September 27th 2014
Going South: The Metabolic Balance diet
February 8th 2013
Imogen Edwards-Jones is feeling a little unhinged, and it's all because of her new diet
After all these years of living in West London surrounded by yummies and scrummies all doing the school run with their gigantic sunglasses, in their gigantic four by fours, ferrying their cashmere kids from one Veruca Salt institution to another, I have finally cracked it. The reason why they drive like stoned stick insects? The reason why they can’t judge distances? The reason why they very slowly reverse in to you? The reason why they get so damn furious if you get between them and Anya Hindmarch? They are bloody starving!
Two days into working with nutritionist Amelia Freer who has me on the Metabolic Balance® diet (www.freernutrition.com) and I have to admit I am a little unhinged. I always knew I was addicted to coffee, but I never realised quite how profound my addiction was. Devoid of my six daily espressos, I am like a dog with rabies, growling and spitting and hissing at anyone who crosses my path or pinches MY PARKING SPACE!
I don’t mind the vegetable soup that is the stage one part of the programme. I can cope with the magnesium tablets (to cleanse the system, if you know what I mean). And I can even manage not drinking my usual half a bottle of red wine, entirely to myself, while enjoying a good autopsy on Silent Witness. But it is the lack of coffee I can’t cope with. I have headaches, I feel all puffy and bloated and miserable and I have developed narcolepsy. It’s as if all those late nights smoking, drinking and talking fascinatingly about myself in The Groucho Club have come back to haunt me. Come 2.30pm my head starts desperately lolling forward, needing to rest, just for a little moment, on my keyboard.
Thankfully the no coffee thing only lasts two days, and once I’ve jacked up like something out of Trainspotting, I feel a whole lot better. Not that the diet itself improves that much. I do admit I said I wanted to ‘go for it’ when I first met Amelia and that there was no point in ‘half-measures.’ But this is quite tough. No alcohol, no carbs, no fat, no fun at all really. And no going out. There is nothing you can eat or drink when you’re there. So all you can do is sit on your hands and smile like some nil-by-mouth awaiting an early morning rectotomy.
You see, the crucial thing about this diet is there is no eating between meals. Quite unlike other plans where you are advised to eat little meals all of the time - or at least every three hours - with Metabolic Balance you are supposed to leave five hours between meals. And even then the portions are small; 120g of protein and 125g of vegetables hardly qualifies as a feast.
As a result I am starving, cross, vague, my conversation is rather limited and I am driving like a nutter. I have joined Notting Hill society at last! All I need now is a four by four, a child named after a lap dancer and a pair of stratospheric knee-boots and I’ll part of the gang.
Fortunately, after a couple of days this too begins to fade as your stomach shrinks and you sort of ‘get your eye in’ with diet. Lunches are a little more delicious than you realise – there’s fennel and feta salad and mango for pudding. Steamed cod with a serving of spinach and a papaya isn’t that miserable a prospect. And of course, I am feeling a bit thinner.
But how much?
Friday, and it’s time for my weekly weigh-in with Amelia. She has her tape measure at the ready and the scales-of-truth lined up on the floor. Naturally I go to the loo, take off my jumper and my shoes – every little helps. I get on the scales. I close my eyes.
“Congratulations,” she says. “You’ve lost ten pounds.”
“What?” I say a little confused. “A ten pound note?”
“No. Ten pounds of weight.”
“Ten pounds in nine days?”
I am overjoyed! I can’t believe it! It’s worth it! I’m worth it! You’re worth it! It’s ALL bloody worth it!
To be continued...