A writer decided to test out Victoria Beckham’s diet for one week, after husband David hit the headlines last week when he revealed his wife health diet.
The former footballer said his wife has eaten the same meal every day for the last 25 years.
Speaking on the River Café Table 4 podcast, David said: “I get quite emotional about food and wine. When I’m eating something great I want everyone to try it,” he said in the podcast, before adding: “Unfortunately I’m married to someone who has eaten the same thing for the last 25 years.
“Since I’ve met Victoria, she only eats grilled fish, steamed vegetables. She’ll very rarely deviate away from there.”
Armed with this information, a writer from the Manchester Evening News decided to put her diet to the test, and eat just like the Spice Girls star for seven days.
Here’s Dianne Bourne’s account of how she got on.
Like Victoria, I’m also a busy working mum in her 40s, and I couldn’t help but wonder how easy it would be to stick to fish and veg dishes for such a long period of time.
I mean, could I even make it through a week?
As a yo-yo dieter of many years I’m well used to trying to stick to a healthy meal plan, although I’ve never really found that one ‘thing’ that sticks for me to keep me on the straight and narrow, and away from the inevitable lure of the biscuit tin.
Maybe grilled fish and steamed veg could be my future too?
There was only one way to find out, so I headed off to get stocked up for a week of fish and veg meals and see how it made me feel – and how easy it was to stick to.
The food shop
While the multi-millionaire Beckhams can take their pick of the best fishy delicacies that the ocean has to offer, the poshest I can muster is a trip to M&S.
And, a bit like that lady from Ramsbottom who was fuming at the price of a leg of lamb, I felt pretty mortified myself when I saw the prices of fresh fish in the shop.
As a mum-of-two young boys, my fish consumption these days usually extends to fish fingers and baked beans – which doesn’t exactly fit the grilled fish and steamed veg brief that Mrs Beckham sticks to.
I grew up in a house where we only ate fish on a Friday, and I can now understand why it was limited to just one meal of the week. It’s just SO much more expensive than chicken and red meats.
And of course, for this experiment I’m having to buy enough fish to grill for lunch AND dinner every day for a week.
I had hoped to pick up some nice tuna steaks but they were an eye-popping £7.90 – so I pass on that and opt for some cod loin at £5.75, fresh salmon for £4.75 and sea bass for £5.25. I notice there’s a 3 for £10 offer on smoked salmon and prawns so I decide they will have to do too.
On the veg front I figure I’m going to need to spice up my life a bit here, so I pick up some colourful stir fry selections as well as things like Mediterranean vegetables and pak choi to be a bit exotic, as well as salad for the days I know I won’t have time to steam up a storm in the kitchen.
The bill came to a whopping £40.00, just for my fish and vegetables for the week, so that’s not taking into consideration the cost of the rest of my weekly household goods and food for the rest of my family.
So imagine my horror when I’d already run out of fresh fish by Wednesday – and I had to retreat to Aldi to to fill the rest of the week’s fish and veg menu.
Alas, my local Aldi didn’t have much of an offering on the fresh fish front – aside from salmon, prawns and fishcake type things – but I did find some reasonable deals in the frozen section and I kicked myself for not doing this in the first place to cut down on the fish costs. So the supplementary shop from here came in at £15.
Now, David didn’t mention in his podcast exactly what Victoria eats for her breakfasts – I’m assuming that can’t be fish and veg as well.
She is said to be a fan of fruit and veg smoothies, so I stick to my usual breakfast each day of fresh fruit and low-fat yoghurt to keep with the healthy theme.
Victoria has, however spoken in the past of treating herself to a slice of wholemeal toast with ‘a sprinkle of salt’ every now and again, while she is also said to be a fan of a nice glass of wine with her hubby, so I’m allowing these during the week too.
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How it went
I’m feeling reasonably excited at this stage, with a fridge bursting with lots of nutritious veg and fish and the thought of trying some new dishes I’d not really tried before.
That is, of course, until I actually tried eating plain grilled fish and steamed veg.
I went straight in with the most expensive meat – the cod loin – but I was pretty disappointed as to how tiny it became after cooking.
I tried to compensate with a massive pile of colourful veg but it was all just so bland, so I ended up slathering it in soy sauce to get me through the experience.
For dinner I couldn’t face cooking again, so I cracked open the prawns to eat with salad, which was somewhat tastier, thanks to tangy beetroot on the side.
I go to bed feeling pretty hungry and rather nervous about the long week ahead.
I wake up with a rumbling belly and decide today is the day I have a try of Victoria’s favourite “wholemeal toast with some salt sprinkled on”.
This is surprisingly delicious – the salt makes the dry bread taste a bit like you’ve got butter on it, without the added fat of course.
It keeps me going until lunch today of a prawn stir fry – yes, I know it’s not steamed veg but I feel like I need something with a bit more crunch to keep me satisfied.
Dinner is the remaining cod with veg, but I’m seriously craving some kind of potato accompaniment. And I mean, potatoes are strictly speaking veg aren’t they?
I stick with it for the evening, while mentally preparing to allow a potato onto the veg list at some point.
Victoria has credited her healthy eating regime with giving her lots of energy, but it seems to be doing the opposite to me.
I usually head out for a midweek run, but I have to be honest I’m feeling rather lacking in energy and hungry today so I give it a miss.
I’m counting down the clock ’til a reasonable time to eat lunch (is 11.30am reasonable?) just to get some nutrients inside me.
And, if I’m honest, sea bass was probably not the one to fulfil me in any way today. It’s just so limp isn’t it? And a tiny portion. Although it did have a pleasant flavour.
Veg had to yet again be dowsed in soy sauce though. I’m starting to think I’m eating more salt than a week’s worth of ready meals right now just to get some flavour on my plate.
I decided to give in to spice world and jazz up my fish in an attempt to stop me veering off track because four days in I’m getting very fed up of the plain fish and veg style that Mrs Beckham is said to favour.
I sprinkle some cajun spice on my salmon fillet before cooking and it makes SUCH a difference, this one tasted so, so good.
Buoyed by the salmon success, I comb through old photos of the Beckhams and see Victoria clutching a glass of red wine – it’s all the excuse I need to break open a bottle of Merlot and treat myself to two small glasses.
I may be smiling here, but I’m crying inside.
The house stinks of fish now, I’m having to empty the bin DAILY to disperse the pong of fish packaging but yet still the odour of the ocean dead lingers heavy in the air.
It’s a constant reminder of the one thing I don’t really want to think about, which is eating fish for lunch and dinner for a fifth day on the trot.
Not helped that today I’m onto the smoked haddock which is an even more pungent fish, which I team with a large pile of spinach for tea.
It actually tastes quite good in fairness, but I’m longing for a meaty steak or good old spag bol.
Six days in and today, feeling what you might say is hangry, I’m caving in and eating a massive jacket potato. Yes I know it’s not steamed veg per se, but it’s steaming hot so I figure it probably counts.
Stuffed with tuna (and some peppers).
I also have a pleasant prawn salad too.
It’s as close to steamed veg and grilled fish I’m going to get in my current mindset.
The finish line is in sight!
So I decide this morning, after my sterling efforts sticking to such a healthy menu all week, I will tentatively step on the scales to see if I’ve lost any weight.
Now I know that this is not the primary reason you would follow a healthy eating lifestyle like this, but I had been hoping it would have some benefits for me as a long-term fat fighter.
But I’m stunned when I see the numbers flash before me on the scales – because I discover I’ve not lost a single thing. NOTHING since the start of the week.
I’ve actually put ON half a pound.
I appear to have defied some kind of medical science here, because by my calculations I was eating around an average of 1,300 – 1,500 calories a day eating all this fish and veg. So the least amount I’d have expected a woman of my size (I’m around two stone overweight) to lose was one pound in weight over the week.
The average woman needs around 2,000 calories a day to maintain her weight, and so to lose weight you need to create a daily calorie deficit.
I start to wonder if my body is not happy with this new pescatarian lifestyle I’d given it. Perhaps it is because I am actually a Pisces.
Either way, it was enough of an excuse to call a halt to this experiment once and for all and return to my regular dieting approach – which is following the Slimming World plan, where you can eat “free” foods like fruit, veg, meat, rice and pasta – and crucially for me it doesn’t leave me feeling hungry.
And let me tell you I’ve never headed straight to the pasta jar quite so swiftly to make myself a hearty and filling homemade bolognaise for my lunch. Bliss.
There’s no doubting that eating a diet rich in fish and vegetables will give you lots of good protein, nutrients and vitamins – and adding oily fish like salmon twice a week to your diet in particular is said to have enormous health benefits.
But for me it would be just too uninspiring and far from satisfying to eat grilled fish and steamed veg every day, although at least it was simple enough in the cookery department with no fancy recipes required.
Nutritionists state you also need to ensure you have a certain amount of carbohydrates each day – which is where the wholemeal toast, potatoes and fruit at breakfast came in for me during the week.
But personally I prefer a diet where I can add in more variety like rice and pasta.
Anyone, like myself, who has struggled with their weight over the years will tell you they just want to find a healthy way of living that will not only get you to your ideal weight – but is something that you can make work for you for life.
Because unfortunately a “diet” is not something you can switch on and off, you’ve got to be dedicated to healthy eating forever to maintain a healthy weight – in a way that you can still enjoy what you’re eating.
But – very clearly after my week – a fish and vegetable regime is not going to be the one that works long term for me, like it appears to have done for Mrs Beckham.
I did enjoy trying some fish I’ve very rarely or ever cooked at home, and it’s convinced me I probably need to be including more fresh fish in my overall diet to boost those nutrients and vitamins.
But just the expense alone would make the idea of eating fresh fish for every meal an unviable style of eating for me long term. Although the more reasonable prices of frozen fish at Aldi has persuaded me to consider that as an option more regularly.
As Victoria herself famously sang with the Spice Girls, too much of something is bad enough, too much of nothing is just as tough.
So I think I’ll stick with my Slimming World plan for the future and get stuck straight back into more carbs.