Our health editor Roxanne Fisher took on the 9-day Summer Diet challenge and finished 4lbs lighter, energised and with 27 new recipes in her repertoire…
I hate fad diets but love the promise of an eating plan. Having worked with Jennifer Irvine and our cookery team to put the Summer Diet Plan into fruition I was excited to give it a try.
I had recently signed up for a half marathon, which had made me revolt and eat all the wrong foods. Despite all this exercise I was feeling tired and certainly did not have summer skin after a damp squib of a spring. Armed with a new set of Tupperware and more herbs than an allotment I threw myself head first into the Summer Diet Plan. Here’s how I got on…
- Stocking the cupboards. I did my first shop online and had my storecupboard staples and everything for the first three days delivered the Friday before I started. Filling the fridge with so many delicious, and in some cases intriguing, ingredients gave me a real appetite to get started. I had the second shop delivered on the evening of day three and found this ensured everything stayed fresh and within the use by dates.
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- Clever cook. There’s no escaping the fact you’ll be in the kitchen quite a bit – though all the recipes were quick and easy to make. With a little organisation it was easy to fit the plan around my work and social life. I found making the lunches the night before took any stress out of the weekday mornings, and I also set out all the pots and pans I’d need for breakfast the next day.
- Make the most of leftovers. I hardly had to buy any additional snacks throughout the week as I made the most of leftovers. I’ve made a note below of the extra ingredients you might find yourself with, in case you want to do the same.
- Getting the most from the plan. If you want to use the plan as a kick-start to eating a little healthier and discover some new dishes that’s great. But if you’d like to take things a step further, try cutting back on the caffeine and alcohol and introducing some exercise over the nine days. The results will be that much greater if you do.
My nine days…
Starting on a weekend meant I had a chance to get used to the new regime. I took my time over all the recipes, tidying as I went. By Sunday I was in the swing of things and packed up the wrap for my first work lunch. By the end of the three days the plan had done exactly as promised. I was feeling bloat-free, even after lunch when I usually would feel lethargic and over-fed, plus I had already lost 2lbs. It was probably water weight but still, it was a strong incentive to carry on.
My snack leftovers:
Day 1: Spare oatcakes with a dollop of almond butter
Day 2: Half a mango drizzled with remaining coconut milk. Butternut & harissa hummus made from leftover butternut sqush.
Day 3: Tuna salad – made by adding leftover peas, sweetcorn and tuna.
My favourite recipe: Prawn, butternut & mango curry
Even though this section of the plan started with my new favourite breakfast, I found these middle days the toughest. However, as well as having lost a couple of pounds I was noticing how easy it was becoming to get up in the morning and felt my energy levels creeping up, so I knew it was working.
My snack leftovers:
Day 4: Half a lemon with warm water. Remaining strawberries with natural yogurt and leftover tabbouleh from falafels.
Day 5: Leftover pineapple with small handful unsalted cashew nuts. Slice of rye bread with remaining avocado.
Day 6: Last of the butternut squash hummus with oatcakes.
My favourite recipe: Vanilla-almond chia breakfast bowl
Usually, by the end of an eating plan I’m looking forward to the moment I can break it. This time, I was looking forward to re-making my favourite dishes from the plan. Miraculously, my sweet tooth had been silenced, I was waking up easily and I was never hungry. Feeling so good made the final push easy. I did break my no-booze rule on the sunny Saturday, but only moderately, and still felt bright and breezy the next morning.
My snack leftovers:
Day 7: Sugar snap peas. Half a grapefruit.
Day 8: Leftover bean salad from the Cajun chicken. Small glass of orange juice.
Day 9: Mix of pumpkin seeds, pistachios and cashew nuts. Remaining raspberries
My favourite recipe: Marinated grilled lamb cutlets with creamed corn
Weighing myself on Monday morning I was amazed to see I’d lost 4lbs. I hadn’t felt hungry once on the plan and the motivation to continue eating well was stronger than ever before. I had even, for the first time ever, kicked the habit of having chocolate in the afternoon and evenings.
Waking up in the morning was now so easy I was getting up before my alarm, and my skin was finally showing signs of being ready for summer. I also have some new favourite recipes in my arsenal - I couldn't recommend it enough.
Try it yourself - sign up to the FREE Summer Diet Plan plan today.
Are you going to be following the Summer Diet Plan? We’d love to know how you’re getting on. Let us know below or on Facebook and twitter with the hashtag #GoodFoodSDP