I first heard about Metabolic Balance® back in 2018. I was instantly intrigued about this program, and hoped to bring it into my clinic at some stage so that I could help my patients create even better, brighter futures. As it turned out, 2020 was the right time, and I certified as a coach in July. And the final part of the training involves putting myself on the program! As someone who has always struggled with my metabolism and found it easy to gain weight (despite being a qualified nutritionist!) I jumped at the chance to experience this world-famous program for myself. Now that I am in my early forties, things certainly aren’t getting any easier, and I also want to avoid any hormonal ups and downs that may have otherwise been heading my way (the program has a great reputation for assisting with all sorts of hormonal issues). After telling my husband about the program, he decided he would jump on board too, as he had been experiencing the dreaded mid-life creeping weight gain.
What Is Metabolic Balance®?
If you are not familiar with Metabolic Balance® then let me enlighten you! The program originated in Germany, and is based around science and common sense – two things that I am a fan of! Metabolic Balance® is all about personalising your nutrition, rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach to health. By using your unique blood test results, the system is able to match to the foods that suit you – and from there, provide you with your very own nutrition plan. The other great thing is that it is NOT actually a diet – it is a lifestyle plan that is designed to correct the underlying reasons you have gained weight in the first place – so you can keep it off for life. Sounds good, huh?
July 2020: Before the Leap…
Getting ready for the program had me somewhat apprehensive. After all – I don’t know which foods are actually going to come up on my plan – and which ones are not going to be ideal for me! Is the program going to be really difficult or stressful? How am I going to juggle shopping and creating meals that fit my personalised plan when we have 5 people in the house and I am running a clinic?
I decided that I would keep an open mind and take a ‘wait and see’ approach, as well as being prepared to try new foods that I may not have eaten before. After all, we do tend to get set in our ways when it comes to our food, don’t we? I certainly find that I often buy the same foods week in, week out, and have certain types of meals that we eat at least once a fortnight. I also promised myself that I would put aside time to plan meals to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible.
Hubby’s main concern with doing the program is the fact that he’ll have to do without beer for a little while! I also admit to enjoying a lovely Sauvignon Blanc/Pinot Grigos or three - however this has become a habit that has been occurring a bit too often. As we move through the phases, we will be able to reintroduce beer (or red wine) in moderate quantities. This will be a great chance for us both to actually notice how we feel without alcohol.
20th July 2020: Blood Tests & Assessments:
The next step in the program is to have a fasting blood test for the 36 values that are used to match our biochemistry to our ideal foods. Hubby and I went and did this the morning after I completed my coaching certification. Unfortunately he forgot that he was supposed to be fasting for 8-12 hours prior to the test and ate a Freddo Frog at midnight, which meant that he had to wait a bit to have his blood sample taken!
As I knew our pathology results would take a day or two to come back, I decided to look at what I could do to start getting ready for the program to make the transition easier. One of the key aspects of the program is drinking enough water – and while I always question my patients about this, when I calculated my own water needs, I certainly wasn’t drinking anywhere near enough! So I have started making a conscious effort to increase my water intake so that it wouldn’t be such a drastic change when I officially started the program.
I also knew that Phase 1 of Metabolic Balance® involves a 2-day detox – which means no coffee! To reduce my chances of adverse effects from caffeine withdrawal during this upcoming phase, I have been gradually decreasing my coffee intake.
Hubby and I also took our pre-program measurements – weight, waist, hip and thigh circumference. Then we worked out our goal weights that we feel are achievable and realistic to maintain, using our Metascan™ Quadscan Body Composition & Cellular Health Analysis tests as a guide.
23rd July 2020
We’ve both received the results of our blood tests, which were very insightful! As I hardly ever need to go to a doctor, I hadn’t had any tests for years, so I was surprised to see that I actually had borderline high cholesterol. My vitamin D was also on the low side, which I hadn’t anticipated, as I aim to get some sunshine daily and also supplement (obviously not as much as I need). Hubby had a few things out of balance on his test too – so not only was the test necessary to create our personalised nutrition plan, it also gave me some really great info about our overall health. Our tests were performed through i-screen, and I love the fact that they provide you with info on what all the test results mean, and a visual of where the results sit on the range so that they are easy to understand.
Sample page of my pathology results
Once our blood test results were entered into the system, our plans were created. These made for interesting reading! I’ve always known that cow’s dairy doesn’t suit me (yet I do still enjoy it!) – unsurprisingly, there was no cow’s dairy on my plan. Yet apparently it agrees with my husband, as his plan included plain yoghurt and a couple of cheese options. There were also quite a lot of foods on my list that I do enjoy (including a lot of veggie varieties that I like to grow in my garden) as well as some foods that I really had never considered trying! So it will be interesting to give some of these a go. On our plan we also were given our quantities that we were to eat for our meals, and we are free to use herbs and spices to jazz things up.
Our next step is to start thinking about our meals, so that we know we are sticking to our foods lists and not leaving things to the last minute. We also downloaded the Metabolic Balance® app, which is free to use, so that we could have our foods list with us when we were out and about.
I received a printed plan with my foods, instructions, information and tips for success
The app is simple to use and includes all my plan info
Plenty of options to choose from the many categories of foods
Having my foods list in my pocket makes shopping a breeze!
27th July 2020
As it turns out, a family function got rescheduled back a week, so my husband opted not to start his plan at the same time I did. Which turned out to be a good thing, as it gave me more time to focus on myself – something I’m not always good at!
Phase 1 of the program is called the ‘Preparation Phase’ and is a simple 2-day wholefoods detox. I made sure I set aside these 2 days as much as I could to just relax and chill. I enjoyed a breakfast of eggs, a lovely hot soup for lunch and stir-fried vegies for dinner – nothing too overwhelming. The main difficulty I found with this phase was having to go without coffee for a couple of days – however I knew that I could enjoy it again shortly!
Other than feeling a little flat and developing a mild headache by the end of the 2nd day, this phase was easy to do. Now – onto Phase 2!
29th July 2020
I was excited to get started on Phase 2 (Strict Conversion Phase). I know from my training that this is where the magic happens – by feeding my body the foods that are best matched to me to provide the nutrients to reset my metabolism.
I won’t lie – this has required a bit of forethought and planning, to ensure I am eating the right things. But I’ve been aiming to cover as many possible solutions as possible – such as buying chicken breast and portioning it out to freeze in case I need a quick go-to, and making batches of soups that I can have ready in a jiffy.
31st July 2020
I'm up to Day 5 and haven’t felt hungry or deprived – I’ve been able to enjoy a wide variety of foods and things like curry powder, garlic and fresh herbs can be freely used to spice up my meals. And I got coffee back! The only thing I am missing at the moment is healthy oils (these are restricted for the first couple of weeks) however I know that I can use oils that came up on my plan (flaxseed, ghee and coconut oil) in just over week. I’m looking forward to that.
Strenuous exercise is actually not recommended during the initial phases of the program (hooray!) so I’ve enjoyed some gentle yoga instead.
4th August 2020
After completing my first week of the program, I was keen to see how my body had responded so I performed a Metascan™ Quadscan Body Composition & Cellular Health Analysis on myself. I was very pleased with the results, as you can see below...
Weight released: 4.2kg
Fat loss: 2.0kg (the rest of the weight loss was predominantly fluid, indicating a healthier balance inside/outside my cells)
Measurements: I'd lost 6cm from around my waist, which is fantastic. Storing weight around the waist increases risk of chronic disease, and using your waist circumference is one of the best ways to monitor your health, and your degree of insulin resistance (which causes you to store carbs as fat instead of burning them). For women, the high-risk category is over 88cm, and for men this is over 102cm. During the COVID lockdown, with the help of some extra home-cooked treats I'd managed to creep up into the high-risk category, but today's measurement was 86cm which has already brought me down to the medium level. The low-risk category of under 80cm is not too far away...
Cellular Health Analysis: I love using the Quadscan to get a good idea of an individual's body fat mass, muscle mass, hydration levels and capacity of cells to function optimally. My scan indicated that my 'phase angle' (one of my cellular health markers) had improved quite significantly - jumping from a 6.1 to a 6.4. While I often see changes in this marker when people are getting healthier and looking after themselves better, it's usually only by 0.1 or 0.2 at a time. So this made me really happy!
Foods I've been enjoying: The first 2 weeks of Phase 2 are the strictest out of the entire program, however on the whole I haven't felt deprived. I love cheese, and while cow's dairy products are not on my list, I have been able to use sheep's feta as well as goat's cream cheese (Aldi have a great one!). I made a very tasty baked feta using zucchini and cherry tomatoes, mixed with some fresh oregano and thyme from my garden. I've also been loving the traditional German breakfast called 'mandelade' - which sounds posh but is really just some soaked almonds and sunflower seeds mixed with a grated apple and topped with cinnamon. Mmmmmm! The program really is just about making 3 meals a day of real food - which is simple to do with a bit of forethought.
Other benefits: One of the great things about this program is the other 'side effects' that commonly occur. I've certainly noticed an energy boost, particularly on the weekend. My mental clarity has improved too, which I think is quite impressive in just one week.
10th August 2020
My second week of the program has run pretty smoothly - by now I am familiar with how I need to eat and have finally mastered the habit of drinking enough water throughout the day.
Weight released to date: 5.8kg
Fat loss to date: 4.7kg. I've been really pleased with this week's changes - 2.7kg of fat since last week. My muscle mass has stayed steady which is good for my overall health and energy.
Measurements to date: 7cm off my waist, 2cm off my hips. I've definitely started to notice a difference in how my clothes are fitting!
Cellular Health Analysis: My cellular health dropped back a bit this week, which I suspect is due to a lack of sleep following a household emergency on the weekend involving several trips to the local hospital during the night. The great thing about looking at cellular health in addition to body composition is that we truly do get a good overall picture about how certain factors (such as stress, sleep and even travel) can affect our body. I'll be interested to see what my parameters are saying next week.
Foods I've been enjoying: This week I've enjoyed a beautifully cooked steak, as well as some grilled chicken, and because the weather has been cool I whipped up a smoky chickpea and pumpkin soup in my slow cooker.
Other benefits: This past week has certainly been where I have noticed a boost to my mental health. I feel clearer, happier and my sleep (other than when it was disrupted by the recent emergency) has been solid.
17th August 2020
Week 3 has seen me really getting used to the program - and it has gotten easier over time! I haven't felt hungry, nor have I experienced any cravings. I've been enjoying some foods that appeared on my foods list that I normally wouldn't have used (such as kohlrabi and scallops).
Weight released to date: 8.1kg
Fat loss to date: 7.3kg
Measurements to date: 10cm off my waist, 7cm off my hips.
2th August 2020
Weight released to date: Just under 10kg!
Fat loss to date: 7.3kg - same as last week. This week it appears I've released some extra fluid, which is a sign that inflammation in my system has reduced (a good thing)
Foods I've been enjoying: Now that I've completed 4 weeks of Phase 2, I get the opportunity to enjoy a 'treat meal' - a deviation from the plan, and a chance to challenge my metabolism. Strangely enough, my tastebuds have changed since starting the program, and I could actually take or leave having a treat meal! We're going away on the weekend to visit my parents who are holidaying at the coast, so it is good to know we can all go out for dinner or lunch easily.
NOTE: Of course, please keep in mind that with any nutrition or fitness program, results can vary, and everybody is different. This article is simply a reflection of my experience!