Here’s an excellent article written by Charlotte Geraghty on Fad Diets and why they never work.
In the gym this morning, I overheard two women comparing their diets while reading a “Health and diet” page in some stupid misogynist Women’s Magazine. “Posh only drinks lemon juice and maple syrup”, “Well, Madonna only smells her food, she never swallows it.” They had to be joking, right? Wrong! They left their bike machines with the awful magazine left open on the floor. Right there, gazing up at me was Michelle Heaton generously letting the world in on her slim secret – she licks crisps, but never actually eats them. Wow! What a genius! She should write a book on nutrition!
It’s hilarious. And disgusting. But it did get me thinking, and when I got home I started looking for the most ridiculous diets that I could find. Here are some of the best (worst):
The Cabbage Soup Diet
If you’re a masochist, you‘ll love this one. The basic principle: “Eat nothing but boiled cabbage.” Cabbage is made up of mainly water. And on it’s own, tastes like rotten arse. Which is ironic, because it will keep you on the toilet for hours. Sexy! As your body will quickly go into starvation mode, you probably won’t lose any weight on it. And even if you do, it will pile right back on once you start consuming actual solid food. Which should be soon, if you don’t desire celibacy/IBS/death.
The Lemon Detox Diet
Replacing food with lemon juice and maple syrup mixture. So, as with the cabbage soup diet, you’ll be starving. Nine times out of ten your body will be so desperate for actual food that you’ll subconsciously eat the entire contents of your fridge and cupboards. Complaints include costipation and rotting teeth. Again, so sexy.
The Air Diet
Does what it says on the tin: No eating. This was seriously actually one hundred percent featured in an actual published magazine. WHAT. Basically, you hold your food up to your mouth but instead of consuming it, you just pretend (to yourself and others) to be. You just smell it. This sounds even less satisfying and self deprecating than the well-publicised Mastication Diet, which promotes chewing food before spitting it out. A waste of food and officially the most depressing diet EVER.
The Purple Diet
This diet involves the unique consumption of only purple food. Right. These are the purple foods I can think of off the top of my head: Beetroot (or is that pink?), plums, figs (are they purple?) and that’s literally all I can think of. That took five minutes of my time.
Surely no one can detest themselves so much to put themselves through these horrendous ‘diets’. If you are considering it, ask yourself – why does the diet exist in the first place? BECAUSE THEY DON’T WORK.
What does work is realistic, sustainable lifestyle changes. So here’s a diet that will not only make you lose weight, but will not damage your body or negatively affect your health. I’ve been trying to think of a name for it (The Happy Diet, The Lazy Ladies Diet and The Life Diet were all contenders) but actually, it’s not a diet at all. They’re just a simple, easy set of rules to live by.
The 80/20 Rule
This is slowly becoming very popular, which is good, because it’s a brilliant rule to live by (I do); Eighty percent of what you eat is nutritious, delicious and health friendly. For the remaining twenty per cent you can indulge in whatever takes your fancy. (Within reason, I wouldn’t go absolutely mental with all you can eats and making yourself sick with countless pots of ice cream) Everyone should indulge every so often, call it cheat food if you like, to prevent your body from craving and subsequently causing you to binge and regret.
The Five-a-Day Rule
JUST DO IT. Try including fruit in your breakfast, have it as a snack, or dessert. Try to include vegetables in your lunch and dinner!
The Do NOT Skip Meals Rule
People that skip breakfast as an easy calorie saver are just silly – breakfast kick starts your metabolism and has been proven to contribute to weight loss rather than prolong it. Skipping also makes you more likely over eat later as a way to compensate the loss of calories. I like to think of my metabolism like an engine – The more fuel you put in it, the faster it goes. Keep your metabolism in tip top shape by eating within the first hour of waking and eat meals at regular times: Make sure you snack/have a meal every four hours!
The Beware of Sugar Rule
Unnatural sugar is fattening, ageing and messes with our moods and energy levels. We need glucose for energy, and the best sources of this are low GI (glycaemia) foods. High GI foods include baddies such a refined carbs – white bread and pasta, which send blood levels soaring. Substitute these for the brown varieties. If it’s the ‘sweet sugar’ you struggle with, try substituting for natural sweeteners like honey or fructose (fruit sugar). But, sweeteners are a no-go. Do some research. Anything which is illegal in America cannot be good news…
The Royal Rule
This is a new favourite of mine. The main principle is “Breakfast like a King (speeds up metabolism, wakes you up and keeps you full until lunch. My usual is porridge with banana and cinnamon, a handful of nuts and berries/an apple), Lunch like a Prince (again, stops you snacking) and Dinner like a pauper. The last does NOT mean skip meals or lack of food. Just make it slightly smaller than your lunch. After about five PM your metabolism slows down drastically and can not digest food as well. I’ve heard that going to bed hungry is good but I’m sorry, I refuse to lie in bed wide awake with hunger. So if you do get hungry post dinner, stick to some fruit or Greek yogurt. But sometimes, the hunger is nothing but cravings, so try some peppermint or green tea before the snack attack. It might do the trick!
The Classy Drunk Rule
A lot of ladies enjoy a cheeky tipple now and then. And that’s completely fine! Alcohol can be part of a healthy diet. Avoid high-sugar drinks (alchopops are the worst!) and try a dry white wine or a good quality red. But if you want to be really good, stick to a vodka, lime and soda (the only thing I drink when I go out) – the soda will help to hydrate you, working against the vodka, and the lime is a touch of Vitamin C. Getting vitamins while you party, who says drinking isn’t allowed?