June is crunch time for summer dieters. You've just a few more weeks to allow those pounds to melt away before the big holiday.
So, if you're eager to pour a slightly slimmer you into that bikini, be inspired by Jacqueline Whitehart, author of The 5:2 Diet Recipe Book, which has been at the top of the Amazon Kindle and physical charts since its release in January.
Whitehart has lost more than 14lbs since she started following her own advice. And now she's released a follow-up book, which aims to have you ready for the beach in one month.
According to the mantra of the 5:2 diet, first featured in a BBC Two Horizon documentary by health journalist Dr Michael Mosley, you need only diet two days a week to lose weight.
But don't just believe the hype. HuffPost UK Lifestyle asked Jacqueline Whitehart what happened when she tried the diet.
- How quickly did you begin to get results while going on the diet?
"Very quickly! I lost 4lbs in the first week and then sustained the weight-loss at about 1lb a week for the next few months."
- How much weight did you lose and in what time?
"I lost 12lbs in total over 3 months."
- Do you instantly regain weight after you stop doing it?
"I still do a ‘maintenance’ version of the diet where I fast just one day a week which keeps me at my ideal weight. I find that if I take a break when I go on holiday I might gain a pound or two but I know I can lose it again simply afterwards."
- How do you cope with fatigue/hunger on the days you're not eating a healthy dose of calories?
"I find that feeling hungry on my fast days is natural and I don't suffer any side effects – although I may feel a bit irritable occasionally! I don't feel fatigue on a fast day – just the opposite, I feel buzzing with energy."
- Why does this diet have such mass appeal?
"I think it's very different to other diets – you only have to watch your calories 2 days out of 7. And it works!"
Here are some exclusive 5:2 recipes to try out for yourself
Flatbread with garlicky tomato sauce and anchovies
224 calories Serves 1 Preparation time: 5 minutes Cook time: about 8 minutes ½ tsp extra-virgin olive oil (14 cals) 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped (3 cals) 1 tbsp tomato purée (paste) (30 cals) 4 anchovy fillets, drained (24 cals) Heat the olive oil gently in a small frying pan (skillet), add the garlic and fry for 1–2 minutes until just starting to go brown. Stir in the tomato purée (paste) and 2 tablespoons water, then fry gently for another 4–5 minutes. Spread the tomato sauce over a warm flatbread and arrange the anchovies over the top. Slice into quarters and eat straight away. Recipe courtesy of <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-5-2-Bikini-Diet/dp/0007237650 " target="_hplink">The 5:2 Bikini Diet</a>
Classic Baked Apple
185 calories <em>Make sure to score a line round the middle of the apple before filling, otherwise the apple may split during cooking.</em> Serves 1 Preparation time: 10 minutes Cook time: 35–40 minutes 1 large Bramley (cooking) apple (54 cal) 1 tsp (5g/1/8oz) butter (37 cals) 1 tsp (5g) flaked (slivered) almonds (32 cals) 2 tsp (10g/1/3oz) soft dark brown sugar (36 cals) ½ tsp ground mixed spice 10g (1 heaping tsp) raisins (27 cals) grated zest of ½ orange Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5. Use an apple corer to remove the core from the apple, then score round the middle of the apple with a sharp knife, cutting to a depth of about 5mm (1/4in) all round. Place the apple in a small serving dish. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl and use to stuff the filling into the centre, rubbing a little round the apple as well. If there is any filling left over, pile it on the top. Cook in the oven for 35–40 minutes until golden and soft. Recipe courtesy of <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-5-2-Bikini-Diet/dp/0007237650 " target="_hplink">The 5:2 Bikini Diet</a>
244 calories <em>This chicken satay can be either barbecued or grilled (broiled). They taste delicious served on a bed of spinach with some lime juice squeezed over, adding on the appropriate calories, if you are on a fast day. If using wooden skewers, make sure they are soaked in a bowl of water for at least 30 minutes before using to prevent them burning during cooking.</em> Serves 2 Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus 3–4 hours marinating Cook time: 10 minutes 250g (9oz) skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes, about 2.5cm (1in) square (265 cals) 1 shallot, peeled and diced (5 cals) 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed (3 cals) 2 tsp curry powder 1 level tbsp peanut butter (182 cals) 1 tsp runny honey (23 cals) 2 tbsp soy sauce (9 cals) To make the marinade, mix the shallot, garlic, curry powder, peanut butter, honey and soy sauce together in a bowl. Add the chicken and toss until the chicken is coated all over in the marinade. Leave to marinade in the refrigerator for 3–4 hours. Preheat the grill (broiler) to medium or light the barbecue. Thread the chicken cubes onto 2–4 skewers, leaving room between the chicken pieces to allow them to cook thoroughly. Grill (broil) for about 10 minutes, turning regularly, until cooked through. Serve immediately. Recipe courtesy of <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-5-2-Bikini-Diet/dp/0007237650 " target="_hplink">The 5:2 Bikini Diet</a>
Raspberry Frozen Yogurt
146 calories <em>A great fat-free dessert, it is made without the use of an ice-cream machine. Remember to take the frozen yogurt out of the freezer 10 minutes before serving to allow it to soften slightly. Feel free to experiment with other fruits using a similar method, or try adding a few drops of vanilla extract to make vanilla frozen yogurt</em>. Serves 6 Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus 3–4 hours freezing 200g (scant 12/3 cups) raspberries (50 cals) ½ x 405g (14oz) can light condensed milk (541 cals) 500g (generous 2 cups) pot 0% fat Greek yogurt (285 cals) Roughly chop half the raspberries and set aside. Place the remaining raspberries in a food processor and whiz to a smooth purée. Alternatively, purée the raspberries with a fork. <em>Place the puréed raspberries in a large bowl and stir in the condensed milk and Greek yogurt until well everything is mixed, then fold in the remaining chopped raspberries. Transfer the mixture to a freezerproof container and freeze until solid.</em> Recipe courtesy of <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-5-2-Bikini-Diet/dp/0007237650 " target="_hplink">The 5:2 Bikini Diet</a>
215 calories Serves 1 Preparation time: 5 minutes Cook time: 8 minutes, plus 10 minutes cooling 2 vine ripened tomatoes, sliced (26 cals) ½ red (bell) pepper, deseeded and cut into strips (25 cals) 50g (13/4oz) light halloumi, drained and sliced into thin squares (122 cals) 75g (3oz) Italian mixed salad leaves (greens) (10 cals) For the marinade ½ garlic clove, peeled and crushed (2 cals) juice of 1 lime (3 cals) 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley ½ tsp chilli flakes (red pepper flakes) freshly ground black pepper 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil (27 cals) To make the marinade, combine the garlic, lime juice, parsley, chilli flakes (red pepper flakes), pepper, 1 tablespoon water and the olive oil in a wide bowl. Add the sliced tomatoes to the marinade. Heat a large frying pan (skillet) and dry-fry the red (bell) pepper strips for about 5 minutes until slightly blackened, then put them with the tomatoes in the marinade. Fry the halloumi slices in the same pan until golden on both sides, they will only take a minute in a hot pan. When they are cooked add them to the marinade and turn until the halloumi is coated all over. Leave the halloumi to cool for about 10 minutes. Arrange the salad leaves (greens) on a wide serving plate and put the halloumi, pepper strips and tomatoes on top. Drizzle over the remaining marinade and serve. Recipe courtesy of <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-5-2-Bikini-Diet/dp/0007237650 " target="_hplink">The 5:2 Bikini Diet</a>