Gizzi Erskine is the perfect ambassador for her new cookbook, Skinny Weeks & Weekend Feasts - seeing as she's now showing off her recent weight loss with her own diet advice.
The Scottish-born chef revealed to us that you don't have to cut out delicious food including carbs and chocolate to lose weight and look amazing.
The concept for Gizzi’s new book is pretty simple – you eat a healthy diet for six days of the week and then feast for one day at the weekend – and lose weight!
Sounds too good to be true, right? Not so, as Gizzi herself revealed to us how it works.
“Last year I did put on a bit of weight and doing this was the way that I lost it,” she told us.
“As a chef, it’s important for me to eat delicious food all the time - it’s not an option not to!”
Skinny Weeks & Weekend Feasts is no fad diet book and Gizzi told us that the recipes in the healthy part of the book are just as delicious in the ‘naughty’ section – they just happen to be lower in calories.
“It’s about understanding nutrition and getting a balanced amount of carbohydrates, fat, vegetables and protein,” she said.
Since starting to follow this diet, the 33-year-old has noticed increased energy levels and better concentration – ‘that’s a big thing that I’m noticing, I’m more on it!’, she said.
We’ll be the first to admit that we were pretty skeptical about a diet that includes one ‘cheat’ day – surely that puts all your efforts to waste?
Gizzi soon reassured us that a day off from dieting gives your metabolism ‘a bit of a challenge’ and means weight loss is easier to sustain – in other words, you keep it off.
“It’s a slower process, so if you diet for a month without having a day off, you may lose more weight faster but you will get to the point where you plateau,” she told us.
Having a cheat day – or a feast day, as Gizzi calls it – will keep you constantly challenged and it means you’re not craving the foods you’re restricting.
One of the key things that Gizzi revealed to us is that denying yourself of certain foods is one of the worst things you can do if you’re trying to lose weight.
“I think you have to give yourself a little bit of what you fancy - give yourself a light at the end of the tunnel!” she said.
You’ll notice that even in the start of Gizzi’s book – the ‘skinny weeks’ part – there’s still ‘naughty’ ingredients including chocolate and peanut butter.
That’s because she doesn’t believe in eliminating whole food groups entirely.
“You have to give yourself a bit of something naughty otherwise you just don’t enjoy life.”
Gizzi – who describes her quirky style as ‘60s America with a touch of Parisian flair – admits she’s inspired by French women, who know not to overeat.
“French women who are trying to lose weight eat a tartine - they don’t have a baguette,” she said.
“It’s got more of the filling in it - more of the delicious part - and you’re using the bread almost as a plate,” she added.
The former Cook Yourself Thin author believes that one of the main reasons people aren’t losing weight is because they’re overeating.
For example, a portion of rice in an Indian takeaway is 250g – but nutritionists advise only 50-60g of carbohydrates per portion.
“If you ate what nutritionists told you to eat, portion size wise, you’d lose weight,” she stated.
In fact, Gizzi herself found that she lost more weight eating carbs than she did cutting them out.
“I know that if I eat a small portion of wholegrain carbohydrates with everything I eat, I lose weight more than if I cut carbohydrates out altogether,” she revealed.
Ultimately, what works for one person might not work for you and it’s about ‘being honest with yourself and trying things out’, according to Gizzi – who didn’t lose a pound on the Atkins diet when others raved about it.
At the end of the day, when the recipes in the healthy part of Gizzi’s book are just as delicious as the ‘naughty’ ones - baked bananas, anyone? – it’s no wonder she stuck at it.
Now someone pass us the peanut butter…
Will you be trying Gizzi’s recipes? Let us know over on Twitter now.
Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts by Gizzi Erskine is published by Quadrille on March 28th, £20.