The Harcombe Diet lets you lose weight without ever going hungry!
We develop a food intolerance when we eat too much of a certain food too often over a significant period of time. This might be due to following a very specific diet or always opting for the same foods, believing they give the best satisfaction to calorie ratio.
Symptoms of a food intolerance can include: bloating, IBS, indigestion, heartburn, headaches, weight fluctuations and tiredness, but in reality symptoms are many and varied and can overlap with the other two conditions.
Hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar can occur if you consume too much glucose, too often. Unfortunately, our carb-heavy modern diets and constant snacking make our glucose levels yo-yo, causing these energy highs and lows.
This can lead to headaches, tiredness, hunger between meals, excessive appetite and difficulty sleeping.
Candida is a yeast that lives in us all that is usually controlled by our immune system. Overgrowth can result in all the same symptoms as food intolerance and hypoglycaemia and so it can be hard to identify.
However, it does have some additional, unique symptoms to the other conditions and these include: fungal infections such as athletes foot, dandruff, thrush, poor circulation and symptoms feeling worse on rainy/damp days.
Candida overgrowth is the most difficult to get rid of, so those with severe cases may need to restrict certain foods and follow phase 1 of the diet for longer periods of time to be rid of it.
The first phase of the Harcombe Diet lasts for 5 days – the shortest period of time necessary to make a real difference, as it allows all digested substances to pass through body.
In this first stage, you can eat all the meat and fish you want and all vegetables except potatoes and mushrooms. The only food that is limited is the ‘safe grain’ (brown rice, quinoa or porridge oats).
During this phase you should get into the habit of eating three meals a day and reacquaint yourself with what are normal quantities of food for you – leaving you satisfied but not overfull.
It is important at this stage to identify how much weight you have to lose using your BMI and to assess the severity of your candida overgrowth, as those with more to lose and a severe candida problem should ideally extend the first phrase for best results.
The second phase of The Harcombe Diet has just three rules to follow in order to find your natural weight and stay there. Here it is all about forming the basis for how you will eat for the rest of your life, so it needs to be healthy, practical and effective. The three rules are as follows:
Rule 1. Don’t eat processed foods. Foodstuff is naturally full of all the vitamins and minerals we need, so don’t buy or eat anything that needs a label.
Rule 2. Don’t eat fats and carbs in the same meal. Most foods are either carb/protein or fat/protein. Carbs tend to be from the ground and trees and include grains, fruit and veg, whereas fats basically come from anything that has or once had a face, such as meat, fish and dairy.
Eating both carbs and fats together, means the carbs are used for energy and the fat is stored as body fat causing weight gain. If you eat fat alone, however, the body uses this for energy/cell repair and doesn’t store it. Fats are therefore generally better for you than carbs.
Rule 3. Don’t eat foods that cause your cravings. It is important to restrict food depending on your condition(s) until your immune system can recover and you build up a tolerance to the problem food again. Avoid reintroducing too many things too quickly to avoid losing control to cravings – if you can’t wait to reintroduce something this is your problem food!
Those with a candida problem should limit their fruit and grain intake and avoid wheat and vinegar or pickled foods in the first few weeks until symptoms start to clear. Buy The Harcombe Diet (£14.99)
Eating less ultimately makes you gain more weight, as you get used to a reduced food intake. As soon as we stop diets that make us eat less, we pile on weight, more than we had before, as we have slowed down our metabolism. For sustainable weight loss you must keep eating and eating well. This is the key to staying at your natural weight but eat anything you want.
Rule 1. Don’t cheat too much. Eat the foods you want in moderation. If you want a significant cheat have it instead of your normal meal, not as well.
Rule 2. Don’t cheat too often. If you have the same cheat too often it becomes a habit and you develop a taste or craving for it. Remember that not all cheats are equal and that you can get away with red wine and high cocoa content chocolate more frequently than sweets and cakes, as they are closer to natural food. You can also get away with mixing carbs and fats more in phase 3 and again this is less of an issue with natural produce than processed foods. Use your cheating wisely and don’t waste it on things you’re not fussed about.
Rule 3. Stay in control. As soon as you feel you are starting to need something regularly rather than desire it occasionally, act immediately. Cut the food out and don’t reintroduce it for days or weeks. You have to be really honest with yourself to make sure food cravings don’t redevelop.
Zoe explains how the record weight loss for the first phrase so far has been 17lb (well over a stone!).
People typically tend to lose 7-10lbs over the first 5 days, but Zoe and testimonies from Harcombe fans stress it is the sustainable weight loss combined with the healthy feel-good factor that are the key to this diet’s success and popularity.