Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Flab Attack – Three Tested Quick Fixes

I am dreading the countdown to end January when I have to meet all the “well-meaning” relatives and friends that I see only once a year, at most. And why? Because someone is sure to utter those five detestable words, “You put on weight, ha?” What do they expect? A response? An explanation?

I started on my grand plan to hit the gym in late October but got seriously thrown off course when seven different sets of visitors descended upon me in Hong Kong. That meant spates of entertaining and having a ready excuse to eat carelessly in the name of hospitality. In December when I finally decided it was gym time again, a friend suggested that maybe a quick fix to my flab attack would be a better strategy before starting at the gym. I duly did my research and found three different diets which I enthusiastically tried and tested – yes, one after the other.

I have since concluded that shortcuts do exist but the results are naturally temporary. Good old-fashioned exercise with a large dose of discipline and self control are still the way to go. I am not sure what I will say at Chinese New Year this year to my annual jury. Perhaps, I will turn around and say “thank you” and that “life is treating me well!” Hopefully that’s one that will close the topic and give me some respite – till we meet again next year – to get cracking at the gym! For the hopeful, here are the Quick Fixes that I tried.

The Lemon Detox Diet
Kilos lost: 2 kgs (as I gave up after 3 days)
Time frame: 5 days

Basically this diet is sold as a detox diet for cleansing your system, so it’s a NO food, all-liquid diet. Disaster for me, as you have to drink this maple syrup concoction mixed with lemon juice, water and a pinch of cayenne pepper. It supposedly gives your body all the nutritional value it needs to support you over a short period of time, even when fasting. I tried it for two out of the five days and gave up on the third because by the end of Day 2, I was not feeling great and instead of achieving light-headed clarity, I was just clearly irritable.
Check it out:

The “Rice” Diet
(I call it this as it is based on rice being the only allowable carb)
Kilos lost: 1.5 kgs
Time frame: 1 month

I actually consulted a “holistic pharmacist” in a well known pharmacy in Hong Kong who dished out some rather interesting advice and a change in my diet which I was to follow strictly for 1 to 3 months.

In short, this diet requires you to eat only rice-based products (brown rice if possible) as rice is supposedly more digestible than wheat or flour products which contain gluten. (Gluten contributes to that love handle around your tummy.) You also have to exercise daily and make sure that you perspire. (A no-brainer that anyone would lose weight if they did this daily). No desserts allowed, eating a plate of leafy greens with lunch and dinner was compulsory for roughage and you have to stay away completely from chicken and beef (only seafood and pork allowed). Apparently chicken takes one week for your body to digest and beef, two weeks. You have to also drink a minimum of 1.5 litres of water daily to flush out the toxins in your system. (Makes you pee a lot!) A typical daily rice diet would look like this:

Choice of a cup of regular coffee or tea with a choice of any one of the following:
a. Chee cheong fun (one or two strips with cha siew (pork) or prawn and a tiny amount of sauce for taste)
b. 1 apple and two egg whites
c. 1 cup of any rice-based cereal with skimmed or soy milk

Lunch and/or Dinner
Black tea or coffee, a plate of leafy greens (with a bit of oyster sauce, is fine) and an apple, with a choice of either one of these:
a. A bowl rice with a small serving of fried or steamed pork or seafood as a side dish
b. 2 pieces of lightly breaded lean pork chop or fish (preferably grilled rather than pan-fried)
c. Sushi (5-8 pieces with some soy sauce)
d. Kway teow, bee tai mak or vermicelli soup (as long as they are rice based) with seafood or pork
The basic rule for dinner was to halve the lunch portion.

Of course, I never got past a month of following this as once my visitors came, my diet went out the door. But I did see results whilst I was on it only because I went to the gym a little more regularly than usual and I also was forced to eat at home as it was difficult to go to a restaurant and be faced with countless things I could not eat!

The NTUC Income 3-Day Diet
Kilos lost: 1.5 kgs
Time frame: 3 days

I personally liked this one best as I found it very ‘do-able’ and it fits my personal quick-fix criteria. However you need three full days at home to do this because it requires a specific menu that you have to shop ahead for and prepare. But the results are at least achievable and I did feel better and my palate ‘cleaner’ after 3 days.

The diet preaches that you cannot vary or substitute any of the foods listed, and to use the diet for only three days at a time up to a maximum of twice a month. It actually claims that after the three days you will lose up to 2 kg. Here goes:

Black tea/coffee, 1 grapefruit, 1 slice toast, 2 tsp peanut butter

Black tea/coffee, 100g tuna, 1 slice toast

1 slice chicken ham, 1 cup long beans, 100g beetroot, 100g vanilla ice-cream, 1 small apple

Black tea/coffee, 1 egg boiled/poached, 1 slice toast, 1/2 banana

Black tea/coffee, 100g cottage cheese, 5 Ritz biscuits

2 chicken sausages, 100g broccoli, 50g carrots, 1/2 banana, 100g vanilla ice-cream


Black tea/coffee, 1 hard boiled egg, 1 slice toast

Black tea/coffee, 1 slice cheddar cheese, 5 Ritz biscuits, 1 small apple

100g tuna, 100g beetroot, 100g cauliflower, 1/4 honeydew, 100g vanilla ice-cream

Only salt and pepper can be used and no other seasonings. Where no quantity is given, there are no restrictions other than common sense. Toast cannot be buttered (or ‘margarined’!). Tuna, string beans and beetroot can be frozen.

Check it out: It's not actually available online anymore. I found this years ago on NTUC Income’s website and have saved it all these years. I'm sure you remember the supermarket selling the diet as a three-day food pack at that time. I'm guessing that you can probably write to them for more info.


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