The title sounds a little odd for a food blogger, but to be honest I had fallen a little out of love with food of late. I just couldn’t seem to eat what I loved without suffering consequences and so food was lacking its usual lustre.
I have as you know been on every diet under the sun. Compared to your average bear I am quite greedy, I am (was) completely addicted to sugar and I was gaining more poundage every month than I could lose. Most importantly however I was unhappy with it all and dreading heading to Italy – home of the slim, the healthy and the glamorous – feeling less than splendid.
I stumbled across the Harcombe diet in Waterstones and I won’t bore you with all the details but essentially I decided Zoe Harcombe’s regimen may suit me as it promised to banish my dreadful cravings for sugar. There are three phases to grapple with.
Phase one is the most harsh and lasts for only 5 days. This involves eating meat, fish, eggs and veg along with one portion of brown rice a day and a portion of live yogurt each day. The results were for me dramatic – I lost half a stone in that time and after 5 days without any sugar I felt a little more in control. I also felt a brand new sensation – hunger. At first I thought I must be starving myself but as it turns out this is what balanced eaters feel coming up to meal times. Being a constant grazer real hunger has become rather alien to me and so it took a while to realize that this was normal.
Phase two is where you introduce the rest of the dairy family back into your life as well as wheat and fruit – whoop whoop. I welcomed dairy with verve and loved the fact that full fat is king on this way of eating. Lovely creamy full fat butter, creamy cheeses and sinful full fat greek yogurt and indeed double cream made me very happy. For some reason I did not reintroduce wheat – not quite sure why to be honest but I have still not eaten pasta or bread. The main rule in this phase is not to mix fat with carbs. This led to me eating a pretty low carb diet which I was surprised to be happy with. It also made me triple my vegetable intake which can only be a good thing. The other golden rule is to NEVER eat processed food which again is not really a bad thing although vaguely impractical at times.
Phase three is about maintaining your weight and this is where I am at the moment . Phase three rules are simply – don’t cheat too much and don’t cheat too often. So you basically stick to not mixing and not eating processed food most of the time but hey ho if there is a party or you are at a mates house then chill a little and go with the flow. The not mixing rule is easy at home but boy oh boy it is a royal pain in the ass when you are eating out so glad to be able to relax on that a bit – I guess this is the old 80/20 rule. I have genuinely loved eating this way as an average day can look like this, Porridge with banana, cinnamon and oat milk (this is a carb breakfast) then a lovely goats cheese salad for lunch (a fat meal) and in the evening I might eat something like lamb kofta with a huge salad and halloumi followed by berries and double cream (fat meal heaven). And I lose weight on this!!!!
So anyway I am happy and eating well and feel hugely more energetic and healthy. It is the first diet that is sustainable for me yet like an alcoholic I still find sweet treats an issue and there is always an element of willpower going on. Every diet says that it is not a diet but a lifestyle change but to be honest I think that is a pile of poop. This is a diet of sorts, though not one that counts calories, points or any other odd measurement BUT it does take a certain amount of will power. There has been the odd slip up but at last have found a diet that is enjoyable with good results so clambering back on the wagon has not been so onerous. I have lost a stone in a month and am delighted with that and shocked at how little effort it took.
The pictures throughout the blog are a selection of the food I have been eating on this diet – not too shabby don’t you think.
I envy friends who just manage to eat healthily without a second though but that didn’t work out for me in the end and so this is my new way of eating and I hope that I can keep it up.