Day 1
So, we’re coming to the end of day one of the South Beach diet and I’ve got to say it’s gone pretty well. For breakfast this morning I tucked into two vegetable quiche pots. Made with spinach, egg and cheese, they weren’t what I would normally consider “breakfast” food, but were nice enough, although I do have to say that by lunch time I was starving! So they’re maybe not the best morning filler-upper. Lunch was a tasty tuna salad, with lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I don’t know whether it was the extreme hunger I was feeling at the time or the fact that it was actually pretty good, but it tasted like the best salad ever. I then set about preparing my chicken for dinner.
 Now ask any of my housemates and they’ll tell you I’m not one for cooking, ham sandwiches and fish fingers are basically the extent of my culinary expertise, so to hear that I was marinating chicken for dinner was quite a shock to the system. They both expressed their pride, with one exclaiming that she “really should take a picture” in case this never happens again. But yes I was actually cooking and I’ve got to say I impressed myself. After marinating the chicken in a mixture of lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and salt, I fried and served it with spinach and a large mushroom stuffed with cream cheese, basil and red onion. It was delicious.
So as I get ready for bed this evening, I feel that today has been an achievement and, I never thought I’d say it but, I’m actually looking forward to making and preparing tomorrow’s meals.
Who knows how long it will last…
Day 2
Okay, so I hate Tuesday’s anyway, 10-3 without any breaks and only enough time to grab a packet of crisps between lectures. So imagine my dismay today when crisps are strictly off-limits, as is every other snack food; apples, biscuits, sweets. To try to make it through the day without giving in to temptation or dying of starvation, I had three vegetable quiche cups, instead of the recommended two, for breakfast. Still, come three o’clock, having got back a Spanish translation with quite a bad mark and not eaten anything at all, I was cold, miserable and very, very hungry. All I wanted was to tuck into a hot Panini oozing with cheese and then stuff myself with chocolate. But no, I resisted, after all it’s pretty lame to give in after just one day, and instead sat down to a somewhat dismal tuna salad I had prepared that morning.
Tonight also saw me face another challenge of this diet; eating out at a friend’s house. My friend had invited us round the week before and was cooking chicken curry and rice – definitely not one of Dr Arthur’s “foods to enjoy”. So after many a heated discussion with me asking him to cook me some vegetables and him replying “why can’t you just eat it?” because “nobody will know”, I conceded to taking my own food round to cook there. And while the others wolfed down their curries, I enjoyed salmon, with roasted butternut squash and spinach. Yummy.
All in all today has not been a very good day, but then for me Tuesdays never are. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Day 3

Today has been a great day. I woke up still feeling pretty down about yesterday and so decided to investigate whether or not there was anything apart from vegetables that I could eat. To my sheer delight, under the “foods to enjoy” section was “lean bacon”. Well I was so excited I threw on a coat, hot-footed it round the corner to the co-op, came back and enjoyed a bacon and mushroom omelette- the best breakfast of the week so far. I also discovered that there are some sweet things you can enjoy like sugar-free jelly and sugar-free hard boiled sweets. This brightened my mood a lot and I began to think it may not be so bad after all.

One thing, however, that is a bit of a problem, is the lack of variation of the meals. Even though there are a large range of recipes featuring different meats and foods, I’m finding it’s not quite possible to make everything on a student budget. Buying in bulk because it’s cheaper means you’re stuck eating the same thing every night and it’s hard thinking of ways to make it a little different to the night before. Like tonight, I had a salmon fillet left over from the two-pack I opened yesterday, so I decided to fry it rather than poach it as I had done last night. But, because of the mammoth bag I bought at the beginning of the week, I served it with; yes you’ve guessed it, spinach.

But, despite the monotonous meals, finding out that I can have sweets as a little snack now and then, has made me more confident than ever that two weeks is definitely achievable. And who knows maybe fish-fingers and ham sandwiches will be a thing of the past?

Day 4
Tonight I will face probably the hardest challenge of these whole two weeks; a night out in town without any alcohol. Whilst I’m looking forward to proving that I can go out and have fun without having a drink, I’m feeling a little left out this evening as my friends sit downstairs, with the vodka flowing, getting ever-more tipsy.
To make up for not being able to drink I decided to treat myself with a succulent steak for dinner with South Beach “mashed potato” (actually cauliflower mashed with a little low-fat margarine to taste) and butternut squash. For dessert I had sugar-free mango and passion fruit jelly. It was gorgeous; a delicious variation from chicken/salmon with spinach.
I do have to say though that I am well and truly sick of tuna salad, so tomorrow I’m branching out and switching to…prawns. Oh yes, I am reckless and looking-forward to it.
Anyway taxi’s here, wish me luck…

Day 5
Well, I may never drink in town again! I had such a good night despite the lack of alcohol and my drink of choice (soda water and lime) was only 50p in Modo and then free, yes FREE in Cube. I think this could have been because they were so shocked to discover somebody who didn’t want a £1.50 vodka mixer, that they didn’t quite know what to do, but I’m not complaining! However, with the absence of red bull I found that I was ready for bed by like 1 o’clock and without the numbing power of alcohol my feet were hurting after about two hours. Nevertheless I danced on and enjoyed watching other drunken people do the stupid things I would probably have been doing had I been under the influence.
And this morning whilst my friends woke up with banging headaches and a patchy recollection of the night before, I awoke bright eyed and bushy-tailed ready to start the day.  
 Every Friday I go home to Crosby because have a job in a library there and work Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. Now my mum is not one to encourage diets, she thinks they’re daft and pointless, but when I told her it was all research for LSMedia she seemed to accept the idea a bit more. I come home though and find the house to be chocker-block with nice things I couldn’t eat. I don’t know if she’s done it on purpose to try and get me to give in, but there are crisps, biscuits and a fine looking chocolate swiss roll that I am dying to have a piece of. It’s very upsetting. To make things worse when my dad picked me up from work at 8 o’clock he informed me that we were going the chippy on the way in for dinner. Standing in the chip shop seeing and smelling the fish and chips was torture. When we got home my mum said I should “just have a chip” because “it won’t do any harm”, but it will, if I’m going to have one chip I might as well have a bag – I’ve failed either way. So no thank you I am perfectly happy with my chicken and broccoli.  

Day 6
The weekend is finally upon us, probably the hardest time for me to be on a diet. I love sitting in on a Saturday night watching x factor with a load of sweets and a glass of wine, but sadly that was not the case tonight. Instead I had herbal tea and strawberry flavour sugar-free jelly. I do have to say though that I only seem to crave sweet things when I am bored. It seems my first thought for something to do is to munch away at biscuits and crisps, so I have to find other things to do. I have made a considerable dent in the recommended reading for my course and have been working a lot more to keep my mind off the things I can’t have, which I’m sure has pleased my tutors.
Today’s food has been good as well, I enjoyed a prawn salad with lettuce, tomato, raw mushroom and cottage cheese for lunch which was really good and got my parents to take me to Asda on the way back to uni where they bought me some smoked cod – probably one of the best meals of the week.
Another bonus was that my friends in work said that I looked like I’d lost weight! This made me feel good, but I’m not actually sure if it’s true. Guess we’ll find out at the end of week one weigh in tomorrow…

Day 7
So, here we are at the end of week 1. I’ve made it! And at the first weigh in of the diet I now weigh…drum roll please… 8st 13pounds!! That’s a loss of 4 pounds! Which I’ve got to say I’m pretty pleased about. I suppose because I’ve been eating three meals a day and can still eat meat, eggs and cheese – things which might not normally be considered “diet” food, I was a bit sceptical about losing any weight at all. (I did fear that I might actually put on weight!). But no it does actually work! This revelation has made me even more determined to carry on with the plan this week and even has me considering a low-carb lifestyle once this is all over. But for now bring on the tuna salad and spinach; I will be thin by Christmas!
Day 8
So after yesterday’s weight loss revelations, I awoke this morning ready and raring to go. I tucked into my breakfast omelette confident that the worst was behind me and that I was now in the home-stretch. I’m well into the routine of preparing my meals now and cooking no longer feels like the chore it has done in the past. I’ve also been surprised at how filling the food actually is. I don’t actually feel like I’m on a diet because I don’t feel hungry, which I wasn’t expecting, not being able to eat carbs, the so-called filler-uppers.
For dinner this evening I decided to make a kind of prawn stir-fry, with aubergine, broccoli, green beans and prawns, cooked in lea and perrins Worcester sauce. Which turned out really well. That’s one part of this diet that I am really enjoying; experimenting with different foods and recipes to try and find some variations within the somewhat limited menus.
Overall it looks like this is going to be a good week…
Day 9
The dreaded Tuesday is upon us again and in order to avoid feeling as bad as I did last week, I made myself a large bacon omelette to fill me up in the morning and I also took a small bag of celery sticks to snack on throughout the day. And it worked a treat. The eggs and bacon managed to sustain me until about 2 o’clock, by which time I only had another hour before I could return home for lunch. I was quite impressed because even when I eat my usual cereal for breakfast I’m still ready to eat again by like 12 o’clock. So I think I’ll be having an omelette for Tuesday’s breakfast from now on.
For dinner I had grilled chicken with broccoli and spinach, with strawberry jelly for dessert. All in all today has probably been one of the best Tuesday’s this semester, with regards to food and being hungry.                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Day 10
Today has been a very fat day. Something I didn’t think was possible on a diet. But it definitely is and today was one of those days. Despite the scales telling me I’ve lost weight I don’t feel any different. Today I felt huge and had to ask myself is it really worth it? If I’m still going to feel fat eating lettuce and tomatoes, I may as well be eating biscuits and chocolates, if I’m going to feel the same either way. What is the point?
Despite all this I half-heartedly prepared my salmon, mushrooms and green beans for dinner, although I have to say that if I wasn’t writing this article I would probably have packed it all in tonight in favour of a bar of Galaxy. Hopefully this is just a phase and tomorrow will be a better day.
Day 11
I have to say that I’m still feeling pretty fed-up today. I’m just bored. Bored of going through the effort of strict meal plans and eating the same thing every day and not feeling any different.
In an attempt to mix things up a bit, I treated myself to some smoked cod for dinner, which cheered me up somewhat. As did the discovery of sugar-free Fruitella sweets, which are a welcome change to the sugar-free lemon drops I’ve been devouring these past two weeks.
Despite my bad mood, there’s only three days to go and I’m already dreaming about the carbohydrate goodness that awaits me on Monday….
Day 12
Friday and I’m home again this evening and I don’t know whether I’ve eaten something dodgy or what, but I do not feel good. I had the usual tuna salad for lunch and dinner was steak, onions and cauliflower, so I’m pretty sure it’s not something I’ve eaten. Either way I hope it’s not a result of the diet itself because I really don’t want to feel like this for the next two days.
So I’m going to go to bed early and try to sleep it off.
Day 13
So after vomiting before going to bed last night I was rather dubious about eating breakfast this morning, so I skipped my omelette and waited for lunch to eat. By which time I was feeling much better (still none the wiser as to what was actually wrong with me, but I seem to have recovered) and happily tucked into my salad.
The end is in sight and on my way back to uni I went to Asda to buy cereal and bread for Monday. To tell you the truth it can’t come soon enough. I’m bored of it all now. It’s difficult to keep meal ideas fresh and there’s really only so much tuna salad and spinach a girl can take. But for this evening I will enthusiastically cook my salmon and broccoli because it’s the last day tomorrow!
Day 14
Day 14 is finally upon us and after the final day of phase one I now weigh…. 8st 11 pounds. So only a loss of two pounds in the second week, but it brings my total weight loss to 6 pounds – almost half a stone, which is fantastic!
So, was it all worth it? Well I did lose weight which was the ultimate goal in all this and whilst it wasn’t as much as the book promised it was still a loss, so in that respect it was definitely worth it. But for me, it was worth it for another reason. It taught me that I am able to cook delicious, healthy meals and that it was simply laziness that has prevented me from doing this in the past. I learnt that healthy food is filling and that you don’t need carbs in order to feel full.
However, I do have to say that to continue this sort of diet, would be very difficult on a student budget. My food bills for the two weeks came in at just over £40, a huge amount of money, considering I usually spend about £12 a week. So, long-term I don’t think this diet would be very achievable. Saying that though, I will definitely be incorporating some of the meals into my diet from now on.
I am also quite concerned that once I start eating carbs again, what little weight I’ve lost will go straight back on, but I think if I maintain a balance of healthy salads, alongside things such as fish fingers, I am confident that that I should be able to keep the majority of the weight off.
On the whole this has been a very valuable experience, whilst there were times when I was on the verge of quitting, I am happy that I continued to the end. I feel like I have learnt a lot and will make better decisions about what I eat in the future. But for now I cannot wait to devour the bowl of granola that awaits me for breakfast tomorrow.

Sarah Mawson