“As I lie on the treatment couch in my underwear, wide elastic straps around my legs and tummy. I squeal as what feels like a small four-legged creature scurries up my inner thigh. My therapist hastily reassures me there are no mice in the room; it’s just the sensation of an electric current pulsing through my muscles. Determined to find my waistline by summer I try Arasys, a body toning treatment that claims to be a quick-fire route to a firmer belly. A 17-minute session is said to be equivalent to 330 sit-ups and, as the current increases, my muscles respond by contracting. The current isn’t painful, just surprising, and, after a 40-minute session, my freshly-toned abs reveal i’ve lost 4cm from my belly. One treatment only lasts two weeks (it takes 10 treatments to drop a dress size), so its off to find an alternative.
Next up is Mama Mio’s Bootcamp for Tummies. – A home treatment plan to reshape my abs in 30 days. All i have to do is rub body-shaping creams on my belly and do two tummy toning moves – at my desk, in the car or even on the train. The most challenging, contracting my abs 100 times per set, feels like it’s doing a lot of good. By 50 i’m beginning to feel it work, by 89 i want to die. I can see, done regularly, this is going to work.
But as every gal knows, it doesn’t matter how firm your abs are, if they’re covered in 4kg of excess belly fat no one will ever know, especially not my size 10 skinny jeans. If that apple-shape belly is to go. I have to eat differently. Bodychef’s Flat Belly Diet home delivery service to the rescue. – 32 days of fat-busting meals delivered to my doorstep twice a week. The anti-bloat kick-start proves a little austere – five turkey slices, a cheese string and 10 cherry tomatoes for lunch, three days in a row. But Bodychef founder Jayne Ritchie is revamping the menu to include less processed food. It certainly works – after four days, i’ve lost 1.5kg and another 4.5cm from my belly. Result!
On to the 28-day diet proper, i unpack the first hamper with unabashed glee. The snacks include a fruit nut muffin and chocolate mousse – I can’t believe i’m going to lose weight on this. But i do. The meals are based around wholegrain cereals, protein and veg, and i’m not hungry on the four, 400-calorie meals a day. The inclusion of mono-unsaturated fats in every meal (avocados, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dark chocolate) ups your omega intake, said to target deep visceral belly fat. But I worry the fat content of these delicious foods is a little high – even if it is good fat – and i’d normally eat more fruit. That said, not having to shop for or prepare meals removes opportunities for cheating. And, best of all, it works. Two weeks into the plan i’ve lost 3kg and an amazing 7cm of dreaded belly fat. Now, where did i put those jeans!”