Monday, 27 June 2011

Day 1: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Before and after shots of the soup.


And here's me and Kirsty Allsop doing decoupage this afternoon. Unconnected to the diet, but judging by her face, the gaseous phase might have started already...

Saturday, 25 June 2011

End of the Shangri-la diet, and on to diet #24, the Kick Start Diet, aka 'Aussie Cabbage Soup Diet'

I will grudgingly admit that there may be some logic to the Shangri-la diet. The two-hour, 'taste-free window' twice a day prevented me from eating too much crap, and the spoonful of ELOO stopped me feeling too hungry, and made me feel like I was doing something. Small problem is that the something clearly wasn't enough, as I didn't actually lose any weight...

I have to admit that I didn't actually read the book, so I might have missed out some key things. I can probably guess how it goes, though. Three hundred or so pages: Start by establishing credentials of author (Doctor, Professor, lifestyle coach...) and then slag off all other diets (Atkins, of course, and probably Grapefruit, Weightwatchers, Cabbage Soup and Maple Syrup for good value). A few reminders about drinking water (lots), doing exercise (lots), eating sugar (not a lot), and throw in  some recipes for good measure (the more random ingredients and the worse tasting, the better). I might be being unfair, but I'm willing to stake at least a tenner on it...

On to Diet #24. I've looked at the Cabbage Soup Diet a few times. It's been around since the 80's, and been made famous by various slebs and supermodels, but mostly, it's always the source of ridicule for the other diet writers who I've been *lucky* enough to have read over the last 24 weeks (see above).

Brief explanation, if you've been living under a rock or not read a celebrity magazine recently. Make Cabbage Soup according to widely available recipe, and then on day 1, as much soup as you like, plus as much fruit as you like (excluding bananas). Day 2, unlimited cabbage soup plus vegetables including 1 baked potato with butter. Day 3 unlimited soup plus fruit and vegetables (but not potatoes or bananas), day 4, cabbage soup plus up to eight bananas (!!) and as much skimmed milk as you like. Day 5, soup plus up to 10 ounces of beef and up to six tomatoes, day 6, cabbage soup plus as much beef and vegetables (excluding potatoes) as you like, and then finally, day 7, soup again plus brown rice, vegetables (not potatoes) and unsweetened fruit juice.

I've been avoiding this as it sounds so grim, and is notorious for making the dieter gaseous. Never a good look when you commute on the tube and work in an open plan office. So when Nerissa, my lovely "step-aunty" who's in London from Australia celebrating her 40th birthday, suggested the latest craze sweeping Oz - the The Kick Start Diet - I was excited to find out more. Which is when I realised that it's just the Cabbage Soup Diet but replaced with Tomato Soup. The "Tomato Soup Diet", if you will.

But I've been kind of dying to give this a try, so now's a good excuse to start.

It's literally exactly the same as the cabbage soup diet, above, except with a slightly different soup recipe, and you can replace the beef with chicken (lucky for me, as I'm allergic to beef, but that's a story for another blog).

Here's the recipe for soup:
One packet of powdered soup mix/stock, two 800g cans of tomatoes, 3 large fresh tomatoes, 4 cups of water , bunch of celery, bunch of spring onions, 3 green capsicums (peppers), 2 cups green beans, 1kg carrots. Dice veg, add all ingredients to pot, bring to rapid boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.
Preparation is the key here, and I'm not at all prepared. I'll start after I've been to the supermarket tomorrow to buy the ingredients...

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The Shangri-la Diet, day 3

Drinking extra light olive oil is GROSS. It's warm and gloopy, and tastes disgusting. But for the sake of my blog, I'm still taking two spoonfuls a day, mid-morning and mid-afternoon. That's dedication for you!

I've also learned that the followers of the SLD have their own language. Apparently, you're supposed to refer to the oil as ELOO, and they also have something called "noseclipping", basically where you use a swimming nose clip to stop yourself tasting anything - to add to the disassociation between food and taste. And apparently to really see the full effect, I need to wait until my enzymes adjust to digesting the oil properly. Who knew?

There might be something in this, though. I'm not grazing in the day, and I've just had the smallest dinner and I'm stuffed. And not to put too fine a point on it, the ELOO seems to be speedily aiding the passage of my food...

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Diet #23, The Shangri-la Diet

According to the dictionary, Shangri-la is "a place regarded as an earthly paradise, especially when involving a retreat from the pressures of modern civilization". It seems to me that that any place where I can weigh half a stone less will indeed be "a place of complete bliss and delight and peace". So, you're clearly desperate to know, what diet can be worthy of such a heavenly title? What diet can offer such utter bliss and peace?

In reality, the rules of this diet are disappointingly mundane. Take 100-400 calories of flavourless food, such as light (not extra virgin) olive oil, a couple of times per day, in a 'flavourless window' each day (wait at least an hour after eating, and then wait an hour until eating again...). Other than that, you eat normally. That's it. Simplez.

The diet is based on the fundamental principle of a "set point" - the weight which your body wants to be. When your weight is below the set point, appetite increases, and when it's below the set point, appetite decreases (I think that this may be based on some prehistoric principle that enabled people to eat more at times of plenty, to store fat for leaner times). The creator of this diet is Seth Roberts, a Professor of Psychology at the University of California. He believes that by eating certain foods, you can raise or lower your set point, essentially fooling your body into losing weight. Foods that have a strong flavour-calorie relationship (such as a big mac) can raise the set point, whereas bland foods which are slowly digested (like light olive oil) can lower the set point. The idea is that you break the association between taste and calories.

There's no specific calorie restriction, although the idea is that there will be self-regulation, as appetite decreases, which produces weightloss.

A word of caution, I found this online:
"I’m not sure if this diet is a hoax or not. It’s possible it is a social psychology experiment. Maybe Dr. Roberts had a bet with someone that “anyone can write a popular diet book if they just use the formula".
There's a lot of long words and some graphs at if you want to decide for yourself.

What I can tell you: the olive oil tastes grim, but I haven't eaten for two hours... My start weight hovers around an annoying 10 stone, but this weeks diet should be a breeze compared to Dukan...

Friday, 17 June 2011

Premature end of Dukan

I HATE not being right (see, I can't even say it... "being wrong"), but everyone warned me how difficult this diet would be and they were right.

Protein only, even for five days, is IMPOSSIBLE. On day two, I had eggs for breakfast, three smoked mackeral fillets for a snack, and a whole pack of turkey for lunch. By late afternoon, I felt rubbish, my brain felt like it was on an international phone call with a two-second delay, and my mouth was dryer than sand. Although I'd planned smoked salmon and eggs for supper, I had to add a couple of slices of toast.

No use beating myself up, it was only toast, right? Ignoring the massive bag of smarties that we shared at the cinema afterwards... Only 92 calories per 17 sweets. Fine, until you realise that's about 1500 calories in the packet. But at least I shared them.

Here's some pictures of some protein that I ate. Shangri-la starts on Sunday.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Diet #22: Dukan

A quick note on diet #21, the F2 diet. I really, really like this one, and I would strongly recommend it, as a weightloss plan and as a lifestyle choice. As well as taking the focus off of calories (so it doesn't feel quite as much like dieting), it's healthy, and remarkably un-faddy. Thumbs up from me. Weightloss: 2lbs. Woo hoo!!

Onwards and upwards: The Dukan Diet. This is the newest craze in dietland. Dr Dukan is a French Doctor, who has devised this weightloss plan based on years of observations. It's a bit like Atkins on speed. I work for a French person, and a French person works for me, so you think that I'd be used to the whole crazy-French thing, but this takes it to a whole new level.The book is the driest, most medicalised tome that I have come across so far. In fact, ever! It has no humour, no enthusiasm, no real motivation.

The entire concept is neatly summarised on the back of the book - so why the bloody hell do I have to read all three hundred plus pages? I'll spare you some of the dullest parts, and just try a neat summary, although I might come back and outline some of the most tedious parts, to give you a flavour...

4 Step Programme
Step One: Attack. 2-7 days - eat as much as you want of 72 protein rich foods
Step Two: Cruise. Continue eating protein; add up to 28 vegetables (until desired weight is achieved)
Step Three: Consolidation. Add fruit, bread, cheese and starchy foods, and 2 celebration meals a week
Step Four: Stabilisation. Eat what you like, but follow three "simple" rules, including the "famous" 'Protein Thursdays'.

Yesterday, day 1, I ate two eggs for breakfast, two whole salmon fillets (mid-morning) AND a fillet of sea bream for lunch, plus one fat free natural yoghurt. I also added another 'first' to my purchase list: oatbran - to make the daily Galettes that Dr Dukan has kindly included. I had planned so well - defrosting mince to make burgers for supper - which turned out to be so sloppy I had to add matza meal, which in turn meant I had carbs. In for penny in for a pound, I also had some fruit, and a chocolate finger. Doh!!

Every day is a new day (my new mantra), so I'm starting again today. I've bought cold meat and two types of fish, plus the oatbran to make porridge (the galette's were a DISASTER). Pictures to follow...