Ah, the new year. 2010. The time of resolve and willpower is upon us once again. The time when we repent our indulgences and forgive ourselves for having that extra slice of pie and extra ladle of gravy. It's all ok, because it's January now. Can someone explain to me how January became associated with weight loss and extreme fitness?? I mean I get it – new year, new start, blah blah..but speaking as a New Yorker, it's so bitterly cold in January that hitting the gym five days a week and eating steamed veggies all day makes me really sad. Winter = comfort food = mac and cheese. I don't know, but that's how I reason it.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for resolutions and making a fresh start – but I feel it should be within reason. If I have to hear "lean protein and veggies" one more time I will dropkick a stranger. It's literally the same shit every year. Aren't there any new "smart" ideas out there for weight loss? Or only "extreme" ideas? After doing some research, I decided to "weigh in" (get it??) on a few of these programs. Below are my picks for the good diets and the crazy diets.
The Skinnygirl Dish: Derived from the new book by Real Housewife Bethenny Frankel, she "shares her ten real-life rules for enjoying healthful natural foods and escaping the diet trap". The book consists of over sixty recipes that help you get in touch with your "inner-chef" and teach you about "using what you have at hand to enjoy creating healthy, satisfying meals". Some of the recipes include Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, Whole Grain Blueberry Pancakes, Sweet and Salty Popcorn, Tacos made with whole what tortillas, ground turkey and reduced fat cheese, and for dessert? Ricotta Cheesecake.
Cost: $16 ($9.36 on Amazon.com)
My Conclusion: If you enjoy cooking and your resolution is to a) lose weight, b) cook more, and c) learn how to eat all natural foods and actually enjoy them, then this is a smart choice for your 2010 resolution. The thing I like about this book is that it's not a rapid cleanse or extreme diet; it's more of a lifestyle change (I honestly don't believe that any of these things stick unless they become a lifestyle anyway). The food is real (literally, as in all natural), the portions are normal, and it's not crazy restrictive – you can even have alcohol (in moderation) – woo hoo! However, if you're just into dropping five pounds for an event and you don't care about piling on the pounds again after, then maybe you should try…
The Blueprint Cleanse: All liquid, low cal vegan, raw-blend "tonics" that you drink up to six times a day for three to six days. This cleanse is intended to "gently rid your body of impurities, regain an alkaline balance and normalize digestion and metabolism". The website also claims that "one needn't gamble with extremes to feel the benefits of a Cleanse." And this isn't extreme?? Some of the drinks include: Green Juice with Romaine, Parsley and Kale; Spicy Lemonade with Agave Nectar; Cashew Nut Milk with Vanilla and Cinnamon. Um..yum?
Cost: From $65 per day, blueprintcleanse.com
My conclusion: Sounds kind of unnecessary to me for the amount of money - I know I wouldn't be able to last for three to six days on liquids only. Hell I doubt I could last one day. But that's just me. So if this is something you would be into trying, I would imagine extreme willpower is necessary to keep you from ravaging through the fridge in the middle of the night looking for holiday leftovers. I'm sure if you're a fan of this one though, you will also be a fan of…
The Clean Program: Plan derived from Dr. Alejandro Unger, consisting of two shakes and one meal a day. The 21 Day Clean Ultimate Kit gives you everything you need (including recipe for your one meal) and is "designed for the person on the move…and unlike traditional cleanses, you need not stay at home while you detox on the Clean Program". You have a shake for breakfast (some made from brown rice protein powder) plus herbal supplements to curb your appetite, lunch recipe (like Stir Fried Chicken with Veggies) plus herbal supplements, and dinner is another shake plus herbal supplements.
Cost: $350, Clean Ultimate Kit, cleanprogram.com
My conclusion: Slightly better than the other cleanse because at least you're allowed to have SOME food on this one. However, the cost is a bit extravagant and it's a 21-day detox program as opposed to just a few days so you have to make sure you're really committed to it.
Five Squares: Plan consisting of five "clean" meals a day – all prepared meals are free of wheat, dairy, and refined sugar. According to the site, whether you're looking to lose weight, feel great, or simply don't have the time to cook or shop for food, Five Squares is your answer. It's like having your own private chef!" The plan recommens that in order for this diet to be effective, you should space out the 5 meals a day roughly 3 hours apart. Five Squares' menu for Monday: Organic chicken sausage, kale & purple potato frittata; BioGenesis Gluco Support Bar; Boneless pork chop with onion pepper saute over zucchini wild rice; Homemade chicken celery soup; Blue corn crusted salmon served with carrot broccoli saute.
Cost: From $43 per day, 5squares.com
My conclusion: This plan sounds good for those who don't enjoy cooking and would rather have everything readily available. Who doesn't enjoy convenience? Plus the food is all-natural, sounds tasty and you're eating consistently throughout the day, every few hours (someting I love to practice), so overindulging or binge eating that bowl of ice cream shouldn't be a concern…unless you have a very big sweet tooth. The main downside of this plan is that dessert doesn't seem to be involved in the plan since it is a refined sugar-free meal plan.
So that's my assessment on just a few of the new diets for the new year. I'd be curious to try one of these just to see what happens…but no crazy extreme liquid diets for me. I don't think I could live without solid food – that would be a new form of torture for me - you'd find me curled up in the fetal position next to my fridge each night, clutching my pudding packs. Not appealing. Please notify me when they come up with a diet based on peanut butter, Nutella, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes.
Happy New Year 🙂