My story with Dave, the kids, Cooper, VW's & rugby

The Harcombe Diet

I have a strong belief that if you are functioning well on the inside that you can function well on the outside, so starting from tomorrow Dave and I will be doing the first phase of the Harcombe diet. I found out about the Harcombe diet from Elaine from All Kids and after I finally got the diet book delivered and read most of it, we have decided to give it a go.

There is often a medical reason why most diets work and why most people put on weight. The diet that Dave & I have stuck to the most is that Atkins diet where you basically stick to a very low carbohydrate diet which then gets your body to use the stores of fat for extra energy and it gets into a cycle of burning fat. The only problem with this diet is that it can be quite hard to stick to especially if you are away from home or want to go out for a meal. If you think about most meals for lunch or dinner you normally have bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, in some form or another.

The Harcombe Diet allows you to have carbs and most importantly for me is that you can also have fruit … but one thing that the Harcombe diet is strict on is that you have to stick to REAL food and avoid anything procesed, as processed food tends to have hidden sugars in it. There is a theory with the Harcombe diet that we all have Candida (bad bacteria / yeast) growing in our digestive system which craves sugars, or a Food Intolerence that causes us to have cravings as well as bad reactions to certain food, or we are Hypoglycemic. We either have one or all of these conditions and the first 5 days of the Harcombe diet is more of a detox to combat these.

So for the next 5 days we have to stick to a diet of as much real meat and fish as we like, salad and vegetables (apart from mushrooms & potatoes), eggs, natural live yoghurt (which helps attack the candida) and up to 50grams of brown rice a day. This is easy, as on the Atkins diet you have to stick to protein (meat, fish & eggs) with certain low carb veg, with no carbs so you wouldn’t be allowed the rice. You have to steer clear of dairy (so no milk in tea/coffee or cheese). To drink its got to be no alcohol, decaff tea & coffee and lots of water (no pop or fruit juice). The drinking side may be the hardest side of things but with it being warm at the moment it makes it easier to drink lots of water, and we have been trying out decaff tea without milk today and its really not that bad. We have decided that instead of having a bottle of wine in the evening we’ll just opt for an early night instead.


You’re meant to lose a chunk of weight during the first 5 days and more importantly get the candida, food intolerences and cravings under control which allows you to move onto phase 2 which is where you start to introduce fruit and more carbs. The only wierd thing is during Phase 2 you can’t have fats and carbohydrates in the same meal. To work out what foods fall into the “fat” category you have to think if it has come from anything that has a face…. meat, fish, milk, cheese, butter and cream etc. Vegetables can be eaten with either the fat or carb food group so it encourages you to have plenty of salad and vegetables. The reason for splitting the food groups during a meal is something to do with how you digest things to make you more efficient.

People who know me will think that I don’t need to go on a diet, but there are still some hidden pounds that need to be shed so that I can fit into my wardrobe and be at a comfortable weight. Dave has always struggled with his weight and his love of food (or is it part of a craving) and it becomes more important to have a healthy diet so that we can hopefully live to a ripe old age instead of destroying the only body you get.

So who knows what the next 5 days will hold, I’m sure it will be fine and fairly easy since we have done the first phase of the Atkins diet a few times so we are used to having the strict meals that are free from the sugary snacks and high carbs that in this society we all seem to eat without thinking about it.

Photography by Scorpians and Centaurs


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  • Elaine

    wish you’d written the book, would have saved some time 🙂 I quite like herbal teas – Dr Stuart’s Detox (Morrisons) and Pure Lemongrass (teapigs – online) although I do cheat and have 1 sweetener (usually it’s 3!!!). Dave’s actually lost over a stone, since we started – 11lb + the 3ish lbs due to the holiday. – Good Luck

  • just Guido

    You got my hopes up with the word diet and a picture of sugary goodness. Alas. =(

    Good luck with it though.

    I’m starting a new job soon and I hope I’ll be able to combine it with a healthier lifestyle and a bit more excercise. Probably going to pick up swimming together with the girlfriend.

    Not a big fan of diets as such. I prefer just to cut down on the crap and move around more. =)

  • Sarah Whetstone - James

    I started the Harcombe Diet on Wednesday. Today is Monday & I have already lost a stone!!

    During the first 5 days I really missed my 4/5 cups of coffee on the morning & my fruit.

    Today I had porridge & strawberries for breakfast. The porridge was awful but the strawberries…………heaven!!

    It can be tough, but it works. I had tried EVERY diet ever invented, bar this.

    DO yourselves a favour…….buy the books. You will NOT regret it!!

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    thinkink of starting the Harcombe diet .I use unsweetend soya in tea do you think that is acceptable

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  • Jo

    I’ve just been told about the Harcombe diet…I suffer with food intolerance…we’ve found out I’m allergic to sulphites which is the preservative used in processed food so it looks like this will be the right eating regime for me. Best get the book methinks 🙂

  • Janet Murray

    I’d like the Harcombe Diet and recipes to be available to Kindle readers in Italy

  • karly

    hi ive been told i have too much uric acid in my system so i have to cut down on pureines/protienes however they’re spelt i also have ALOT of weight to lose. Is this diet suitable for a total lifestyle change to lose all my fat or is it just to “lose a few”? Would like an idication before i spend the money buying the book. Im definately interested

  • Pat Jewitt

    I am just about to start my 5 days of phase one. It says you can have whatever meat you like but without sugars or other ingredients, also no smoked. What ‘other ingredients’ are we talking about. I have got my bacon in front of me and the ingredients include preservatives, sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite. Is this OK? For lunch I thought I would have prosciutto, but again it has preservatives and potassium nitrate. Can someone clarify please? Thanks.

  • Elise

    I’ve just come across this when looking up information on Phase 1 of the Harcombe Diet, but I see that there hasn’t been anything posted lately. I just ordered the book on amazon and should be receiving it tomorrow, but I will start Phase 1 tomorrow based on the info I’ve read to get me started. I heard Zoe Harcombe being interviewed on an internet radio show and her approach and research sound interesting. I’ve always had trouble with weight, even when eating “healthy”. Perhaps it is due to Candida or an intolerance? We’ll wait and see if I go down from being 11 st.


  • Deb

    Been on Phase 1 Harcombe Diet and lost 2 kilos in three days!! I’m impressed…

  • Amy

    My Mum started this diet last November and in the last yr and half has dropped 3 dress sizes and looks absolutly amazing! I have just started this diet to get myslef looking trim for summer and its easy (apart from first 5 days)! This diet really does work

  • fionaoxley

    Zoe Harcombe is amazing, I did this diet after christmas, I found phase 1 easy to stick to and lost 8lb in 10 days, I had initially wanted to get to 9st, from 9st 8lb, I got down to 8st 12, which I hadn’t been for years, unfortunately my relationship with chocolate has risen it’s ugly head, however the changes in the drinks I have and the fact that i don’t mix fats and carbs now has meant that i’ve managed to keep pretty much all of it off despite my piggish chocolate habit!! Give this a go if you can stick to it you will not be dissapointed

  • Hailey

    Starting the diet tomorrow! Pretty excited to see what will happen. All i have heard has been positive feedback. But there is one thing I am confused on, are fruits allowed the first five days? Good luck to everyone!

  • Dee

    Started the diet last week and I only lost a mere 2lb despite sticking to the diet like glue. However because I have had very hyped positive reviews I have decided to give it a bot more time. Bought the book and everything so hopefully will be rewarded. I have struggled with the last half stone baby weight so fingers crossed.

  • Andrea

    I have completed the 5 days of Phase 1 on the Harcombe Diet, stuck to it religiously and have not lost anything, feeling very disheartened!!!

  • rachel

    Im on day 3 of phase 1 and lost 2 kilos but i have the most aweful headache all the time and Im thirsty, any one feeling this?

  • David

    I am thinking of starting the Harcombe diet – have tried many with short term success then putting most or all of the weight back on – I have good willpower – but only for a few weeks – then my craving for curries, chocolate and crisps gets to me and i crumble…. Is the Harcombe diet any different – I am not too hopeful..

  • Jilly

    Am currently on day 4 of Phase 1, and the intense headaches are easing off (Rachel – make sure you drink lots of fluid between meals!). I haven’t weighed myself but my jeans are looser which is good news.

    David – get the book as you can have homemade curries which are really tasty, particularly in Phase 2. Zoe also provides options for homemade crisps, though there are some crisps in the shops that should be acceptable as they use basic potato with skins/oil as ingredients. Dark chocolate also acceptable as occasional cheat in later stages of diet too but you may find that your cravings for this go after a while anyway!

  • Joan

    Hi I am on phase 1 and have lost 6lbs in 10 days, the only thing I miss is gravy does anyone know if there is any type of gravy you can have.

  • Hazel Teather

    I am on day 5 phase 1. I have found the diet ok but for the terrible headache all the time. So bad I thought there was something seriously wrong. Have also had terrible aches all through my hips and legs. Neck so bad as well. Last night started in my arms as well. Leg cramps in the beginning so added salt. I can only hope this means I have a lot to detox and will lose a lot of weight. Am waiting for the book and hope it reveals all.
    Anyone know any more?
    Joan you can use a stock cube for gravy but I am using my veg soup. Hazel

  • chrissie

    Am on day 3 but not totally following the diet as I didn’t have all the ingredients however I am following the basic principles.
    Am off to get some decaff Earl Grey and some chicken and to look for wheat free pasta. Any tips?