This for me is the yardstick of a good diet: it doesn't feel like I'm ‘dieting' in the slightest; it just feels like I'm eating well. The rest falls into place: I’m not painfully hungry all day, I don’t struggle to focus, I don’t crave sugar. Most crucially of all, when I am eating well, I don’t think about food - I merely consume it, without thoughts of it consuming me.
In theory, eating well should be a doddle for me because I know the rules. I know my plate should be mostly protein and plants, with a little fat and some other bits besides. I know I should eat thrice daily, with no snacks. I know sugar is verboten if I want to feel and look good. I know all that, and yet when left to my own devices when busy, I find achieving a balanced diet perilously difficult. I’ll grab a carb-heavy Pret sandwich in haste instead of cooking, seek out sugar at 4pm instead of listening to my body’s signals to take a break, quickly say yes to pudding before I’ve had a chance to realise that actually my body is perfectly satisfied after mains.
In short, life gets in the way of my eating a balanced diet at times and that aforementioned busy frenetic to-ing and fro-ing means that my time and energy is spent elsewhere, and sniffing out good quality food that will sustain me becomes secondary.
This is why model and nutritional therapist , in which balanced meals minus caffeine, sugar, deadly nightshades (among which are tomatoes, aubergine, courgette and goji berries), alcohol, wheat, and dairy are delivered directly to your house nightly, appealed to me. The prospect of my week’s food magically appearing assembled and thought out so that I can crack on with my week assured that what I’m eating is healthy and won’t leave me hungry or with dips in my blood sugars is basically my kind of fast food. And if I could add an element of feeling fresh by Friday, , all the better. So I tried it. Here’s what I found.
Day One. I’m working from home today, so am prepared for any sugar dips as my body acclimatises to operating on lower GI foods. Breakfast is buckwheat toast with almond butter, pomegranates and chia seeds, followed by a ‘snack’ of green powders dissolved in water. The former is delicious, the latter less so, but I glug it down and get on with the day.
Lunch is a cauliflower steak with salad, and I am reminded of how very excessive my usual portions are. Given the relative paucity of food on my plate, I’m not hungry for a good two hours, by which time I have a little pot of nuts and seeds to eat. Dinner is a chickpea and lentil dhal, and I down my probiotic before bed, and fall asleep feeling satisfied, but not stuffed.
Day Two. Before heading into the office, I pack all my boxes into a bag and hope to high heaven they’ll be enough to sustain me through my busy day. There’s something inexplicably nerve-wracking about having all the food I’ll eat that day in one single bag, and I find myself wondering how much of what I eat is as the result of an emotional rather than physical need.
By 6pm, I’ve eaten my coconut and berry yoghurt (delicious), buckwheat and lentil salad (even more delicious), and have finished my meetings for the day without any wobbles when I realise that the pot of ingredients that’ll make my evening miso with pak choi soup is in need of boiling water. Thankfully, a kind member of the Pret team on Grosvenor Street kindly fills me up, and I wolf down the contents in the chilly night air before going to the theatre.
After the show, I am tempted by the idea of a glass of wine with my friend and get through the craving by insisting we go for a long walk around Soho instead. Perhaps this is how models find the impetus to exercise so often?
Day Three. This is a fluid only day, so two soups, two smoothies, and some juices comprise my entire day’s food. This is daunting to me, a feeling which is compounded by having my period, which usually sees me lying in my bed in agony, hot water bottle pressed to my stomach, chocolate bar always within reach.
But I’m oddly sprightly, attending a very early morning breakfast (where I drink only my smoothie, much to my fellow beauty editors’ amusement) and then a handful of launches without difficulty. This is the first time I realise how very negative the effect of eating a poor diet is - the difference in the amount of pain I’m in is really quite noteworthy, and I find myself wishing Rosemary could cook for me all the time.
I manage to stick to the soups, and, while not hungry per se, find myself excited for the simple pleasure of chewing the next day.
Day Four. I’m wake up feeling well rested rather than sleep deprived and don’t miss any of the ‘treats’ that usually litter my diet when I’m working long hours. I also find that my energy levels are far more consistent. At work, I am asked by three people where I bought the black bean and spinach stew I’m heating in the kitchen because it smells so good.
But in the evening, I diverge from the plan. I meet some work friends for dinner and, while I manage to stick to Rosemary’s rules of what to have if eating outside of her pre-prepared portions, I have some wine. The good news? I don’t feel remotely guilty - yes, I feel the wine quickly, but it doesn’t come with any sense of naughtiness.
Day Five. As I polish up the roasted butternut squash that’s for lunch, I realise that I’m much, much perkier than usual on a Friday. Come the end of the week, my eyes are usually red and sore from computer time, my muscles ache, and I make it to the finish line feeling shattered. Instead, I feel energised and, as per the plan's promise, pretty fresh. I message Rosemary to say as much and she responds to say ‘it’s utterly amazing, isn’t it - in just 5 days.’ Another side effect that I hadn't planned on but am delighted by: my clothes are ever so slightly baggier as I've depuffed a bit and am definitely a little leaner.
One Week Later. I've not quite managed to stick to the sugar-free, totally balanced thing, but since finishing Rosemary's plan, I've made more of an effort to steer clear of sugar and have introduced other foods while sticking to the core three healthy meals a day thing. Now, my skin is clearer, my energy levels remain higher, and I have definitely lost a good inch from around my waist.
The 5 Day Plan Costs £295 and you can .