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Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 10:21 GMT
Celebrity diet update
Celeb diets
Last week we launched a bold attempt by BBC News Online staff - and readers - to get into shape for the New Year. Here's how our guinea pigs are getting on.
Each New Year, Britons flock to shape up and slim down after the festive season blow-out.

Inspired by the celebrities who flaunt their chosen diets, we enlisted the aid of five colleagues prepared to jump on the bandwagon. Since then, hundreds of you have e-mailed to say you too are joining in, or to give encouragement or tips.

Here are the brave souls taking part.

Pete Clifton

Which diet Diet: Glycemic Index (or Montignac)
Celebrity Star endorsement: Kylie Minogue
Weight lost Weight lost: six pounds (2.7 kg)
Difficulty rating Rating from 1 (easy) to 5 (hard): THREE

Last week I launched a late night attack on Asda and learned several lessons:
• it takes much longer to shop for omega-3 eggs (don't ask me), fat and sugar-free fruit yoghurt and wild brown rice
• you often won't find them
• it costs more - my modest little trolley came to 45

"My bottom's still nothing like Kylie's"
I've settled into a routine that kicks off with breakfast at 0545 - a bumper bowl of porridge with skimmed milk and an apple. I don't like porridge and have very rarely eaten breakfast, so this has been a challenge.

But it fills the stomach and, apart from an apple here and there, I can manage until a salad with some tuna and a fruit salad to follow at lunchtime. More apples, and very hungry by the time I eat a piece of chicken, boiled potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, celery for tea. Fruit for afters.

I've also given up beer and didn't have any alcohol in the first week - well, until Saturday night when I fell off the wagon and into a vat of red wine at a 40th birthday party.

At first I had headaches and felt short of energy, but now I feel OK and my trousers do up more easily. It's forced me to take regular meals for the first time since I was 17, and that's probably the best thing. But my bottom is still nothing like Kylie's.

Cathy Grieve
Which diet Atkins
Celebrity Brad 'n' Jen
Weight lost seven pounds (3.2 kg)
Difficulty rating FIVE

"A vegetarian would find it impossible"
The diet for me is very difficult. I wasn't prepared for the dramatic changes over the first few days, during which I suffered from terrible headaches, aching muscles and constant tiredness - in bed every night by 9pm. It's played havoc with my digestive system - something people starting the diet should be aware of so as to be able to deal with such problems.

On the plus side my weight came down quite dramatically in the first week. My sleep was becoming more settled and I thought I was through the worst of it all. By day eight, however, my digestive system was in turmoil.

I have to think way ahead about what I'm going to have for the next meal. No bread, potatoes, pasta, fruit make things difficult. If I'm finding it difficult, a vegetarian would find it impossible.

I'm hoping it will get easier in terms of how my body is feeling and as I start to know automatically what I can and can't eat.

Katie Hamilton
Which diet Detox
Celebrity Carol Vorderman
Weight lost four pounds (1.8 kg)
Difficulty rating TWO

"I'm weeing for Britain!"
On the first day, my 10am mocha was badly missed and I drank a litre of water instead. I felt very smug in canteen queue with my virtuous rice and veg next to people with pie and chips and bellies to match.

Breakfast is freshly squeezed juice, and maybe porridge made with almond milk with dried dates. Lunch might be a jacket potato + plum tomato sauce, with homemade soup and rye bread for dinner. I snack on rice crackers, hummus and fruit fruit fruit.

Whilst I felt slow and out of it for the first couple of days, I've really perked up and now take the dog for an hour-long walk before work. Is it just me, or am I glowing already?

There are downsides. I'm weeing for Britain, and my tummy is very rumbly. When it snowed last week, a sausage sandwich would've been nice... but I resisted.

Peter Sharples
Which diet Blood type
Celebrity Martine McCutcheon
Weight lost 4.4 pounds (two kg)
Difficulty rating TWO

"I craved crisps and cake"
I thought my diet would be easy as my blood type O means a meat-heavy regime. But all the stuff I like is excluded - even corn and peas, my favourite veggies. It seems my usual diet, down to the last strawberry and salt and vinegar crisp, has been wrong for my blood type.

In order not to starve, I've stocked up on substitutes. Rolled oat biscuits, Essene bread and chicory coffee might not sound great, but for me these are the difference between success and failure.

At first it was a struggle, especially at the BBC canteen. Last Tuesday's chicken curry looked great but it had potatoes and cream in it. I ended up with beetroot and boiled rice - mmmmm.

It's easier now. I bring a goodie bag to work; at home pasta is still on the menu thanks to rice flour and I've rediscovered how nice homemade Indian food can be.

My energy levels have gone through the roof - my wife, Klara, got worried when she found me doing the dishes at 11pm, a task that normally takes me two days to build up to.

I swear my tummy is smaller, and the nagging headache and watery mouth of the first few days have gone.

Ania Lichtarowicz
Which diet Food combining
Celebrity Liz Hurley
Weight lost 4.4 pounds (two kg)
Difficulty rating FIVE

"I almost blacked out"
This diet is hard because refined sugars are out - anything pre-made is out of the question - and avoiding proteins and carbs together is quite a feat.

I've had a constant headache - well, that was until I had a bacon and egg sarnie on Thursday morning as I almost blacked out.

My energy levels have always varied, low in the morning and perking up during the day - just ask anyone who has had to work with me at 5am. Now I'm trying not to fall asleep on buses, the Tube and at work. I dread going to the gym - I feel light-headed after doing any cardio.

And cooking is a pain, as preparing a normal meal for my husband and then eating something else is not the easiest way to avoid temptation - particularly if it is traditional Polish food. I did succumb to pierogi (stuffed dumplings) on Friday night and too much alcohol on Sunday night.

But I've lost weight - probably all fluid - so I'll see if I can improve on that this week.

Add your comments, using the form below.

I'd like to say a big well done to all your guinea pigs, in particular Cathy on the Atkins diet (which sounds awful). I motivated myself to join Slimming World last February and am happy to be 2 stone lighter one year on - and there is no food I CANNOT eat reasonable quantities of. My thought for the day is "fridge pickers wear big knickers".
Joanne Minnis, UK

I did the Atkins diet for a week and by the end I felt like I'd never go to the loo again. But the glycemic index one has revolutionised my life. That, plus exercise, has given me more energy than I knew possible. You know that glow you get after a good long night's sleep? Imagine feeling like that all the time.
Lesley King, USA

I hate to do this to Pete, but one of the key foods banned under the Montignac diet is potato
Zoe, UK

I lost two stone in six weeks by dropping alcohol and reducing added fat (no marge on the morning toast) - and exercising. Now I maintain a healthy weight simply by cycling to work. Beer and pizza? No problem. Pedal the pounds away!
Guy Chapman, UK

I cut out sugar and white flour as much as possible, switched from white rice to brown etc, drink more water and eat more fruit and veg. I try to eat food fat like olive oil and nuts. I'm much less moody and lost 1 stone.
Ruth, UK

I've tried the Atkins diet. The longer you stay on the diet, the easier it gets as you gradually increase your carbohydrate intake. People complain that they feel ill initially, but this only happens to people who drink lots of tea and coffee - it seems to be the sudden reduction in caffeine that's the problem.
Matt, UK

I beg to differ, Matt. I suffered terribly the first week or so and I had barely drunk tea or coffee before I started. A good diet but does make you feel yucky.
Catherine, Greece

Headaches, energy loss, aching muscles! Whatever is the matter with these ridiculous diets? If I want to lose weight, I cut out drinking beer, reduce my fat intake and cut down quantities with the exception of fruit and vegetables. I am a middle-aged office worker and the weight comes off at a steady rate of 2lbs a week without any adverse effects or having to spend my life trying to find high-fibre brown rice.
Patrick Stevens, UK

It may not be celeb-trendy, but Weight Watchers is the way to go. Nothing is banned, you can work in "treats". Surely dieting is about changing the way you eat to a healthy lifestyle, and low fat with exercise is the way to go.
Sarah, UK

Low carb diets are very effective for weight loss, but don't listen to Atkins' advice to use cream and butter, and to fry bacon. This may drive keotsis and limit insulin action, but will still increase your cholesterol levels in the long term. Also, drink lots of water, as these diets cause dehydration and headaches.
Daniel J Smith, England

No-one can stick to these ridiculous conditions and it'll only end in tears when you pile the pounds back on. Just try walking a bit more. Sell your car and run for the bus. Don't stand idly on escalators.
Toby Bradbury, UK

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Celeb diet table: Carol Vorderman, Kylie Minogue, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, Geri Halliwell, Cameron Diaz

See also:

23 Jul 02 | Health
27 Nov 02 | UK
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