The Metabolic balance diet has been recommended by the nutritionist I went see. She’s a consultant for this program, which originated in Germany I believe. It has 4 phases: first – detox, second – strict metabolic re-calibration, third – less strict metabolic re-calibration and fourth – maintenance. As a rule, when I hear detox I’m usually out the door really fast. Detox is not a medical term, detox is just the “woo-woo” term that Instagram socialites like to throw around when they have gained one pound by eating a potato. But this is a diet created by a nutritionist and it was proposed to me by a nutritionist so I just decided to ignore all the “woo-woo” terms and give it a try.
The first phase is 2 days of eating just one single food type. The first day was just eating veggies soup and the second was eating just plain baked potatoes. Oh, and also using a laxative, another red flag for me. A laxative in a diet is never a sign of a good healthy lifestyle.
The second phase takes 2 weeks. Here you eat a very strict diet, based on some proprietary algorithm developed by the Metabolic Diet team. For example, I would be eating 70 grams of goat cheese and 95 grams of veggies at breakfast, 140 grams of fish and 140 grams of veggies at lunch and 150 grams of lean meat and 150 grams of salad for dinner. I had to use the scales for everything and did not deviate from the recommended values, even if that meant eating just 3 quarters of a carrot sometimes. I wasn’t allowed any potatoes, pasta, bread, milk or oil, just protein heavy foods with vegetables.
During this time, I also could not do any sports, which is probably my biggest problem with this diet.
So what happened?
I lost 15 pounds in 16 days. To be fair, almost 6 pounds were lost in the first 2 days, the “detox” and they were probably just water.
I gave up coffee during these 16 days – you don’t have to give up coffee, but I cannot drink it black, I can only drink it with milk, and I could not drink milk at all as part of this diet. No coffee for 2 weeks and what do you know, my blood pressure is back in normal range. It was 140/85 before, it’s 119/65 now. A huge change. Maybe it was the coffee or maybe it was the diet, I don’t know, but the change is amazing.
My sinuses cleared out, probably because of the lack of milk and I really enjoyed waking up and being able to breathe freely.
The first week was brutal. I cannot stress this enough, this diet is not easy to follow and it’s not for the faint of heart. The hunger was ever-present, I drank about a gallon of water daily and that helped a little, but not much.
My hands quickly dried out, due to lack of vitamin E in my diet. There is no oil in the first 2 weeks, all veggies and meat are cooked in water, steamed or baked. I had to moisturize my hands daily, something I normally do maybe once or twice a month during winter and it’s spring now. This raised a big red flag for me. Even if you’re allowed to use 2 tablespoons of olive oil per day during the third phase, it still does not feel like it’s a good thing to do long term.
I also did not poop at all for about 6 days. I know talking about poop grosses out some people, but the hallmark of a good diet is that your digestive tract works ok and you go to the bathroom on the regular. I raised this issue with my nutritionist and she indicated a tea that I should drink – which I assume is a laxative. I did not drink it, I ate some prunes as my fruit allowance and then was finally able to go to the bathroom.
By far the worst thing about the past 16 days was my emotional balance. I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry, I’m cranky. Like really cranky.
After 9 days, I had a crying explosion on Sunday, because we were going to have family over to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday. Everyone was going to have cake but I would not. So I cried and ate my stupid salad and cried again and tried to stave off hunger with water. It was pretty much horrible the entire 2 weeks. I acutely hated the entire process, even as I could see that I was losing weight and I was feeling better.
So will I continue with this diet? I don’t know. It’s wonderful to lose weight. It’s not wonderful to do it by eating hunger and water as my husband so eloquently put it. The Metabolic Balance folks keep banging on about how you recalibrate your metabolism and stuff like that but I counted my calories one day and I was eating about 800. A normal adult needs about 2000 calories just to stay at the same weight. I could have eaten 4 bars of Snickers that day and I bet I was going to lose weight anyway. Because when you eat between 800 and 1200 calories a day, you lose weight no matter what you eat. It helps if it’s nutritious food, but calories do matter. The first 14 days are starvation ration and the next phase feels the same way. For my third phase, after discussing with my nutritionist, I’m now allowed to have some oil and 1 more piece of fruit per day. It’s still starvation rations, but less so than before.
I’m not going back to drinking a big mug of caffe latte each morning, so at least this diet thought me that. I also actually like the format of 3 meals per day, no snacking in between, I love it and I think it suits my personality. I hate not being able to eat enough to feel full. I hate that I have to ration off veggies. I don’t understand this, why would you not allow people to eat one more piece of cucumber? I also hate that you should not do any sports during the first 3 phases, although, to be fair, I can’t see how I could do it anyway, I’m eating barely enough food to get me through the day as it is.
I ‘m still undecided about this. On the one hand, I could do this for 2 months and get to an ok-ish weight and from there manage my diet on my own and do some more sport and eat more. On the other hand, I hate it. No reason to hate it, other than I don’t like to suffer I guess. The good feelings that I get when going on the scales early in the morning cannot overcome the gnawing of my stomach by 10:30 AM, knowing that I have at least another 3 hours to go until I can eat something.