DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!
In late 2007 a fad diet was sweeping the nation – its name? The Brian Butterfield Diet. The only difference between this diet and other equally bizarre get slim quick crazes was that this one was an intentionally ridiculous sketch created by the comedian Peter Serafinowicz.
With an intake of around 800 calories in five days, It advocates almost a week of near starvation followed by a treat day where you are encouraged to gorge yourself. Now, in 2014, Jack Western decides to tread where no man has before and actually test the legacy of the Brian Butterfield diet. Read on if you dare…
Breakfast – One cornflake, toasted with low fat spread. Drink – hot water
Lunch – Small raw potato, peeled, salad (mini lettuce leaf) Drink – Room temperature water
Dinner – Turkey square, broccoli shavings, baked bean in low fat tomato sauce. Drink – Cold water. Pudding – Ice cubes and artificial sweetener.
TREAT DAY! You can eat literally anything
Pints o’ cream
Chocolate quail’s eggs
Egg ‘n’ ham slabs
Artificial bacon (Facon tm)
Hoisin crispy owl
Discount foie gras
The first day started and I was full of hope, mainly due to the fact that it was New Years Eve the night before, and I was still full of pizza and whatever else I ate the night before. It almost seemed a joke when I ate the cornflake and drank my cup of coffee and duly tweeted my progress.
This optimism continued all day as I ate my lunch with no ill effects becoming apparent. As the afternoon progressed I started to feel hunger, and realised that I couldn’t eat until much later.
When I finally consumed the meagre meal, it was unbelievably delicious and I felt full for a brief time. By the time I got tired, I was hungry and had to sleep on an empty stomach.
My idiotic promise still hadn’t quite settled in my mind as I had ‘breakfast’ in the morning. Luckily for me, I’ve never been a breakfast person so I can usually muscle through and have a big lunch instead.
Physically and mentally I was still feeling pretty sharp as I had lunch and was able to function and get work done in the library. By the late afternoon though, the lack of energy going into my body started to become apparent as I suffered a relatively large crash and I practically fell asleep. By the time I had dinner I was getting especially hungry but it made no difference to how I felt and I went to bed soon after.
By the third day, I had begun to realise how foolish I had been to volunteer myself for this ordeal. The morning was uneventful though, as I think that getting enough sleep drastically improved the first part of the day.
Lunch was a welcome break from the constant hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach. Again, I managed to get some work done before suffering my daily crash in the later afternoon due to having no energy. Dinner was so good and by this point I was starting to constantly feel genuinely unwell.
On Day 4 it finally struck me quite how bad this “diet” is. I was already hungry when I woke up, and the cornflake was foul, despite it only being the tiniest amount of food. The only thing that pushed me through the morning was coffee (ok! I cheated a bit!) Lunch came around and never have I been so happy to eat such a bland meal. In comparison to the other daily meals, lunch is the only one with any real carbohydrates and energy locked in it.
To quote one of my frequent status updates; “I would literally do anything to have another potato for dinner tonight”. Going back through my notes, I also noticed arguably the most terrifying note. Scribbled at the bottom of the page were the words ‘Took my first shit in four days’. I don’t know if that was relief from being able to perform a normal bodily function or the fact that I didn’t miss it.
The final day rolled around and by this point, I didn’t really care. I didn’t feel hungry or full; I just had a constant ache in my stomach that was never stopped by anything. Breakfast and lunch passed with a happy tear in my eye, knowing that I was nearly done. I achieved nothing, only leaving bed somewhere around midday. Even then, I got relatively little done sitting in the Vision office as I began to crunch through my notes. I decided to have my final meal in the office, partly to celebrate the end of the diet, partly to show the sadistic bastards what they’d put me through.
By this point I was exhausted, I could barely stand and I was having difficulty speaking. The last meal passed my lips, and with a sigh of relief I knew that I was free. In a little over six hours I could have my treat day, and eat anything I wanted again.
That magical day finally rolled around. I had to concede that there was no way I was going to get through everything on a list including Birthday Pie, Pork Cylinders, Mystery Meat, Sandwich Casserole, Bonbonbonbons etc. I couldn’t really afford it either. Eventually I settled for a nice Slab o’ Cow aka sirloin steak with chips and peppercorn sauce. I hadn’t realised that during the week, my stomach and appetite had shrunk drastically meaning that while I only bought a six-ounce steak I even struggled to finish what should have an easy job after being so hungry. However, it was REAL FOOD and I still relished the fact that I could eat proper meals again.
While it was amusing to complete the diet, it was definitely the worst idea I’ve had in some time. In the space of five days I consumed less food than I normally eat in a day, lost a lot of sleep and achieved relatively little work. It was certainly made harder by the fact that I had started immediately after a time when overeating is rampant so it was a double shock to my system. Even worse was the effect on my body.
In the space of five days I lost an unbelievable 12lbs. Technically my body was starving and it was on the point of becoming atrophic where it would start to keep back fat reserves and go for my muscle mass instead. Fortunately it was only for five days, so I managed to avoid that stage.
While that is a crazy amount of weight loss and vaguely satisfying being able to start the new year without the Christmas pounds (and then some more), the amount of weight I lost and the time I lost it in was definitely not worth the pain and suffering I endured for it.