The Eat What You Want diet: 10 things you need to know
It’s totally possible to eat what you want and still lose weight; you just need to learn the right tricks, says Dr Jean-Michel Cohen, author of The Parisian Diet. Clue up on why you should concentrate on what you can eat and you’ll soon see rewards.
1 Pleasure is key to weight loss – after all, life is for living
Pleasure is very important during a diet. The appeal of The Parisian Diet is that it’s based around pleasure, with different diet phases given indulgent-sounding names (Café, Bistro and Gourmet) and nothing at all – bread, wine, potatoes, even chocolate – is forbidden. Yet, you can still lose up to 30lb in a month.
2 ‘Miracle’ diets are restrictive, making them unsustainable
Every year there’s a new so-called miracle diet, which is always very restrictive. The better system to lose weight is first to protect your pleasure. Then reduce your calories and set a realistic target weight that you can keep stable for life.
3 You’re more likely to give up a diet if you’re unhappy – nobody wants to be starving and miserable
The main problem is that when you start a diet you feel sad, so you give it up. But then you feel guilty and eat more. You don’t have to feel guilty – it’s normal to break your diet, because with restrictive diets it’s impossible to follow them for long.
4 Successful weight loss isn’t one-size-fits-all – this time, it’s personal!
All diets reduce calorie intake – they’re just wrapped in different marketing. The better diet is the diet you can do for a long time – it must fit to you. It’s all about your happy weight – a term used a lot, but, arguably, rarely understood.
5 It’s better to be individual than a skinny copy of someone else
Our ideal weight is, more often than not, the weight we were at 20 – we shouldn’t be influenced by super-skinny models and celebrities. As people lose weight and feel better about themselves, they often change this target, which ends up being more than initially thought.
6 Rely on your common sense
We have lost our common sense approach to food due to the miracle diets being relentlessly marketed at us and all the different food messages we receive daily. Everyone believes they eat what they want to eat, but we are influenced by so many factors – what we hear on the radio, watch on TV, see colleagues eating in the canteen – we eat what the food industry wants us to eat.
7 You don’t have to cut out your favourite foods
To lose weight you need to cut calories – it’s easier to do this by reducing fat than sugar, because fat is nine calories per gram while sugar is four calories per gram. Everyone wants to avoid talking calories these days, but they are the main thing to consider if you want to lose weight. Accordingly, during The Parisian Diet Gourmet phase, you can enjoy hot chocolate for breakfast as long as it’s made with skimmed milk.
8 Being a food snob means you’ll eat less
With wine, drink it like a French person – which means thinking of it like a food and appreciating the quality, not drinking it in huge glasses. Similarly, it’s fine to eat chocolate as long as you limit yourself to a square or two and keep it dark (minimum 70% cocoa solids).
9 You can outsmart your cravings
Particularly helpful for those of use who, when faced with chocolate, can’t resist having the lot. Chocolate contains so much caffeine – the equivalent of a cup of coffee – and that’s why we crave it in the afternoon. So have a black coffee instead. If a coffee, tea or infusion doesn’t stop the craving, have an apple or a boiled egg.
10 Equally, if you cave, you can still recover
If you are still really craving it, have as much as you want – but you must do the Recovery diet the following day. Recovery simply involves swapping one of your main meals the next day for either two hardboiled eggs (whites only) or unlimited quantities of raw or steamed green veg (cooked without fat) or a fat-free yoghurt. So if you really want to indulge you still can – just balance it out later.