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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 21 January, 2003, 11:14 GMT
Celebrity diets: The verdict
Celeb diets
For a fortnight BBC News Online staff - and readers - have trialled a range of celeb diets. Our guinea pigs rate their regimes.
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.

Two weeks on, how trim are our brave souls? Be sure to check back again in a fortnight to see who has returned to their old habits.

Pete Clifton

Which diet Diet: Glycemic Index (or Montignac)
Celebrity Star endorsement: Kylie Minogue
Weight lost Total weight lost: 14 pounds (6.3 kg)
Difficulty rating Rating from 1 (easy) to 5 (hard): THREE (FIVE at weekends)

Pete
"I ate the kids' Crunchie bars"
I've fitted into a comfortable routine (well almost) of porridge, salads, fruit and fish. At Waitrose, I even found Omega 3 eggs - the very healthy product of vegetarian hens, so they say.

But we had friends round for dinner on Saturday, and my chances of sticking to fish while everyone else dined to excess were zero. Suitably enthused, I had a Sunday roast the next day.

What's worse, I chanced upon my children's Crunchie bars for the following week's lunch boxes, and ate them all. What a feeling!

But I was back to eating sensibly after all that, and amazingly my weight has continued to fall.

The main challenge will be making sure I don't immediately put it all back on. There's been no shortage of colleagues eager to point out that most dieters balloon up again.

I'm not going to stick to every aspect of the diet, but I've got some good habits. Have breakfast, keep the meals regular, cut out sugar and milk in coffee, eat plenty of fruit, keep away from beer.

I still don't have Kylie's bottom, but I feel a bit less like a hippopotamus limbering up when I run for the train.

Cathy Grieve
Which diet Atkins
Celebrity Brad 'n' Jen
Weight lost 11 pounds (4.9 kg)
Difficulty rating FIVE

Cathy
"It's still very restrictive"
I opened a tabloid this morning and there was Jennifer Aniston saying that she'd been a diet freak, that she had actually had an eating disorder. Gulp!

There's no way I want to go down that route, but I do still want to lose another stone and a half. So I'll stick with it 'til the end of the month.

It is getting easier, partly because I now know what I can and can't eat, and partly because I'm allowed to start reintroducing carbs. But that's still only a half-handful of rice or tiny piece of bread.

Breakfast is still almost impossible - there's very little I can get at the BBC canteen that fits the diet. I tried asking for a sausage sandwich without the bread, and got a sausage in a plastic bag.

All in all, I don't think a diet as restrictive as this can be good for your long-term health. But it has made me think about what I eat and drink, and I plan to watch how much bread, pasta and potatoes I eat in future.

Katie Hamilton
Which diet Detox
Celebrity Carol Vorderman
Weight lost five pounds (2.3 kg)
Difficulty rating TWO

Katie
"I gently started retoxing"
I came over all Nigella and spent a lot of time in my kitchen last week, cooking up homemade soup, vegetable dishes and fresh juices.

My hunger pangs have totally died down. My skin has never looked so good, and my boyfriend says I've got sparkly eyes - maybe he's after more homemade soup.

However it all started to feel like a bit of a chore when the indigestion and wind kicked in - fibre overload. So at the weekend I gently started retoxing - it only took a glass and a half of wine to get me squiffy. Bargain!

I'm slowly re-introducing the banned stuff this week so I don't overload my system. I couldn't stick this for the 28 days Carol recommends, but a couple of weeks on it really cleaned up my system and gave me an energy boost.

Plus I've discovered things like rye bread, almond milk and some fab soup recipes that don't feel like diet food. It's a great way to start the year.

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

Peter
"My wife's joined me in prune land"
My extra energy and general good humour are so evident that my wife has joined me in prune land - a recent addition to my revitalised eating habits now crisps and cake are off the menu.

The main problem is when I go out because blokes don't like ordering pineapple and soda with the round, me included. But bowing to peer pressure at 32 is a bit sad, so make mine a non-alcoholic one.

I had my first big lapse on Saturday with a large salted popcorn and diet Coke at the cinema - I was Mr Bloatie the next day. So now I cut out sugar as much as possible, make my own lunch so I know what's in it and do a bit of exercise.

Three months is a realistic target to experience both weight loss and health benefits, according to the reading I've done. I do have a nagging headache every so often and a fleeting craving for a chocolate eclair, but feel so good overall that three months sounds fine.

Ania Lichtarowicz
Which diet Food combining
Celebrity Liz Hurley
Weight lost 6.7 pounds (three kg)
Difficulty rating FIVE

Ania
"I fit my old jeans"
I can fit into the jeans I wore before my wedding - and I mean fit them properly. This is no "lie on the bed, force yourself into them, then not be able to breathe" fit, but a proper fit - I can walk around and they feel absolutely fine.

I'm constantly telling my husband that I'm back to the size as I was two years ago - he got a little bit annoyed by the time I'd informed him for the 20th time. I even wore a Lycra top on Saturday - granted, it was just round the house but that's a major development.

However, I still get constant headaches and I lack energy. And I'm half expecting to put the weight back on as soon as I go back to normal eating. Mind you, I've slipped on the alcohol intake a few times in the past week and have still lost a kilo, so who knows...

But I can't wait to eat a normal healthy balanced meal - that's all I really crave.


Add your comments, using the form below.

I lived in Paris for a couple of years, where the women hardly eat a thing. A friend commented to me one day that she thought the reason Parisian women were so miserable was that they were always hungry. Food for thought. Short term dieting is pointless. Health, which is the important thing, is a life-long issue. Think before you eat biscuits, crisps, chocolate bars etc. Learn to like good food. Find an enjoyable exercise.
Tina Szucs, UK

I follow the general concepts of the Atkins Diet (low carbs) though not strictly. I don't have excess weight to lose, but feel less bloated and more energetic without my previous intake of pasta, rice, sandwiches etc and much healthier for the fresh fruit and veg I've used to replace the carbs. It's also important to keep diets in perspective - allow 1 or 2 moderate cheat days a week.
Colin McGowan, London

Did you know that the most effective possible diet is simply to follow government guidelines? If women stick to 1500-2000 calories (50-70g fat) a day, and men stick to 2000-2500 calories (70-90g fat) - along with regular exercise and plenty of fruit and veg - you will be healthy in no time. By the way, Ania's headaches may be due to low blood sugar - the complex carbs of bananas or rice snacks should help keep her energy levels up.
Joanna Theobald, UK

Why are people suprised when they put weight back on after dieting? The problem is that in most cases they are not going back to eating normally but going back to eating too much. The only way to keep weight off is to eat a proper balanced diet afer losing weight or to take up excercise to keep it off.
Jonathan, England

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Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.

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

See also:

14 Jan 03 | UK
23 Jul 02 | Health
27 Nov 02 | UK
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