The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Front Page -


Al­though I’m as ac­tive as I ever was, I’ve put on half a stone that I want to shift, so I’ve been weigh­ing my­self a lot re­cently. I have a long-in­grained binge-fast ap­proach to eat­ing – my diet is ei­ther re­ally good or re­ally bad, of­ten in the same sit­ting.

This has been ex­ac­er­bated by the fact that I moved com­pa­nies in the sum­mer. Start­ing a new job is ex­haust­ing, and good habits have flown out of the win­dow.

I am get­ting back on track with my run­ning now, but I re­alise the food bit needs work. I am good at the be­gin­ning of the week, but the minute ex­haus­tion sets in, the junk food comes out.

Fri­day has be­come a binge-fest of carbs and gin as I try to coun­ter­act my tired­ness.


9am: Skyr blue­berry yo­gurt 1pm: beet­root and feta wrap

4pm: rasp­berry jelly, wasabi peas, three bis­cuits, Diet Coke, crisps 7.30pm: cherry toma­toes and co­rian­der fried in co­conut oil with two slices of white bread


Five-mile run 1pm: Leon meat­less meat­balls 7.30pm: Pret a Manger tuna baguette 9pm: Ket­tle chips


Yoga (one hour) 9am: por­ridge 1pm: Pret a Manger mac­a­roni cheese 2pm: Kit Kat 7.30pm: small glass of red wine, crisps and two large gins 8pm: Waitrose co­conut sticky rice stir fry with white crab 10pm: bar of cho­co­late


Four-mile run 10am: three Dr Karg crack­ers with peanut but­ter 11am: pack of oven­baked crisps 2pm: home-made veg­etable soup, parme­san sprin­kles

7pm: large gin and tonic, crisps and a cheese straw

9pm: Kit Kat


Andrew has some good habits: he walks every evening and in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing has lots of great sci­ence be­hind it. But one thing that does strike me is he is con­sum­ing a lot of Diet Coke. There is wor­ry­ing re­search about the detri­men­tal ef­fect ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers might be hav­ing on our gut mi­cro­biome.

Most types of Diet Coke con­tain caf­feine, too, so if you have a can be­fore bed, you won’t ac­cess the deep lev­els of sleep that you need.

Dark cho­co­late also con­tains caf­feine, but it is also rich in polyphe­nols; a com­pound found in plant foods that is in­cred­i­ble for gut health.

That Andrew feels re­ally sleepy quickly af­ter hav­ing a high-carb food like bread makes me won­der what his blood sugar is like. He might have a level of in­sulin re­sis­tance. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to go for an NHS health check.

A lot of his lunches are from places such as Pret and Leon. While I’d love peo­ple to have home­cooked meals three times a day, it’s not prac­ti­cal. Leon is do­ing a fan­tas­tic job of pro­vid­ing healthy food for peo­ple on the go. How­ever, Andrew is also hav­ing a packet of crisps most days. They should be an oc­ca­sional treat.


Andrew goes for a 45-minute walk every evening, which is great – he could also con­sider fit­ting in mus­cle­strength­en­ing ex­er­cises on two days of the week. This ac­tiv­ity fur­ther sup­ports health, in par­tic­u­lar bones and blood-sugar lev­els.

I’d rec­om­mend swap­ping some snacks for one large meal to en­sure he’s get­ting enough nu­tri­ents. He could make lunch at home to bring in to work with him, such as a chilli with brown rice or a salmon fil­let with roasted veg and sweet po­tato.

His diet is also quite low in healthy fats, which are im­por­tant for heart health. To im­prove this, he should try to eat one por­tion of oily fish per week, or snack on nuts and seeds.

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