THE CHEF’S DIET CHAL­LENGE

Tarek Ibrahim is a mas­ter chef who shows TV view­ers how to cook on 100 Lahma. He’s on a mis­sion to lose weight by scal­ing back on in­dul­gences, but still en­joy­ing good food...

Friday - - CHEF’S DIET -

My weight loss of 2kg in the first week of my diet re­ally was the kick­start I needed. Mo­ti­vated, I planned the en­tire menu for the sec­ond week in ad­vance.

On Sun­day I’d start with a poached egg on whole­wheat toast or a bowl of whole­grain ce­real with skimmed milk. “No more skip­ping break­fasts or eat­ing Nutella from the jar with a spoon!” I thought, mov­ing on to plan lunch.

I de­cided on a fresh tuna salad, lots of green­ery and to go easy on the dress­ing… scratch that; no dress­ing! For din­ner? I plumped for an early evening meal of grilled lamb or beef with roasted root veg­gies. High­pro­tein, low-carb and low-GI foods are firmly on the menu.

I soon found I was lick­ing my lips but I still had five more days to plan. Luck­ily snacks are al­lowed on the LiveWell diet I’ve cre­ated for my­self – fruit of course, my favourites be­ing ap­ples and wa­ter­melon.

Last week I learnt por­tion con­trol is just as im­por­tant as what I’m eat­ing. So I tried to vi­su­alise my plate hav­ing a quar­ter of protein, quar­ter of grains or pulses and the other half of the plate be­ing filled with green leafy veg­eta­bles or salad.

But there was one thing miss­ing from my plan and it wasn’t any­thing to do with food. If I re­ally wanted to change my life­style I had to ex­er­cise.

When I was in my late teens I was a mem­ber of the Egyp­tian In­ter­na­tional Handball Team, play­ing com­pet­i­tive matches at the high­est level across Europe and the Mid­dle East. I loved to swim and play squash and go to the gym. Now I couldn’t tie the laces on my train­ers, let alone run any­where in them. It was time to call in Martin Fos­ter, a per­sonal trainer at Fit­ness and Food in Dubai.

The next morn­ing I swapped my chef’s jacket for my gym kit and went to meet Martin, who has over 20 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the fit­ness in­dus­try. He car­ried out a BioAge test, which in­volved a se­ries of meta­bolic tests to mea­sure lev­els such as blood pres­sure and choles­terol.

My choles­terol was high – 254 whereas it should be around 150. I was also shocked to find out my Body Mass In­dex is 31.17, putting me in Obe­sity Class 1 (a healthy level is 18-25) and my waist is a hefty 111cm. Those 2kg I had lost the pre­vi­ous week seemed far less sig­nif­i­cant.

We then moved straight on to the phys­i­cal tests. Con­sid­er­ing my un­fit state, I was pleased that I man­aged 16 push-ups. “You should re­ally be do­ing 26,” Martin said, leav­ing me de­flated again. I did some squats in three

I was pleased I man­aged 16 push-ups. But Martin left me de­flated, say­ing, ‘You should be do­ing 26’

sets of 10 rep­e­ti­tions and fi­nally, still puff­ing, I filled out a life­style ques­tion­naire. This ex­plores your lev­els of stress and your nu­tri­tion in gen­eral. My an­swers were en­tered into a spe­cially de­signed pro­gram that cal­cu­lates your BioAge as op­posed to the bi­o­log­i­cal age of your body. So it’s the age you re­ally are thanks to the life­style you live.

I t would take a few days to get the re­sults. In the mean­time I had my diet plan to stick to and the train­ing pro­gramme Martin cre­ated for me.

He de­cided I need to do 10 pushups, three sets of 10 squats and walk a min­i­mum of 10,000 steps per day. “To­tally doable,” Martin said.

And he was right. I stuck to my healthy eat­ing plan (OK, I con­fess, I cheated with a square of dark choco­late once) and made an ef­fort to walk more – even park­ing fur­ther away from my of­fice.

By the end of the week my re­sults were through. My BioAge was de­ter­mined as 67½ years old – more than 13 years older than my real age of 54!

See­ing it in black and white was a real shock. Then a fleet­ing feel­ing of shame set in. “How could I have let this hap­pen?” I asked my­self. But it was a wake-up call and I had an­other tar­get now. I need to bring my BioAge back in line with my real age and then aim to make it even younger. And my choles­terol needs to come down fast.

But it wasn’t all bad news. By Satur­day I’d lost an­other 2kg in my sec­ond week! To cel­e­brate I promptly marched into Fit­ness First and signed up for a year’s mem­ber­ship.

My body may feel 67 right now, but I’m set on trad­ing my­self in for a younger, fit­ter model.

CHEF’S DIET

Martin gave me sev­eral tests to de­ter­mine my BioAge

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