Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

How to Lose 7 Lbs in 7 Days and Still Eat Healthily

Most women will have tried at least a dozen different diets over the years, most of them in unsuccessful attempts at weight loss. And though nobody would deny that being seriously overweight is not good for your health, being a size 10 is not an automatic prescription for a life free of illness and disease.

Extreme starvation diets are unhealthy and never work, but when desperation is knocking at the door, you need desperate measures. Youíre going to a wedding, and you canít get into your new frock; your holidayís two weeks away and there are bulges hanging out of your bikini or love handles squeezing from your partnerís trunks.

Then itís time for the Desperation Diet. For one week only and not more than three times a year, this is how to lose seven pounds in seven days without putting your health at risk. This eating plan gives you a simple day by day list of menus, but by following the Ďwheel of healthí guidelines, you can build a weekís eating that suits your taste and lifestyle.


The wheel is divided into three equal segments, one of which is then split into two smaller equal segments and a third much smaller still.

Segment A

All the wonderful fruits, vegetables and salads, get at least five portions a day and a good mixture. It may sound a lot but itís only about a pound in weight. Fruit or vegetable juice counts as a portion. An apple, pear or orange, a small bunch of grapes, an average portion of any cooked or raw vegetable, a small bowl of salad, all count as one portion. So, a glass of orange juice with breakfast, an apple midmorning, a pitta bread stuffed with humus and mixed salad at lunchtime, broccoli and carrots with your evening meal, and a bunch of grapes and a pear during the evening, gets you up to seven!

Segment B

The starchy foods that should provide half your daily calories. Plenty of wholemeal bread, rolls, chapatis, breakfast cereals, particularly muesli, porridge, Shredded Wheat, Weetabix and others low in added salt and sugar. Pasta, rice, noodles, potatoes - steamed, boiled or baked and sweet potatoes. Lots of beans, chickpeas and lentils - canned are fine but rinse well to remove salt.

Contrary to old fashioned dieting ideas, and even the latest gimmick slimming books, these starchy foods are not fattening.

Segment C1

Protein: lean beef, pork, lamb or poultry, all types of fish, offal, eggs, more beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts (not salted or chocolate covered), seeds, and vegetarian meat substitutes like textured vegetable protein or the new fibrous vegetable protein, Quorn, tofu and other soy products. These, like the dairy foods in segment C2, should be taken in modest quantities and should be eaten steamed, baked, grilled or roasted on a rack to reduce fat content.

Segment C2

Dairy products: milk, cheese, yoghurt, fromage frais. These are all available in low and very low fat versions but itís worth remembering that even full fat milk is just under 4% fat - a pork sausage is 32% fat. Skimmed and semi-skimmed milk should not be given to children under five. Although these dairy products form a small portion of your total food, they are important as sources of calcium.

Segment C3

This is by far the smallest group and should represent the lowest contribution to your total daily calories. These are the high fat, high sugar foods and often represent the treats we all enjoy. Donít cut them out, youíll be miserable, just be a bit mean. Butter, margarine, low fat spreads, cooking oils, mayonnaise, and other oily salad dressings, should all be used sparingly.

In the Desperation Diet thereís no place for real treats like sweets, chocolates, cakes, biscuits, croissants and Danish pastries.


If youíre eating out, donít even look at the dessert menu; just ask for some fresh fruit.


At the beginning of each day add one measure of herbal Pure Plan (from health stores and chemists) to a litre bottle of still mineral water and make sure you drink it all by bedtime. This mixture of birch, meadowsweet and dandelion for fluid elimination, artichoke to stimulate the liver, burdock and wild pansy for the skin, fennel and fucus to stimulate metabolism, and tamarind and prune for the digestive system, will help you to that half stone weight loss by the end of the week.

Day One

Breakfast: half a grapefruit, one poached egg and two poached tomatoes.

Light meal: avocado, tomato and mushroom salad plus 4 ounces low fat cottage cheese and a large bunch of grapes.

Main meal: a large bowl of thinly sliced cucumber with lots of black pepper, cider vinegar and a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, a generous portion of mixed stir-fried vegetables served on a bed of plain boiled rice.

Day Two

Breakfast: a large fresh peach and six ripe strawberries.

Light meal: a large green salad and a mixture of lots of steamed vegetables - carrots, courgettes, new potatoes, peas, runner beans, sweetcorn - tossed in a mean teaspoon of butter and sprinkled with fresh chopped mint and parsley.

Main meal: a bowl of vegetable soup, a large red or yellow pepper stuffed with rice, and a generous portion of lightly cooked spinach chopped with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a clove of crushed garlic.

Day Three

Breakfast: a large bowl of cherries and a low fat live yoghurt.

Light meal: mixed green salad and a generous portion of your favourite pasta drizzled with olive oil, crushed garlic, sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley.

Main meal: a carton of low fat live yoghurt mixed with chopped cucumber, lots of fresh mint, garlic, black pepper, a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Skinless grilled chicken breast, with grilled tomato, iceberg lettuce and boiled or baked potatoes.

Day Four

Breakfast: muesli, Shredded Wheat, Weetabix or other wholegrain cereal, with semi-skimmed milk, and a banana.

Light meal: a sliced hard boiled egg with chunks of tomato, cucumber, fennel and lettuce in a wholemeal pitta bread.

Main meal: Celery, apple and walnut salad, grilled trout with cauliflower and runner beans tossed in a teaspoon of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, sprinkled with lots of parsley.

Day Five

Breakfast: a large bunch of grapes.

Light meal: crudite of olives, radishes, carrot, fennel and celery, any vegetable soup, a wholewheat roll and a pear.

Main meal: generous portion of mixed curried vegetables - potato, onion, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, peas, mushrooms - tomato and onion salad, plain boiled rice.

Day Six

Breakfast: mixed summer fruits - strawberries, raspberries, currants, apricots, peach.

Light meal: a large tomato stuffed with mixed tuna and low fat cottage cheese, plenty of black pepper and a green salad.

Main meal: Stir fried cubes of chicken, beef, lamb or tofu, with mixed stir fried vegetables and noodles. Mixed fresh berries with low fat live yoghurt flavoured with the zest of a lemon, quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of honey and two fresh mint leaves.

Day Seven

Breakfast: a boiled egg and one slice of wholemeal toast very thinly scraped with butter, a glass of fresh unsweetened juice.

Light meal: salad of red radicchio and chicory leaves with grilled mushrooms and a wholemeal roll, an apple and a pear.

Main meal: a salad of pink grapefruit and sliced peach with low fat fromage frais, grilled salmon steak with boiled potatoes and any green vegetable, a matchbox sized portion of low fat cheese with a stick of celery and a few radishes.

Throughout the week make sure you drink your litre of water plus Pure Plan, and at least another litre of other drinks - herb teas, unsweetened or unsalted fruit and vegetable juice, weak Indian or China tea, and only the occasional cup of coffee.

By the end of this week your desperation will turn to delight. Seven pounds lighter in seven days, clear skin, bright eyes and bursting with energy. Thatís your reward for sticking to the Desperation Diet. Now keep your weight off and stay well with the Wheel of Health as your guide.


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