Zoe Harcombe turns the regular “balanced meal” diet on its head by doing away with principles that govern most weight loss programs. Instead of embracing calorie-counting as essential to shedding weight, she points to it as the cause of most people’s failure to reach their goal weight through diets. In other words, counting calories is one of the reasons why you might be failing to slim down. To support her controversial research conclusions, she created the infamous Harcombe diet.
The diet works in three phases and each has its own meal plan. The stages have allocated durations but you can stay on any of the phases for as long as you want. Phase 1 jump starts the weight loss and this is where you’re likely to lose the most weight in the shortest time. It’s a 5 day meal plan that requires you to eat a variety of foods. A phase 1 breakfast usually consists of egg servings or a bowl of oat porridge. Lunch is mostly fish like salmon and tuna, as well as a salad. Dinner includes plenty of meat, fish and vegetables. Meals differ from day to day and the most a member has lost during these 5 days is 17 pounds.
During the first phase, you need to avoid caffeine and drink herbal teas, water and unsweetened coffee. The order of the meals can be rearranged unless instructed to do otherwise. There is no limit on the amount of foods you can eat, as long as it is fresh and not processed.
The second phase is geared towards learning to change your dietary habits and losing weight steadily. Here, you will be provided with a list of foods and recipes to enjoy. The general rule is not to combine fats and carbohydrates in the same meal but rather eat them separately, at different times. The diet is roughly the same as the 5-day meal plan except starchy food and fat are introduced. Fruits, potatoes and whole grains are included. You can spend a minimum length of 7 days on this phase before you move on to Phase 3.
The final phase is about refining your eating habits and food selections for weight maintenance. Separating food groups still applies and calorie-counting is a thing of the past. Your menu from here onwards will includes lean proteins from fish and meat, carbs from whole wheat pastas and breads, plenty of vegetables and a controlled amount of fruit. At this stage, you can afford to snack on antioxidant-rich treats like dark chocolate and wine. Harcombe diet meal plans are detailed and well-structured, and all are available in her book.
An informative and organized diet plan like the Harcombe diet is hard to faulty because it produces both short and long term results. If you need to drop a dress size desperately, you can in the first phase and if you need to learn how to live healthy, it teaches you. Eliminating calorie-counting is a relief to most but in turn, you have to give your utmost commitment to succeed.