‘I tried the diet worse than counting calories’

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The name of this diet is pretty much on the money. You’re only allowed to eat five bites of your meal – with a maximum of two meals a day. Count ’em, 10 bites.

Oh, but it’s not all deprivation. You are allowed to have two extra bites of something snacky throughout the day, which brings us to the grand total of 12 bites.

Which is an improvement on the original five.

But here’s the best part – these bites can be of anything you want. Yes, anything; ice cream, chocolate, cake, pizza, fries, burgers, you name it, it’s on the menu. Just in teeny-tiny portions.

Yes, it is madness. Yes, it goes against everything we’ve been taught about eating nutritious meals. But here’s the thing – it works.

Of course, there’s a catch, or two, or five. Ok, maybe 12. Pretty much one catch for every bite you’re allowed.

You see, this diet essentially attempts to mimic gastric-band surgery – minus the surgery. You’re shrinking your daily intake of food to force your body into starvation mode, which works for the short term, but most definitely comes with its fair share of longer-term health warnings.

DAY 1:

I’m staaaaaaaaarving! Although I’m not a massive eater, the minute someone says I’m not allowed something then I immediately want it.

  • Breakfast consists of a cup of coffee (allowed) and a glass of water.
  • Morning tea is a bite of an apple, even though it feels extremely wasteful to only take one bite.
  • I head into lunch as if I’m I’m preparing for battle, wolfing down five large mouthfuls of penne carbonara. My colleagues almost have to confiscate my fork.
  • Afternoon snack is a bite of a mars bar. I donate the remainder to my workmate who is super happy I’m doing this diet.
  • Dinner is me showing this diet how I’m gonna operate, five bites of a meatlover’s pizza. My partner devours the rest and is also gleeful about my new diet.

DAY 2:

I wake up cranky and with a headache. But I’m a mum of two, so this is not unusual. I decide to blame the diet anyway.

  • Breakfast is coffee and water.
  • Morning tea is half a small mandarin. I figure that’s the equivalent of a bite.
  • Lunch is five bites of butter chicken with rice. Gimme those carbs.
  • Afternoon snack is one bite of a chocolate brownie made by a girl at work. Colleagues are still laughing at me.
  • Dinner is five mouthfuls of spaghetti bolognaise. With cheese on top, thank you very much.

I go to bed feeling exhausted, resentful of everyone else who can eat as much as they like and especially cranky at my kids for not eating their spaghetti bolognaise which I would have inhaled if I was allowed to.

DAY 3:

I’m going to mix things up a bit today and see if I’m as hungry and flat as I was yesterday.

  • Breakfast is five bites of scrambled eggs with ham and tomato, plus coffee. I also remember to take my multivitamins and an omega 3 tablet just to be sure I’m still getting some nutrients, which is advised in this diet plan.
  • Morning tea and bizarrely, I’m not really hungry and my headache hasn’t returned so I save up the bite for later when I may really want it.
  • Lunchtime and I’m motoring along ok. I decide to have five bites of a mini chicken salad that I prepped at home that morning because I really hate the idea of buying a full meal and letting it go to waste. I realise I’m also saving money on this diet.
  • Afternoon snack, one bite of a banana, which is going to have to get me through as I’ve now used 11 of my 12 bites.
  • Dinnertime and I watch as my family devour chops and creamy mashed potato. The aroma is heavenly, but I somehow feel smug and powerful knowing I can resist and I’ve now lost a kilo. Ok, I sneak in a mouthful of mash, which brings me up to my daily quota.

DAY 4:

I’ve lost another half a kilo overnight. Woot woot! This imaginary gastric-band works. I feel less bloated, I’ve got a little bit more energy than the past couple of days – and I can’t wait to get through the day now that I’m on a roll.

  • Breakfast is five bites of toasted muesli with yoghurt, coffee and vitamins.
  • Morning tea is a bite of a blueberry muffin that I’ve gone shares in with my colleague. I’m less amusing to them now that my pants are loose.
  • Lunch is five bites of a hamburger with the lot, including bacon, pineapple and egg. Afternoon tea is a bite of a pear. Boring, should’ve had something tastier.
  • Dinner is just one bite of the kids chicken schnitzel. They think Mummy has gone mad.

DAY 5:

It’s the last day of the diet and I’m impressed’; my appetite has shrunk, I’ve saved a bunch of cash on lunches, I’ve lost two kilos and I’ve still been able to eat total rubbish.

  • Breakfast is five bites of pancakes with maple syrup. I’m milking it for all it’s worth. Suddenly the kids are loving “mummy’s new crazy diet” now they’re getting pancakes.
  • Morning tea is a bite of a choc chip muesli bar.
  • Lunch is another bite of the same muesli bar, to save my big bites for dinner.
  • Afternoon tea is the same muesli bar. I hate wasting food.
  • Dinner is four bites of a ramen noodle bowl that’s really hard to put down, but it’s the last night and I know I can do it. Besides, I’ve now lost three kilos and am feeling really chuffed with myself.

So, the wrap?

I now see the benefit in changing your mindset about how food, so much is mindlessly shovelled into our mouths.

The five bites diet has given me a new appreciation for eating a full meal and feeling that satisfying sensation after a proper lunch or dinner.

It has also made me appreciate healthier foods, since my body has actually started to crave nutrient-rich ingredients like vegetables. It was fun to have more sugar and fat for five days than I usually would, but there’s no way I’d want to continue eating that way.

On the downside, I don’t think a diet like this is a good example for my kids. I would never recommend it to someone with the potential for an eating disorder, or anyone who doesn’t also back it up with vitamins and proper nutrient supplements.

The funny part of it all was that my kids finally got to parody the line I’m renowned for saying at dinner time, “Just five more bites and then you’re done”. I’ll never say it to them again without remembering this bizarre week.

Dietitian Susie Burrell’s take on the five bite diet.

While its a novel approach and avoids limiting specific foods as many diets do, it also fails to take into account the nutritional quality of the foods we are eating, in fact you could end up with a day of five bites of processed, non-nutritious foods which is not ideal for health or a general healthy approach to eating.

In fact, five bites of junk type foods is way too much while five bites of nutritious low calorie foods such as veggies and salads is way too little, so overall the diet almost steers you away from healthy eating.

‘Body+Soul does not endorse any specific diet and recommends visiting your GP before embarking on a weight loss or exercise journey.’