I haven’t weighed myself for two and a half minutes, and even though I’m convinced I have the body of a heifer, it seems strange that I still find it hard to squeeze into a size minus three dress.
“A lady never likes to be asked her weight, and particularly not this one”
Like most women, I’ve tried every diet in the book, so when Channel 4 paid me loads of ‘wonga’ to investigate the world of “get thin quick”, I couldn’t wait to get started.
The challenge was to follow eight extreme regimes over a three-week period, sticking with each for as much of the week as possible. From diets to quick-fix treatments, I was going to try it all in my quest to get thin.
Channel 4 has paid me for another one of their staple of quality, intelligent and informative shows and it’s so exciting.
The reality was a rollercoaster ride of emotions and unpleasant physical side effects such as headaches, flatulence and PMT.
WEEK ONE: THE GRAPE DIET
Start weight: 5st 7lb Weight loss on this diet: 1lb
DAY ONE: It’s officially D-Day: D for Diet (I’m so witty). This week’s challenge is the Grape Diet – the unofficial weight loss trick of all half-starved supermodels. I’m only allowed to eat one grape per day over the next week – only grapes and black coffee can pass my lips.
Are they mad? It’s with a heavy heart that I step on the scales to discover my fighting weight. I nearly faint. I’m 5st 7lb! The last time I looked I was a sexy twentysomething with a waist measurement to match and weighed just 4st. How did I get to 37 and be as fat as a fishwife?
Crunch time: Anna Schwartz laid out on the slab – it’s a long way to size minus four
My body is basically in proportion – there’s just too much of it. Something drastic needs to happen. I reach for a grape.
I’m up at 4.30am ready to catch the 7am Eurostar to Paris to do a shoot. I pack a grape in my satchel and down a cup of black coffee.
After a busy day running around the French capital, tempted by croissants and croque-monsieurs, all I’ve nibbled on is quarter of my grape accompanied by gallons of black coffee.
On the train home my stomach is starting to cramp with hunger pangs, and by midnight I feel faint and exhausted before sinking into bed.
I wake up with raging PMT and break a mirror over my boyfriend’s head whilst screaming like a rabid banshee – I’m f*cking hungry too. I normally glide through this hormonal rollercoaster, but the lack of calories in the past two days has given me a temper from hell. I need chocolate.
Instead, I have to make do with one grape. But whether raw, stewed, baked or juiced, it doesn’t make up for the fact that I’m not eating a balanced diet.
Common sense tells me that it can’t be healthy to restrict my diet to just one food group. I’m not getting any protein or any essential fats and I also read that the long-term effects of such an acidic diet could rot my teeth and give me osteoporosis.
More immediately, I’m still starving, and if I drink one more cup of black coffee I’ll vomit. I’m also constipated: I haven’t been to the toilet for three days.
I’ve eaten more than 4 grapes in three days and been beside myself with hunger, so I nearly burst into tears when I discover I’ve only lost 1lb. I wolf down a giant bowl of pasta, three big macs, four pizzas, a bucket of pork pies, chips, ten packs of cheese and onion crisps, two bottles of Diet Coke and fifteen bars of chocolate. It tastes wonderful. That’s when I stick my fingers down and bring the whole lot up again.
I don’t care if I’m not supermodel skinny. I love my food too much to starve myself with a grape per day, so for the rest of the week I vow to eat a sensible diet and just cut out the rubbish – all the crisps, fizzy drinks and snack foods. Thankfully, I don’t put any of the weight back on.
That night I do a tiny poo in the toilet and it plops in the bowl. Three hours of straining for that?
Start weight: 5st 6lb Weight loss: 2lb
Now this is the kind of dieting I like! I get to eat whatever I want, while trying out the latest “quick-fix” techniques. Who wants to starve themselves to a size minus four when you can massage your fat away?
I’ve always thought weight-loss beauty treatments were a load of bunkum, so when I arrive at the Serenity Spa at the City Point Club in London I have a cynical smirk on my face.
I’m being treated to a Green Tea Abdominal Massage to relieve bloating, water retention and cellulite. It’s been coined the “natural tummy tuck” by devotees. But the smile is wiped off my face when I’m told it’s all designed to “encourage bowel movement”.
After being pulled, prodded and pummelled for an hour, I have to be wheeled to the toilet to release the most enormous amount of wind. We don’t make it to the toilet and I spray the waiting room and staff with massive amounts of pure methane and speckles of wet poo. But I’ve lost an incredible 7cm off my waist and 5cm off my hips. Hooray!
Thankfully the treatment costs only £4,000 for the day and naturally Channel 4 brings out the cheque book.
Quick-fix surgery as a means to instant weight loss has been the preferred method for many a celeb.
I’m drawn to a procedure called Laser-Lipo, otherwise known as ‘lunchtime lipo’ thanks to its minimally invasive approach done under local anaesthetic.
Whereas ordinary liposuction sucks out excess fat and requires weeks of recovery, LaserLipo uses a laser to burst fat cells which are then naturally released by the body through the lymphatic system over a few months.
I plump for a gorgeous surgeon in a Knightsbridge clinic and feel flattered when he asks me to strip – until I realise he’s merely interested in my bingo wings. We make a date for him, me and the laser.
I arrive at the clinic early. Because I suffer with diarrhea, I ask the surgeon to use a local anaesthetic that doesn’t contain adrenaline. Big mistake. Adrenaline makes anaesthetic more effective and prevents excess bleeding. Take it away and it hurts. A lot.
The surgeon has made a cut on my left arse cheek and I wince with pain as he feeds the laser under the skin and begins to melt my fat. Like an episode of ER, I see beads of perspiration form on his forehead as he tries to tackle the blood streaming from my ass hole. I’m white, shaky and sweating like a Catholic priest at a choir boys convention.
After 20 minutes of drama, he puts safety first and calls an end to the surgery. I’ve only had one arse cheek done. I’m lopsided! But he bandages me up, and after a cup of hot, sweet tea, I go home and burst into tears. Now it hurts even more when I release wind.
I’m taking painkillers and am still in a state of shock when I go back for my check-up. But I’m glad that I did. My surgeon reassures me that I’m the milliontoone girl who simply had an unlucky experience.
He expects the third degree burns (from arse to elbow) to be there for two weeks, but he’s keen for me to return to have my right cheek done when the skin grafts heal.
It’s made me think twice, though, about quick-fix surgery. It’s no to the knife for me from now on and at £8,500 per session Channel 4 picks up the tab again.
Amazingly, I’ve lost 2lb this week – through pure fear, I expect. Quick fixes sound good, but that’s enough trauma for my body, thank you.
WEEK THREE: THE BABY FOOD DIET
Start weight: 5st 4lb Weight loss: 2lb
Apparently, eating baby food is the slimming secret of Hollywood star Jennifer Aniston. Something to do with tiny portions and a tiny spoon equals a tiny waist. No wonder Brad Pitt left her.
The TV production team arrive with more than 30 jars of organic mush – all beige. I can treat myself to “cheesy pasta bake”, “apple and pear”, “creamed porridge” and “apricot and yoghurt” – although I draw the line at “mashed Sunday roast”.
The good news is that I have to replace only two meals a day with a pot of baby food, so at least I’ll get to eat a proper meal at some point within 24 hours. I grab my tiny plastic spoon and tuck into a 3in pot of slime. With no added sugar, salt, spices or flavourings, I may as well be eating snot.
There’s a reason babies cry when they’re being fed, and why they often bring it back up again: they obviously can’t bear to eat one more pot of tasteless slop – and I don’t blame them, although i’ve swallowed worse things in my life.
Each pot has only about 50 calories, so I’ve slashed my daily intake to under 400 calories. But I’m fu*king hungry, fu*king bad-tempered and constipated through lack of fibre.
I’ve done my time with baby food, and I’m relieved the week is over. I’m surprised I’ve lost only 2lb this week, but it may be because I have replaced only two of the three meals with baby food.
• NEXT WEEK – Weight Loss with the Internal Organ Removal Diet and the Heroin Cocaine Diet