Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Michael's One Week Healthy Weight Loss Plan

So, you are starting to plan your summer holiday; you've tried on the bikini, looked in the mirror and decided to swap your sunshine break for a trip to the Welsh hills.

Don't do it, you could still look great on the beach by losing a stone with this Seven Day Healthy Eating Plan. It's bursting with nutrients, not meal substitutes or ridiculous regimes, but good nutrition, happy eating and delicious real food.

You won't be hungry - except on day one - you will be healthy and lose surplus pounds. Repeat this plan for four weeks and you could be one stone lighter and healthier.

No-one sticks to diets of dreary, tasteless food, and 1,000 calorie plans are disastrous. Women need around 2,000 a day, men 2,500, and once you get down to 1,000 or less you're short of iron, calcium, and most vitamins. You'll feel tired, irritable, depressed and binge after a week or ten days. Back goes all you've lost plus a pound or two - the dreaded yo-yo diet.

FACT - Every time you lose and gain weight quickly, the fat moves up your body, turning you from a pear into an apple. The higher up the fat, the bigger the risk of heart disease.

This plan contains mouthwatering recipes that taste good, look good and do you good. Healthy eating is way to shed surplus pounds for good, so make these simple changes:

Choose leaner cuts of meat and more fish and poultry. Choose semi-skimmed or skimmed milk (not for the under 5's) and look for lower fat cheeses and yoghurts. Eat lots of pasta, rice, beans and potatoes (not fried) together with at least five helpings of other fresh fruit and vegetables.

Eat good breakfast cereals like porridge, muesli or whole wheat products without added salt and sugar, and at least five slices a day of whole meal bread be very mean with the butter (but it's always better than margarine). Avoid sugar and watch for hidden fat in biscuits, cookies, cakes and meat products. Beware the salt, it causes fluid retention and swelling, raises blood pressure increasing the risk of strokes. Read the labels - you'll be amazed.

FACT: Most cornflakes are almost as salty as sea water.

It's what you do to food that piles on the pounds. Don't fry, but grill, steam or bake. Roast meat or poultry on a rack - it won't soak up the fat. Never eat poultry skin and avoid all thickened or creamy sauces. Use low fat yoghurt or fromage frais instead of cream and take plenty of time over meals so they're more satisfying.

Never miss breakfast and don't go more than three hours without food - always have a banana and a bag of unsalted fresh nuts, raisins and dried apricots handy to satisfy those hunger pangs and avoid doughnuts and chocolate.

This diet of good meals shows it's possible to eat well and lose weight. Most diets fail because you give up in despair at the thought of one more cracker and cottage cheese. But remember that weight loss depends on using more calories than you eat, that's why exercise is vital. You need a sensible calorie intake providing the essential nutrients and enough energy for physical and emotional health. Balance the equation by increasing activity any way you like that suits your health and fitness. The benefits are enormous and even a brisk walk each day speeds weight loss, improves heart and circulation, increases muscle strength, builds stamina and keeps you mobile. Exercise also generates the feel-good' endorphins in your brain - a huge bonus.

You can safely follow this plan for six weeks as it is bursting with essential nutrients and you will probably eat more than you do on a regular basis.

FACT: Eat two slices of bread and butter less, and walk for ten minutes more each day, and you will lose a pound a week!

Day One
Kick start your metabolism with a detox day to stimulate the liver and get your digestive system working. The only low calorie day and the one when you might feel hungry. Avoid the potential headache by drinking lots of water, but don't eat any foods not on the list.

An orange, half a grapefruit, a large slice of melon
A glass of unsalted vegetable juice
A cup of herb tea with honey

A plateful of raw red and yellow peppers, cucumber, tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, carrots, radishes and lots of fresh parsley. Add extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
A large glass of unsweetened fruit juice.

FACT: Radishes stimulate the liver and gall bladder and improve digestion.

FACT: Parsley is a diuretic - it makes you pass more water.

Evening meal:
Large mixed salad with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Lettuce, tomato, watercress, onion, garlic, beetroot, celeriac, fresh mint and any herbs you like.
A large glass of unsweetened fruit juice or unsalted vegetable juice.

Drink at least three pints of fluid, water, weak green tea or herb tea.

FACT: Mint improves the digestion
Watercress is rich in iron
Tomatoes contain lycopene; protective against heart disease and cancer

This plan supplies all the nutrients you need, but for extra health insurance take a simple one-a-day vitamin and mineral supplement.

Biotta Swiss Organic Vegetable Juice without salt or additives is available from health stores.


Baked beans on toast with a grilled tomato; a cup of tea or coffee with semi-skimmed milk. Have either drink with breakfast every day.

Light meal:
A large portion of coleslaw made with red, white and green cabbage, carrots, sultanas, onion, apple, plain yoghurt, a little olive oil and a tablespoon of cider vinegar, with a small cup of cottage cheese and a piece of fresh fruit.

Main meal:
Chicken breast (skin removed) covered with a sliced courgette, thin strips of red pepper, a little garlic, the juice of a lemon, half a glass of dry white wine and quarter of a pint of vegetable stock (from a low salt, organic cube) cooked in a covered casserole for 30 minutes at 175C/350F/gas mark 4, with carrots and parsnips mashed together. A baked apple (cooked in the oven at the same time). Remove the core, cut off the bottom quarter, put it back in the hole and stuff with 30g ground almonds mixed with orange juice, sprinkled with a little cinnamon and nutmeg.


Porridge with half water, half skimmed milk, a slice of wholemeal toast with a little butter and honey.

Light meal:
A large bowl of vegetable, bean and barley soup 45g pot barley, 900ml water, 4 sliced carrots, 1 chopped turnip, 2 sliced leeks, 2 sticks celery, 1 chopped onion, 15ml tomato puree, black pepper, bring them to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Add a can of kidney, butter, haricot or any other sort of beans; cook for another five minutes to make six large portions. Serve with a green salad with oil and vinegar dressing.

Main meal:
Any grilled fish with a green vegetable followed by some soft cheese with a large stick of crunchy celery.


Half a grapefruit, 2 poached eggs, 2 grilled tomatoes.

Light meal:
2 or 3 large flat mushrooms or a good handful of button mushrooms fried in a little butter very gently in a covered pan for about 15 minutes on whole meal toast with a salad.

Main meal:
Grilled lamb chops with most of the fat removed with peas and carrots, a portion of dried fruits soaked and served with low fat natural yoghurt mixed with a pinch of cinnamon, grated lemon rind and a teaspoon of honey.


A mixture of an orange, an apple and a pear sliced into a bowl with a carton of natural yoghurt and a teaspoonful of honey,

Light meal:
A sandwich of whole meal bread without butter, a mashed banana, a couple of chopped up dates, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of any chopped nuts. A fresh pear and a few grapes.

Main meal:
Chicken cooked any way you like, but not fried, with at least two different vegetables. Chopped, ready to eat Californian prunes and apricots, soaked in the juice of a lemon, an orange, a tablespoon of brandy, half a teaspoon of sugar.


2 boiled eggs, 2 slices of whole meal toast spread very thinly with butter.

Light meal:
A bowl of bean and barley soup,(left over from day 2), with a whole meal roll.

Main meal:
Put a fillet of hake, cod or any white fish on a finely chopped onion, tomato and garlic mixture in a large piece of cooking foil, sprinkle more of the mixture on top of the fish, season with pepper and a little olive oil. Wrap the foil into a loose parcel, bake at 200C/400F/gas mark 6 for 20 minutes. Serve with a salad of watercress, orange segments and chicory. A piece of soft cheese, (Brie, Camembert etc) and a bunch of grapes.


As much fresh fruit as you like.

Light meal:
Italian toast bruschetta. Toast a thick slice of coarse whole meal bread until lightly brown on both sides. Rub one side with a cut clove of garlic, dribble on a little olive oil and pile with thin slices of fresh tomato a wonderful snack for any time of the day or night.

Main meal:
Chicken, beef or lamb casserole remove skin and fat, cut into cubes; seal for a few seconds in hot oil and remove the meat with a slotted spoon. Then add chopped onion, garlic and celery, continue cooking till soft but not brown, add vegetable stock (from cube) with diced parsnip, carrot, swede, leek, turnip, potato, return meat to the mixture, cover tightly and cook at 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for one to one and a half hours till meat is tender. 2 tangerines in segments with a small carton of fromage frais and a teaspoon of honey.


2 slices of wholemeal toast with a little butter and honey. A glass of fresh orange juice.

Light meal:
Green pasta and tuna fish. While the pasta is cooking put 4 coarsely chopped spring onions including the green tops into a frying pan with a little oil. When they're soft add a small can of drained tuna and stir until warm but not cooked. Drain the pasta, return to the saucepan, mix in the tuna and spring onions and serve. A piece of fresh fruit.

Main meal:
Stir fry lamb. Remove all fat from the meat and cut into thin strips. Put in a shallow dish with 15ml olive oil, 10ml soya sauce, 30ml dry sherry and leave to marinate for 30 minutes. Then in a wok or thick bottomed frying pan heat some olive oil, add the lamb and some of the marinade, stirring vigorously for three minutes. Add a small leek thinly sliced lengthways, stir for another two minutes, then add a chopped spring onion, a chopped clove of garlic and a little freshly grated ginger and cook for another three minutes. Serve with a tomato and onion salad. Half a small melon.

You must drink at least three pints of fluid each day water, diluted unsweetened fruit juices and some tea, herbal teas but only a little coffee. You may have one glass of wine or half a pint of beer or one small measure of spirits each day as well. This is seven days of delicious healthy eating which I hope you will enjoy. It is not a diet but a guide to help you change the way you eat for the better.


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