2-day summer diet: How pizza and nachos can be health food

Daily Mail Reporter

17:22 EST, 22 April 2013


21:06 EST, 22 April 2013

2-Day Diet convert: Amanda Gilbert has lost 10lb

2-Day Diet convert:
Amanda Gilbert has lost 10lb

So, have you started it yet? When the 2-Day Diet was unveiled in the Mail earlier this year, it was an immediate bestseller. Tempted by an eating plan clinically proven to make you lose weight without any boring calorie-counting, thousands of our readers were inspired to join a diet revolution.

Now the doctors behind the diet have written a cookbook packed with delicious, all-new recipes.

Whether you’re keen to start the diet to get beach-ready for your holidays, or simply need the inspiration to keep going, this is the one for you. Welcome to the 2-Day Summer Diet.

Besides getting in shape for summer, this diet has scientifically recognised health benefits. It’s the brainchild of award-winning dietitian Dr Michelle Harvie, who specialises in diet and exercise plans to prevent cancer, and renowned oncologist Professor Tony Howells, research director of the University of South Manchester’s Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Unit.

They studied 1,000 women for more than a decade to create the diet, and the results were dramatic: the 2-Day dieters lost twice as much fat as conventional seven-day dieters.

The 2-Day dieters also enjoyed falls in insulin, hormone levels and inflammation in the body, which are all known to cause cancer. Their risk of breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure was also dramatically reduced. Some women’s risk of breast cancer dropped by an astonishing 40 per cent.

In yesterday’s Mail we gave you a guide to your diet days. Today, we present just a few of the delicious meal options for your non-diet days.

One of the joys is how flexible it is. Whether it’s delicious dinners or, as we show here, eating with the children, weight-loss couldn’t be easier with the Mail’s 2-Day Summer Diet.

‘You feel so great, so energised, so motivated’

For most people the desire to lose weight is purely aesthetic — driven by the squeeze to fit into a wedding outfit, or the prospect of public exposure in your bikini. But when losing weight comes with doctor’s orders, every pound dropped can have very significant health implications.

The bitter irony is that some medical treatments prescribed to ease symptoms can trigger weight gain, inadvertently exacerbating the problems they purport to solve and causing others at the same time.

Possibly the most dramatic example is the combination of chemotherapy and steroids routinely used to treat breast cancer.

Studies show that seven out of ten women who are treated will put on weight, but this puts them at increased risk of a recurrence.

Amanda Gilbert, 51, from Manchester, was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. After surgery she was put on a six-month course of chemotherapy.

‘My oncologist advised me to stay active,’ she says, ‘so I continued to exercise as much as I could and ate healthily — whizzing up lots of fresh juices for myself every day.’

But despite her best efforts, she finished her treatment a stone heavier than when she started.

This, according to Dr Michelle Harvie, research dietitian at the Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Unit at Manchester’s Wythenshawe Hospital, is very common.

Dr Harvie, who with oncologist Professor Tony Howell devised the 2-Day Diet, says their research shows that over a six-month course of chemotherapy, ‘many women gain a stone; some as much as 3st’.

The big concern is the more weight you gain after a breast cancer diagnosis, the more likely the disease will recur. But if you lose that weight, your prognosis improves.

Over the past seven years, Dr Harvie, Professor Howell and their team have been developing and testing the 2-Day Diet in a bid to find an incredibly healthy eating plan that would help women at high risk of breast cancer to lose weight.

One of the creators of the diet, Dr Michelle Harvie, specialises in food and exercise plans to prevent breast cancer

One of the diet’s creators, Dr Michelle Harvie, specialises in food and exercise plans to prevent breast cancer

As Dr Harvie explains: ‘Chemotherapy can leave patients feeling ill, fed-up and too tired to exercise. It can affect the taste buds and appetite, making them want to snack on carbohydrates and sweet foods and the chemotherapy drug combinations can cause a small drop in metabolism that certainly doesn’t help.’

Dr Harvie is keen to point out that women should follow doctor’s orders. ‘If you are told to have chemo, the best thing is to have the drug treatment, but to try not to gain too much weight,’ she says.
Amanda was very keen not to pile on the pounds knowing what an added health risk that would be — but it was a tough battle.

‘The chemotherapy seemed to sap my energy,’ she says. ‘I used to be extremely active, playing tennis and going to the gym, but had to cut things back to dog walking and gentle golf.’
The steroids she was prescribed during chemotherapy also gave her a craving for ‘pastry and comfort food’, she confesses.

Then, in January this year, she heard about the 2-Day Diet.

She has lost 10lb so far and is en route to getting back to her pre-cancer weight. This means she is likely to have reduced her chance of a relapse by 25 per cent.

‘I love the way this diet works,’ says Amanda. ‘I’m convinced it’s a really healthy way to eat, but there’s also something hugely motivating about seeing that 2lb drop on the scales after the two restricted days — you go into the rest of the week feeling so great, so energised and motivated.’

Dr Harvie and her colleagues are researching the impact of the diet on patients undergoing chemotherapy, but won’t be in a position to recommend it until the trial is finished. In the meantime, she says the 2-Day Diet may be effective for patients undergoing radiotherapy or hormone treatments, and certainly after chemotherapy.

Amanda is thrilled with the results so far.

‘I feel so much better about myself now,’ she says. ‘And every pound of fat I lose means I can run around the tennis courts that little bit faster!’

  • For more information and recipes galore, see today’s Daily Mail


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