidneys.

THE CABBAGE SOUP DIET A week-long detox based around a low-calorie soup containing tomatoes, onions and lots of cabbage. It's claimed you'll lose 10lb in a week, but cabbages can give you, ahem, flatulence.

THE RAW FOOD DIET The practice of eating uncooked food and nonpasteurised or nonhomogenised dairy products. Demi Moore is said to follow it, but you'll have a lot of chewing to do. And eating raw meat puts you at risk of food poisoning.

Baby food diet You eat baby food instead of breakfast and lunch, but in the evening you eat like a grown-up. Fans in Hollywood include Jennifer Aniston who eats up to 14 jars of puréed food a day. Baby food is packed with vitamins, but isn't good for your digestion because it lacks roughage.

Hero-013ret300The maple syrup diet This involves drinking water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. It's said to reduce cravings and remove toxins, but people on it only consume 600 calories a day, which isn't healthy. Beyoncé followed it to get into shape for her role in Dreamgirls.

The hard -boiled egg diet Nigella Lawson revealed in 2008 that her husband, Charles Saatchi, had spent nine months on an all-egg diet and shed four stone. The more popular version of this doesn't consist of eating eggs only, but involves getting most of your protein from eggs. Unless you're the eggcentric Mr Nigella.

get Fit... for £9.99

Often the simplest ideas are the best. Designed with the prevention of in-flight DVTs in mind, the interlocking plastic paddles of the i-flx are small enough to take on board and discreet enough to use without attracting odd looks. The idea is to create increased muscle tone and strength through resistance caused by repeatedly squeezing the paddles together. One look at the device makes this sound implausible, but a few reps will really surprise you – it can be pretty tough, and can be used to target lots of areas, making it a useful fitness aid as well as an invaluable travel companion. Low-impact, effective, cheap and portable, and if you get bored you can use them as salad tongs. Just use low-fat dressing to offset the guilt.

i-flx costs £9.99 at www.i-flx.com





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