Be warned – this is a loooong post!
I started this year probably like most people – a little heavier after the Christmas season.
My husband and I are so terrible at sticking to diets though. Most years we’ll try our best to diet for the month of November. The end of November is our anniversary and we usually go away for a night or two to a nice hotel – so it’s nice to have an occasion to keep us motivated, whilst also having a bit of leeway for Christmas.
We didn’t do it last year. No idea why. We tried to be ‘healthier’ a few times (which really means cutting out the naughty snacks, since most of our meals are pretty healthy and balanced – albeit on the large size), but didn’t really get as far as losing any weight.
Our New Year’s resolution this year was to forget about dieting, and to simply eat more mindfully:
- Stop eating when we’re not actually hungry
- Reduce portion sizes at mealtimes
- Be aware when a chocolate craving is just a craving. If you really really need some, than have some – just don’t mindlessly gobble down 3 bars of chocolate
- Stop snacking late in the evening. Instead, have something small after tea if you feel you really need it
- Stop or at least reduce the takeaway sandwiches at lunchtime
- Try to save that bit of cake you fancy for the weekends
I totally stand by those principles, and I think they’ll help us to maintain or even lose a little weight, without feeling like we’re on a diet.
However, 3 weeks into January, I found I wasn’t sticking to them.
Weeks 1 and 2 were ok, although we did eat a bit too much chocolate, and I did end up making late night ‘pudding’ a couple of times.
Week 3 was a disaster! Chris was away in India on Business and I consoled myself by eating loads of chocolate, too much pasta, and even taking the kids to McDonalds for a mid-week treat (like I didn’t enjoy that quarter pounder with cheese and fries smeared in ketchup).
All that meant that I was still at the same weight 3 weeks into our ‘new lifestyle’ as I was straight after Christmas. I felt fat, my clothes were tight, and I had a muffin top. Running at the gym was harder, and when I did persuade myself to go, I went in baggy tracksuit bottoms, instead of my lovely, fitted running clothes. I couldn’t bear the thought of skin-tight leggings.
So I decided to pause my New Year’s resolution and actually diet.
Whilst I’d love to lose a stone (although if I did it would be the lightest I’ve been in 15 years), I decided I’d be happy losing 5lbs. Once I’d got that out of the way I could go back to my New Year’s resolution.
My problem with this dieting business is that I get bored. Slimming World is probably the only diet I’ve been really successful with in the past – due to it’s flexibility. Even then I was only successful when I went to the classes and got weighed. If I tried to do it at home I’d fail because no-one was watching me.
I was having a think about the different diets I could try, and I came across an article about a guy who did 10 diets in 50 days. He easily got bored of dieting, so decided to spend 5 days on each diet before moving on to the next. He even wrote a book about it: Minimize Me: 10 Diets to Lose 25 lbs in 50 Days <<–affiliate link
The diet struck a chord with me. 25lbs (and 50 days!) is too much for me, but I loved the idea. So I decided to do 10 diets in 10 days. Yes that’s right, just one day for each diet.
My husband and mum weren’t convinced. I only told a few other people – who reserved judgment!
Now, I’m not recommending that this is the diet for you. But I thought it’d be interesting to document my experience, meals and weight loss as a way to keep me on track and accountable for this ridiculous diet.
No-need to skip right down to the end of the article to reach the conclusion. I’ll tell you right now….
It actually worked. I lost the 5lbs in 9 days. Which meant the diet stopped a day early! Yay!! Now I’ve just got to keep it off!
Here are the list of diets I tried:
- Day 1 – the 5:2 diet
- Day 2 – Atkins
- Day 3 – Slimming World
- Day 4 – Nutriblast (from the Nutriblast smoothie book)
- Day 5 – Special K
- Day 6 – NHS
- Day 7 – Slimfast
- Day 8 – Weight Watchers
- Day 9 – Following my own ‘mindful’ principles (see New Year’s resolution above)
- Didn’t do day 10 as I reached my target – but if I had continued it would have been: Day 10 – Paleo
5:2 diet – Principle – Eat what you like for 5 days of the week, stick to 500 calories (600 for men) two days of the week. Obviously I followed one of the 500 cal days.
Surprisingly, I found today pretty easy. I just had a coffee to keep me going till lunch time, and that was fine. I even nipped to the gym for a 30 minute workout after taking the kids to school. In reality I was probably still full from the large Lancashire Hotpot we had for tea last night, plus a couple of vanilla slices I’d been baking, plus the cream egg I ate in the evening…..
So even though I was ok in the morning, I don’t think I’d have survived until dinner time – which was why I decided to have two very low cal meals instead of one larger meal.
What I consumed:
Coffee with 100ml semi skimmed milk (49 cals)
Spicy breakfast eggs with kale (205 cals)
Weight loss – 2lbs
Atkins Diet – I followed Atkins phase 1 which meant no more than 20g carbs (at least 12g of these from veg). There is a strict list of foods you’re allowed for phase 1.
I thought today was going to be easy. Bacon, eggs, cheese, beef, cream, a bit of veg – should have been no problem after managing yesterday.
I was miserable though!!
I was hungry the minute I woke up (usually it takes me a couple of hours to get hungry). I had to photograph my breakfast for the blog (not good when you’re this hungry) and by the end of the day I was left feeling unsatisfied and craving cake and toast. I still had a few carbs left after tea, but I was too grumpy to bother using them on something I didn’t fancy anyway.
My only highlights were the Parmesan courgette fries with dippy egg, and the leek and mushroom gratin.
There’s no way I would have stuck this out longer than a day.
What I consumed:
Breakfast: 3.5g carbs
3 rashers bacon cooked in 1tsp olive oil (0.2g carbs)
Parmesan courgette fries (20g parmesan – 1.8g carbs, 115g courgette – 1.5g carbs)
1 soft boiled egg
2 cups coffee with splash of almond milk
Lunch: 1g carbs
Carb free pancakes (actually more of a sweet thin omelette) – 2 eggs blended with 3 tbsp double cream, cooked in a little butter
Topped with 1/2 sachet splenda (0.5g carbs) and 1 tsp lemon juice (0.5g carbs)
Dinner: 9.95g carbs
250g beef rump joint cooked with 1 tsp oil (0.2g carbs), salt and black pepper
Leek and mushroom gratin (9.75g carbs) – See end of this post for the recipe
I didn’t have my planned snack because I was too grumpy – but I would have had:
Snack: 5.2g carbs
3 sticks of celery (2.4g carbs)
1/2 an avocado (1.8g carbs) mashed with a hard boiled egg, 1 tsp lemon juice (0.5g carbs) and 1/2 clove garlic (0.5g carbs)
Weight loss: ½ a pound
Slimming world – I followed the extra easy plan which allows lots of unlimited lean meat, fish, pasta, potatoes, fruit and veg. Also you should:
-Ensure a third of your plate is non-starchy veg
-Stick to a limited amount of dairy and breads/cereals – the slimming world book provides a list of what you’re allowed (These are called ‘healthy extra’s – I’ve marked them below)
-Limit sweets/chocs/cake – 10 ‘syns’ are allowed
Again, I woke up ravenous. I dropped the kids off at school and raced back to enjoy my fruit and porridge with no distractions. Never has a piece of apple, or porridge (without honey) tasted so good.
After eating breakfast and a coffee I felt back to normal again.
Lunch was a delicious ‘syn-free’ egg bacon and quinoa salad with a fat-free garlicky coriander dip. I didn’t put it on the blog, but here’s a picture:
I made some fruit and nut granola bars in the afternoon and used up my syn-allowance on one of those. I used raw honey rather than sugar to make them, but that first taste of sweetness was the best thing ever. I could have eaten 5!!
I managed to get through the rest of the afternoon without feeling too hungry, but I was ready for my Salmon with pasta dinner (this recipe – but without the cream, oil or cheese).
I was nicely satisfied for the rest of the evening, which left me dreading weigh-in tomorrow. Have I put it all back on again?
What I consumed:
Porridge oats (Healthy choice 1) with milk (Healthy choice 2), topped with chopped apple and berries
Lunch: chopped egg, bacon and quinoa salad with syn free dressing (50g fat free Greek yogurt, 1/2 clove garlic, 1 tsp lemon juice, pinch of salt, 1/4 tsp canderel, 1 tbsp coriander)
Dinner: regular and courgette pasta with salmon in tomato sauce – same as this recipe minus the cream and sugar replacing the oil with frylight
Snack: no bake nut and raisin granola bar (8.5 Sins)
Weight loss: ¾ of a pound (pleasantly surprised at that!)
Nutrablast diet- I followed stage 1 of the nutriblast program – which allows you a smoothie for breakfast, then you choose 1 of 3 options for lunch, then choose 1 of 3 options for dinner. You can also have 2 snacks out of the defined list of 6.
Can’t believe I was actually lighter this morning! I know you’re not supposed to weigh yourself every morning, but I can’t help it!! I was a little hungry when I woke up, but I still managed to take the kids to school, nip to the supermarket, make my smoothie and photograph it before consuming my breakfast. It was tasty. Filling, not too sweet, and kept me going until lunch (which I was dreading).
Brocolli and quinoa on a wholemeal wrap for lunch? Eugh sounds horrible.
It was actually a lot better than I thought it’d be, and filled me up for a couple of hours
I then tried out the prescribed snacks. You’re allowed two, so I started with the banana ice cream: Whizzed up frozen bananas in their skins with a little almond milk. Yuk! Went straight in the bin.
Next was plain popcorn – popped at home without oil, butter or sugar. I ate most of it, but it was just like eating packing polystyrene.
My last snack (since I didn’t eat the ice cream) was some raw cacao nibs with a few raisins. Have you tried cacao nibs? They smell like chocolate, but they’re so bitter. Kind of like eating a Cadbury flake with all the life sucked out. I still ate most of it though. The slightest hint of bitter chocolate taste was enough to keep me going back.
I also had a coffee with almond milk – which just wasn’t the same as having it with proper milk.
Dinner was just chicken breast with a green undressed salad. Depressing. This is another diet I couldn’t stick to for more than a day.
What I consumed:
Breakfast: nutriblast smoothie:
Kale, pineapple, banana, avocado + almonds and chia seeds
1 cup of plain popcorn (popped at home with no oil)
Quinoa asparagus wrap with a dressing of 1 tbsp. of lemon juice mixed with 1 tbso aioli. Also 2 cups raw veggies
Or 1/2 oz cacao nibs with 1 tbsp raisins
4oz chicken breast and salad greens
Weight loss: ¾ pound
Special K: Special K for breakfast and lunch, Special K snack x 2, sensible dinner
I was supposed to go to spin class this morning, but schools were closed due to snow, so I had to stay at home. So glad! I’m not sure I’d have had the energy for a spin class. I was considering having a bit of dry cereal before going just so I didn’t pass out.
As it was, I held out until 10am before having breakfast. I felt satisfied and happy after eating my bowl of Special K and a nice cup of coffee.
I was a bit peckish before lunch, so I had one of the special K snack bars. It tasted really sweet after the recent lack of sugar, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I was ok with the bowl of Special K for lunch. My husband was considering making himself a ham and cheese toastie, but my evil look was enough to put him off.
I later had another Special K snack bar.
Dinner was a sticky beef stir fry with loads of veg and a bit of quinoa. I quite enjoyed the diet today.
Apart from dinner, I didn’t have to think about what I was eating – or spend time preparing it. Dinner was tasty, and the flexibility meant I could make the same thing for the rest of the family too.
I could probably stick to this diet for a few days before I got completely sick of cereal.
What I consumed:
Special K and semi skimmed milk
Special K bar
Special K and semi skimmed milk
Special K bites
Sticky beef stir fry with Quinoa
Weight loss: 0lbs (rubbish!! I knew my weight loss would slow down after a few days but still disappointed)
NHS Diet – 1400 calories, most on fruit & veg and bread, rice, potato, pasta, less on meat and dairy, small amount on v fatty/sweet foods.
Since it was the weekend, we decided at the last minute to treat the kids and go out for sushi followed by the cinema, so I ended up eating a completely different set of foods to the one I’d planned. Fortunately I was doing the NHS diet, which meant I could be flexible. It meant I could have sushi with everyone else, and I got to have a chocolate bar at the cinema.
I had a light dinner of soup with a bit of bread and some strawberries.
All in all, an enjoyable day.
I enjoyed the food and didn’t feel hungry or deprived, but I did feel like a bit of a bore when I was working out calorie amounts in the restaurant.
I could probably stick this diet out for longer, but I find the calorie counting too time consuming for me.
Breakfast: 1 banana = 100 calories
Lunch: Sushi restaurant – picked from menu up to a total of 600 calories
Snack: Chocolate bar (twirl @ 230 cals)
Dinner: Cheese and lentil soup (212 cals) with wholemeal bread (150 cals)
Snack: punnet of strawberries (100 cals)
Weight loss: ½ pound (wow, I had chocolate and still lost a bit of weight! Very happy with that!)
Slimfast diet – shake for breakfast and lunch, 2 x slimfast snacks, 600 cal dinner
I haven’t had a slimfast shake in years, and they are really sweet!!
I had a coffee shake for breakfast, which filled me up until lunchtime.
Then I had a coffee shake and a packet of slimfast cheese crackers for lunch. My daughter was sitting next to me at lunch and asked me why I was drinking milkshake instead of having a sandwich & chopped up veg with her. I actually felt a little ashamed. There she was eating a healthy, balanced lunch, and I was showing her that it was ok for mummy to have milkshakes and crackers. Of course I don’t want to fill her head with talk of diets and weight loss. She’s perfect and I don’t want the thought of dieting to enter her head. So I told her that I was doing an experiment to look at the right way of eating compared to the wrong way of eating, and that today was a ‘wrong’ day, and I certainly wouldn’t be doing it again. She agreed that it looked pretty silly.
As I thought about it, I realised what I’d said to my daughter was – in my opinion – exactly right.
The one good thing about this diet was that I could have a healthy, flexible dinner, that the whole family could eat. However, this isn’t one I’ll be doing again.
What I consumed:
Slimfast shake and a packet of slimfast crackers (snack no.1)
Snack no 2:
Slimfast chocolate snack bar
Trout, quinoa, roasted veg and feta (494 cals) and a banana (100 cals)
Weight loss: 0 lbs (I’m sure I would have lost more if I’d have done Slimfast at the beginning of my diet, but still disappointed).
Weight watchers – Based on my height and weight I was allowed 20 ‘points plus’. The points are worked out based on calories/fat etc. Most fruit and veg are zero points plus.
I have never tried the Weight Watchers diet before, and I have to say, it was ok. Fruit and veg are positively encouraged, and you can basically eat what you like, so long as you stick to the set amount of points.
I enjoyed everything I ate, didn’t feel too hungry, and again, I got to eat the same meal for dinner as the rest of my family.
My only annoyance with this diet, is that working out or finding out the points value of foods can be a right pain. I’m sure this is a lot easier if you’re a Weight Watchers member – where you get access to points databases etc. For someone just trying it out for the day though it wasn’t easy.
What I consumed:
Blueberry, apple and banana fruit bowl
Supermarket chicken noodle salad – 9 points plus
WW lemon slice – 2 points plus
Total: 18.2 points plus
Weight loss: 0 lbs (grrr I just want to get to my 5lbs now so I can stop with all the measuring, looking up points/syns/calories etc)
Day 9 – Following my own ‘mindful’ principles
Yay! I finally felt I was free to choose what I wanted to eat today. I was worried that I might be too lenient on myself without having strict guidelines to follow, but I think I did ok. We went round to my mum-in-laws for dinner, as we usually do once a week. Last week I decided not to go round – since I was following a strict diet that day. I hated missing out! Mum-in-law always serves up something delicious-but-healthy, so it was great knowing that I didn’t have to miss out this time.
What I consumed:
2 tbsp homemade coconut macaroon granola with Greek yogurt and mixed berries (no honey though)
2 poached eggs on toast and some carrot sticks
An apple and a handful of sugarsnap peas
Chicken Tikka with a few of spoonfuls of spiced potatoes with spinach and cauliflower
Weight loss: ½ a pound. Hooray!!! 5lbs in 9 days.
I feels great to have reached my target the day after following the kind of diet I want to stick to. It was a crazy 9 days that took a lot of planning.
Overall my favourites were day 9 (my ‘mindful principles diet’ and day 6 (the NHS 1400 cals diet). My worst days were day 2 (Atkins – far too restrictive, and I need carbs) and day 7 (slimfast – I still feel a little stupid when I think back to the conversation with my daughter).
Day 10 – Since I reached my target, I didn’t do day 10, but here’s what I would have had:
Paleo principles: – EAT – Grass-fed meats, Fish/seafood, Fresh fruits, Fresh vegetables, Eggs, Nuts, Seeds, Healthy oils (olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut) DON’T EAT – Cereal grains, Legumes (including peanuts), Dairy, Refined sugar, Potatoes, Processed foods, Overly salty foods, Refined vegetable oils, Candy/junk/processed food
Fried eggs and bacon
Mushroom, chilli, lime, coconut and almond butter soup (+ veg)
Slow cooked lamb coconut curry with cauliflower rice and green veg
Carrot sticks and blueberries
Also as promised, here’s the recipe for the Leek & Mushroom Gratin from day 2:
- 1 tbsp. olive oil 0g carbs
- 200g leek, thinly sliced - 13.6g carbs (internet resources show very different carb counts for leeks. However, I took my carb count directly from the Atkins phase 1 page).
- 100g mushrooms, thinly sliced 3.6g carbs
- 1 clove garlic, chopped 0.9g carbs
- 2 tbsps double cream - you can have a little cream on Atkins phase 1 - supposedly just for beverages - ....so I may have taken advantage
- 60g cheddar grated 0.8g carbs
- pinch of black pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 0.1g carbs
- Heat the oil in a medium frying pan and add in the leeks and mushrooms. Fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes until the leek has wilted and the mushrooms have softened. Add in the garlic and cream and stir. Cook for 1 minute. Add in half the cheese and stir.
- Transfer the gratin to a heat-proof dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the black pepper. Grill until the cheese melts and starts to go golden.
- Carefully remove from the grill, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.