Nigella's 'all you can tweet' diet: How TV-chef ate to lose weight – as revealed in her fabulously sensual Twitter food diary
22:56 GMT, 6 October 2012
She was once as well known for her curves as her calorie-laden recipes and famously claimed to ‘never deprive herself’ of food, so when Nigella Lawson slimmed from a size 16 to a size 12, many wondered how she had managed it.
Now, in a series of photographs the celebrity chef has shared on Twitter, her secret is revealed – the simple but effective formula of limiting herself to smaller portions.
Nigella, who has more than 218,000 followers on the social network, regularly tweets photographs of her own meals along with culinary tips.
Slimline: Nigella Lawson shows off her slimmed down curves on her new cookery show Nigellissima – and reveals all about how she made it happen on her Twitter account
And her recent posts reveal a restraint that is a far cry from the indulgent recipes showcased on her new Italian-inspired BBC2 cookery show, Nigellissima. Those include chocolate hazelnut cheesecake and mock mash made with semolina, cheese and butter.
But last Monday, a tweet revealed the 52-year-old’s lunch consisted of just two slices of rye toast with houmous and fresh coriander, which she described as a ‘meagre’ meal ‘but delicious all the same’.
Strict portion control was also evident last Thursday, when she lunched on a single avocado garnished with just a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of salt.
Seasoned dieters will be aware that avocado is unusual among fruits because of its high fat content. However, most of this is healthy, monounsaturated fat and avocado is a nutritious, filling food beloved of dieticians.
August 20: 'A fried egg sandwich can't be a bad way to start the week'
AUGUST 23: 'STARVING! Small bowl – baby bear's – bowl of porridge w maple syrup to tide me over till chicken comes out of oven' Pre-dinner cravings for Nigella
11th September: 'OMGG (Oh My Golly Gosh) : this is the best jam I've ever tasted. Just had a golden spoonful on toasted German rye bread '
While these meals are plain in comparison with the dishes in her books and television programmes, the self-styled domestic goddess hasn’t lost her love of sensual description.
On August 31, she tweeted a picture of another avocado lunch with the caption: ‘I know it’s late, but this is the lunch I wanted: a rhapsody in green; well worth waiting for.’
Last Wednesday, Nigella opted for a more substantial option at a restaurant – but her serving of steak with Barnaise sauce was accompanied by just four chips.
More generally, the mother of two – who attributes her weight loss to yoga and pilates – appears to eat lots of smoked salmon, rye bread, eggs, avocados, houmous and salad.
September 12: 'Am purring with pizza-prompted pleasure' – A carb-filled Nigella treat
Although Nigella has always refused to confirm whether she is following a particular eating plan, the predominance of high-protein foods in her online food diary suggests she may be adhering to a low-carbohydrate or low-GI diet.
GI refers to the Glycaemic Index – and foods that are low GI break down slowly and help to control appetite by making you feel full for longer.
On August 23, Nigela snacked on a ‘baby bear’s’ bowl of porridge, a low-GI food, to stave off her hunger pangs until her dinner was ready. Meanwhile, four days earlier, she opted for chicken with green beans and sushi rice rather than roast potatoes.
All you can tweet: Nigella posting pictures of her food includes her avocado lunch and 'a perfect Sunday Supper with ruby red onions and sushi rice' to her 218,000 followers on Twitter
October 1: 'A meagre excuse for a FAR too late lunch, but delicious all the same : rye toast, hummous, coriander'
October 3: 'Grabbing lunch out between interviews . You have no idea how much I need this steak!' – Nigella treats herself to meat and Bearnaise, but only puts four chips on her plate
However, this being Nigella, there are moments of indulgence. During a trip to America last month, she posted photographs of chocolate souffle, lobster pasta and a brownie with ice-cream. And, the night before her trip, on September 1, she cooked barbecued pork belly to give her ‘sustenance’ for the long flight.
Last year, before she unveiled her new slimline look, Nigella, who is married to art collector Charles Saatchi, said in an interview: ‘I love food and I love cooking so therefore I never deprive myself.’ She also joked that if she lost a lot of weight she ‘would age ten years straightaway’.
However, her calorific recipes landed her in hot water last week with experts at the British Dietetic Association, who calculated that the cheesecake she prepared in the first episode of Nigellissima contained 7,069 calories. It was made using 75g of butter, 500g of cream cheese and 400g of Nutella.
Her ice-cream in brioche, meanwhile, contained 2,144 calories, with one viewer commenting: ‘Can’t believe I just watched Nigella put ice cream in a BRIOCHE (90% butter . . .) and eat it like a burger!’