How to Lose Weight Well Series 3 Review

How to Lose Weight Well Series 3 Review

By Trudi Purdy, wlr team

Update: How to Lose Weight Well Series 4 starts Monday 7th January 2019 at 8pm.

If you haven’t seen the show previously, How to Lose Weight Well aims to help those who want to lose weight sort through the proverbial minefield of diets and weight loss plans.

Presenters, Dr Xand van Tulleken and dietitian, Hala El-Shafie lift the lid on some of the most hyped up diets from this century and last. Cook, Stacie Stewart, does her best (where possible) to make tasty dishes that look good within the diet's rules.

Review of Series 3 Episode 1

(First aired Monday 8th Jan 2018)

This episode was fun to watch, with a very good humoured and highly motivated bunch of hopeful weight losers. I particularly liked the Dos and Don’ts presentation of the different diets rules. This made it very easy to get the main gist of what each diet was about.

Here’s the line-up of diets and dieters . . .

Crashers Becky and Sheena

The girl friends were desperate to feel good in their bikinis at Sheena’s hot tub party, just two weeks away. Becky took on the Special K Challenge and Sheena braved the Copenhagen Diet.

Becky - Special K Diet

Becky weighed in at 13 stone and said she would just be happy to lose weight. She said,

‘I have an obvious love handle that looks a bit like a cake overspill.’

Her weakness is crisps.

'Nobody dislikes crisps,' said Becky.

'If I had to eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be crisps!'

Becky’s Special K diet consisted of a bowl of cereal for breakfast and lunch and then a healthy, low fat, high fibre meal a day.

Special K Dos . . .

  • Eat 2 bowls of Special K
  • Eat fruit snacks
  • Cook daily a well-balanced meal
  • Eat lean meats and low-fat dairy
  • Drink tea & coffee

And Don’ts . . .

  • Miss breakfast
  • Drink fizzy drinks
  • Drink alcohol

Sheena – Copenhagen Diet

Sheena weighed in at 11 stone 1lb and wanted to lose at least a stone.  She said,

'I just eat and drink too much. If it’s there and I see it, I’ll just eat it. I’m just like a blob.'

Her food weaknesses are pizza, pasta and bread.

It seemed like Sheena drew the short straw with the Copenhagen Diet. She had to follow the exact rules, with no snacks and stay within a strict, 600 calorie a day limit!

Copenhagen Dos . . .

  • Take vitamin supplements
  • Eat 3 high protein meals a day
  • Follow the diet for 13 days
  • Drink coffee

And Don’ts . . .

  • Substitute foods – if it’s not on the list you can’t have it
  • Cook with oil
  • Drink alcohol

(Sheena was somewhat concerned by the diet’s possible side effects - muscle cramps, dizziness and confusion.)

Did the Crash Diets Work?

Becky said she was missing salt on the Special K diet but enjoyed the crunch of the cereal. She did find that her bowel movements had increased.

She lost 13lbs and felt the diet had changed her life. She said,

'My life revolved around when I was going to eat next. Now my life revolves around my life.'

Sheena struggled with the Copenhagen diet. The food wasn’t to her taste and the very low-calorie allowance made her feel really tired with no energy. She also suffered with constipation.

However, Sheena lost a stone.

When asked if they would recommend the diets to anyone else, Sheena said she would never do the diet again. She said,

'Am I allowed to swear? This diet was a load of crap!'

The Copenhagen diet is extreme. Dr Xand says you should see your doctor before starting a diet like this and Sheena did seek her doctor’s advice before she started. This diet must not be attempted for any longer than 13 days.

The two lovely ladies did extremely well with their diets and their weight loss was impressive. But since we’re advocates of healthy sustainable weight loss here at wlr, I feel duty bound to point out that as soon as normal eating is resumed the weight will very likely go back on quite quickly. 

Maybe especially for Sheena as, from what we’d seen, she didn't really have a sound basis for going forward.

Becky probably had more chance of keeping the weight off as she had (hopefully) broken her snacking habit and had the basics of a healthy, portion controlled, regime that she could live with. 

Life Changers Jake and Callum

Jake and Callum wanted to lose weight and change their lifestyles in time for an end of summer party in 4 months’ time.

Jake – Banting Diet

Jake weighed in at 20 stone 8lbs. Talking about his current eating habits, he said,

'I went to McDonalds for lunch the other day and I had a Big Mac and chips, large. A vanilla milkshake, a wrap of the day and two double cheeseburgers.'

Jake’s regime (from the 1920s) involved increasing fats and decreasing carbs with the aim of helping his body burn fat. He had to cut out most grains, processed foods and sugars, and stick to 1900 cals a day.

Banting Dos . . .

  • Eat meats, full fat dairy and cheese
  • Eat leafy green vegetables
  • Unsweetened white tea and coffee

And Don’ts . . .

  • Eat refined carbs
  • Consume processed food and sugar
  • Consume fruit
  • Overeat

Callum - Low Sugar Diet

Callum weighed in at 18 stone 1lb. He admitted his biggest weakness was sugar – fizzy drinks, sweets etc. (Especially Haribo it appears.) 

Callum said that both he and Jake had been unhappy with how they looked. He was also motivated to live healthier because of a family history of stroke and issues with his own liver.

Callum had to cut out refined sugar, swap refined carbs for beans, pulses and wholegrains and use natural sources for sweetness.

Low Sugar Dos . . .

  • Eat fresh fish, meat, vegetables and wholegrains
  • Get sweetness from fruit and veg
  • Drink tea or coffee
  • Drink alcohol in moderation

And Don’ts . . .

  • Consume refined carbs and sugars
  • Eat ready-made sauces
  • Drink fizzy drinks

Did the Life Changer Diets Work?

Jake said that he had never weighed his food before and was not impressed with the portion sizes. He said,

'I feel like I’ve just had a starter! I’m going to be hungry all the time!'

Callum struggled with a couple of events where he went off the rails a little. He had to go to Dublin for a birthday and was on the Guinness within the hour!

Both boys did the sensible thing and took on exercise to help their weight loss.

Results were very impressive and, from what the lads said after their four months of dieting, they seem to have a good chance of maintaining their lower weights.

Callum lost 3 stone 13 lbs and Jake shed 4 stone 4lbs.

Callum said that he didn’t find cutting out sugar completely as difficult as he thought, and that it wasn’t until it was gone that he realised how much he didn’t need it.

Jake said that he was going to carry on with his diet during the week and relax a little at the weekends.

Bex and Lea – 6 week Shape Shifters

Lea and Bex wanted to get a bit slimmer for Lea’s big 50 birthday party only 6 weeks away.

Bex - the Bonus Years Diet

Bex weighed in at 17 stone 6lbs. She said it wasn’t about the numbers for her. She just wanted to be able to go into a high street shop and pick something up off the rail to wear.

She was very happy when her Bonus Years meal was served by chef Stacie. Not that surprising as the tasty looking dish was served with red wine and chocolate.

Bonus Years Dos . . .

  • Eat ‘miracle’ foods – Red wine, dark chocolate, garlic, fish, nuts, fruit, veg
  • Eat parsley
  • Eat ‘booster’ foods including seeds and grains
  • Drink tea and coffee

And Don’ts . . .

  • Overeat ‘miracle’ foods
  • Drink herbal tea
  • Consume oil other than olive, rapeseed and grapeseed oils

Lea - the Nutritarian Diet

Lea weighed in at 13 stone 8lbs. She said,

‘I really want to put some effort into it and reveal this amazing 50-year-old!’

Nutritarian Dos . . .

  • Eat raw veg, beans and selected cooked veg
  • Eat lots of fresh fruit
  • Wine in moderation

And Don’ts . . .

  • Eat processed animal products
  • Snack
  • Drink fruit juice
  • Too much coffee

Did the 6 Week Diets Work?

Lea laughed when she saw that the instructions said that there were lots of different types of lettuce. She said,

'Huge variety of lettuce? No, lettuce is lettuce!'

The ladies had a festival to visit and both fell of the wagon a little. But they both started moving more and took up jogging to help get them to their goals.

Bex managed to shed 1 stone 6lbs with Lea getting rid of 1 stone 10lbs.

Bex felt the Bonus Years Diet took quite a lot of prep and wasn’t great for a family – it was quite expensive.

Lea, however, said she would recommend her diet and found it quite easy to follow.


Overall, I enjoyed the show. I felt a little frustrated that it kept popping from one couple to the next rather than just following their progress in one go, but I guess they needed to hold viewers’ interest.

It was a very entertaining and informative programme. (Plus I have the job of reviewing it for wlr.)

Review of Series 3 Episode 2

(First aired Monday 15th January 2018)

This episode saw another bunch of hopefuls wanting to shed some weight for a school reunion, speed dating and Manchester Pride. Xand also looked into fat melting injections and took his life into his own hands to explain why our weight fluctuates so much each day.

Crashers AK and Bethany

These girls were single and were going speed dating in a couple of weeks. Both were really unhappy with how they look and feel and wanted to shed some weight and gain some confidence. AK said,

'Myself and Bethany have been single our whole lives. I’ve been on one date before which obviously didn’t end well, considering I’m sitting here now and going speed dating soon.'

Bethany and AK just loved fried chicken. Bethany said,

'My one constant relationship in life isn’t with a man; it’s with a burger and chips!'

Bethany and AK were really unhappy with their bodies. AK’s problem area was her tummy. She said,

'I have what I call a third and fourth boob.'

AK – The Egg Diet

AK weighed in at 16 stone 2lbs. She said,

'The reason I think it’s time to lose weight is because everyone around us is getting married or in long term relationships or having children and I can’t even get a text back!'

She got quite emotional about it so obviously feels her weight is holding her back with her confidence and with relationships.

AK’s egg diet involves eating at least 2 eggs a day. Nicole Kidman reportedly did this diet for her role in Cold Mountain. Eggs are packed with protein and other essential micronutrients but are low in calories.

Egg Diet Dos . . .

  • Eat 2 eggs every day
  • Eat leafy greens, plain chicken & fruit
  • Drink unsweetened black coffee and tea in moderation

And Don’ts . . .

  • Fast food, dairy
  • Consume alcohol or sugar and cakes

Bethany – The Strawberry Diet

Bethany weighed in at 15 stone 9lbs. She said,

“I hate my body period. Look at this bit, it’s awful. It’s my flabadabadoodah!' wobbling the tops of her arms.

'It would be lovely to actually be able to slim down just to give myself that confidence to walk into a room and say I own this room.'

For Bethany’s diet, she was going to need to eat a lot of strawberries. She had to eat them with every meal. Britney Spears and Victoria Beckham have both reportedly done this diet. It’s low calorie diet based on the idea that strawberries are one of nature’s most nutrient-packed fruits but with only 4 calories each.

Strawberry Diet Dos . . .

  • Eat strawberries with every meal
  • Consume unsweetened coffee & tea

And Don’ts . . .

  • Drink alcohol
  • Go full fat

Did the Crash Diets Work?

AK struggled a little with eating so many eggs – particularly breakfast. She did lose 13lbs in the two weeks though. That said, it caused a few issues. She said,

'I haven’t been able to poo!'

Bethany has had strawberries with every meal and found the combination a little strange sometimes. She lost 1 stone 2lbs. She said she would definitely recommend the diet.

Life Changers Si and Simon

Married couple Simon and Si wanted to look their best for Manchester Pride in 4 months. Simon said,

'We’ve become the cliché. We’ve become fat, middle aged men with no hair! We can’t do anything about being middle aged, we can’t do anything about having no hair but we can do something about the fat thing.'

Si – The Dude Diet

Si weighed in at 18 stone 9lbs. His food weakness was cheese. He just loved cheese – anything from gorgonzola to Roquefort. He said,

'We’re slowly getting larger and that’s one of the things about being in a good relationship. We’ve lapsed into so many bad habits, and we need to change our attitudes permanently, and our lifestyle.'

The Dude Diet includes lots of meat and a cheat day a week. But no white carbs.

The Dude Diet Dos . . .

  • Cook from fresh & restrict portion sizes
  • Enjoy one ‘cheat’ day a week
  • Drink unsweetened tea, coffee & alcohol in moderation

And Don’ts . . .

  • Consume white carbs
  • Overeat dairy

Simon – Skinny Bastard

Simon weighed in at 15 stone 12lbs. He had issues with snacks and red wine. He said,


'I don’t know where my waist is!'

Si replied,

'We’ll find it together.'

Simon’s diet was a purely vegan diet and mirrors the Skinny Bitch Diet made famous in the noughties for its straight talking attitude to dieting. Simon did not look incredibly happy with the diet that had been chosen for him! When he tried a dish that had been prepared for him, he said,

'The texture of the tofu is . . . unusual!'

The Skinny B Diet Dos . . .

  • Embrace veganism
  • Eat lots of veg, beans, grains, pulses & tofu
  • Drink black, unsweetened coffee & tea

And Don’ts . . .

  • Eat any meat, fish, eggs or dairy

Did the Life Changer Diets Work?

Simon struggled with the vegan diet – he said that everything he ate was just mush. He did cheat and had a doner kebab!

Si discovered exercise during the four months.  He started exercising 3 times a week and seemed to be really loving it. He said,

'Feeling good actually. Feeling like I’ve got more energy. Noticing changes on the belt.'

Both guys looked different to when we first met them. Definitely slimmer. Si had lost 3 stone 1lb and Simon lost 3 stone 4lbs.

Si loved the Dude diet. Simon said,

'The last 4 months have been genuinely life changing. We’ve done what we set out to do and then some!'

Gemma & Charlotte - 6 Week Shape Shifters

Teachers Gemma and Charlotte wanted to trim down for their 10 year school reunion. As a hobby, the pair baked cakes. And frequently helped themselves to leftovers when they’d finished!

Gemma said,

'Every time we bake, we cut off a corner and then eat it. Just to make sure it’s alright.'

Charlotte – Ayurvedic Diet

Charlotte weighed in at 19 stone 10lbs. She said,

'I would love to walk into that reunion and for people to say; ah you’re looking well and actually mean it.'

For Charlotte’s diet, she had to go and see an Ayurvedic practitioner – this is an ancient Indian diet that involves three different body types and is based on which body type you are. She also needed to do yoga and meditate regularly.

Ayurvedic Diet Dos . . .

  • Start with a detox
  • Eat for your body type
  • Practice yoga & meditate
  • Consume unsweetened tea & Coffee

And Don’ts . . .

  • Overeat
  • Eat anything after 10pm
  • Consume alcohol or packaged food

Charlotte created the drink for her detox which contain spinach, garlic, lemon and ginger – all whizzed together. She said it was really strong!

Two weeks in Charlotte was struggling. She said,

'I’m really craving something nice, something sweet, something tasty and it’s getting the better of me.'

Gemma – The New Nordic Diet

Gemma weighed in at 14 stone 3lbs. She said,

'It’s just gonna make me feel good to turn up to that reunion and not be the chunky girl they all remember.'

Her diet was based on what the Vikings ate – lots of local produce and fish. The chef created a classic Nordic fish soup. She warned Gemma that it was packed with protein but was a little bland. Gemma agreed!

One of the key components for the diet is that you forage for food and consume food from the wilderness – but if you have a busy lifestyle, surely that isn’t always possible? And wouldn’t it depend on where you live? It could also be dangerous if you have no idea what is edible in the woods!

The New Nordic Diet Dos . . .

  • Eat seafood, game meats, wholegrains & veg
  • Shop for local food
  • Forage
  • Enjoy tea & coffee

And Don’ts . . .

  • Fry or grill anything
  • Consume alcohol, butter or cakes

Did the Shape Shifters Diet Work?

Charlotte seemed to enjoy the yoga – she said it was relaxing but strenuous at the same time and that she sweated loads. Once she had finished the detox, she was onto soups and casseroles – she did get really fed up with eating soup. She said,

'This is not a sustainable diet. It’s not something I can keep up.'

Gemma was a little naughty at one point and had one brownie ball. She said,

'And it was worth it because it was gorgeous and loads of chocolaty goodness, but I do feel guilty.'

Gemma lost 13lbs eating in the new Nordic way. Charlotte lost 2 stone 3lbs.

Gemma said her diet had been trying at times but was manageable. Charlotte said,

'I don’t think this diet is sustainable. I think it’s great to get started but it’s not something you can do forever.'

Extreme Ways to Shift Fat

Xand looked at fat melting injections that are meant to be able to help shift stubborn pockets of fat - Aqualyx.

Basically, a major component in Aqualyx is a detergent that is a derivative of bio acid which is something that is found in our own stomachs. It is injected into the area to help melt the fat down. It changes the membrane to the cell to allow it to let in water and then it bursts.

But it really isn’t cheap – a double chin area will set you back between £1400 and £2000. And, if you put weight on again, the remaining fat cells will just get bigger. Maybe a bit of a waste of money?

Xand also looked at why we have such large weight fluctuations each day. After nearly killing himself, undertaking a water cutting experiment that had to be cut short, he proved what we’ve been saying at WLR for years – it’s all to do with retention and loss of water throughout the day.

He lost 5 kilos in 8 hours but his body fat measurements where more or less the same. Xand said,

'Weight changes on a daily basis are almost certainly to do with fluid.'

Mixed Martial Arts fighters are known to do water cutting but there have been instances of fighters dying in the weigh in room – it’s incredibly dangerous.

The salt content of food will also have an effect on how much water the body retains – we are really NOT gaining fat over night.

Next time there is a serious sweet addiction to deal with!

Review of Series 3 Episode 3

(First aired Monday 22nd January 2018)

This week, the Crashers were Rebecca and Elisha. The Shape Shifters were Connor and Gary and the Life Changers were Elaine and Sue.

Xand tested out a new way to burn calories without exercising and took a look at visceral fat.

Crashers Rebecca and Alisha

These girls had a beach holiday coming up and wanted to get their bodies beach ready.

Rebecca said,

‘I would definitely have food as my best friend. Nutella is life. It makes me so happy I do a dance!’

Alisha’s favourite food was crumpets. She goes for quick and easy convenience food. Rebecca’s downfall was sweets.

Rebecca weighed in at 13 stone and Alisha weighed in at 12 stone 9lbs.

Dietitian, Hala El-Shafie put her head in her hands when the girls revealed how long it was til their holiday . . . 5 days!

With just 5 days to help the girls lose weight, the team really had their work cut out!

Rebecca – Prolon Diet

This is a fasting mimicking diet. It is a very low calorie diet that claims to lengthen life and prevent diseases. Rebecca’s calorie intake was going to be just low enough for her body to ‘mimic’ fasting. The diet consists of energy bars, soups and snacks.

Program Chef, Stacie Stewart, who normally cooks the dieters a sample from their new diets, said,

‘I do love a bit of fasting but I’ve never had my week’s supply out of a box before!’

Prolon Diet Dos . . .

  • Eat one food box per day (supplied)
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Drink the plan’s energy drinks
  • Drink decaffeinated tea

And the Don’ts  . . .

  • Drink coffee
  • Drink alcohol

Rebecca saw the foods for the day and said that she felt she was really going to be hungry. She said,

‘I’m not feeling at all that it’s worth what you have to pay for it.’

It’s over £200 for just 5 days worth of food!

She definitely found the first day hard – only 4 more to go!

And going forward, she struggled because she still had to prepare normal food for her son!

Alisha – Souping Diet

Xand explained to Alisha that her diet was all about nature. This diet has been called the ‘new juicing’ in the media. It’s supposedly a body detox, and Alisha was going to be eating 5 veggie soups a day which should reboot her metabolism and strengthen the immune system, according to the author, Elina Fuhrman.

Stacie created a beetroot soup (which would be for breakfast). Alisha said it had a nice taste to it.

When Alisha read the snacking rules for her diet she said,

‘Pumpkin seeds, cucumber and celery? So I’m going to be on the same diet as my rabbit!’

Souping Diet Dos . . .

  • Eat 3 soups as main meals
  • Eat 2 broths in between

And Don’ts  . . .

  • Consume fruit or fruit juice
  • Eat sugar or animal products
  • Drink tea and coffee
  • Drink alcohol

Part of the diet is a colon cleanse. It’s safe to say Alisha was not happy about that!

Towards the end of the 5 days, both girls took the kids to a trampoline park. Alisha really struggled with her energy levels. But Rebecca got a real energy boost!

Did the Crashers Diet work?

Alisha said she was very constipated and had no energy during her diet.

Rebecca weighed in at 12 stone 9lbs losing 5lbs in 5 days. Alisha weighed in at 12 stone 3lbs – 6lbs lost.

But what did they think to the diets?

Rebecca said that she felt the Prolon Diet had mentally reprogrammed her without her realising it. But Alisha said the souping diet wasn’t really for her.

Xand did say that losing a lot of weight quickly can be dangerous and that you should seek medical advice before undertaking a crash diet.

Life Changers Elaine and Sue

These ladies had a work reunion in 4 month’s time that they wanted to trim down for. They were getting together with girls they worked with when they were 19.

Elaine said,

‘When we were younger, me and Sue, we would go out and we looked great. Crop tops, all the things that kids are wearing now we wore back in the early 80s!’

Elaine’s downfall is biscuits and Sue loves chocolate.

‘That crunch when it’s cold and it melts in your mouth and it’s always nicer with a cup of tea. And I don’t share!’

Elaine said,

‘I’m going to end up being a fat pensioner and I don’t want to be a fat pensioner!’

Sue weighed in at 14 stone and Elaine weighed 14 stone 3lbs.

Elaine – Ice Cream Diet

When Elaine heard she was going on an ice cream diet, she couldn’t believe what she was being told!

The Ice Cream Diet by Holly McCord is a low calorie plan that will limit Elaine to 1250 calories a day. But she will get to eat one scoop of ice cream a day. The rest of her diet needs to be balanced. The creator claims that the high calcium content of the plan should aid weight loss and counteract the cravings that come with a typical low calorie diet.

The rules for Elaine’s diet worried her a little. She said,

‘I’ve never done calorie counting – ever!’

Ice Cream Diet Dos . . .

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Consume 1250 calories a day
  • Have one scoop of ice cream for 250 calories
  • Drink tea and coffee
  • Drink alcohol

And Don’ts . . .

  • Go over allowance

Her first meal was quarter of a pizza and salad. She said,

‘Who would have thought you could have pizza on a diet?’

At WLR, nothing is banned as long as you stick to your calorie allowance – quite similar to this ‘diet’.

Elaine went on holiday while she was on the diet – she had been doing well up to that point but, she fell off the rails while she was away. That said, when she got home, she got straight back on and surprised family and friends with her commitment.

Sue – The Cambridge Weight Plan

This originally hit the market in the 80s as the Cambridge Diet. Sue would have to eat packet foods supplied by her local rep that included shakes, meals and bars for 6 weeks and then would slowly introduce everyday foods from week 7.

Sue was a little worried about the possible side effects of her diet.

  • Bad breath
  • Nausea
  • Constipation from cutting down on carbs and fibre

She said,

‘Great, I’m looking forward to that then!’

Cambridge Weight Plan Dos . . .

  • Eat only Cambridge products in the first 6 weeks
  • Introduce everyday food from week 7
  • Drink 2.25 litres of water a day
  • Drink unsweetened tea and coffee

And the Don’ts . . .

  • Exercise in the first 2 weeks
  • Drink alcohol

When she tried the first milkshake she said it tasted thick and creamy – just like a McDonald’s milkshake.

Sue had stuck to her diet for a month and was packing to go on holiday to Spain – packing her Cambridge Weight Plan meals. Her good intentions were being tested and she was doing well. However, when she got there, things went a little awry.

Did the Life Changer Diets Work?

Elaine wanted to lose 2.5-3 stone and get into a size 12-14. She lost 2 stone 11lbs. Sue said,

‘I think I want to be the same as Elaine. I don’t think I want her to have lost more than me!’

She also lost 2 stone 11lbs! Weird coincidence!

Sue said she would definitely recommend the Cambridge Weight Plan and was really happy with her result.

Elaine said,

‘I wanted a lifestyle change and that’s what this diet has given me.’

Shape Shifters Connor and Gary

These guys wanted to drop two stone each in time for Gary’s graduation. They were 16 when they got together and snacking has been their biggest problem. Connor was obsessed with marshmallows and custard creams.

Gary’s problem was fizzy drinks. He said,

‘I’m a snacky person and that goes hand in hand with fizzy drinks.’

Gary weighed in at 15 stone 10lbs and Connor’s weight was 22 stone 9lbs.

Connor said,

‘I like buying clothes that look good and that’s increasingly difficult at the size I am.’

The diets that the team had chosen for these guys have come from the world of fashion.

Connor – The Karl Lagerfeld Diet

This diet is also known as the spoonlight program and is protein rich and low calorie.

He will be eating between 1000 and 1200 calories a day. He wasn’t over the moon about that! He said,

‘That’s not very many calories!’ sucking his teeth!

Karl Lagerfeld Diet Dos . . .

  • Eat lean proteins
  • Eat low fat yoghurt
  • Drink herbal teas or unsweetened coffee

And the Don’ts . . .

  • Use oil or fat
  • Drink alcohol

His first meal was rabbit with tomatoes. The diet encourages using fresh produce every day and to slow Connor down even more, he had to put his spoon down between each mouthful! When he made his first meal he said,

‘It doesn’t taste as good as an hour and a half’s work!’

Connor said he’d had cravings for red wine but knowing that the diet was only for four weeks made it easier to stick to.

Gary – The Elle Macpherson Body Reboot Diet

This is an alkalizing diet which claims to reduce acid in the body, creating the ideal PH balance. It’s a 4 week plan that gets stricter as it goes along. There is a special elixir that Gary had to drink. When he tried that he said it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t something he would chose to drink. Xand tried it and said,

‘Oh, it’s very disgusting isn’t it?’

Elle Macpherson’s Body Reboot Dos . . .

  • Drink Super Elixir™
  • Drink 2 litres of water every day
  • Eat cayenne pepper
  • Drink coffee and tea
  • Drink alcohol
  • Exercise 45 minutes every day

And the Don’ts . . .

  • Consume sugar and dairy
  • Eat starchy carbs

Gary needed to increase his greens too.  Reading from the rules he said,

‘In week four you will be cutting all dairy, starchy carbs and refined sugars which could prove difficult for anyone used to a diet containing a lot of those things.’ laughing, he went on to say,

‘Or someone like me whose entire diet is built out of those things!’

His calorie allowance is 1900 a day and a glass of the ‘yummy’ elixir. Even his cat wouldn’t touch it!

Gary said the dieting had an effect on his relationship with Connor – they’d had a few tiffs while he was following the regime.

Did the Shape Shifter Diets Work?

When Gary weighed in, he had lost 12lbs. Connor had lost almost 2 stone with a loss of 1 stone 13lbs.

The shirt Connor wanted to wear for Gary’s graduation was really tight to begin with, now he could wear it with a little room to spare.

Gary said that he hated to say it but the Elle Macpherson diet worked for him in the short term. Connor said,

‘The Karl Largerfeld diet is restrictive, bizarre but effective.’

Xand and His Amazing Electric Suit!

The idea that electricity can help with weight loss has been around for decades. EMS devices (electrical muscle stimulation) have been used by beauty and fitness fanatics to gain rock hard abs and buns of steel but the technology was first used in the medical industry to repair and rehabilitate muscle damage.

Xand met with expert, Dr John Malone to find out how EMS works. He tried one of the commercial belts available for the abs and asked Dr Malone if it was as good as actual exercise. Dr Malone replied,

‘You cannot get the same level of muscle activation from one of these that you can do naturally. For someone who is able bodied and healthy, this is not a magic wand. It’s more of a compliment than a substitute for normal exercise.’

Like we’ve always said at WLR, there are no magic wands or shortcuts!

But there are studios that get you to work out while wearing a whole body EMS suit with the claim that it will aid weight loss and can help you burn 500 calories in just 20 minutes. The Robocop style suit that Xand tried was called the X-Body.

Xand donned the suit and did a workout while electrical pulses were also sent into his muscles. Xand said,

‘What I feel like is that I’m not really in control of my body.’

As the workout went on, Xand was obviously struggling. He said,

‘I feel like I’ve been tasered!’

Xand had burnt 185 calories during his 20 minute workout with the X Body on. So not the 500 calories claimed but more than he would have burned for 20 minutes of jogging or swimming backstroke.

Xand’s next experiment was with an EMS product that promises to burn calories without working out at all. Bionic Gym is a pair of EMS pants. Inspired by shivering, Louis Crowe invented the pants and Xand went to meet him. He reckoned his kit would help you do cardiovascular exercise without actually exercising.

Xand gave it a go. He wore the pants for 17 minutes and felt quite tired. In the 17 minutes, Xand burned 100 calories.

Xand said that EMS had come a long way and that he felt both exhausted and exhilarated. So maybe, there is something in EMS exercising?

Body Fat

Xand asked the question,

‘When it comes to body hang ups our biggest complaints are moobs, boobs and back fat. But should these wobbly bits be our biggest worry?’

Xand met with obesity expert Professor Jimmy Bell to find out which sort of fat we should be worried about. Professor Bell said it’s the fat inside the body that we can’t see that is the issue when it comes to Type 2 Diabetes and coronary heart diseases.

This is called visceral fat or internal fat and it sits in the abdominal region and clings around our major organs. A healthy person should carry less than 2 litres of this type of fat. There are slim people who have large amounts of visceral fat – these people are known as TOFIs (thin outside fat inside). It’s estimated that 13% of people with a healthy BMI are TOFIs.

Xand had an MRI scan to see what was going on with him. Even though he has a healthy BMI he is what Professor Bell called, a perfect TOFI with 4.5 litres of fat in his abdominal region.

Professor Bell suggested that Xand do 1 to 3 hours of exercise a week to combat the problem. He said he would lose up to 60% of his visceral fat in 3 months.

Xand undertook 12 weeks of HIIT to see if he could make a difference to his visceral fat. When he went back for his MRI. He had gone from 4.5 litres to 3.3 litres – good, healthy diet and exercise makes a difference – no surprise there really!

Review of Series 3 Episode 4

(First aired 29th January 2018)

This week we met crashers and gym buddies, Sue and Lucy. Life Changers and actors Bharat and Atul and Shape Shifters, Fi and Sarah.

Xand looked into aversion therapy and poo pills!

Crashers Lucy and Sue

Lucy and Sue wanted to get bikini ready for a spa day in two weeks. They met at the gym and were ‘coerced’ into doing a sporting event. That was a year ago. Lucy said,

‘A year ago we were so fit and so toned and in a year we’ve completely lost it.’

Sue’s biggest weaknesses were bread and rice. Lucy liked ‘soft, smelly, stinky cheese’. Sue said,

‘I can’t live without cheese either!’

Lucy ruptured a ligament in her knee doing a sporting event and so has been inactive for a while. They had to rebuild her knee!

Sue weighed in at 13 stone 1lb. Lucy weighed in at 11 stone 4lbs. She said,

‘I am now not feeling great about myself. I’ve got to get on and lose this weight and get back to where I was.’

Sue wanted to lose a stone and a half and Lucy wanted to lose half a stone to a stone. The time scale was two weeks.

Lucy – CSIRO Low Carb Diet

This diet was devised by an Australian Government Scientific Research Agency. It aims to reduce carbs with most of the calories coming from healthy unsaturated fats and lean protein.

CSIRO Dos . . .

  • Eat low GI, high protein foods and whole grains
  • Stick to the meal plans
  • Enjoy 2 indulgence foods a week
  • Drink tea and coffee without sugar

And the don’ts . . .

  • Eat refined or sugary carbs
  • Drink alcohol

When she was reading the rules of the diet, Lucy said,

‘It sounds like good, proper food that I can do all sorts of things with.’

Because the diet is Australian, Lucy decided to light up the ‘barbie’ for her first meal. She said,

‘Beautiful food, really lovely. But hard work to get it all done.’

Lucy and Sue became ladies that lunch and would meet up with their lunches pre-packed. Lucy said,

‘We’ve both found that we are absolutely starving pretty much every meal. But that’s probably due to not eating rubbish we do normally!’

Sue – Carb Lovers Diet

This diet claims you can lose 8lbs in 30 days by eating more carbs, but not all carbs are on the list. This diet focuses on foods rich in resistant starch, which resists digestion in the small intestines, stopping it being absorbed but filling you up. Foods like lentils, brown rice and chickpeas, unfortunately, not chips!

Carb Lover’s Diet Dos . . .

  • Eat carbs like lentils, brown rice and chickpeas
  • Log what you eat
  • Enjoy one snack a day

And the don’ts . . .

  • Drink liquid calories (fruit juice, alcohol etc.)
  • Exceed 1200 calories

The first meal Sue made was a cannellini and herb houmous. She said,

‘It looks like something my dog sicked up yesterday! It doesn’t smell good either. It’s mildly disgusting!’

By day 4 Sue said she was feeling really good. She said,

‘My stomach does seem to be a little flatter. I certainly feel better in myself. The only thing I’m a little bit worried about is that I’ve got a wedding reception to go to tonight. I’m really determined to be good because I don’t want to ruin what I’ve already done.’

Unfortunately, she did go off the rails a little!

Did the Crashers Diet Work?

Sue lost 8lbs and was really over the moon.

Lucy lost 1 stone 4lbs.

Both ladies were very happy with their results. Lucy said,

‘How is that possible in two weeks?’

Sue replied,

‘You must have dropped something!’

Sue said she was going to carry on with her diet and drop some more weight. Lucy said,

‘It needs a lot of planning but it worked. It’s brilliant!’

Life Changers Bharat and Atul

These guys wanted to lose weight for a Bollywood Blockbuster dance scene that they were taking part in. They both love food. Atul loved salt and suffers from high blood pressure. Bharat had an extreme sweet tooth but was pre-diabetic.

Atul weighed in at 15 stone 12lbs and said,

‘If I want to live I need to change now!’

Bharat was 12 stone 7lbs. He said,

‘The stage that I am at now is it’s now or never! I’d like to stick around, especially for my grandchildren.’

Bharat wants to lose one and a half stone and Atul wants to lose 3 stone.

Bharat – Blood Sugar Diet

This restricted him to 800 calories a day for eight weeks. It’s a Mediterranean-style, low carb diet and he had to avoid sugar rich foods.

Blood Sugar Diet Dos . . .

  • Eat a Mediterranean diet
  • Eat nuts, dairy and olive oil
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Walk or do light exercise
  • Drink coffee and tea

And the Don’ts . . .

  • Drink smoothies or fruit
  • Eat sugary foods

Bharat cleared out his stash of sweets and treats. His first meal was a ratatouille. He said,

‘The proof will be in the meal, not the pudding, because the pudding I’m not supposed to have any more!’

Unfortunately, Bharat wasn’t weighing anything to keep to his strict 800 calorie limit – he was using guesswork.

Atul – DASH Diet

This was all about lowering sodium and having nutrient rich foods. Lots of vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. It’s strict on calories, portion sizes and salt. That should help with Atul’s high blood pressure.

Atul said,

‘I believe that within 16 weeks, I should be able to sculpture this body!’

DASH Diet Dos . . .

  • Eat colourful fruit and vegetables
  • Consume low fat dairy
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Drink tea and coffee in moderation

And the Don’ts . . .

  • Eat ready-made sauces or full fat mayonnaise
  • Eat white bread, white rice, sausages or salt

He said,

‘Everything I love, I have to give up. I need to change my exercise regime as well.’

He found the food he was cooking a little bland without the salt he was used to. But if he stuck with it, his taste buds would adjust.

Did the Life Changers Diets Work?

Atul had only a moderate loss of 8lbs but still in the right direction. Bharat fared a little better, losing 1 stone 4lbs.

‘Wow! Wow! I’m so happy. I can’t believe this change in my life in just 4 months!’

Atul did say he would recommend the diet – maybe he just didn’t count the calories as well as he should have done?

Bharat said,

‘The four months hasn’t finished for us. We’re going to do the next four months and the next and the next.’

Sounded like he was a fan of the Blood Sugar Diet!

Shapeshifters Fi and Sarah

These ladies wanted to shift some weight to celebrate Sarah’s 60th birthday at an Asian themed party. Sarah said,

‘Suddenly you realise that there are only a few years left where your body’s going to be able to take the things that I still want to be able to hammer at it.’

Fi said,

‘Every Monday morning I try a diet and then by Thursday, I’ve given it up! I’m probably kidding myself that I’m eating less than I actually am. Well, obviously, I’m kidding myself otherwise I wouldn’t be fat!’

Sarah said that grazing and snacking were her demons. Fi’s issue was a love of Prosecco.

Fi weighed in at 13 stone 6lbs and Sarah was 14 stone 6lbs. Fi wanted to lose a stone and a half and Sarah wanted to shift up to two stone.

Fi – The Wild Diet

It’s all about removing processed foods and adding in natural ones. It can be expensive so sticking to seasonal fruit and veg would be a good idea.

The author, Abel James, claims you can lose 20lbs in 40 days.

Stacie cooked a sweet potato shepherd’s pie for Fi to try. Both ladies said it was lovely.

The Wild Diet Dos . . .

  • Eat lots of veg, fresh fruits and organic meat and fish
  • Consume nuts and nut butters
  • Consume full fat dairy
  • Drink coffee and tea

And the Don’ts . . .

  • Eat white starchy carbs, added sugar or processed foods
  • Go over the portion sizes

After her first meal, Fi said,

‘It’s lovely. What a lovely way to live.’

Sarah – Diet App

This app is used to log your food and it gives you your daily calorie allowance. Very similar to wlr's web-based app.

First Sarah had to work out how to use the app. She said,

‘I’m not the most technology conversant person so it will take a little getting used to.’

Diet App Dos . . .

  • Enter everything you eat into the app
  • Follow advised meal plans
  • Drink tea, coffee and alcohol in moderation

And the Don’ts . . .

  • Go over the calorie allowance

Sarah was struggling with diet app as she tried logging bacon and the app came up with cabbage! Maybe their database isn’t quite as comprehensive as the one at WLR?

So she started writing down everything she ate to log all in one go. She said,

‘It feels a bit like a naughty schoolgirl that hasn’t quite caught up with her homework!’

Did the Shapeshifters Diets Work?

Both ladies managed to lose 13lbs each in six weeks.

Sarah said,

‘Golly I feel so happy with it!’

Sara said the diet app didn’t work for her personality and she wouldn’t continue with it. Fi, however, said she would definitely be carrying on with the Wild Diet. She said,

‘It’s such a lovely way to eat that she couldn’t have thought of a better person to do it with.’

She had asked Fi to join her on the diet.

Xand explores the world of gadgets

Changing eating habits is essential to losing weight but, as we know, this can be really hard to do. Wearable fitness and diet gadgets are estimated to be worth 34 billion dollars worldwide by 2020. They do everything from counting steps, reminding you to move and even locking up your food. But do they work? Xand said,

‘I’m a self-confessed greedy guts so I’m going to road test some of these cutting edge, behaviour-altering gadgets.’

The first gadget was the Pavlok. It’s a wearable electric shock device that works using aversion therapy. You can set it so you shock yourself when undertaking a habit you want to break or, download the app to your phone and give it to someone else to zap you. It pairs the behaviour with stimulus that is unpleasant.

Xand likes Chinese dumplings but knows that too many will increase his waist size. So, during a lunch with his dad, he gave his dad his phone with the app. If Xand ate too many dumplings, his dad zapped him. The Pavlok did work on Xand but he wouldn’t use it on a regular basis.

The next gadget up was the K Safe. A clear box that you lock your ‘bad’ food in that you would normally crave. If you know that at 4pm in the afternoon, you crave a cookie, you would lock the cookies in the safe with the timer set to open at, say, 5pm so you can’t get to them. Xand locked away his spicy peanut snack. As time went on he said,

‘I’ve been working for about half an hour and the peanuts I cannot get to are drilling into my brain.’

A little later,

‘I’m still trying to work and now I’m feeling a little annoyed that I’ve locked my snack up and since this is the trial run of the safe, I’m just going to see if I can get my snack out.’

He knocked the safe off the side. It broke! He said,

‘Well, there you go. I wasn’t expecting that to happen actually.’

The next gadget was a website called where you make a public pledge, pick a referee and an amount of money to be paid if you don’t stick to the goal. You can choose where the money goes so; it could be somewhere that you want to support or, something that you don’t want to support like your least favourite political party. Xand said,

‘This feels like a negative way to reinforce making a commitment that is a bit pointless and a bit frivolous.’

He wasn’t overly enamoured with the public pledge idea and it didn't last long for him.

 Does our gut bacteria hold the key to weight?

Some experts believe that maintaining a healthy weight is about the bacteria in our guts – the gut micro biome.

Xand met Professor Tim Spectre, one of the world’s leading experts in gut science, to find out.

Xand asked what the gut biome is. The professor replied,

‘The micro biome is what we call the community of microbes that live in our guts. Without them we wouldn’t develop a normal brain, we wouldn’t have an immune system, we wouldn’t be able to digest our food properly. There’s been experiments to show that these microbes can actually send out little signals telling you to eat one thing rather than another. So actually, they may be controlling us more than we’d like to think.’

People with more diverse gut biomes tend to be slimmer according to experts like Professor Tim Spectre.

But How Can You Get a Diverse Gut Micro Biome?

One way that Xand really wouldn’t recommend, is a faecal transplant – basically poo pills! He spoke to someone who had tried it, using poo from a healthy slim person, and he had lost weight. However, ingesting poo can be fatal and really should not be tried at home!

FMTs (faecal micro biome transplants) are used under laboratory conditions to treat severe stomach conditions. But the donors are screened thoroughly and the patients are under the watchful eye of the doctors – so, poo pills may be a treatment in the future but only under these conditions. So, as Xand says,

‘It seems we can’t poo poo the poo pills just yet!’

That said, for the time being, the best way to create diversity is to eat a wider variety of healthy foods.

Review of Series 3 Episode 5

(First aired 5th February 2018)

This week we were introduced to John and Mark who wanted to lose weight for a holiday to Florida. Kanan and Parul who wanted to lose weight for Kana’s son’s wedding and Jacinta and Angela who wanted to get fit for a charity run. The diets chosen included the Goop Diet, Mindful Eating and Slim Fast.

Xand also took a closer look at why alcohol quite often scuppers weight loss attempts and how accurate activity trackers are, with some surprising results.

Crashers John and Mark

John was a bus driver and Mark was a children’s entertainer. They had a holiday booked to Florida in a week’s time and both wanted to shift up to a stone before they went!

John said,

‘Me and Mark do a lot of eating together really. I find meself snacking a lot on the buses. You’re just sitting down doing nothing. I absolutely love sweets, anything to do with sweets.’

He showed off his sweet drawer – it was jam packed with sweets and chocolate.

Mark’s issue was fizzy drinks – he would sink up to 6 litres a day. He also found that being a kid’s entertainer gave him access to buffet food that he couldn't resist like sausage rolls. Of course, he blamed that on the character he played – Sparky Monkey! He said,

‘He’s very, very cheeky. He always robs sausage rolls off the buffet.’

He went on to say,

‘I want to feel comfortable in my clothes so I want to slim down.’

John – Gwyneth Paltrow Goop Detox Diet

John weighed in at 15 stone 1lb. Xand and Hala chose Gwyny’s Gloop Detox diet for John to test. This is a strictly seven day diet that includes clean, low calorie eating that claims to control cravings, clear your gut and shift the pounds. A session of colonic irrigation and an infrared sauna is part of the deal too.

Chef Stacie cooked up some tacos for John to try. When she served it he asked was it just the starter! But he did say it was delicious.

Gwyneth Paltrow Gloop Detox Dos . . .

  • Drink warm water every morning
  • Follow the 7 day meal plan
  • Visit infrared sauna
  • Colonic Irrigation session

And the Don’ts . . .

  • Consume caffeine, alcohol, added sugar, gluten or dairy

After his session of colonic irrigation he said,

‘I am in shock!’

He had the Godzilla Juice for breakfast – basically cucumber, kale, pear and dandelion leaves all whizzed up together. He sniffed it and said it smelt vile but said it tasted quite nice. He said,

‘The family had fast food last night for tea, I had my prepared meal. It didn’t quite smell as good but I resisted temptation.’

Mark – SlimFast 321 Plan

Mark weighed in at 17 stone 2lbs. The diet chosen for him was SlimFast – a meal replacement twice a day and a healthy meal of up to 800 calories. Dead easy to do but maybe not so easy to stick to – he only had to do it for a week though. Mark said,

‘If I lost a stone I would be ecstatic.’

SlimFast 321 Plan Dos . . .

  • Consume 2 meal replacements per day
  • Eat one calorie controlled meal per day
  • Eat 6 times a day
  • Drink 2 litres of water

And the Don’ts . . .

  • Snack on anything but SlimFast snacks or fruit

To help him, he got rid of the temptation of his fizzy drinks by pouring them away. On the first day, he said he enjoyed his milk shake brekkie.

Mark said he was feeling quite tired but he put that down to the lack of fizzy drinks. He did say,

‘I’m enjoying the food but it’s not enough, me belly keeps rumbling!’

Did the Crashers Diets Work?

Before the weigh in, John said he was nervous but excited. He had lost 10lbs on the Gwyneth Paltrow Gloop Diet. He said,

‘So I’m lighter than I was 15 years ago which is brilliant.’

Next it was Mark’s turn. He’d lost 1 stone 3lbs. He said,

‘I’m absolutely ecstatic!’

John said he would do the Gloop Detox again because he did enjoy the food but he did find he was in the kitchen preparing food an awful lot. Mark said his diet was great for the seven days because there was really no prep involved.

Life Changers Jacinta and Angela

Angela is a midwife and Jacinta is a practice nurse. They were doing a charity run in six week’s time and wanted to shed up to two stone beforehand. They both love their food and, being African, meat and rice, and lots of it, feature heavily in their diets. Angela said,

‘Being African you can’t say no to food. This will keep you strong. Rice, yams and you push it down with chicken stew.’ She went on to say,

‘I feel now I need to take control. I want to be curvy.’

Jacinta said,

‘I just want to be nice and trim. If I can build up a better relationship with food, I’ll be really happy.'

Jacinta – Paul McKenna’s I can Make You Thin

Jacinta weighed in at 14 stone 12lbs. The diet chosen for her was a mindful eating diet from self-help guru, Paul McKenna. This meant she could eat whatever she wanted but she must do it mindfully. She seemed quite excited by that prospect!

I Can Make You Thin Dos . . .

  • Only eat when truly hungry
  • Eat mindfully and enjoy every mouthful
  • Stop eating when full

And the Don’ts . . .

  • Eat what you think you should

Her first healthy meal was turkey curry – she said it was her first attempt at eating turkey but really enjoyed the meal. But three days in she was struggling a little with asking herself if she really needed to eat what she had planned.

Angela – NHS Diet (Calories In vs. Calories Out)

Angela weighed in at 14 stone 12lbs. Xand told her she was going to be following the advice of her Boss – as a midwife, she worked for the NHS and would be following their guidelines for weight loss. WLR follows the NHS guidelines too! When Xand asked had she heard of the NHS diet she whispered,

‘Well clearly not!’ laughing.

It works on the basis that eating less and burning more is the holy grail of weight loss. Xand said,

‘The NHS Diet is a well thought out serious diet.’

Hala backed him up by saying,

‘It’s based on balanced eating. Portion size is absolutely key.’

NHS Weight Loss Plan Dos . . .

  • Cook food from scratch
  • Eat fruit, vegetables and lots of fibre
  • Exercise for 150 minutes a week
  • Keep a progress diary

And the Don’ts . . .

  • Eat more than 1400 calories a day

The first meal she cooked was a vegetable jalfrezi with cauli rice. She wasn’t overly impressed that there was no meat in it and said the cauli rice tasted like cardboard but enjoyed the taste of the jalfrezi. Kind of!

Did the Lifechangers Diets Work?

Unfortunately, Angela had to drop out due to an illness so Jacinta soldiered on without her. Angela said she was really disappointed to see her friend having to go on without her.

When Jacinta weighed in she had lost 1 stone 6lbs and went on to complete the charity run for them both. She said,

‘I just used to eat anything and everything. This diet made me think of what I was putting inside my body.’

Shapeshifters Kanan and Parul

Kanan’s son was getting married in six weeks and the best friends wanted to look good for the wedding. Kanan said,

‘I want to look nice so my son and my husband are happy for me.’

Parul said,

‘Whenever we are together, it’s like a feast! We have a curry, rice, naan.’

Parul had an issue with Indian sweets – she just loved them! She said,

‘It’s going to be hard but we will motivate each other.’

Kanan F2 Diet

Kanan weighed in at 10 stone 6lbs. Hala explained the diet they had chosen for Kanan to do was the F2 Diet or the High Fibre Diet. It was first big in the 80s and is, as the name suggests, high in fibre so should help to keep Kanan fuller for longer.

High Fibre Diet Dos . . .

  • Eat fruit, vegetables, grains and pulses
  • Drink one low fat probiotic drink per day

And the Don’ts . . .

  • Eat fast food
  • Drink fizzy drinks
  • Eat too much fatty food

When she prepared one of the meals she said,

‘I don’t know if it’s going to work or not but I’m being positive. It’s so colourful!’

Parul Macrobiotic Diet

Parul weighed in at 9 stone 8lbs. Her diet was the Macrobiotic Diet which is based on the Japanese thought that it is about a way of life and balancing you and your food. It is high fibre and low fat but every mouthful of food must be chewed between 20 and 50 times!

Macrobiotic Diet Dos . . .

  • Base every meal around wholegrains
  • Eat lots of vegetables
  • Have soup with 1-2 meals a day
  • Chew 20-50 times for each mouthful

And the Don’ts . . .

  • Eat meat, eggs and dairy
  • Eat refined sugars

Parul said,

‘At the end of the six weeks, I’m hoping to lose the weight but at the end, this is a learning process for me.’

Did the Shapeshifters Diets Work?

Both ladies enjoyed yoga and Parul really got stuck back into walking. They also had to face temptation when on a ladies night out – they succumbed a little but didn’t go mad.

Kanan lost 7lbs and Parul lost 1 stone 2lbs. So chewing could be the way forward!

Kanan said she had to control herself a lot but she was going to carry on with her diet. She said,

‘If I can lose 2 stone I’ll be the happiest girl in the world!’

Parul said,

‘If you can chew fifty times, this diet is for you.’

To Drink or Not to Drink?

What is it that makes alcohol so harmful to our waist lines? Xand visited Biochemist Dr Vinod Patel to find out.

Basically, when you eat or drink anything, the liver breaks it down. The liver is central to the metabolism. Our bodies don’t have a mechanism to store alcohol so, when we drink, this has to be burnt off first. Anything else we have consumed has to wait.

Dr Vinod showed Xand what order the body burns fats, sugars/carbs etc with an experiment. Fat takes a longer time to burn so the body will burn anything else that is consumed first. The fat is the last thing to be burned, sugars/carbs before that and alcohol first. So if we have a meal and a drink, the drink is burned first and the fats and sugars/carbs have to wait and sit around in the body, therefore not being converted into energy to be used.

Xand undertook an experiment of his own. He wanted to know what sort of food was better for the waist line to eat when you are out drinking – high carb, high fat or high protein.

Three girls had three pints and each had a different meal – high fat (burger and chips), carb (pizza) or protein (southern fried chicken) – all takeaways that we would possibly choose when on a night out. Their bloods were taken periodically. Xand said that he suspected there wouldn’t be much difference. But the results were that the high protein meal was the better one of the three. Instead of a 45-50% increase in fats in the blood, like the others, there was no real change at all.

Fitness Trackers

7% of the UK own a fitness tracker so Xand decided to take a look and see how accurate they actually are. The ones that Xand looked at were the Fitbit Surge 2, the Samsung Gear Fit 2 and the iOS Health App. They all use motion sensors to monitor activity.

In the UK, we spend 18 years of our adult lives sitting down. Getting moving is an important part of being healthier and trackers are huge motivational tools.

Xand did 100 steps on a treadmill to see how accurately the trackers counted his steps. Samsung  Gear Fit2 counted 85 (13% under), iOs App counted 92 steps (5% under) and the FitBit counted 102 steps (2% over). Xand said,

‘None of those fitness trackers did a perfect job counting steps but overall, they do a really good job of telling you whether you are active or inactive and what we know is, that being active is massively important for your overall health, for your life expectancy. And it plays a crucial role in losing weight.’

When it came to calorie count, there was a huge difference between the three in actual calories counted – this could be due to Xand putting the wrong portion sizes in as well as the trackers not being fantastically accurate. However, even with the inaccuracies, people using them are being more mindful of what they eat.

So, even though the trackers weren’t brilliant for calorie accuracy and a little tiny bit out for counting steps, it is the general consensus that they help to get people moving so must be a good thing all round.

Previous Series of How to Lose Weight Well

Dr Xand and team have tested and reviewed the results of 48 diets in the 8 episodes of series 1 and 2. There are always six per programme:

  • 2 plans designed to produce very fast weight loss for the 'Crashers', who want to lose weight for an event coming up in a couple of weeks.
  • The 2 'Shape Shifters' (mostly) get more moderate diets which they follow for 6 weeks
  • The pair of 'Life Changers' get plans that are meant to be followed for the longer term (4 months for the programme). These tend to be fairly reasonable, but there are a few amongst them that participants are clearly struggling to stomach.

Series 1 Episode 1

The Master Cleanse Diet (Stanley Burroughs)

A detox plan, the Master Cleanse relies on 6-12 'lemonade' cleanse drinks (made with cayenne pepper) a day, along with a laxative tea every night. Similar to Theresa Cheung's The Lemon Juice Diet

The All You Can Eat Diet

No restrictions on the amount of food you can eat on this diet, but you can only eat certain types of food on certain days. Mondays to Thursdays it's fruit and veg only, Fridays to Sundays you get to add some lean meat or fish.

The 5:2 Diet

Based on the concept of intermittent fasting, the 5:2 diet restricts calories on 2 days a week to 500 for women, 600 for men. On the other 5 days you can eat what you like - but sensible portions following healthy eating guidelines.

Time Restricted Feeding Diet

The rules of this diet are very simple: eat healthily only within the same 10 hour window every day.

The Bulletproof Diet (Dave Asprey)

Dr Xand describes this diet as eccentric - possibly an understatement. Bulletproof says that you must avoid 'kryptonite' (bad foods) and eat 'bulletproof' (good foods) - only between 2pm and 8pm. In the mornings you have to drink a weird 'coffee' confection made with oil and butter - yum!

The Alkaline Diet

In this diet 80% of your food intake must be what are classed as 'alkaline foods' (fruit, vegetables, seeds). You are allowed only 20% of foods classed as 'acidic', (which is pretty much everything you really want including dairy, red meat, wheat, sugar, alcohol and coffee.)

Series 1 Episode 2

Eat Right For Your Type Diet (Dr P D'Adamo & C Whitney)

The Blood Type Diet goes on the principle that we should eat according to our blood type as our ancestors supposedly did. Each of the four blood groups has a detailed list of what to eat and not to eat.

The Skinny Gut Diet (B Watson & L Smith)

This diet claims to make your gut bacteria more weight loss friendly with plenty of live yoghurt, sauerkraut and numerous supplements. Tester Emma, the poor soul who doesn't like fermented food and was put on this diet, commented that it was expensive. 

The Raw Food Diet

As it says on the tin everything must be eaten raw on the Raw Food diet - though you can heat foods to a maximum of 48 degrees. No processed foods, dairy, bread or pasta are allowed, but you can have small portions of raw fish and dry cured meats.

The Fast Food Diet

Probably sounds too good to be true, as trialler Paul found. You can choose from and fast, convenience and takeaway foods, but there is a catch - you're supposed to take the healthier options, stay within your calorie allowance and keep saturated fat and white bread to a minimum. 

The Grapefruit Diet

This diet has been around in various form since the 1930s. The grapefruit diet is essentially al low carb diet with the added twist of eating half a grapefruit before each meal.

Apple Cider Vinegar Diet

This diet is supposed to accelerate digestion. You drink 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar diluted in a glass of water before each meal, and eat a restricted number of calories.

Series 2 Episode 1

The Green Smoothie Diet (Katherine Kyle)

This smoothie diet replaces 2 meals a day with a smoothie made from 40-50% greens, followed by a vegan dinner. How to Lose Weight Well chef Stacie says, "I know it looks like pond water, but I promise you it tastes like dessert".

The Bone Broth Diet (Dr Kellyann Petrucci)

Bone broth is a low carb diet with the added restriction of drinking only 'bone broth' on 2 days of the week. The remaining 5 days have to be low in fat and carbs.

Clean Eating Diet (based on Eat, Nourish, Glow Amelia Freer)

Sam Smith is a fan of the clean eating plan. The main idea is to eat fresh, organic and wholegrain, no processed food or additives allowed.

Weight Watchers Diet

Dr Xand thought that since tester Wayne was a darts player he should be good at counting points. Which is largely what Weight Watchers is about, along with generally healthy eating and exercise.

The French Woman's Diet (based on French Woment Don't Get Fat Mirelle Guiliano)

Hmm . . . Although ladies in France are a little behind the uk in terms of obesity, (24% vs 28%) they are well ahead of the Netherlands and Germany. This diet doesn't ban any foods but dicatates portion-contolled, regular meals and exercise.

The Asian Diet

This diet is designed to be low glycaemic index (GI), based on small dishes of Asian inspired food with lots of vegetables, rice and fish. Dr Xand says, "chopsticks should slow down the speed of consumption".

Series 2 Episode 2

The Military Diet

"You're in the army now, you wanna lose weight, you're gonna suffer' says Xand. Based on 3 days of fasting (less than 1000 calories) followed by 4 days of 'recovery' on low carb.

The SIRTFood Diet (Aidan Goggins & Glen Matten)

Described by Shafie as 'sumptuous' you get red wine and chocolate on SIRTFood. The diet is supposed to trigger fat burning by activating gut proteins. Chocolate must be 85% cocoa.

The New Atkins Diet

New Atkins is low carb and high protein like the old Atkins diet, but with reduced fat and including high fibre vegetables. Xand does warn that you might start to have dreams about fresh crusty bread!

The Hay Diet

Also known as the Food Combining diet, the Hay Diet was created by Dr William Howard Hay in the 1920s. The main theme of the diet is to not mix proteins and carbs at the same meal.

The Peanut Butter Diet (Holly McCord)

A fairly basic calorie restriction diet: women are allowed 1500 calories a day, to be spread over small meals along with peanut butter and aerobic exercise.

The Shangri-La Diet (Seth Roberts)

This diet prescribes 1 tablspoon of flaxseed oil to be taken 4 times a day an hour before food - which, it is claimed, will prevent cravings for high calorie food. Cook Stacie says, "To me, this is pure misery in a spoon".

Series 2 Episode 3

The No Sugar Diet (based on I Quit Sugar Sarah Wilson)

Loved by Kate Hudson and Eva Longoria, this diet bans sugar aiming to break a sugar addiction. It also restricts calories to 1200 a day and advocates the use of unprocessed fats. Similar to Nicki Waterman's Sugar Addicts' Diet.

Low Fat Diet

This diet has you cutting fat to very low levels and eating lean protein and plenty of fibre. The plan isn't based on any one particular diet but is similar to Audrey Eyton's F Plan and other low fat diets popular since the 80s.

Diet Chef Diet

All you need is a freezer and microwave. This diet features 3 calorie-counted ready meals a day delivered once a week by Diet Chef

The 5-Factor Diet (Harley Pasternak)

The 5-Factor says you can boost metabolism and control blood sugar by eating 5 meals per day with 5 ingedients in each meal. Processed food has to be eliminated.

The Warrior Diet (Ori Hofmekler)

Based on ancient warrior societies you have to fast during the day and feast in the evening.

The Sleeping Beauty Diet (Based on The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan Dr michael Breus)

The diet involves getting 7-9 hours sleep a night and eating protein and complex carbs to promote sleep and weight loss.

Series 2 Episode 4

The Mono Meal Diet

A very strict regime based on eating only one, vegan, food per meal. Raw for breakfast and lunch, cooked for dinner.

The Dukan Diet

The first 5 days of the Dukan diet involve eating lean protein and oat bran. Vegetables are added after 5 days.

The Apples and Pears Diet (Marie Savard)

Focussing on apple and pear body shapes rather than the fruit, this diet advocates 'elite' carbs, fats and proteins with no refined starches or sugars.

The DNAFit Diet (DNAFit)

The eating regime involves restricting saturated fat and caffeine, and consuming 30g of fibre a day.

The New Abs Diet (David Zinczenko)

Claiming to target belly fat the New Abs Diet includes 12 'power foods' in 3 meals and 3 snacks per day, along with exercise.

The South Beach Diet (Arthur Agatston)

A low carb based diet, the South Beach diet also calls for low fat and exercise. 

Series 2 Episode 5

The Baby Food Diet

Apparently Jennifer Aniston is a fan! You can eat up to 14 jars of baby food a day on this diet - along with a healthy evening meal.

The Omni Diet (Tana Amen)

You have to cut out alcohol, sugar, carbs, grains and dairy on the Omni diet, and stick to a 70:30 ratio of veg to protein.

The Leptin Diet (based on The Fat Resistance Diet Leo Galland

The Leptin Diet claims to balance levels of the hunger hormone leptin. You get plenty of high protein food but no carbs.

The Serotonin Power Diet (Judith J Wurtman & Nina T Frusztajer)

Low in fat and high in 'good carbs', as you can tell by the title this diet aims to boost feel-good serotonin levels.

The 'Bland' Diet

This is a medical diet aimed at fighting gut irritation. The food is low in fibre and fat and contains no spices.

The Champagne Diet

This is essentially a calorie controlled diet but, as you might expect from the name, you get to drink a glass of Champagne every day. The diet also advocates mindful eating.


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More Info

To watch previous episodes of How to Lose Weight Well go to the All 4 website 

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