Tracy says eat when you feel like it but I try to divide the foods as equally as possible into breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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Gwyneth Paltrow (right) showing off her toned body during a beach holiday in the Caribbean last monthAnd I wasn't alone. But my job involves me looking good on TV presenting on the BBC's Watchdog programme, and I really wasn't happy with my figure (something I have in common with most women, according to every survey published on the subject). Apart from the protein soup, which is carrots, celery, broccoli and chicken breast cooked in low-sodium stock, I don't actually chew anything for a whole week. After all, Tracy is responsible for giving the 38-year-old actress and mother of two the kind of bikini body an Amazonian tiger-wrestler would be jealous of.
So I bought into the Tracy Anderson Method, got hold of her DVDs and books, and ordered her latest boxed set, Metamorphosis: A Complete Body Transforming System, a 90-day programme you graduate to after completing the 30-Day Method, and which is available only from Tracy's website. Together they've produced four exercise DVDsA -A each of which has sold in excess of 20,000 copies in Britain aloneA -A and a book, Tracy Anderson's 30-Day Method.
It took the best part of a day to make everything in preparation for the week and after all that I didn't feel like I had any real food. Released in December it is shifting around 1,000 units a week, a number no doubt boosted by Tracy's A-list clients who include Madonna, Shakira, Penelope Cruz and Nicole Richie.
On the 30-Day Method you have to do to three hours of exercise a day, which decreases to one hour on the 90-day plan.
I am encouraged to weigh myself daily and measure my results with the 'Tracy tape measure' every ten days. According to Tracy all we have to do to get Gwyneth's figure is exercise for two hours every day, six days a week for the rest of our lives. But then with the onset of week two the diet only got harder and had me yearning for the good old days of pureed spinach.
At first this made me feel quite uncomfortable but now I'm fanatical about my daily weigh-in and refuse to eat or drink anything until I know my weight first. Tracy is totally against other forms of cardio, such as running, where you repeat your movements over and over.
Tracy makes no mention of the amount of calories or fat you are supposed to consume a day so I take my plan to Catherine Collins, principal dietician at St George's Hospital, London, to get it analysed. Along with the aerobics you must do a series of 40 toning Pilates-style moves, which change every ten days. She told me I had existed on less than 700 calories a day for the past two monthsA -A no wonder I felt terrible.
I also had a size-12 body that wasn't getting any slimmer despite owning more than 100 exercise DVDs ranging from faddy to fantastic.
I feel faint on several occasions and in the middle of Oxford Street everything starts to black out. I even had a personal trainer at one point and, before you ask, yes, I have also tried several diets, including a hideous, practically food-free 10-day detox after which I didn't lose a single pound. On the first week of the plan I'm only allowed to eat seven different foods, mostly blended. The diet is also very low in iron, which could lead to anaemia and problems with balance, muscle strength and exhaustion. It is so disgusting I drink it over the sink in case my body rejects it (which happened on several occasions). What's more, the protein levels are lowA -A less than 1.7oz per day, which can be dangerous if prolonged. Many women on the Metamorphosis website are also concerned about the diet and opt to only follow the exercise elementA -A something that Tracy opposes.
Well, I'm no Gwynnie but since January I have lost a stone in weight and dropped from dress size 12 to 10. I went on the forum to voice concerns about the wisdom of the diet and was told sternly to 'trust in Tracy Anderson' and 'believe in The Method'.
Dr Susan Jebb, head of Nutrition and Health Research at the Medical Research Council, was not surprised by my weight-loss results.
At first I had loads of energy but now I'm always tired and am told I'm horribly grouchy to boot. They can be useful for patients who are very obese but not for someone like you.' According to Dr Jebb, I should be consuming around 2,400 calories a day to maintain my weight when exercising as much as I am. On this diet you would have a deficit of 1,700 calories a day.' Dr Jebb went on to explain that there are guidelines for such low-calorie diets which mean you should be monitored by a health practitioner to make sure your heart and other major organs don't suffer any consequences. If you exercise at the rate the plan demands and eat less than 2.1oz of protein a day your body will then cannibalise your organsA -A your kidneys, liver and heartA -A to get the protein it needs,' she says. It's the worst thing to do when you're exercising.' Jo Doust, professor of physiology at the University of Brighton, says there's nothing new or magical about Tracy Anderson's exercises. He says: 'She claims you can re-engineer your muscular structure and defy your genetics through her programme, but you just can't do that. Her exercises aren't specialA -A you could get a similar plan from any trainer in any gym.' When I started the Tracy Anderson Method I was a massive fan and I wanted to tell everyone that I had found the holy grail of dieting. The exercises have worked for me so I'm going to keep going with them for as long as the novelty holds out but I have stopped the diet. For now I can only wonder at the stamina needed to get the body that Tracy's method promises.
Representatives of Tracy Anderson did not respond to requests for a statement about Rebecca's experience.
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