For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a difficult relationship with food. I don’t mean that as just something people say—the whole “as long as I can remember” thing. I literally recall being five years old, looking in the mirror, and thinking, “I’m fat.” Pretty brutal for basically an infant to think about herself, but as the years went on, those critical thoughts only grew and evolved. I hated my thighs, the ones that smushed together when I sat, and I hated my wide hips, the ones that pushed me into the juniors section long before my third grade classmates joined me there.
It wasn’t just puberty and the appearance of my childbearing hips that made living in my body feel unbearable. It was my addiction to food that caused the never-ending battle. One I didn’t even realize I was fighting until I was fifteen. Until I started skipping meals, tracking calories, and eventually, throwing up everything I ate.
As a recovered-ish binge-eating-anorexic-bulimic with severe food anxiety (doesn’t that sound like something straight out of a bullsh*t movie starring Emma Roberts?), diets have been my foundation since I started trading my lunch for a Diet Coke in 5th grade. As someone who was always just overweight enough to warrant comments from family members about her “plump” figure and “chubby” frame (*cough* assholes *cough*), I’m no stranger to viewing the scale as the enemy. Eating in moderation does not come naturally to me, and the sporadic “treat yo’ self” meal can cause a spiral that results in a 10 pound weight gain in the blink of an eye.
So, naturally, I’ve done all of the diets. ALL of them. I’ve done all of the teatoxes. I’ve tried all of the bullsh*t shakes and supplements that girls from my high school who got knocked up and stayed in our hometown sold via Facebook messenger. I am that cliche. From Keto to Whole30 to The South Beach Diet and to my own special diet called “eat everything in your pantry in one sitting and hope your body won’t transform it into fat”—I’ve tried them all. Most I’ve had some success on because when you cut out having cake after dinner and pizza four times a week, odds are you’ll drop a few pounds.
The tricky part of my diet and health journey, however, has always been restriction and control. As someone with a LONG history of eating disorders, any doctor can tell you, diets are pretty precarious. It can take one slipup, one day of being too lax or too strict to completely relapse. So, sure, I can have success with these diets, but when they involve cutting carbs for months or foregoing fruit for weeks, it really f*cks with my head.
When a friend of mine told me about a diet where you’re literally eating nonstop, not expected to work out like a crazy person, and don’t have to give up carbs, I was intrigued. I was staying at her house for a weekend and she came into the kitchen, blurry-eyed, and said she needed to eat breakfast right then. She made a piece of toast, topped it with some turkey bacon and an egg, grabbed some carrots and a carton of raspberries, and went back to her room. When she emerged an hour later, bright-eyed and showered, and I asked her what that was about, she told me about the diet. The diet that requires you to eat within 30 minutes of waking up. That forces you to eat TONS of food. The diet she had been on for a week and already lost five pounds on. The diet that would quickly change my life.
Enter: The Fast Metabolism Diet (and by “diet” the author coined the phrase “Did I Eat Today?”).
From the excerpt on Amazon, this pretty much sums up the whole eating plan:
“On this plan, you’re going to eat a lot. You’re going to eat three full meals and at least two snacks a day – and you’re still going to lose weight. What you’re not going to do is count a single calorie or fat gram. You’re going not to ban entire food groups. You’re not going to go carb-free or vegan or go cold turkey on the foods you love. Instead, you’re going to rotate what you’re eating throughout each week according to a simple and proven plan carefully designed to induce precise physiological changes that will set your metabolism on fire.”
Created by celebrity nutritionist and best-selling author Haylie Pomroy, this is the first and only actually healthy diet I’ve ever been on. It encourages resting the body, not overworking it with tons of exercise, and eating delicious, wholesome meals. And before you think this is an ad, it’s not. If Haylie wants to pay me, that’s cool (my DMs are open, girl), but the truth is this plan just really f*cking works. Don’t believe me? Take a peek. I was on and off the diet for a little over a year, and here are the results:
I lost 51 pounds on The Fast Metabolism Diet over the course of a casual 15 months. That was including indulging over the holidays, drinking at parties, and taking breaks in between months of being steadfastly healthy. I could have lost it faster if I did the month-long diet back-to-back, but that’s just not how I function. I’m like, really popular, and giving up drinking (yup, you have to give up alcohol) for multiple months at a time was a no-go for me. While I did gain a decent portion of it back post-wedding (that’s what going to Italy for a month will do to you), so now I fall somewhere between those two photos, I’m officially back at it. In the 12 days that I’ve been on the FMD, I’ve lost just over 10 pounds. And that’s from eating a sh*tton, doing very light (if any, tbh) exercise, and messing up a few times when I forgot to go to the grocery store.
So, how does it work? Let’s break it down:
Phase 1 (which happens every Monday and Tuesday) is all about healthy carbs and sugars. So, your meals are full of fruits and rice and pasta and sandwiches. Sure, you have to have sprouted grain everything, but honestly? Any diet where I can have quinoa and bread without shame is one for me. As for exercise, you need to do one day of cardio (which I skip a lot, tbh).
Phase 2 (which happens every Wednesday and Thursday) however, is where things get tricky. This is the only 2 days of the week I dread because honestly they’re lame and they low-key kinda suck. Basically, you’re restricted to meat and veggies these two days. That’s it. But if you’re on a strict diet and only 2 of the 7 days kinda suck, then I’ll take it. Exercise? With all the protein, this is the time for strength training. You’re required to do one day of weights or something similar (again, an activity I keep “accidentally” missing).
Phase 3 (which happens, you guessed it, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) is a mix of both of the above phases, plus you get to add in healthy fats like oil, nuts, and avocado! Easily the best of the phases, this is where your meals are full of lots of colors and lots of variety. You can make almost any meal you love fit into this phase (one of my favorites is making a mock Chipotle bowl. WITH guac, of course). If you thought this was great, the exercise portion of this phase is even better. You’re required to do something light that promotes blood flow like stretching, yoga, or getting a massage. Seriously. It says it in the book. GETTING A MASSAGE COUNTS AS EXERCISE IN THIS DIET. HAVE WE DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN?!
What does a day on each phase look like? Glad you asked. Here’s an idea of what I eat:
Breakfast: Fruit smoothie and 10 brown rice crackers
Lunch: Open-face turkey sandwich on sprouted grain bread with carrots and berries on the side
Snack: Bowl of cherries
Dinner: Turkey chili
Breakfast: Turkey bacon and egg white scramble with veggies mixed in
Snack: Deli turkey slices
Lunch: Salad with chicken with balsamic dressing
Snack: Turkey bacon wrapped asparagus
Dinner: Steak and asparagus or celery
Breakfast: Sprouted grain toast with an egg and turkey bacon plus celery and berries on the side
Snack: Carrots and hummus
Lunch: Chicken curry
Dinner: Steak, veggies, guac, and salsa wrapped up in a sprouted grain tortilla with some extra carrots on the side.
The pros: You get to eat a ton, you don’t cut out full food groups, and you really will lose weight without feeling like you’re totally restricting yourself. Plus, as someone who can backslide into disordered eating easily, there are no points, no counting calories, and no tracking grams of fat. You just eat the foods you’re supposed to eat at the times you’re supposed to eat them and you lose weight.
The cons: Like most diets, it’s hard to go out to eat/have a normal social life. While, sure, you *can* manage it, it’s easier just to make your own food. Which brings me to another con. You have to make A LOT of food. Plenty of it you can cook in bulk and freeze for later phases but ultimately, it takes a lot of cooking and prep (and pricey grocery runs) to pull this one off. And the worst part? No alcohol and NO caffeine. None. Nada. During later months when I was already losing lots of weight, I added a cup of coffee back into my life, but until then waking up without that jolt took a longggggg time to get used to.
Ultimately, despite the cooking and the lack of coffee and cocktails, I’ve never met an eating plan that I’ve loved as much as the FMD. And because Hayle (and her PR team) sum it up much better than I ever could:
“This is the silver bullet for the chronic dieter who has tried every fad diet and failed, the first time dieter attempting to kick her metabolism into gear, and anyone who wants to naturally and safely eat her way to a skinnier, healthier self.”
A-f*cking-men. Follow along with me as I continue along with this plan or join the metaphorical club and start with me. The best part? When you finally drink again, your tolerance is so low you’ll get schwasted on like, one glass of champs (which will save you time AND money). If that isn’t the best reason to diet, idk what is.
I have the benefit of sitting next door to a real, live dietitian—the kind that went to school for a million years and will probs pay off her student loans for the next several decades. Recently, she informed me that a diet followed by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, and other celebrities, is too good to be true. The diet in question is called the alkaline diet, and it is apparently 100% a scam for a multitude of reasons. I nearly spit out my iced coffee when I heard this. The internet has led me astray?! Say it isn’t so.
So, before you set off on a journey to reset your body’s pH levels, here’s everything you need to know about the alkaline diet and why it’s a waste of time and money.
What The Alkaline Diet Is
According to WebMD, my source for anxiety, the alkaline diet is a diet based on the theory that “some foods, like meat, wheat, refined sugar, and processed foods, cause your body to produce acid, which is bad for you.” It also claims, “eating specific foods that make your body more alkaline can protect against those conditions as well as shed pounds.” So that’s the science behind this plan—eat healthier foods, avoid processed garbage, fix your pH levels, and SHED THOSE POUNDS.
As for why people ever subscribed to this in the first place? “The theory goes that consuming acid-inducing foods and drinks creates an unhealthy cellular environment and sends distress signals throughout the body, leading to colds, outbreaks and inflammation. It’s suggested that continual acid-dumping via food can create chronic disease such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and cancer,” says Greatist. Sounds like a conspiracy theory, but ok. So, again, the idea is that if I eat basic (IT’S A PH JOKE, EVERYONE) food and avoid acid, I’ll live forever and be skinny. Yah, totally!
Why It Doesn’t Work
So basically, and for those of us who didn’t go to dietitian school, here’s the bottom line: the only way you can change the pH in your body is by hypo or hyperventilating, which means adding more oxygen to or taking oxygen away from your blood. No amount or type of food is going to have an effect on that. PERIOD. END OF STORY.
According to WebMD, our bodies are slightly alkaline to begin with, with a pH of 7.35-7.45. Our stomachs are obviously acidic, with a pH of 3.5 or less. WebMD says, “nothing you eat is going to substantially change the pH of your blood. Your body works to keep that level constant.” Thanks, WebMD, for the science lesson (NERDS!). But, yes, at the end of the day, a diet that claims to fix your body’s acid levels—which are perfect as they are—is utter crap. That’s what you get for following a diet peddled by self-proclaimed doctors like Gwyneth Paltrow and her Goop followers.
And, as a note, the guy who literally invented the alkaline diet, Robert Young, PhD, MAY BE GOING TO PRISON FOR PRACTICING MEDICINE WITHOUT A LICENSE. Yeah. He helped to write the book on this whole alkaline diet and the theory that all diseases are caused by too much or too little acid. According to Health.com, he was convicted of practicing medicine without a license. As an added bonus, “A jury was deadlocked on several other charges against him, including defrauding patients out of money.” He allegedly convinced terminally ill cancer patients that they could be cured by dping some weird expensive baking-soda treatments “to flush dangerous acid out of the body.” Yeah… This guy DEFINITELY sounds like someone who could make up a diet based around acid in your blood. What a jackass.
“But I Lost Weight, So You’re Wrong”
Here’s the thing: the alkaline diet may “work” in that you lose weight, but you’re not losing weight because of any kind of radical pH changes or sorcery in your blood. You’re losing weight on the alkaline diet because the cornerstones of said diet are to EAT HEALTHY. WHAT AN IMPRESSIVE CONCEPT. By cutting out things like meat, refined sugar, and processed foods, you’re most likely going to lose weight. Granted, this diet says you don’t have to exercise—which, no, yes you do—but starting with eating better and cutting the crap is definitely going to give you a leg up. So fight me in the comments, and I’ll teach you about why the diet industry is a billion-dollar system and you’re a dope for getting duped by these shenanigans. Oh, and why you shouldn’t follow a diet invented by a quack doctor so he can swim in his dollar bills.
I hope I ruined everyone’s day. Bottom line: Diets in general don’t work because you’re applying a temporary fix to what should be a lifestyle change. Eat better, exercise more, and don’t inhale pizza every meal, and you’ll be healthier.
Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (3)