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How to drop a dress size in time for Christmas; INSIDE OUT.

Panicking at the thought of donning a revealing party dress? Worry not. There may still be time to go down a dress size for Christmas - if you are prepared to make sacrifices. We won't pretend it's gong to be easy. But just imagine how you will feel as you slip easily into your slinkiest dress for that special party. Eileen Taylor looks at three ways to get a trimmer figure

The Little Black Dress Diet

IT'S panic time, says complementary medicine guru Michael Van Straten. As Christmas draws near you realise that your favourite secret weapon, the little black dress, is just too tight. Something has to be done - and quickly.

Michael's suggestion is to buy a copy of his Little Black Dress Diet, which he claims, will show you the optimum way to lose that excess bulge, effectively, healthily and swiftly. As a naturopath, he says, crash diets don't work. They are not healthy and on less than 1,000 calories a day, it is impossible to get all the nutrients and sustain the energy you need to lead a normal life. He reckons that with his diet, you can lose 10lb in 10 days and still eat healthily.

"Extreme starvation diets are unhealthy and never work, but when desperation is knocking at the door, you need desperate measures, " says the author. Again, the diet is only for the very disciplined, including very little bread, for example, not much in the way of potatoes but plenty of salad and fruit and tasty dishes like aromatic lamb and grilled spice chicken.

The Little Black Dress Diet (published by Kyle Cathie Ltd, pounds 6.99)

Day 1

Breakfast: A large melon Light meal or snack: Vegetable soup or carrot and celery juice. Raw vegetables and brown rice salad.

Main meal: Mixed salad. Any cooked green vegetables with a can of your favourite beans (not baked and wellrinsed) and 1 teaspoon olive oil.

By Day 8 you can feast on:

Breakfast: Homemade Real Swiss Muesli with a sliced banana and a little single cream.

Light meal or snack: Large baked potato with baked beans. Chicory and Watercress Salad.

Main meal: Fruity, spicy carrot soup. Cod with Yoghurt Crust served with a mixed salad.

As well as the food, make sure that you take three teaspoons a day of the Swiss herbal tonic Bio-Strath Elixir to boost your natural immunity, a vitamin and mineral pill and at least 1 litre of water. Also keep off alcohol for the 10 days if you really want to lose weight.

Expert's verdict: Teresa Owen, Dietitian with Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust, warns against crash diets. She says: "Anything that claims to help you lose weight quickly is too good to be true. The best way to lose weight is to aim for 1-2lbs a week weight loss. " She says of the Little Black Dress Diet: "The author of this diet admits that crash diets don't work but then goes on to suggest one. I would never advocate losing as much as 10lbs in 10 days. When you lose weight as quickly as that you are just losing water and you will quickly replace that when you start eating normally.

"Diets like this could make you feel weak and sluggish just when you are going to be busy preparing for Christmas. Then when you put the weight on afterwards, it breaks your heart and you try another fad diet."

The Cabbage Soup Diet

THIS is a seven-day detox programme (with an exercise schedule) that helps short-term weight loss of up to 10lbs. Claims are that it will revitalise the digestive system which should help you look and feel better before the party season begins.

The mail-order diet is based around a new instant cabbage soup from Slimsteady which means you don't have to do all the chopping that a homemade cabbage soup would involve, especially as this one also includes tomato, carrot, onion, leek, red pepper and celery. The soup is also reinforced with 23 essential vitamins and minerals and comes in individual sachets with which you just need to use hot water. But having said all that, it is not for the faint-hearted.

The soup is taken three times daily for lunch, dinner and evening snack and is used in conjuction with unlimited fruit, herbs and spices. There is a daily allowance of 8oz of skimmed milk OR a plain yoghurt. A large baked potato is allowed on Day 2 and unlimited fish or chicken (steamed, poached or grilled) on Day 5 and 6. You can also have vinegar (aren't you lucky! ) to liven up your salads, a teaspoon of olive oil per day, if you really can't live without it and 1-2oz of brown rice per day. You must not have any salt, butter, animal fat, sugar or artificial sweeteners or alcohol. But then as the promoters point out, it IS only for seven days.

Day 5 (for example) 3 x Cabbage soup Unlimited Fruit Unlimited fish or chicken 6 fresh tomatoes 8 fl oz of skimmed milk or plain yoghurt Unlimited herbs, spices (The Cabbage Soup diet is available by mail order, costing pounds 14.95 for 21 sachets, by ringing freephone 0800 0725727 or at www. slimsteady. co. uk) Expert's verdict: Teresa says: "I am not so keen on this one. The reason it works is that you are not eating very much. There are some pitfalls with this diet. I think it could lead to dizziness and fainting because it is quite restrictive for the first few days. It is also unbalanced.

With this we are getting back into the high protein area which, over a long period, can lead to ketosis where the body starts using up its actual muscle tissue instead of fat. You probably will lose weight quickly but you will put it on again quickly when you stop. Because it is low fibre it could lead to constipation and gastro-intestinal problems."

Weight Watchers

DEBBIE Sinnott, Area Service Manager, Merseyside, for Weight Watchers, says most people should be able to lose 10lbs in the five weeks running up to Christmas - and that usually equals a dress size.

She says: "Our members have five weigh-ins before Christmas and most will actually reach their goal in Christmas week because that's the target date they have set for themselves.

"The main thing for those who want lose weight before Christmas is to stay focused and disciplined over the next five weeks. Friends might say 'What is the point of bothering now? You might as well leave it until after Christmas and then start for the New Year'. But if you give up now, you could put on a half a stone before Christmas plus another half stone over the festivities, leaving you a stone heavier after Christmas."

Debbie's advice would be to enrol at your local Weight Watchers class even at this late stage. But if that is not possible, she stresses the need to eat well-balanced, varied meals, three times a day. She suggests something like the following:

Breakfast: Cereal with a medium banana and half a pint of skimmed milk Lunch: Have a medium roll with 1tsp of low-fat spread with 30g of wafer-thin ham and a spoonful of pickle.

Serve with baby tomatoes and finish with a pear.

Dinner: Top one large jacket potato with a small can of drained, canned tuna, mixed with 1tbsp of low calorie mayonnaise. Serve with baby tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumber. Finish with a small can of apricots in natural juice topped with one 60g scoop of low fat ice cream or 1tbsp of canned spray cream.

If you have to have anything between meals, make it fruit, says Debbie, thus avoiding crisps, chocolate, biscuits and pastries. Debbie also advises that you drink plenty of water throughout the day and that you make up a very low fat vegetable soup each day, either from the stewpacks you can buy from greengrocers or from a pack of frozen vegetables and cook with vegetable stock and mixed herbs. "If you have that throughout the day or before your lunch and evening meals, that will definitely keep hunger at bay."

She also advises doing some extra exercises although, as she points out, most people will be doing more exercise anyway as they rush about and walk around the shops. As Debbie points out, temptation will soon be presenting itself in the form of parties and festive outings from work.

"If you are going out for a meal, give up either the dessert or the alchohol. You can't have it all! The most important thing is to remain focussed. After all, there are some lovely party outfits out there and it would be a pity not to be able to wear them."

Expert's verdict: "I don't mind this one, " says Teresa.

"It sounded quite sensible and was the most realistic of the three. I also like the idea that it mentioned exercise and the bit about staying focused over the next five weeks. This is quite a well balanced diet so good luck to anyone who tries this. You could still enjoy yourself now on this and then look at a new lifestyle in the New Year."
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 27, 2001
Previous Article:Oriental path to perfect health; INSIDE OUT.
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