Sunday September 25th 2022

The Real Women’s Diet

The dieter’s menu is a minefield. Each year, new fads do the rounds and we’re caught between cutting carbs and reducing fats to limiting proteins and counting calories.

We’ve spoken to the experts, done the research and bring you one amazing eating plan that works!

Well-known clinical nutritionist Sally-Ann Creed explains that our aim in losing a few kilos should never just be about “losing weight”, but rather “gaining health”.

“This approach works better than any weight loss plan. Coupled with a sensible blood-sugar balancing programme, it’s the best-kept ‘secret’ to lasting weight loss and good health. It will also build valuable muscle while throwing off unwanted body fat.”

What really works – and why

Creed advocates following a Glycaemic Load (GL) approach, as researched by Australian professor Jenny Brand-Miller. Health guru Patrick Holford popularised the concept based on her findings.

The simple formula of a piece of animal protein (preferably), with a complex carbohydrate, a little healthy fat and a glass of water at each meal has been shown to be both effective and effortless.

GL tables can be found on the internet or in books, but Creed believes that there is a simpler way of following this diet :


  • Have a piece of protein the size of a deck of cards, together with a same-size portion of complex carbohydrates (such as brown rice, oats or mealie meal) and vegetables with each meal
  • Eat three medium balanced meals and two snacks a day
  • Combine carbohydrates with protein at each meal (never separate them!) – this balances blood sugar, which is vital for weight loss
  • Eat only HEALTHY fats (fish oil in capsules, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, few nuts and seeds but not their refined oils)
  • Take the targeted supplements which assist with healthy weight loss (chromium picolinate, 2 x fish oil capsules and 2g Vitamin C)
  • Try to exercise around 15 minutes a day – anything you enjoy doing that gets you moving
  • Overdose on vegetables in season which have a high water content (ie. tomatoes, cucumber, leafy greens etc) and avoid eating more than a plum-sized ‘concentrated’ starch at each meal
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Only choose two small portions of fruit a day.


  • Don’t eat refined food and simple carbohydrates (sugar, refined breads, rusks, pastries, sweets or fast food)
  • Avoid all unhealthy fats (sunflower oil, margarines, grapeseed oil, flaxseed oil and fats in processed foods) these are fattening and some are damaged and highly inflammatory, plus bad for your health
  • Don’t skip meals
  • Coffee, crisps, pork, processed meats (such as sausages and ham).


Dried fruit (1/4 cup a week); avocados ¼ per day; 1 tablespoon nuts or seeds daily, fresh fruit – only 1-2 portions daily, maximum

This programme will provide you with

  • Balanced nutrition
  • A feeling of fullness
  • Blood sugar and insulin balance
  • A feeling of well-being
  • Weight loss
  • Increased health

There are two ways to follow this diet effortlessly. Choose one option below.

Option #1

Choose ONE protein, ONE carbohydrate and TWO vegetable portions for each of your three main meals. Add a little healthy fat (around a teaspoon to a tablespoon) and have a little fruit (1-2 portions maximum daily).

The Food List

Choose your food portions from the list below (each represents a portion).

(deck of cards size)
Complex Carbs
(cupped hand size)
(2 x cupped hands)
1 chicken breast oats, pure rye bread broccoli
¼ tin of tuna in brine brown rice spinach
Small Bulgarian yoghurt sweet potato (small) kale/Brussels sprouts
1 fillet of fish (not butter fish) tiny potato peas/runner beans
1 large cup quinoa sweet corn garlic/onions
1 egg; ½ cup skim milk corn mushrooms
Cottage cheese – ½ tub cous cous lettuce/courgettes
200g humus pasta watercress/sprouts
2/3 tin sardines in brine pumpkin tomatoes, fennel
1/3 tin lentils beetroot carrots/celery
¾ tin baked beans broad beans cabbage/cauliflower

Menu sample :

Breakfast: 30g bowl porridge oats, ½ grated apple, small tub yoghurt, 1 tsp ground seeds – sweeten oats with xylitol

OR: 1 egg with a thin slice of buttered rye toast and herb tea

Morning snack: punnet of strawberries or blueberries and 4 almonds

OR: 1 thin slice of rye bread with avocado, black pepper and herbal salt and a slice of tomato

Lunch: big salad with tuna with brown rice

OR: a piece of fresh fish with stir fry vegetables on cous cous

Afternoon snack:

2 Brazil nuts, ½ a pear or ½ apple – or a cup of blueberries


carrot, celery and broccoli sticks with humus


Salmon, cous cous, green beans, and a salad with a little olive oil
1 small chicken breast, broccoli and 5 cashews, on a bed of sautéed cabbage, onion & garlic with mushrooms

Continue to follow the principle of choosing ONE portion of protein, ONE portion of carbs and TWO portions of vegetables (or more if they are very “water-dense”, such as spinach), plus a little healthy fat such olive oil – and drink a glass of water with each meal.

Option #2

Divide your plate into 3 as follows:

50% vegetables from the above list

25% carbohydrates from the list

25% protein from the list

1 glass of water with each meal

1 teaspoon olive oil or health fat with each meal

Visit for more information on Sally-Ann’s guide to great nutrition and health.

Copyright : Beth Cooper, 2010.

This extract first appeared in True Love, Sarie and Fair Lady magazines.