After two years of struggling to lose a single pound, on the suggestion of my sister, in January I decided to give the Metabolic Balance diet a go. More lifestyle change than a diet, Metabolic Balance is broken up into four phases. Phase one lasts two days and is designed to relax your metabolism. Phase two starts with a strict 14-day conversion, where you eat only the foods from your individual meal plan, with no fats or oils allowed. I won’t sugar coat it. These first two phases were absolutely miserable for me. You can check out my recap here.
After strict phase two, you add oils and fats back in. My weight loss slowed a bit, but I was still seeing numbers on the scaled slide every couple of days, which was just the motivation I needed to stick with it. A treat meal once or twice a week made the journey bearable.
It took me six weeks to reach my goal of losing 22 pounds. Once I got there, I was ready for phase three, where you get to add in extra foods and do some experimenting. My coach sent me the foods that I was able to include in my regular rotation. I have to tell you, I was fairly disappointed in how short the list was. Rather than celebrating the fact that I could now enjoy grapes (a fact), I focused on the other part of phase three, experimenting with foods not on my list at all and increasing portion sizes. This is where the fun is.
Armed with information about the difference between glycemic index and glycemic load I could enjoy more meals out and have some variety at home. Instead of sheep or goat yogurt, I tried plain Greek yogurt with no ill effects or weight gain at all. The important thing to keep in mind here is to not try all sorts of new things at once but to see how you react to each new food on its own. Rather than veal or pork, I grilled up filet mignon. Rather than trimming a quarter or half an inch off my salmon to stay in my portion guidelines, I went ahead and ate the entire thing.
I still weigh myself daily so I can see how different foods and eating out effects me and can dial eating back in when needed.
In keeping with the “lifestyle” idea, phase four is maintenance. Metabolic Balance guidelines suggest that you eat from your food plan for two meals a day, then have whatever you want for your third meal, and still follow the eight core rules each day.
Eight Core Rules
- Eat three meals a day (no snacking).
- Ensure there is a five to seven-hour break between meals.
- Meals should last no longer than 60 minutes.
- Begin every meal with one or two bites of protein.
- Only have one kind of protein at each meal.
- Do not eat anything after 9:00 pm.
- Drink lots of water.
- Eat an apple every day.
How Does This Look?
Personally, I’m still weighing the foods I’m eating at home and follow my food plan approximately 80% of the time. It takes most of the decision making out of meal planning and has cut my food spending by at least a third (I should have kept track of this as I did my weight loss). If I’m going out to a restaurant, I check out the menu ahead of time to see what works best for my plan.
After a few weeks at my new weight, I decided I could lean out a couple more pounds, and have designated a two-pound buffer zone that I don’t want to go beyond.
Best of all, I can now look in the mirror and not cringe, I don’t mind having my picture taken and I’m almost back to my pre-weight gain running pace.
Would I Recommend It?
I’m not sugar coating anything here. In the beginning, it was miserable. I felt horrible. I was light headed. I couldn’t focus. There were days I went to bed at 7:30 p.m. because I couldn’t stand myself anymore. If you can get through those moments and use the numbers on the scale as motivation, if nothing else works or if you just want to cut to the chase and not have to try this or that diet, then yes, Metabolic Balance is for you.