During my first read through Six Weeks to OMG, I took plenty of notes. I find it harder to dip in and out of ebooks anyway, and there’s actually nowhere in the book itself where everything is written down properly in a plan format to follow. So, for those of you interested, here are the basic concepts of the book (but of course, if you want to follow the plan, support the author by downloading your own copy!).
Wave, Blaze and Quake
There are three difficulty levels for the plan, and Fulton makes some big claims for all of them. In six weeks, depending on which you choose, you should be able to lose up to 20lbs of fat. Fulton takes great pains to tell you that large amounts of weight loss can be dangerous, and that diets that claim to help you lose more are probably bad for you and would involve losing muscle. This in itself is weird to me, as most fitness experts claim that 2lbs of weight loss per week is the most you should aim for, as anymore than that will result in muscle loss. This is a fairly standard, industry-wide concept I’ve heard touted by everyone from Rosemary Conely, to Jillian Michaels, to Super Size, Super Skinny. So Fulton is claiming 8lbs more weight loss in this period than most experts would agree is safe for the average person.
Another criticism is that he makes no allowances in his claims for weight loss for your starting point. Most people agree that it’s easier to lose weight the heavier you are, but this doesn’t come into Fulton’s blanket suggestion of 20lbs if you follow all of his advice for the hardest difficulty. Personally, I’d love to lose 20lbs of pure fat in six weeks, but I’m going to steel myself for a less dramatic result. And, to be frank, if I lost 20lbs in that time, I’d weigh less than I ever have before as an adult, including the time I lost weight for my wedding (which I did, gradually, over a period of about six months).
This is the one that most people seem to be up in arms about, but to be honest, this is one of the less ‘out there’ suggestions in the book, as far as I’m concerned. I’d read the same research about it not necessarily being harmful, but I’d never seen anyone claim it’s beneficial. However, if you follow Fulton’s advice, you probably won’t be eating breakfast until up to four hours after you get up, because you need to wait for three hours after your first ‘period of movement’, i.e. exercise, before you can eat, and this can last from 30-45 mins.
Of all Fulton’s ideas, this is the one that puts me off the most, and the one I’ll find the most difficult to do. However, he expressly states you can skip this and follow the rest of the advice if you want to. The idea is to take a cold bath (20c to start, then down to 15c at the end of the six weeks) for up to 15 mins every morning. The primary reasons for taking a cold bath is to stimulate fat burning for the whole day, and improve the look of cellulite. He states some studies for this, but I couldn’t see his citations were actually tied into a study specifically about weight loss, nor did the studies follow his methodology. Please, correct me if I’ve missed something. The timings, temperature and time of day all seem like stabs in the dark, even if they are based on studies, his ideas haven’t been studied themselves, which is very different. Or, at least, he never presents any evidence that people have done this in the past, and lost more weight by doing it. Nevertheless, if you research, you’ll see plenty of people who take cold showers or take winter swims for their health. So, I’m willing to try it.
Fulton cutesily calls exercise ‘periods of movement’, possibly to stop you freaking out about the large amounts he calls for on his plans. On his lowest difficulty, you’ll be doing three ‘periods of movement’ a day, starting with 30 minutes first thing, then another 15 minutes before both of your meals – meaning an hour’s worth in total. The hardest difficulty sees you doing an hour and a half per day. Fulton considers WHEN you do this to be just as important as doing it at all, and employs a technique called ‘hunt and wait’, where you basically exercise for a certain amount of time (i.e. hunt), then rest for the same amount of time (i.e. wait). After this, you need to eat one of your meals – there’s no snacking allowed on this plan! Following his plan, you exercise for 30-45 minutes in the morning, wait three hours and eat, then have your lunch time meal after exercising for 15-30 minutes (and resting for a corresponding amount of time), then eat your evening meal after a 15 minute ‘hunt’, and the same waiting time. Fulton breaks down the best types of exercise in a surprising way, claiming that walking is better than biking, and the exercises that are the least useful (which use the least muscle, basically) are skipping, trampolining or sit ups. Now, sit ups aren’t really exercise as far as I’m concerned, they’re for toning, but I can’t believe that skipping uses less muscle than walking… Nevertheless, if you do at least an hour of ‘movement’ a day for six weeks, and restrict your calorie intake, weight loss is basically guaranteed.
In amongst the tortures of the morning routine is Fulton’s advice to drink black coffee to boost fat burning. It can contain no sugar or milk, or it goes against his advice to skip breakfast. I’d read about caffeine boosting weight loss before, so this one wasn’t out of the blue as far as I’m concerned. He combines it with green tea later in the day, which is something else that’s fairly familiar from weight loss gurus. Even my old favourite, Jillian Michaels, touts the use of caffeine to aid fat burning. Fulton’s suggestion if you don’t like coffee is to buy caffeine pills. Luckily, I’ve never had a problem with a low intake of caffeine.
Protein is king, and carb restriction is the name of the game for this diet, along with cutting out snacks and reducing portion sizes. Every plate should be at least 50% protein, and on the hardest difficulty, you can consume no more than 60g carbs per day. Veggies are not included, but there are some caveats to that (obviously, potatoes and other high carb veg like carrots and corn are not free and unlimited). Fulton tells you to eat no more than 4 iPhones worth of primary carbs a day, but also suggests you reduce your plate size to under 9 inches. I find it easier to actually track the grams properly, because unless you know what you’re doing, it would be very easy to go over the limit on carbs – they are hiding everywhere. To be honest, I found some of his advice conflicting – you can’t have half of your plate as protein if you’re eating unlimited veggies and reducing your plate size to under 9 inches – unless you just shove extra veggies in a bowl somewhere. I get the spirit of what he’s saying, but it felt a bit woolly to me in places. I would have preferred a guideline for the protein as well as for the carbs.
He also suggests you limit your fruit intake, as fruit isn’t as great for you as everyone claims – I’d heard this before too, in the form of the phrase “fruit is just fancy sugar”. On the hardest difficultly, you should eat low-fructose fruit only once a day during your first meal – and, as we all know, tomatoes are a fruit. This will prove fairly difficult for me, as I love to have tomatoes in salad, and I like lots of tomato based meals. I’ll have to bend the rules on this one at times.
Perhaps the thing I find the most galling about the nutrition is the lack of direction – i.e. recipes. He suggests that this is awesome and freeing, because diets are lame and you should create your own recipes, like some kind of skinny, free spirited domestic goddess. However, I call that lazy and corner cutting, especially when his primary audience seem to be teenage girls. After about two years in the weight loss arena, and never having restricted carbs before, I have to say I am totally in the dark as to how to create low carb meals, and some guidelines would have been great. He does list protein items (like yogurt, turkey, cod, etc) and he also does the same for veggies he wants you to avoid, but it wouldn’t have killed him to have given a few meal ideas. Let’s face it, the western diet is full of carbs – that’s why we’re supposedly all fat – and breakfast time especially is a total carb fest. Yogurt and eggs seem to be the safe bet at breakfast… I mean, lunch.
Blowing up balloons
This is another idea out of left field – blowing up balloons last thing at night is claimed to give you a flatter stomach. Of all the things in here, this seems to be the one that most people could do with little effort, commitment or thought – but whether or not it will actually work is another thing. Fulton has a study to back this up (as he does most of his claims), but still, no evidence that this, as part of his plan, will do what he says he does. He says he’s done ‘human experiments’, but doesn’t mention the who, what, when, or how. So it’s down to me, the brave guinea pig, to test this out, I guess.
Join me as I delve into this six week programme, which appears to have been created by the Willy Wonka of the fitness world.