Tag Archives: diet

A dieting aid that works? Part 2

I used the fibre drink dieting aid over the next few months (see part 1 of the story here).

I’ve never been a fan of dieting products. I’d rather eat everything in moderation and aim to eat healthily, and following a variant of the Montignac method seemed to be helping (see my post on the Montignac method), but I was still struggling to keep myself filled up between meals and shed those extra few pounds of fat.

My problem was that I kept getting hungry and needed to eat, else my stomach hurt!

This fibre drink sounded like a possible solution.

The idea behind it is that you drink a ‘natural’ (powder made from natural ingredients, primarily apple fibre) beverage that fills you up between meals.

And it seems to work!

By drinking a dose between breakfast and lunch, another early afternoon and another before my evening meal, I’d managed to skip one small meal, plus was eating my evening meal later so wasn’t becoming peckish later and snacking before bed time.

Over the course of several weeks, this had a great impact.

The best weight I’d managed to achieve previously, over several years, was 74kg (163lb or 11 stones 9lbs). This was pretty good on the body mass index scale; a good weight for my height of 178cm (5 foot 10 inches).

To achieve this though, I was having to exercise hard.

Mondays I worked from home, and would do a 40 minute work out, consisting of 20 minutes of mat work (stretches, press up, push ups, crunches etc) and 20 minutes of mixed weights and bag work (I used to do Taekwondo, so kept up the practice with a large punch/kick bag in the garage).

Tuesdays would be the same.

Wednesday I would get up at 6am and drive the 2 hour journey to North Wales from the East Midlands. I would have a 45 minute work out at the gym, consisting of 15 mins mat work, 10 mins weights and 20 minutes cardio – treadmill, bike, cross trainer etc.

If I wasn’t feeling too knackered from the drive/days work, I’d go to the gym in the evening for another 45 mins – although the last 10 mins tended to be a dip in the jacuzzi or a steam in the sauna 🙂

Thursday I would get up reasonably early as I would have gone to bed just after 10pm on the Weds, so I would have a 25 minute swim before work, the same 45 minute work out at the gym at lunchtime AND I’d also go to the gym in the evening again for a similar work out.

Friday I wanted to leave early for the 2 hour drive back to the East Midlands, so I’d only have 30 mins at the gym, concentrating on cardio usually.

If I had time on a Saturday I’d also slip in another home/garage work out.

That’s a pretty intense routine.

Admittedly, I didn’t stick to it 100% – some days working from home I’d need to use the lunchtime break to pop to the bank or perform some other job. Occasionally, Thursday nights I’d end up at the pub with my Welsh housemate (he wasn’t Welsh, but the house was, he was from New Zealand – I shared a house with him and another when working up there) instead of the gym.

But in general, I worked hard at it. And I was eating reasonably healthily; I wouldn’t eat burgers or pizzas (ok, the odd pizza – once a month?) and my beer intake was very low – although I did enjoy a few bottles of wine 🙂

Gradually, over a couple of years, I got my weight from around 78/79kg to a steady 75 with the absolute peak being 74kg.

And my stomach wasn’t flat – I wasn’t fat as such, but I couldn’t shake off the wobbly layers of fat sitting on my stomach and sides.

I just couldn’t get any better than this… eating less, I was starving and unhappy. And I was pushing myself to the limits at the gym, and often strained a muscle – which then left me unable to exercise for a while, and my weight would climb again.

It was a constant battle, and I normally remained in the 76 to 78kg range. If I was ill or did a more serious injury, and couldn’t exercise for a few weeks, I’d climb up to 80kg. When I missed some exercise, went on holiday, over ate, then couldn’t exercise again due to other reasons, I hit 82kg (180lbs, 12 stone 12 pounds – more than a stone heavier than my best), and felt awful.

I felt heavy, and sweated more. It made me feel tired.

I ate as healthily as I could for a month and hit the gym hard and managed to get back to the ‘happy ground’ of 76-78kg.

Again, this wasn’t so bad. But I didn’t like that flab on my stomach, and I just felt much better and fitter when I was a few kilos lighter.

Just for the record – I’m not obsessed with weight. It can flicker 1 or 2kgs anyway from day to day; especially if your scales are as fickle as ours! But it gives you an overall idea and measurement, and I have rounded these to averages.

I just knew that I felt ‘good’ around 76kg but even better at 74kg.

It just wasn’t achievable on a permanent basis without exhausting myself.

Then I met my girlfriend. I was spending more and more time with her and not exercising enough… I worried my weight would start to climb again.

I exercised at every opportunity and kept a closer eye on my weight. Fortunately she is very into healthy eating and has provided my salvation!

This was through a combination of the Montignac diet (Montignac method) and later on, a Polish fibre drink we found.

Before I started using the fibre drink, I was hovering around the middleweight 76-78kg range; I was using the gym less but the Montignac method was enabling me to keep it from increasing.

So what happened to my weight after a few weeks of using the fibre drink product?

Down to 74kg with no effort.

Well, not no effort at all… but significantly less than before.

I’d been doing 6-8 workouts a week before to get to 74kg. Now I was doing 3 or 4.

And I was still being careful with what I ate – but I wasn’t making any additional effort.

I had simply reduced my intake, without being hungry.

I bust the 76kg barrier and hovered at 74kg and could even treat myself to the odd pizza!


And things over the next few months got even better…

Part 3 available now: A Dieting Aid That Works: Part 3

A dieting aid that actually works?? Part 1

I like to think of myself as an “optimistic realist”.

I try to never be pessimistic, but I am skeptical, especially when it comes to ‘dieting aids’. You can do all the research you like online about a diet but you’ll never know if it really works for you unless you try it yourself. And unfortunately, many online diets are just marketing scams. Many dieting products are unnatural and full of chemicals.

The product I tried though is a little different.

This is a natural product that is currently only marketed in Poland (my girlfriend’s home and somewhere we regularly visit), however, an equivalent should be coming to the UK soon.

In the UK, our small talk is about the weather.

In Poland, the small talk is about your health.

Supplements are big business in Poland.

The new supplement we found is a little unique – it’s based on natural ingredients and intends to fill you up longer whilst aiding weight loss.

The product consists of a powder that you add to water and drink. It’s fibre based, mainly consisting of apples and glucomannan (Wiki article on Glucomannan). The idea is that this helps fill you up, yet contains no fat, minimal carbohydrates (fibres – which are not absorbed by the body) and only four calories per drink.


The idea is that you take 3 servings each day, between meals. The drink fills you up so you eat less.

Having struggled all my life to keep myself full, yet limit the amount I ate to prevent my weight increasing, and wanting to avoid all the unnatural, chemical based ‘meal supplement’ shakes out there, this sounded like a great idea.

I gave it a go.

Previously, I’d wake up, and be instantly hungry.

And as I’ve mentioned in some of my other posts, if I’m hungry, I have to eat.

And soon.

If I don’t, I get a nasty stomach ache that can last for days.

So, on the first day of using the new product I woke up, went to the toilet, and my stomach rumbled his usual morning greeting.


Ok, Mr Stomach. Let’s get some breakfast.

I had my usual portion of 3 weetabixes (or is that weetabixi?) with a small topping of blueberries, sunflower and chia seeds (which are supposedly filling but they haven’t worked particularly well for me) and semi skinned milk, and a cup of tea with a dash of milk.

This normally fills me up for 2.5 to 3 hours – i.e. I’m hungry way before lunch and I have to find something suitable to keep me going.

Sure enough, two and a half hours later, the air around me is disturbed by a deep low grumble.

I managed to ignore it for 10 minutes but then the grumbling returned in force.

Let’s give this fibre drink a go.

I mixed the powder with some hot water and shook away.

It didn’t mix very well. But it’s not supposed to. The makers wanted to keep it as natural as possible, so there’s no fancy dissolving agents in there. Using hot water helps it to dissolve better.

If you give it a good shake and drink it immediately, it’s dissolves reasonably well, with only a small amount of powder left at the bottom.

It tastes quite pleasant – it has a vanilla and apple flavour.

I headed back to the PC to check my emails.

Just under 30 minutes later my stomach growled at me.

Ok, it hadn’t lasted long, but it had given me a 30 minute respite. I grabbed a banana.

These normally fill me for 30-45 minutes, an hour at the most.

1.5 hours later I suddenly realised I wasn’t hungry.

Well, I hadn’t been until I thought about it, then boom: RUMBLE RUMBLE RUMBLE.

Ok ok Mr Stomach, I’ll feed you. It’s lunchtime anyway now.

So I get ready to have my ‘lunch’ – a chicken salad.

I say lunch because I normally have two.

A chicken salad will only fill me up for two hours. About the same as wrap, which is what I used to eat in place of a less healthy sandwich – modern bread is terrible for you (another post coming up on that!). Then I realised how much fat and unnecessary carbs there were in a wrap and as I’m merely eating at my computer desk at work or home, the convenience factor of a hand held wrap verses a knife and fork requiring salad isn’t significant. The salad is healthier and keeps me going for the same amount of time, as the tortilla wrap is replaced by more chicken (filling protein) and tomatoes and greens.

Note that a sandwich would also only fill me for two hours anyway, so it’s not like the healthier option filled me up for any less amount of time.

So usually I’d be hungry around 11, 11:30 and have a salad. Before I got hungry again I’d hit the gym at about 1, and the work out would distract me from the hunger until I got back around 2 and then I could eat a second lunch – another chicken salad, a wrap, or perhaps a ‘prawn cocktail’ – my healthier version, made with low fat yoghurt, lemon juice, chilli powder and chopped cucumbers. Very tasty.

Yet it’s more like 12:30, 1ish now – I’ve lasted about 90 minutes longer. That might not sound like a massive difference, but I’ve only had one dose of the product so far, and I can have two more today.

So instead of having my salad, I take another fibre drink.

This time it takes about an hour until I’m hungry. I have my chicken salad, expecting it to fill me for the usual 2 hours.

It fills me for 3.


So it’s almost 5pm now, and I’ve eaten significantly less than I normally do. I’ve only had one chicken salad.

I decide to have some scrambled eggs, thinking that will last me nicely until around 7pm when I can have my evening meal.

It lasts me until about 7:30pm, and then I realise I can have my third dose.

Down the hatch it goes and I don’t need my evening meal until 8:30pm.

I have a salmon fillet with fried asparagus and a handful of fresh cherry tomatoes. Lovely.

Oh, and a glass of red wine, of course. It would be rude not to!

I normally struggle 2 or 3 hours after my evening meal and get peckish before bed. I end up nibbling on some nuts, or worse, cheese, washed down with – you guessed it – more wine.

But I’ve eaten later, and I’m remaining full for longer.

I eat nothing more before going to bed.

So let’s recap.

Normally I would have eaten:

7:45 Breakfast cereal
10:45 Banana
11:30 Chicken salad
14:00 Chicken salad
16:00 Scrambled eggs
18:00 Evening meal
21:30 Nuts/cheese/snack

Today I’d eaten:

7:45 Breakfast cereal
11:15 Banana
13:45 Chicken salad
16:45 Scrambled eggs
20:30 Evening meal

With the 3 fibre drinks in the day, but remember they have no fat or carbs – just fibre.

I’d managed to cut out a chicken salad – i.e. one small meal normally lasting 2 hours – and the naughty evening nibbles.

In the course of one day, that’s not a huge difference.

But over several weeks… there’s quite an impact.

And things got even better; see my next post coming up soon!!

Now available: A Dieting Aid That Works: Part 2

I just want to point out again that I am not a nutritionist, a dietician or a doctor. I’m a computer scientist! So this is just my take on things and it’s worked well for me. When dieting you should always seek professional help if in doubt.

Montignac Diet Part 2: What Can I Eat?

There’s a few variations on the Montignac method that have developed over the years.

This is our interpretation – and it seems to have worked, and allows us to eat tasty, healthy food, and loose weight. With this way of eating and a combination of Slim XL (a natural dietary aid which I will write a post on in the near future) I’ve easily lost 10kg (22lbs – about 1.5 stone) with much less exercise that I previously did.

Our understanding of the concept is this.

Don’t eat high GI carbs with fats, particularly saturated ones like butter and fried meat.
You can eat fats, but try and stick to things like olive oil and fish oil, and not at the same time as eating carbs.

I.e. wait approximately 2 hours between eating high GI carbs and eating fats, don’t eat them together.


It throws the typical British meat and two veg meal system out of the window though. And even our favourite Indian adopted meal, the curry!

A typical dish eaten by the average European, or American, and in fact, many nationalities, would consist of something like meat, potatoes/rice/pasta/bread, and some other vegetable or fruit.

The problem with that is you’re combining the high GI ‘bad’ carbs (potatoes/rice/pasta/bread) with fat; especially if your ‘meat’ portion is a battered fish, a chicken kiev or BBQ chicken (with skin), a beef burger, a creamy lamb curry etc.

And often people will follow immediately with a sugary dessert.

Eating a lean portion of oven baked chicken breast with the ‘bad’ carbs and skipping any sauces or sides of butter will be fine – high GI carbs + no fats is not an issue – at least in terms of this diet; high GI carbs may still increase your blood sugar level so diabetics be careful! However, most people will opt to eat a baked chicken with it’s skin still on, or a greasy burger, or breadcrumb – or even worse – battered fish; all of which have a high fat content. High GI carbs + fats is bad, or so the Montignac theory goes.

Similarly, a fatty chicken or fatty creamy lamb curry isn’t so bad if you skip the potatoes or rice – fat + no GI carbs is fine.

Chips are the worst – potatoes have a very high GI and you’re absolutely soaking them in fat, and a saturated one at that!

But don’t panic – you can still eat tasty food, and still fill yourself up.

Instead of having steak, potatoes and tomatoes, why not have steak, a poached egg and tomatoes?

You’ve replaced the high GI offender with an egg, which is just fat and proteins.

And the egg should fill you up just as much as a few potatoes. Tomatoes have some carbs, but they have a low GI value.

Throughout this, I’ve neglected to mention proteins.

Let’s bring these fellas into the discussion.

For the sake of our argument and this method, let’s say that food basically consists of carbs, fats and/or proteins.

Protein performs many roles in the human body, including muscle repair and growth. Human hair is essentially used up protein.

The important factor here though is that protein fills you up.

That’s a very important factor when choosing any diet. If you feel hungry, you’re likely to snack, usually on whatever food you can get your hands on at the time – which tends not to be healthy food. Montignac was aware of this and is happy for you to eat between meals, as long as you’re still following the rules.

Getting plenty of protein in your day will fill you up for longer. If you’re full up for longer, you’re going to eat less in the day, which ultimately is going to help with weight loss.

Foods with high protein content include nuts, legumes (beans, lentils etc), fish, or one of my favourites, eggs.

But aren’t eggs bad for you??

There’s been many debates about eggs and cholesterol levels, but the evidence seems to show that eggs do not cause high cholesterol levels. The old rule of 3 eggs a week is out the window. 3 eggs a day is perfectly fine. There are plenty of athletes and body builders who eat several eggs every day and do not have any cholesterol issues.

Ok, fried eggs aren’t so good, as eggs contain a fair bit of fat anyway, and frying them in something like vegetable oil is a big no no. Poach your egg. Too fiddly? Ok, boil it. Scrambled eggs are great, especially with a dash of salt (not too much mind!) and black pepper.

If you eat 3 (non-fried) eggs a day and you’re not taking in significant fat elsewhere in the day then you’re eating a reasonable amount of fat (more on this later – don’t eat JUST fat!!).

What about calories?

Ok, this diet doesn’t really consider calories. It’s more concerned about your carb, fat and protein intake, and more importantly, the combinations in which they are eaten. But bear this in mind: the same amount of fat has more than twice as much calories as protein and carbs:

1 gram of protein or carbs – 4kcal
1 gram of fat – 9 kcal

I.e. if you’re trying to keep your calories down, keep the fats down!

Back to the allowed combinations. To summarise, possible options are:

High GI carbs + fat = bad
Low GI carbs + fat = ok
High GI carbs on their own = ok
Fats on their own = ok

(assuming you are eating the High GI carbs and fats separately with a gap of approximately 2 hours)

You can add proteins in to any of these, it doesn’t change the results:

High GI carbs + fat + protein = bad
Low GI carbs + fat + protein = ok
High GI carbs + protein = ok
Fat + protein = ok

The proteins will fill you up longer though – so try and get these in there to keep you full and happy, and ultimately you will eat less. In this case, less is definitely more!

Don’t forgot my rule: Everything in moderation. You can still treat yourself from time to time. Still fancy that sugary dessert? It’s not bad every now and then… but try and wait an hour or two after the main course. You may even find you not hungry later anyway.

You should also consider how much of each food group you are eating in a day. This will not only affect your weight loss, but other factors, such as heart health – you don’t want to be eating too much fat. Just because fat on it’s own without the high GI carbs is classed as ‘ok’ in the sense of this diet, it’s not ok to just eat fat all day long!

For someone of my age and height (36, 5ft 10in/178cm), you should eat around 50g of fat, 100-150g of carbs (the less the better to loose weight) and aim for around 100-150g of protein – if you only managed 50g of proteins thats fine but try and eat more to fill you up longer (note that these are just guidelines and not ‘hard and fast’ rules).

Hang on.

This sounds like a lot of effort!

How do I work all this out?

How do I know if a food has a high or low GI value? How do I add up how much fat, protein, and carbs I’m eating in a day?

Don’t worry (‘be happy… dunka dunka’ to loosely quote Bob Marley).

It’s up to you how much effort you put in.

You can browse the web to find GI values and create a spreadsheet to work out what the best replacement low GI carbs or proteins are for you, and colour code it to work out ideal combinations. That’s what I did. Yes, it was a lot of effort at first, but it was worth it, and now I just ‘know’ what are good and bad combos.

Once you start doing something regularly, it becauses automatic, a habit. There’s a great book on this, The Power of Habit (will add a link in a bit) , which also covers willpower – I will probably write another post about this later.

Or you can just reduce the high carb GIs in your meals. Get rid of the spuds. Swap the egg fried rice for a low GI long grain basmati or brown rice; replace with more meat/fish or a protein replacement if you’re not being filled up enough.

Or reduce the fat you’re eating with those carbs – you can still have a jacket potato, but replace the butter for baked beans (watch out for the high sugar or salt content though in most tinned baked beans, you can buy reduced salt/sugar versions). Don’t put butter (or even marge – see my post Fats: Butter vs Marge) on your sandwich; do you really need it? A few slices of cucumber or tomato is usually enough to moisten the bread. Skip the mayonnaise: yoghurt is a healthier alternative.

Or you can look at a few of the meals I will suggest in future posts.

Or you could buy Montignac’s excellent book (well, 15 million people bought it so it can’t be bad!) Eat Yourself Slim: The World’s BEST Method full of delicious but healthy French and Mediterranean recipes.

I’m also planning (possibly, in the future) to create an online calculator which will allow you to enter a days worth of the food you ate, which will then highlight the bad points and suggest an alternative. It’s just an idea at the moment and I would need to look into the technical difficulties and costs, I may need to charge a small fee to cover this… who would be interested?

I just want to point out again that I am not a nutritionist, a dietician or a doctor. I’m a computer scientist! So this is just my take on things… but it’s worked well for me and my girlfriend. When dieting you should always seek professional help if in doubt.