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Diet extremes

January 12, 2009 |

And so the diet begins, as women all over resolve to beat the post-Christmas bulge and banish all signs of festive excess. Those tentative first steps on the weighing scales have been made; the jeans have been attempted and now the collective panic has set in as cries of: “I’M HUGE” can be heard in households all over Ireland.

Health shops are visited like one would a weapons cabinet in the midst of an armed raid.

“Green tea: three packs, please. Phytoplankton — what does that do? — oooh, I’ll try that. Pu-erh tea? Is that the one Posh uses? Go on then…”

Swiss balls are dusted down, fitness videos dug out and that book on the glycemic index is read cover-to-cover. Gyms are joined in fits of haste; impromptu visits are made to the local aerobics class and parks are suddenly overrun by armies of newly determined, steely gazed power-walkers.

There’s no doubt about it, post-Christmas weight gain can push even the most level-headed into a state of high hysteria, but it’s the denizens of celeb-land who really run away with it.

Take Lily Allen. The pop princess was previously a vocal detractor of diets and the size zero ideal but, after one too many mince pies, she’s become one of the latest celebs to jump on the New Year/New You bandwagon.

The diet she’s embarked on eschews calorie counting, carb-quashing and cardio-exercising — all she has to do is sit back and close her eyes. Enter the latest US diet fad: hypno-dieting.

The method, also favoured by celebs such as Sophie Dahl and Geri Halliwell, helps remove the desire for fattening foods via hypnotherapy. It might sound like yet another snakeoil diet fad, but the results thus far have been rather radical — she’s dropped two dress sizes.

“It’s very big in LA and New York and it’s becoming increasingly popular in London,” enthused Susan Hepburn, the hypnotist treating Allen.

“During sessions, I taught Lily to favour healthy, low-fat meals instead of junk food. And to see that alcohol isn’t a confidence booster, it’s just extra calories that sabotage your efforts to get a good body.”

The rest of us might need a spot of hypnotherapy to justify the price, though: a cool £300 (€336) a session.

Embarking on an equally madcap New Year’s diet regime is Scientology’s latest celeb recruit, actress Katie Holmes.

She’ll be practising the quasi-religion’s Clear Body, Clear Mind plan to beat the bulge now that her Broadway run in All My Sons has come to an end.

The bizarre herbal detox plan is a combination of exercise, sauna sweat-out, vitamins and minerals to cleanse the body of toxins and reduce excess fat.

Highlights of the programme include taking megadoses of niacin, ingesting cold-pressed oil and sweating off toxins in a sauna set at 140 to 180 degrees for up to five hours a day. (Public flogging, optional.)

While it’s a regime that would veer towards extremism for most people, one imagines that actress Gwyneth Paltrow would be an advocate.

The actress recently revealed that she has gained a few pounds over Christmas through her health and wellbeing newsletter, GOOP. (Although how she overindulged in a macrobiotic/vegetarian household is anyone’s guess — they must have overdone it on the lentil and nut loaf….)


“I need to lose a few pounds of holiday excess. Anyone else?” she asks. “I like to do fasts and detoxes a couple of times during the year, the most hardcore one being the Master Cleanse I did last spring. It was not what you would characterise as pretty. Or easy.”

The actress goes on to draw up her typical daily detox diet, which includes lunch of raw crudite (carrots, green beans, radishes, cucumbers, zucchini) with carrot and ginger dressing, and snacks of beet, carrot, apple and ginger juice.

All fantastically health conscious but she seems to forget that the average woman, 1) has to go to work and, 2) generally can’t afford the services of a personal vegetable chopper.

Model Kate Moss has also made full use of her star privileges in her attempts to get back in shape following her festive blow-out.

She wasted no time in shedding the festive pounds by hightailing it to a five-star medical spa in Thailand on St Stephen’s Day. The model spent seven days in the hyper-stringent centre, where she was scourged and purged.


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