September 5, 2008

Shop Talk – Natalie?S Weight Loss Dilemma

By Julia Breen

CELEBRITIES always seem to be following the latest diet craze in a desperate attempt to keep those enviably slim figures.

But sometimes the pressure to slim can end in tears and the most recent casualty of the celeb battle of the bulge appears to be ex- EastEnders star Natalie Cassidy. Her attempts at weight loss through a low carb diet have reportedly faltered.

After transforming herself from a size 16 to a size eight in a matter of months, she?s now distraught about a recent weight gain of 20lbs.

Just a few weeks after promoting her hugely popular fitness DVD, the actress who played Sonya in the soap is said to be avoiding going out in public and according to a friend feeling ?embarrassed and extremely sensitive?.

While other celebrities might currently be winning the fight against gaining weight, they should be embarrassed by some of their tactics. Beyonce?s apparently tried the Maple Syrup Diet, Jennifer Aniston and Paris Hilton have toyed with a Baby Food Diet, Guy Ritchie?s favoured a Hollywood Cookie Diet and Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow are renowned for their enthusiasm for macrobiotic food.

??All too often people are looking for quick fixes, ?? says Fleur Borrelli, nutritionist at Nelsons Pharmacy.

??Celebrities are often under pressure to lose weight fast, and their fans follow whatever has seemed to work for idols and role models. ?? She believes that the end result of many fad diets is disappointingly short-term weight loss, and poor health due to poor nutrition.

??A lot of these diets verge on fasting or food deprivation which is not healthy. In Natalie?s case she?s probably been on too harsh a regime, followed too quickly for her to cope with, ?? Borrelli says. ??She would be far better to lose weight more gently and slowly, with a balanced healthy diet incorporating lots of fruit and vegetables. That would lead to steady weight loss that would remain stable. ?? NATALIE?S DIET She lost two-and-a-half stone in a three- month period last year, reducing from a size 16 to a size eight. The low carb diet was combined with two-hour daily gym sessions.

A sample daily menu:

Breakfast: a bowl of cereal with yoghurt and berries and a cup of black coffee.

Mid-morning snack: A piece of fruit, usually a banana.

Lunch: Tuna salad with red onion and one slice of brown bread.

Snack: An apple.

Dinner: Steak or fish with steamed vegetables.

RATING ??This sounds like an extremely low carb diet, and it?s almost inevitable that Natalie would start to pile the weight back on because her metabolism has slowed down as a reaction to the lack of food and insufficient carbohydrates, ?? Borrelli says. ??This is an automatic reaction by our bodies to prevent ourselves from starving.Also, all that strenuous exercise has probably pushed her body to the limit, straining on her system if she?s not eating enough and could lead her to crave carbs. ?? She suggests that Natalie could improve this basic diet with changes to boost her energy levels, help keep her blood sugar stable so she avoids unhealthy snack urges, and keeps her metabolism at a good rate.

SUGGESTIONS Breakfast: High fibre muesli or porridge, or boiled egg with wholemeal toast. Also have a portion of nuts and seeds. Replace coffee with herbal tea or fruit smoothie.

Mid-morning: An apple, mango or papaya or a portion of chopped raw vegetables with a hummus dip is preferable to a banana.

Lunch: A brown rice salad, and portion of grilled fish, chicken or tuna. Ensure any bread is wholemeal or rye.

Mid-afternoon: A bowl of soup instead of an apple.

Supper: Add a salad starter, followed by the steak or steamed fish and steamed vegetables.

Borelli also recommends a supplement containing iron, a mineral commonly neglected by fad diets.

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