Alevere: A New Blog, a new challenge
Two years ago, after the third of three failed engagements had left me in floods of tears, I decided to abandon all hope of finding love, and take solace in food instead. I gorged myself on pizza and doughnuts, pancakes and chocolate. Slowly, the weight crept on, and I went from a svelte size 8 to an obese size 16.
On New Year's Day this year, weighing 12 stone at 5'2", I knew I had to lose the weight - but I didn't know how. I went vegan, but although the pounds came off initially, my weight then plateaued for weeks, despite the fact that I was only eating 1,000 calories a day. Demoralised, I went back to my bad old eating habits.
I also tried the Atkins diet, and an Eastern European diet a friend recommended where you only get to eat one food group a day (vegetables one day, eggs another, and so on). I started going to the gym regularly, and hired a personal trainer. Nothing worked, and I began to feel depressed. I was desperate to return to a size 8 and feel like my old self again.
Then I saw a diet called Alevere advertised on the tube, with amazing before and after photos of patients who had lost an incredible amount of weight in a very short space of time. Intrigued, I made enquiries, and had a phone call with Jill, the manager of the Alevere clinic in central London. She invited me in for a chat.
The next day, I visited the very glamorous clinic near Bond Street, just off chic St Christopher's Place. Jill was friendly and helpful (and reassuringly slim, having used Alevere therapy herself!) She talked me through the diet and showed me two futuristic non-surgical machines that would remove fat, tighten and contour my skin.
'You don't look as though you have much weight to lose,' she said kindly. Like most overweight people, I dress in dark colours and loose clothes to hide the flab, but am over three stone overweight. As a journalist and stand-up comedian, I regularly perform in front of large audiences - all the more incentive to lose the weight and try the diet. 'Alevere really does work,' Jill assured me.
She gave me a leaflet which explained exactly which foods I could eat and when. It featured a list of 'unlimited' vegetables, including celery and aubergine, and 'limited' vegetables and fruit, such as carrots and strawberries. You can eat these in addition to specified sachets, and unlimited amounts of certain drinks. I was relieved to find the diet was varied, and not as restrictive as I'd thought.
After the meeting, I was raring to start the therapy. Jill estimated that I would lose a stone a month, which would allow me to get back into my size 8 clothes by the end of the year. I can't wait to give all my outsized clothes to a charity shop and buy some new outfits to emphasise my curves rather than hide my bulges.
I have my consultation with a doctor on Monday. She will check my weight, height and body fat, work out how much I should weigh, and how long it will take to reach my target. As the diet is strictly medically supervised, I will also have a series of blood tests, and my blood pressure will be taken on a regular basis.
After meeting Jill, I felt very hopeful and optimistic about the future. I know the diet will take will power and determination, and will mean a radical overhaul of my eating habits - but I also know that it will do me good, and that losing weight will most likely add years to my life.
It may not be easy, but I'm ready for the challenge.
Ariane Sherine is a journalist and stand-up comedian. She will be blogging weekly about her weight loss journey on Alevere.