Following The Plan, Part 1: Or How I Lost 6 Pounds In 9 Days
For the last 15 years, I’ve carried around five pounds I would kill to live without. In spite of eating healthy foods, working out like a dog, doing triathlons and marathons, those lousy five pounds stuck to me like Gorilla Glue. Then, last spring, my five bonus pounds were suddenly seven and counting. It was time to do something. Almost a sign, the very next issue of MORE Magazine featured a story about “The Plan,” developed by a holistic nutritionist named Lyn-Genet Recitas. It claimed that you could lose a lot of weight in a relatively short amount of time, as much as three pounds in three days. My kind of plan.
I went to Lyn-Genet’s website and read that there are four basic variables for weight gain: not drinking enough water, eating too much sodium, eating the wrong chemical combinations, and eating foods to which you are reactive. By eliminating reactive foods, you can increase calories because your body is no longer having inflammatory responses which retard digestion and cause you to put on anywhere from .5 to 2 lbs.
What she’s saying is that your weight is your chemical response to food -- but I wasn’t paying any attention to that. I was thinking: in three days I can drop 3 pounds! The detox plan was pretty basic (and pretty Spartan): no sugar, no flour, no salt, no wheat, no corn, no sugar, no dairy, no tofu, no meat, no chicken, no fish, and no coffee. I don’t cook and I usually eat out or take out, so I needed to buy a few things most people own: a blender, a lemon zester, a sharp knife, a garlic press, a food scale to measure ounces, and a body scale to measure up to 1/10th of a pound. Then I hit the health food store for the items I’d never heard of before (such as Silk Coconut milk, Rice Dream and chia seeds.)
The diet begins with a ton of water, the amount that you determine by clicking here. Besides mainlining water, I followed this three-day detox diet precisely:
Breakfast: 1 cup Flax granola with ½ cup blueberries with Silk Coconut milk or Rice Dream
Lunch: Carrot-ginger soup, with chia seeds or sunflower seeds; sautéed or steamed broccoli drizzled with orange oil and lemon juice; mixed greens with ½ pear and pumpkin seeds
Snack: 1 apple
Dinner: Sautéed kale; 3-4 carrots, onion, zucchini, shiitakes with spicy coco sauce; mixed greens with beet carpaccio
Breakfast: Flax with 1/2-cup blueberries
Lunch: Steamed butternut squash with butter and chia seeds or sunflower seeds; mixed greens with 1/2 diced apple, ¼ avocado
Snack: 1 pear with 8 almonds
Dinner: Leftover kale with 1 cup rice with pumpkin seeds; mixed greens with beet carpaccio and sunflower seeds
Breakfast: Flax with choice of blueberries or pear
Lunch: Mixed greens with ½ cup low-sodium chickpeas, avocado and leftover butternut squash
Snack: 10-12 almonds; 1/2 apple
Dinner: 1/2 portion chicken with Italian herbs and orange zest on a bed of mixed greens; roasted vegetables- zucchini, broccoli, carrots, onions, garlic- dressed with Italian herbs or ~herbes de provence and extra virgin olive oil.
By the end of day 3, I’d dropped three pounds and was so thrilled that I repeated the diet for another three days. I dropped another two pounds, and went from a size 8 to size 6. I bought new jeans, had my clothes taken in, and pranced around admiring my new thinner body. I hadn’t been at this weight in 15 years.
A few days later, I was cooking kale (which was about to turn yellow) and chicken (which had a slightly foul smell), but I didn’t pay any attention. I figured it would be fine once cooked. (NOTE: NEVER EVER DO THAT! If food looks discolored or smells bad, it IS bad. I learned the hard way). The next morning, I woke up with diarrhea – terrible, because I was leaving that day on a plane for Atlantic Canada.
By my third day in Canada, I still had diarrhea. Then I ate some delicious raw scallops, which tasted like sushi, but that made the diarrhea worse than ever. I put myself on Cipro and Imodium from my emergency stash. Eight days later, I returned home, still with diarrhea. Over the next six months, I went to six doctors, had six different kinds of antibiotics, MRIs, CT scans, blood tests and other (very disgusting) tests. They ruled out Crohn’s, celiac, cancer and colitis. One infectious disease specialist claimed I had an amoeba, put me on yet another course of antibiotics and then insisted he’d cured it, even though I still had horrible diarrhea, which he said that was normal. Nothing was working and I wasn’t getting better. The fourth gastrointestinal specialist insisted I had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and put me on Lotronex that cost $1,250 (my insurance paid half of that).
When I took the prescribed course of Lotronex, I was constipated. If I halved the dose, I had diarrhea again. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and I didn’t want to be on antibiotics for the rest of my life. Furthermore, both my general practicioner and I didn’t believe I had IBS because my condition had virtually happened overnight.
Then I remembered the article I’d read on Lyn Genet’s Plan, which is a way for you to learn about how your body reacts chemically to foods, and to improve your overall health and vitality. It works for people with IBS, Crohns, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, depression, thyroid dysfunction, infertility, cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma and allergies, constipation and even migraines. Yes, you lose weight on her plan, but her goal is to find foods that promote an individual’s health.
I had nothing to lose. I e-mailed her assistant, Maggie: Maggietheplan@gmail.com and signed up. I was given a diet for the first seven days, told to check in with Lyn-Genet every morning by email, tell her my daily weight and body temperature. The purpose of the weigh-in was not to see how much weight I was losing but to find out which foods were causing me distress and weigh gain (and the main reason I had to buy a scale that gave 1/10th of a pound increments). The reason I was to take my daily temperature was to determine if I had a thyroid condition (she thinks I do).
I am now on Day 2. Guess what? After six months of misery, today I am normal -- neither constipated nor diarrhea. So something is working....
Margie Goldsmith writes about lifestyle and travel for "Elite Traveler," "Robb Report," "Travel and Leisure," "Huffington Post" and many others.