I like to think of myself as an “optimistic realist”.
I try to never be pessimistic, but I am skeptical, especially when it comes to ‘dieting aids’. You can do all the research you like online about a diet but you’ll never know if it really works for you unless you try it yourself. And unfortunately, many online diets are just marketing scams. Many dieting products are unnatural and full of chemicals.
The product I tried though is a little different.
This is a natural product that is currently only marketed in Poland (my girlfriend’s home and somewhere we regularly visit), however, an equivalent should be coming to the UK soon.
In the UK, our small talk is about the weather.
In Poland, the small talk is about your health.
Supplements are big business in Poland.
The new supplement we found is a little unique – it’s based on natural ingredients and intends to fill you up longer whilst aiding weight loss.
The product consists of a powder that you add to water and drink. It’s fibre based, mainly consisting of apples and glucomannan (Wiki article on Glucomannan). The idea is that this helps fill you up, yet contains no fat, minimal carbohydrates (fibres – which are not absorbed by the body) and only four calories per drink.
The idea is that you take 3 servings each day, between meals. The drink fills you up so you eat less.
Having struggled all my life to keep myself full, yet limit the amount I ate to prevent my weight increasing, and wanting to avoid all the unnatural, chemical based ‘meal supplement’ shakes out there, this sounded like a great idea.
I gave it a go.
Previously, I’d wake up, and be instantly hungry.
And as I’ve mentioned in some of my other posts, if I’m hungry, I have to eat.
If I don’t, I get a nasty stomach ache that can last for days.
So, on the first day of using the new product I woke up, went to the toilet, and my stomach rumbled his usual morning greeting.
“FEED ME FEED ME FEED ME”
Ok, Mr Stomach. Let’s get some breakfast.
I had my usual portion of 3 weetabixes (or is that weetabixi?) with a small topping of blueberries, sunflower and chia seeds (which are supposedly filling but they haven’t worked particularly well for me) and semi skinned milk, and a cup of tea with a dash of milk.
This normally fills me up for 2.5 to 3 hours – i.e. I’m hungry way before lunch and I have to find something suitable to keep me going.
Sure enough, two and a half hours later, the air around me is disturbed by a deep low grumble.
I managed to ignore it for 10 minutes but then the grumbling returned in force.
Let’s give this fibre drink a go.
I mixed the powder with some hot water and shook away.
It didn’t mix very well. But it’s not supposed to. The makers wanted to keep it as natural as possible, so there’s no fancy dissolving agents in there. Using hot water helps it to dissolve better.
If you give it a good shake and drink it immediately, it’s dissolves reasonably well, with only a small amount of powder left at the bottom.
It tastes quite pleasant – it has a vanilla and apple flavour.
I headed back to the PC to check my emails.
Just under 30 minutes later my stomach growled at me.
Ok, it hadn’t lasted long, but it had given me a 30 minute respite. I grabbed a banana.
These normally fill me for 30-45 minutes, an hour at the most.
1.5 hours later I suddenly realised I wasn’t hungry.
Well, I hadn’t been until I thought about it, then boom: RUMBLE RUMBLE RUMBLE.
Ok ok Mr Stomach, I’ll feed you. It’s lunchtime anyway now.
So I get ready to have my ‘lunch’ – a chicken salad.
I say lunch because I normally have two.
A chicken salad will only fill me up for two hours. About the same as wrap, which is what I used to eat in place of a less healthy sandwich – modern bread is terrible for you (another post coming up on that!). Then I realised how much fat and unnecessary carbs there were in a wrap and as I’m merely eating at my computer desk at work or home, the convenience factor of a hand held wrap verses a knife and fork requiring salad isn’t significant. The salad is healthier and keeps me going for the same amount of time, as the tortilla wrap is replaced by more chicken (filling protein) and tomatoes and greens.
Note that a sandwich would also only fill me for two hours anyway, so it’s not like the healthier option filled me up for any less amount of time.
So usually I’d be hungry around 11, 11:30 and have a salad. Before I got hungry again I’d hit the gym at about 1, and the work out would distract me from the hunger until I got back around 2 and then I could eat a second lunch – another chicken salad, a wrap, or perhaps a ‘prawn cocktail’ – my healthier version, made with low fat yoghurt, lemon juice, chilli powder and chopped cucumbers. Very tasty.
Yet it’s more like 12:30, 1ish now – I’ve lasted about 90 minutes longer. That might not sound like a massive difference, but I’ve only had one dose of the product so far, and I can have two more today.
So instead of having my salad, I take another fibre drink.
This time it takes about an hour until I’m hungry. I have my chicken salad, expecting it to fill me for the usual 2 hours.
It fills me for 3.
So it’s almost 5pm now, and I’ve eaten significantly less than I normally do. I’ve only had one chicken salad.
I decide to have some scrambled eggs, thinking that will last me nicely until around 7pm when I can have my evening meal.
It lasts me until about 7:30pm, and then I realise I can have my third dose.
Down the hatch it goes and I don’t need my evening meal until 8:30pm.
I have a salmon fillet with fried asparagus and a handful of fresh cherry tomatoes. Lovely.
Oh, and a glass of red wine, of course. It would be rude not to!
I normally struggle 2 or 3 hours after my evening meal and get peckish before bed. I end up nibbling on some nuts, or worse, cheese, washed down with – you guessed it – more wine.
But I’ve eaten later, and I’m remaining full for longer.
I eat nothing more before going to bed.
So let’s recap.
Normally I would have eaten:
7:45 Breakfast cereal
11:30 Chicken salad
14:00 Chicken salad
16:00 Scrambled eggs
18:00 Evening meal
Today I’d eaten:
7:45 Breakfast cereal
13:45 Chicken salad
16:45 Scrambled eggs
20:30 Evening meal
With the 3 fibre drinks in the day, but remember they have no fat or carbs – just fibre.
I’d managed to cut out a chicken salad – i.e. one small meal normally lasting 2 hours – and the naughty evening nibbles.
In the course of one day, that’s not a huge difference.
But over several weeks… there’s quite an impact.
And things got even better; see my next post coming up soon!!
Now available: A Dieting Aid That Works: Part 2
I just want to point out again that I am not a nutritionist, a dietician or a doctor. I’m a computer scientist! So this is just my take on things and it’s worked well for me. When dieting you should always seek professional help if in doubt.