I like to consider myself a pretty healthy person. I drag myself out of bed at six o’clock most mornings to run a few miles, I usually reserve my “bad” eating for the weekends and I try to maintain a relatively nutritious lifestyle Monday to Friday. So, when I got the bright idea to take on five different diets in five days, I had all the confidence in the world that it would be a breeze but words cannot express how wrong I was! Besides the two or three pounds I lost by the end of the week which is a lot when you see how much cheating I did there was nothing good to come out of those five days. Keep reading to get a glimpse into one of the crankiest and hungriest weeks of my life.
Day 1: 400 Calorie Fix
1 cup honey bunches of oats with strawberries
1/2 cup skim milk
1 whole-wheat pita with baked falafel, roasted red pepper hummus, lettuce, tomato and cucumber
1 fillet of baked tilapia
3/4 cup roasted garlic couscous
6 spears of asparagus
What Really Happened:
Before anyone gets any ideas, don’t worry, I’m not crazy! The 400-Calorie Fix doesn’t mean 400 calories total, it means three well-balanced, 400-calorie meals per day. I wanted to start my week off on an easy note and work my way towards the harder diets.
A couple of months ago, I got a little impulsive on Amazon and ended up ordering the 400-calorie fix book and accompanying cookbook. Surprise, surprise before last week, I had yet to even take the plastic wrap off of the books. So, this five day challenge was the perfect opportunity to finally put my money to good use. I’ve been counting calories since I was fifteen, so of all the diets, this one was by far the easiest and most doable for me. By Monday night, I was feeling very satisfied but little did I know, things were about to get really, really difficult and weird.
Day 2: The Caveman Power Diet
First thing upon waking slam down a big cup of water. You will get a “brain rush” and your body will come to life rather quickly.
Graze lightly on small amounts of fruit and unsalted nuts during the day, not dried fruit (it’s full of concentrated sugar). You will start detoxing immediately.
Feast on any meat you want… and as much as you want! Eat only once though don’t have multiple meals. It doesn’t matter what time you feast you can feast at 1AM if that suits you anytime is fine.
What Really Happened:
Day one turned out to be such a walk in the park that I think I got a little too ambitious on day two. This was by far the worst of the five days for me and the fact that I had run 3.5 miles at the gym that morning did not help matters. First of all, I listened to my parents when they said that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. So the fact that this diet called for nothing but a glass of water for breakfast should have been my first warning sign.
The goal of the Caveman Power Diet is to “increase energy, the ability to burn fat, and get you in touch with your natural instincts.” I’m calling a big fat lie on this one! There was not a single moment in my day that I felt at all energized. In fact, by the time 4PM rolled around, I was about five seconds away from passing out on my desk. By 5PM I began to feel a very sharp pain in my stomach, the likes of which I’ve never felt before. To make matters worse, Emily Finkbinder, our Creative Director, decided that this would be the perfect time to reveal the drawer full of delicious candy she’s been hiding at her desk.
Needless to say, by the time I got home, I was more than ready to binge! I also had friends visiting from out of town, which made it even harder to stay on track. They had wine waiting for me when I walked through the door and let me tell you, red wine after not eating all day is a bad combo. Oh, and I’m well aware that the diet didn’t call for any alcohol, but let’s just sidestep that little slip. I still managed to finish the day somewhat successfully, having a bunless hamburger and side salad for dinner. Maybe I picked at the calamari appetizer, but I still give myself a lot of credit for getting through this dreadful day alive. Never again!!
Day 3: Big Breakfast Diet
French demi baguette
2 organic eggs
2 slices of bacon
1 oz sharp cheddar cheese
1 Chai tea latte (I usually get unsweetened, but sugar is recommended for this diet)
1 cup of watermelon
8 baby carrots
Spinach salad with tomatoes, cucumber and artichoke hearts
Reduced-fat balsamic dressing on the side
What Really Happened
Talk about shocking my body! I went from a day of essentially starving myself to a day that began with a breakfast feast. The basic premise of the big breakfast diet is to start each day with a 600 calorie meal that is high in both protein and carbs. Then, you can only eat fruits and veggies for the rest of the day. The diet was created by Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, who believes big breakfast will boost metabolism, reduce appetite during the day and eliminate cravings. She also believes it is important to eat something sweet with breakfast, because it’s the time of day when serotonin levels are highest and cravings are at the lowest.
I have to say, I never thought of myself as the type of girl who has trouble finishing meals, but a 600-calorie breakfast actually proved to be a struggle. By the end, I was taking deep breaths in between bites in order to get it all down. Usually after eating a meal that size, all I want to do is crawl into bed for a nice, long nap. Unfortunately, I was at work and looking at another 10 hours ahead of me, so I had to suck it up. At first it was tough, but I have to admit, I was able to get through the entire day without a single pang of hunger.
Even though Dr. Jakubowicz was right about the reduction in cravings, there’s still just something unnatural about starting off your day with stuffing your face, so I probably wouldn’t do this again. I did a decent job of sticking to fruits and veggies for the rest of the day, but I did have a couple bites of the key lime pie my roommate brought home from work. I mean, lime is a type of fruit!
Day 4: Personality Type Diet
This is sort of a diagnostic diet, if you will. To begin, you take an online questionaire of over 70 questions about your eating habits. You’re then given an eating personality type (hearty portioner, fruitless feaster, nighttime nibbler, and many more). The program will also determine your exercise personality and coping personality. The result of my diagnostic test is as follows…
Your eating personality is Swing Eater
Swing Eaters eat “good” foods in public and “bad” foods in private and never feel satisfied. You have an internal battle going on between what you think you should be eating and what you truly desire. You swing from severely restricting your eating to over-indulging. You would like to achieve a more balanced and healthier eating style but you’re not sure how to do it.
Your exercising personality is Set Routine Repeater
Set Routine Repeaters have a fixed exercise routine that also keeps their weight fixed. You’re proud that you finally developed a routine that’s comfortable for you. But when exercise gets too comfortable, it means your muscles stop being challenged and you can easily get bored. It’s time for the “queen of routine” to break out of this pattern!
Your coping personality is Persistent Procrastinator
Persistent Procrastinators talk endlessly about needing to lose weight but can’t make it happen. Things get in the way like work projects, family vacations or even dentist appointments. You see others starting new weight loss programs and wonder if your time will ever come.
What Really Happened:
We can just go ahead and call day four a complete write off. After receiving my creepily accurate assessment, I was completely ready to take on the challenges of day four. I woke up on Thursday with every intention of following the meal plan that the diet had laid out for my personality type. And then, in true “swing eater” form, I remembered the pizza party that was taking place at work later that day. One thing to know about me, I never say no to pizza. So obviously all bets were off I decided to ditch day four before I even stepped foot out the door of my apartment. Maybe I should have had felt a little guilty, but I don’t regret it one bit. That was some damn good pizza!
Day 5: Raw Foods Diet
Strawberry, pineapple and mango smoothie
Sashimi (tuna, salmon and yellowtail)
What Really Happened:
Finally, the longest week of my life was coming to an end! Considering that Thursday was an absolute failure, I decided I could probably put in a little more of an effort for the fifth and final day. Granted I only did it for one day, the raw foods diet was surprisingly easy to follow.
My morning smoothie was actually very filling I didn’t even begin to feel hungry until around 2 pm. I knew my sashimi would never be filling enough, so I cheated a little and added a six-piece roll to my order (tuna-avocado). The rice was cooked, but some raw foods diets actually allow that. Dinner time on Friday night usually also means drinking time! But I learned my lesson on Tuesday night about drinking on an empty stomach it makes for a drunk-y drunk Andrea. So instead of just having gazpacho, I added some carbs to my meal by having some sourdough bread and olive oil on the side.
Final verdict: Don’t change your diet every day! I learned a lot about myself and my will power (or lack thereof). I’m not a meat-only person and I’m confident that a little will power and a lot of fruits and veggies will keep me healthy and pizza of course.