To say I overindulged over the holiday period would be an understatement. As soon as December hits each year, the part of my brain that exercises self-restraint shuts down and thus commences a month long chocolate binge. I was fortunate enough to spend a few days on a beach over New Year and seemed to be constantly surrounded by tanned beauties with flat stomachs, which made me want to hide my squidgy tummy under a baggy t-shirt. My goal was set. I was going to transform into one of them.
Freshly motivated, I wanted to fast track start my fitness resolution. A good friend of mine recommended trying out ‘The Library’ private gym. Although the gym is geared towards a long-term healthy lifestyle, founder Zana Morris devised a 12 day diet and exercise programme that on average helps customers lose 7.5 llbs of fat. How does it work? By eating high fats (hence the nickname the ‘cream cheese’ diet) and exercising just fifteen minutes a day, “Twelve minutes if you’re training efficiently,” mentioned Zana on our initial consultation and pre-diet weigh-in. No tedious hour long circuit class or 90 yoga session in 40 degree heat. Too good to be true? I was very happy to put the progamme to the test.
The nutrition plan was simple. Three meals a day, each meal consisted of fatty protein and fat in the form of nuts, cream cheese or avocado. A small salad could be eaten with lunch, and some green leafy vegetables with dinner. No carbohydrates or sugars (this included alcohol!). “Many of our clients feel two meals a day are enough,” mentioned Zana as I was starting to panic, usually being the person who always eats three meals a day, sometimes four, maybe even five. The scientific reasoning people can get by on two is that our bodies get more energy from burning fat than carbohydrates, thus keeping us fuller for longer and it additionally levels out our insulin levels. This means no hunger pangs, no energy peaks and troughs, and no 4pm chocolate cravings. The idea behind the diet is that once our body cuts out carbohydrates and starts burning fats for fuel, it will start burning out own body fat. Carbohydrates and sugars are easier to break down and digest which is why to make the diet successful you need to completely abstain from them.
A Typical High Fat Breakfast
Breakfast was often two eggs, friend in olive oil, with either bacon and half an avocado, or a whole avocado. Lunch was often smoked mackerel, lettuce dressed with olive oil and parmesan and half a Boursin. Dinner? If still hungry… steak, broccoli, and either an avocado or cream cheese melted into a sauce. I felt that ‘diet’ was the wrong expression as I was able to eat a whole bunch of food on a daily basis that I would usually try to restrict. Bacon, cheese, steak? It didn’t seem like that would be too hard to stick too but it actually wasn’t always easy. I was warned Day 3 was going to be a hard day, that is when the sugar cravings would be quite intense, but make it through this day and you shouldn’t have any further issues. Day 3 was hard. Very hard. Surprisingly once I got to Day 4 my cravings completely subsided. I saw things I wanted to eat but I didn’t physically crave them.
A Typical High Fat Dinner
I usually spend an hour in the gym when I work out so fifteen minutes seemed like a godsend. Every gym session has a maximum or four clients meaning the trainers work closely with you, consistently making sure each exercise if being performed correctly Each day focuses on a different body part, high repetition weight exercises, one after the other followed by an abs routine. It is intense, but no sooner than you arrived at the gym, it was time to leave again. Quick enough to work out in your lunch break and still actually have lunch.
Half way through the process I had a weigh-in with Zana to check everything was going well and this really renewed by motivation. No figures were revealed (waiting for the big reveal at the end – think ‘Biggest Loser’) but I could tell my body shape had changed and I seemed to be slimmer. I was starting to get a bit over eating so much fat (dare I say it) and just wanted a fruit plate, but seeing the results half-way through the process made me determined to stick the diet out to the end.
VIDEO: InStyle tries and tests the best High Fat Diet recipes.
Zana Morris, Founder Of The Library
Day 12 came soon enough and out came the tape measure and calipers (fat pinchers). It was nice to see there wasn’t as much fat to pinch this time around. I felt a difference in my body but wasn’t really aware of how much it had actually changed. After my measurements were taken and entered into the system the results were in. After twelve days of eating fat and exercising just for just fifteen minutes I had managed to lose 8.5 lbs of fat, gained 3.5 lbs of muscle and lost 5.3% of body fat. I couldn’t quite believe it. My quest to a flat stomach was well on the way there…. After 12 days! It wasn’t always the easiest diet to stick to but for that much of a body transformation it was absolutely worth it.
Unlike other diet fads that I have tried, The Library is about keeping the weight off and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. On my final consultation I was given a suggested diet plan of how to keep losing weight healthily and reintroduce carbs into my diet. If you want to have alcohol a couple of times a week, that’s OK. As is the occasional chunk of bread, a huge vice of mine. What’s more the weight I’ve lost has motivated me to keep going. So I’ll see you on the beach this Summer. I’ll be the one with the six pack (fingers crossed).
The Library Gym: 206-208 Kensington Park Road, London W11 1NR, 020 7221 7992, thelibrarygym.com
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What Happened Next?
Three months later and I was two weeks away from my beach holiday. Although I had kept most of the weight off from the diet before, I still wasn't feeling beach body ready. Solution? It was time to go back on the Cream Cheese Diet. I began the twelve day process again and I have to say, I found it much easier and managed to keep a lot of the cravings at bay in the first few days. I'm not sure if my body knew what to expect this time, but it didn't interrupt my rountine at all. It was a busy time trying to get all those loose ends tied up before I left for two weeks, so exercising for an intense fifteen minutes really helped in the morning. The results were roughly the same to the previous diet but I found the process less challenging. It was the perfect way to getting beach body ready.
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