Monday 11 December 2017

Here's what happened when I tried Rosanna Davison's diet for seven days

Model and author, Rosanna Davison
Model and author, Rosanna Davison
Rosanna Davison works hard to eat well and stay fit. Photo: Gavin Glave.
Image: Eat Yourself Fit by Rosanna Davison/ Gill Books
Rosanna Davison. Photo: Instagram
Amy Mulvaney ate like Rosanna Davison for a week.
What I ate: Creamy chia pudding with raspberry coulis, soup and salad, smoothie and chilli san carne.
Rosanna Davison - Eat Yourself Fit
Amy Mulvaney training alongside Rosanna Davison. Picture: Pilates Plus Dublin.
Amy Mulvaney

Amy Mulvaney

I've tried every diet out there, so what would be so hard about this one?

In the name of investigative journalism, I set out to eat exactly like Miss World turned nutritional guru Rosanna Davison to see is it really that hard to replicate what you see on Instagram?

The answer is yes.

I followed the seven day play as outlined in her second book Eat Yourself Fit, which focuses on recipes to fuel your workouts - an interesting task given that my gym membership is gathering dust in a drawer somewhere.

Rosanna Davison. Photo: Instagram
Rosanna Davison. Photo: Instagram

Rosanna is famously healthy, but I know going in that her vegan diet will be tough to replicate. I eat well, preferring to eat little and often instead of food coma-inducing meals three times a day.

How hard could it be?

The answer is very.

The Eat Yourself Fit Ultimate Body Plan is a seven day plan that Rosanna follows whenever she wants to “tighten and tone up” her body, flatten her stomach and reduce bloating ahead of a holiday, photoshoot or special event.

What I ate: Creamy chia pudding with raspberry coulis, soup and salad, smoothie and chilli san carne.
What I ate: Creamy chia pudding with raspberry coulis, soup and salad, smoothie and chilli san carne.

She emphasises that the plan isn’t a quick fix, but is about progress and advises not to worry if you slip up.

“Health is not built nor destroyed in 24 hours,” she says.

The daily calorie intake for the plan is 1,300 calories, which is intended to create a calorie deficit and therefore result in weight loss when combined with exercising. It’s packed with protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates.

With all of this in mind, I sat down on the Sunday night before I began what would hopefully be an enlightening experience and planned out my meals for the week.

Amy Mulvaney training alongside Rosanna Davison. Picture: Pilates Plus Dublin.
Amy Mulvaney training alongside Rosanna Davison. Picture: Pilates Plus Dublin.

As someone who works full-time and has an active social life, I knew it wouldn’t be realistic to think that I would have the time or energy to make complicated or time consuming meals each day, and decided to meal prep on Sunday night.

I spent that evening making soup for my lunch and breakfast for the next few days, which took about two hours. With all of my Tupperware lined up for the next three days, I felt positive and a little smug. “Sure, how hard can it be?” I thought to myself and headed to bed, eager for the week ahead.

I brought a green smoothie and Rosanna’s creamy chia pudding with raspberry coulis with me to work for my breakfast on Monday, which was a nice change from the odd slice of toast I eat running the door.

This is when things started to go downhill.

I sat at my desk with my chia pudding, feeling strangely happy to see that my chia seeds had expanded overnight. One spoonful in and my optimism quickly diminished. I’ve heard many people rave about chia pudding but, to me, it looked more like frogspawn.

I put this slip-up down to my lack of culinary experience and moved on to my green smoothie, which had gone a murky shade of brown overnight but still tasted fine.

Come 11am, it was morning snack time so I had 15 raw unsalted almonds and almost ate the fingers off myself, questioning why I ever pitched this idea to my editor as my stomach rumbled.

Rosanna Davison - Eat Yourself Fit
Rosanna Davison - Eat Yourself Fit

When lunch came around, I prayed that the carrot, coconut and red lentil soup I had made the night before would satisfy me. Rosanna says to have a large green salad with balsamic and lemon juice with it, so I grabbed a handful of mixed leaves as a side dish.

The soup was delicious and I mixed the salad in as it was the only way I’d eat it, but within an hour I was starving again.

I ate my second snack of an apple and a few more almonds, but after a failed breakfast, small lunch (for me) and two small snacks, I knew I had to eat something else to get through the day.

I hadn’t prepared for another meal during the day and subsequently found myself tucking into a cheese toastie at 4pm for lack of energy to make anything else, feeling less guilty than I probably should have given it was only day one of my challenge.

I was determined to rectify my cheese toastie moment with a Rosanna-approved dinner, and prepared the creamy mushroom and quinoa stroganoff, which wasn’t my favourite meal, but after the day of food disasters that I had, I gobbled it up.

I learned from my Monday breakfast mistake and instead stuck to my usual almond milk porridge with banana and peanut butter for breakfast for the rest of the week as I felt that there was no more room for error. I had hot water with lemon first thing in the morning as recommended, and made a green smoothie on the days I remembered. Breakfast was going well.

Almonds, apples and smoothies continued to be my morning snacks, although they didn’t exactly fill the void on mornings when I was particularly hungry and soup became my daily lunch, but I must confess that I added two slices of brown bread to my salad because I was just too hungry.

I experimented with the chilli san carne and coconut curried quinoa with cheesy roast cauliflower for dinners for the rest of the week, each of which provided three days worth of meals. Eating the same thing each day became a bit repetitive, but I would rather do that than spend an hour and a half in the kitchen each evening.

Throughout the week I found that I craved sweets and sugary foods more than ever because I had told myself I couldn’t have them and I think that if I had stuck to my normal diet I wouldn’t have craved them so much as I allow myself them in moderation.

When it came to the end of my week of eating like Rosanna Davison, I had mixed emotions. First and foremost, I was overjoyed that I could return to my normal diet guilt-free.

Ultimately, I think the plan is ideal if you are trying to lose weight, have quite a bit of time on your hands to plan and prepare meals to such an extent and have a very small appetite.

If you're looking to make healthier choices and educate yourself on different options available, it's definitely a good jumping off point. While the plan wasn’t exactly a huge success for me, I’m definitely going to incorporate it (even in small doses) into my daily routine. I've even swapped the M&Ms for almonds, so it's small victories.

As they say, everything in moderation – kale, carrots, chocolate and all. 

Eat Yourself Fit by Rosanna Davison is available from bookstores and online for €24.99

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