A Diet to Raise a Glass to; You Can Drink Champagne AND Stay Slim, According to This Fizzy New Weight Loss Plan

Article excerpt

Byline: by Peta Bee

HOW to get into shape for Christmas without having to compromise on the fun? It's the dilemma of the festive season.

Although many of us want to shift the pounds, diets that ban alcohol are something of a curse in December -- the most sociable month of the year.

But, ladies, raise your glass to the latest diet taking New York by storm. The Champagne Diet not only allows alcohol, but actively encourages a daily flute or two as part of a weight-loss plan.

According to Cara Alwill Leyba, 31, who came up with the regime, the Champagne Diet is two parts healthy living, one part fun.

Following the plan, she claims to have transformed herself from someone constantly depressed about her weight to a slimmer woman with more of a lust for life. And, she says, it could work for you too.

Cara, who works for MTV in New York, says she battled with the scales for years and was constantly trying new diets, but found nothing that worked.

'You name it, I'd done it,' she says. 'Atkins, Weight Watchers, Dukan. I'd been chubby since I was a child and hated it. I constantly felt down about my weight.'

The stress of her job coupled with social obligations meant she was prone to grabbing food on the go and drinking a glass or two of red wine most days.

When a friend suggested Cara should switch to champagne and simply eat healthily rather than dieting, she was prepared to give it a shot.

'A normal glass of champagne has just 91 calories per glass,' she says (Laurent Perrier's Ultra Brut, beloved by Kate Moss, has even fewer at 65 calories).

'And because the bubbles reach your bloodstream more quickly, you consume less.'

As Cara felt able to carry on with socialising, the new diet plan felt less of a sacrifice than skimping on fat and calories. Gradually, the weight dropped off and, a stone-and-a-half lighter, Cara is about to publish a book detailing her 'champagne diaries'.

The premise is simple -- there are no forbidden foods but the focus is on eating high-quality, nutrient-dense and tasty things (totalling around 1,200-1,400 calories a day).

'I encourage "glamourising" your meals,' she says. 'Don't order the fatty cheeseburger with fries and cola./ Instead, get a smoked salmon bagel with a mixed greens salad and a glass of champagne. Start putting the best into your body.'

Cara's theory is that eating 'classy' foods makes you value your body more so you are less likely to overeat. It's a theory that has weight.

'If you eat well, you feel better about yourself,' says Dearbhla McCullough, a psychologist at the University of Roehampton, 'and so you're less likely to choose something fattening to eat. …