September 21st 2014
Size 13: e'lifexir Flat Tummy Plus review
August 9th 2014
Emma Bartley lost 2kg in a week after taking "prebiotic" fructo-oligosaccharides. But they didn't work quite how they were supposed to...
There was plenty to celebrate when my daughter turned 1 recently: one year of her joyous presence in the world, the wonderful friends and family who have helped us through, and most importantly, the fact that I weigh nearly half a stone (3kg) less than before I had her.
Yes, the scales are tipping consistently at 68kg (10st 7lb) these days, which you may recall is somewhat lower than when I was going to the gym three times a week, cycling everywhere and dunking myself in a daily ice bath (sayonara, Six Weeks to OMG). I’m putting it down to breastfeeding, baby-lifting, more walking, less sitting, more caffeine and less alcohol*.
But it hasn’t quite been 12 months to OMG. While I look slimmer, I’m not at all toned, and pessimism tells me that lost muscle could account for at least part of the difference on the scales. The area that’s bothering me most is my tummy. It’s not even that fat – it just sticks out. And it’s ruining my line in jumpsuits, which are all I want to wear now that my primary motivation for choosing a garment is no longer “will a small child’s head fit inside this?”.
There are plenty of sensible options for fixing it. I could do a load of exercise, but who has the time? I could cut out sugar and booze, but there have to be SOME pleasures, right? I could take up smoking, but near the baby… meh, I dunno.
Instead, I decided to cheat my way to a flat stomach by taking a course of e’lifexir Flat Tummy Plus (£9.99 for 30 tablets), a chewable pill that “reduces bloating and aids digestion”. The brand name flummoxed me at first – do you say it “ee-life-ixer”? Or “el-ife-seer”? And WTF is with that apostrophe? But then I looked at the label again and beheld a wondrous truth: what they've done is take the word "life" and shove it in the middle of the word "elixir". Conclusion: this product is the elixir of life.
“Yay!” I thought, popping one jubilantly into my mouth. About the size of a 5p coin, I found it minty and pleasant to chew (not chalky like some vitamin pills). You’re meant to take a couple a day after meals, and I did this in my usual haphazard fashion, sometimes remembering, sometimes not. It can be hard to tell whether products like this are working, but with e’lifexir there is one obvious and immediate effect.
It gives you the s**ts.
I’m sorry to be graphic, but this is what happened. So I spent a bit of time reading the packaging (for I had, now, a bit of time for reading) and learnt that the active ingredient of e’lifexir is a type of soluble fibre called fructo-oligosaccharides, or FOS. In Japan they use FOS as a sweetener, but here it acts as a “prebiotic” to reduce bloating.
According to the packet “excessive consumption” can have a laxative effect, so maybe I was consuming too much fructo-oligosaccharide in my diet. Or taking them too close together? Either way, I figured, it wouldn’t do my pot belly any harm – a friend of mine with a borderline eating disorder swears by laxatives – so I carried on taking them.
This is when I discovered the secondary effect of e’lifeixir, aka The Elixir of Life.
It gives you thrush.
Look, I don’t want their bloody lawyers on the phone to me: it could have been a coincidence. But about ten days after starting to take e’lifexir, I started to notice certain physical changes that were rather different from the ones I’d been hoping for. I thought about all the sugars feeding friendly bacteria, and wondered if they could also be feeding unfriendly bacteria. I googled it and wasn’t reassured (FOS is listed as both a cause of and treatment for candida). I ceased taking e’lifexir. And so, sadly, we will never know if it would have flattened my tummy.
HOWEVER! Not long after all this, I discovered a bacterium that really can help you to lose weight. After just a few days in its thrall, I weighed just 66.7kg, or 10st 5lb – that is half a pound less than before I got married, which was The Thinnest I Have Ever Been (though not, as my wedding pictures attest, particularly thin by normal standards). Ladies, I give you… the norovirus.
My baby gave it to me, and it gave me a temperature, lack of appetite and even more of that “special reading time”. It’s nature’s solution to baby weight! Forget chicken-pox parties, health-conscious mums should be holding noro soirees for themselves.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to gaze at myself in the mirror. Size 11 here we come…