Food lover sheds four stone

COOKERY writer and hotel owner Ruth Watson is addicted to food – but she still managed to lose more than four stone in a year.Ruth is surrounded by food and thinks about it all day.

COOKERY writer and hotel owner Ruth Watson is addicted to food – but she still managed to lose more than four stone in a year.

Ruth is surrounded by food and thinks about it all day. She has a 120-acre organic farm with her husband David at Sibton and they run the Crown and Castle Hotel, Orford, near Woodbridge.

Before they married Ruth was a lithe woman, slim enough to model jeans. But during their 25-year plus marriage she steadily put on the pounds until Ruth realised that she was fat and she was in danger of writing her own death warrant.

She felt awful. She was working so hard that in one year Ruth only had eight days off. Images of breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes and heart problems associated with overweight people came to her mind. Ruth, a great believer in making your own choices in life, took the plunge and decided to go on a diet.


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She devised her own diet and today feels far healthier, more mentally alert and energetic. Aches and pains in her hips and knees have vanished. There were no drugs, staples, tucks, liposuctions or fads. The secret of her success is detailed in Ruth's new book Fat Girl Slim although Ruth admits she is not slim now – ''merely unremarkable'' is her description of her new look.

Being on a diet was a better experience than Ruth had feared. She realised that will power alone would never see her through a year's diet and she decided a little of what she fancied would go a long way.

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In her fridge are neatly packaged 100-calorie chunks of chocolate to stop herself devouring a huge 500-calorie laden bar. There's no point, she says, depriving yourself or banning certain foods because that only encourages you to yearn for them.

She threw out the negative psyche of dieting. Nutritionists talk about foods that are, ''naughty, bad, sinful'' and urge women to ''be good,'' said Ruth.

Instead, Ruth thought positively and extolled the virtues of the right kinds of food in moderation. She opted for foods with intense flavour and were low in fat and carbohydrates. Exercise was introduced when Ruth had lost some weight and felt more able to enjoy it. Pilates is her preferred choice – and she likes pounding the floor of the restaurant for a couple of days looking after guests.

Ruth, like many dieters, has had a yo-yo change in her weight since she lost four-and-a-half stone. But she knows her weak points and how to adapt her psychology and lifestyle to ensure she does not balloon back to her old weight. (Her weight remains a closely guarded secret.)

''I did not mind being a big woman, tall and blond but the thing I did not want to be was a fat old cow. Food is my life. I adore it and it is how I make my living and it is what interests me in the world.

''I am addicted to food and I could not do a diet on will power alone – I love eating too much. Bread was the demon of my life and they have proved now what I knew was true, that all calories are not equal. Carbohydrate calories do not process as well as those in protein and other things.

''I tried to eliminate bread, which is a nightmare, as I adore it. So I have a Bread Day. I really enjoy that and I do not feel the slightest bit guilty about it,'' said Ruth yesterday, surrounded by cups of espresso coffee and a bottle of sparkling water.

She may decide to celebrate her success on Christmas Day with a big bowl of macaroni cheese and a bottle of red wine. And for those people who do not conquer their weight problems, Ruth's advice is: ''I still believe that beauty is to do with what's in your heart, not what's on your hips.''

Details about Ruth's book and recipes can be found at fatgirlslim.net and crownandcastle.co.uk

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

Ruth's top tips for Christmas:

Plan ahead.

Stock the fridge full with healthy foods and buy low-fat alternatives to calorie-laden savouries.

Keep grapes, cherry tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and marmite type rice cakes for munchies.

If you don't like Christmas pud, then don't eat it. Prepare a luxury jelly with orange and cointreau.

Get your sugar hits from exotic fruits.

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