Change your life in 4 weeks

Share this article

THROW away the scales, the calorie counting manuals and the "low-fat" meals - there’s a new diet in town that is set to change the way we eat.

It’s called just4weeks and challenges everything we know about traditional diets.

The cornerstones of the diet are sustained weight loss, inch loss, an overall reduction in body fat and an increase in energy levels.

Today you’ll be introduced to four volunteers from Lothian keen to follow the programme and lose weight, with help from Helen Stewart, of Best of Health, the company behind just4weeks.

Our dieters will follow the weight-loss programme for the next month and at the end of their stint we will reveal how much they have lost. The eating plan was devised by doctors and nutritionists and today we’re also giving you the chance to try the diet. If you’ve tried calorie-controlled diets or tasteless meal supplements with no success, then this is the diet for you.

The just4weeks plan targets body fat, plain and simple. Over the next four weeks we’ll tell you what foods to eat, what foods to avoid and how a few simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference to your waistline.

Simply by standing on a set of electronic scales at a just4weeks support centre, the body composition analysis will tell you how much of your body is made up of fat, muscle and water.

The menu planners will be featured in the Evening News over the next four weeks and consist of ordinary, affordable food that you’ll find in your cupboards or fridges.

But just4weeks is not a crash diet - it’s a sensible way of eating which encourages sustained and safe weight loss of around two pounds per week. So how does it work?

Just4weeks is based on eating a balance of protein foods in conjunction with slow-burning carbohydrates while supplementing the body’s demand for essential fatty acids (EFAs).

The Glycaemic Index (GI) is the buzz phrase in nutrition and just4weeks uses this index to recommend what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. This subtle change in your diet could help you drop a dress size or lose inches in 28 days.

The rate at which carbohydrates are used is the basis of the Glycaemic Index. Carbohydrates which burn quickly have a high GI and those which burn slowly have a low GI. Low GI diets can help people lose weight.

Alcohol isn’t banned - but it’s best to limit the amount drunk and stick to spirits and red wine, rather than beer.

The key to the just4weeks diet, which includes herbal supplements, is balance - you eat from the three major food groups (protein, fat and carbohydrate), eat five portions of fruit and veg a day, and cut back on processed foods.

The only requirement is you have to want to change the way you eat.

Your 5-day meal plan

Day 1

Basic Essence x 2

Mineral Essence x 2

Herbal Cleanser Capsule x 1


3 slices lean bacon, grilled

2 eggs, scrambled

Half tomato, grilled


Caesar salad (avoiding croutons) served with shavings of Parmesan cheese

1 kiwi fruit, sliced

Basic Essence x 2


2 grilled pork chops

Steamed green beans

Cauliflower au gratin

Approx total teaspoons sugar - 4

Day 2

Basic Essence x 2

Mineral Essence x 2

Herbal Cleanser Capsule x 1


3 slices of cheddar cheese (100g)

3 slices of fresh cooked ham

3 cherry tomatoes


Fresh cream of mushroom soup (200ml)

Slice of wholemeal bread

Basic Essence x 2


Salmon steak

Green salad with lettuce, cucumber, red and green salad peppers

50g of hard cheese, cubed, served with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise

Approx total teaspoons sugar - 6.2

Day 3

Basic Essence x 2

Mineral Essence x 2

Herbal Cleanser Capsule x 1


A two-egg omelette made with diced ham and grated cheese


Avocado and prawn salad

1 satsuma/tangerine

Basic Essence x 2


Roast chicken served with steamed broccoli and a sliced courgette

1 small roasted sweet potato

Approx total teaspoons sugar - 7

Day 4

Basic Essence x 2

Mineral Essence x 2

Herbal Cleanser Capsule x 1


2 poached eggs

2 slices of fresh cooked ham

Sauteed mushrooms


Tinned tuna in sunflower oil, served with sliced spring onion and 1 teaspoon mayonnaise

Side salad with iceberg lettuce, sliced cherry tomatoes, half a green apple, diced, with 50g hardcheese, cubed

Basic Essence x 2


225g sirloin steak with optional pepper sauce

Sauteed onion and mushrooms

Steamed green beans

Approx total teaspoons sugar - 5

Day 5

Basic Essence x 2

Mineral Essence x 2

Herbal Cleanser Capsule x 1


2 kippers/mackerel fillets

1 slice of wholemeal toast with butter


Cold cooked meat salad (ham, chicken, roast beef)

Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, diced red onion, served with mayonnaise

5 Brazil nuts

Basic Essence x 2


Three-egg Spanish omelette using cold cooked sausage, onions, red and green peppers and diced, cooked bacon

5 medium-sized strawberries served with a tablespoon of thickened double cream

Approx total teaspoons sugar - 6

• Look out for the next instalment of your menu in Monday’s Evening News


WEIGHT: 13st 12lb


KIRSTIE, 29, hopes that just4weeks will kick-start her back into a healthy lifestyle.

She says that up until recently she used to eat healthily, but since gaining weight has lost her motivation.

Since moving in with her boyfriend, she has started to eat more pasta, pizza and other carbohydrate-filled foods. This has meant she has put on two stone in the last eight months.

She says: "I was eating healthily for quite a long time, but over the last eight months I have lost the motivation.

"My boyfriend is vegetarian, and because we live together I have ended up eating vegetarian convenience foods like pasta and pizza. I feel really unhealthy and sluggish and I want to change my energy levels."

Kirstie, who works as a page designer, doesn’t have a sweet tooth, so doesn’t feel tempted by chocolate, cakes and biscuits. She thinks a low metabolism, which can be affected by eating lots of carbohydrates, has contributed to her weight gain.

She says doing shift work often means her eating habits are disrupted, and she finds herself eating at work and again when she gets home.

"I think this diet will kick-start me back into watching what I’m doing with food and exercise. The food on the just4weeks diet is more like the food I used to eat. I used to have much more of an emphasis on fish and vegetables, which seems to make all the difference.

"I know from experience that the more things like bread you eat, the heavier you get."

Kirstie walks to and from work every day but wants to increase her exercise levels.


WEIGHT: Kareen 11st 9lb. Robert 16st 8lb FAT COMPOSITION: Kareen 42.9%. Robert 44.3% TARGET WEIGHT: Kareen 9st 9lb. Robert 14st

HUSBAND and wife Kareen and Robert Howden, from Fairmilehead, have decided to diet together to lose the weight they both put on in the last few years.

Housewife Kareen, 53, has been trying unsuccessfully to lose weight for the past two years, and is sick of the continual weight gain she’s experienced since turning 50.

She explains: "Up until I was in my 40s, no matter what I ate, I never put on any weight. I did eat well-balanced meals, but I had a weakness for dessert.

"I had dessert with everything - lunch, dinner. My sweet tooth led me to love afternoon tea and I would happily devour cakes and chocolates, still never rising above my average weight of around eight and a half stone.

"But then, when I was in my 40s, my metabolism slowed down and the weight very slowly increased. Now, since turning 50, I’m alarmed at just how easily I put on weight. I’m putting it on every month and it makes me depressed."

Kareen used to be active, walking everywhere and going to the gym and to classes weekly. But when she became a carer for her ill mother her lifestyle became more sedentary. Then, an injury meant she had to give up exercise.

"I wonder when the weight gain is going to stop and it just depresses me," admits Kareen. "I was frequently taken for younger than my years because I was so slim.

"Now, when I look in the mirror I see a rotund, middle-aged, frumpy woman and I really feel my age."

But Kareen is not alone in her weight gain as her husband, Robert, 53, a human resources manager, has also put on weight over the past few years.

"I’d always been about 13 and a half stone and quite active, playing football and golfing regularly," says Robert. "I used to have the odd 19th-hole drink and after-football beer, but I ate healthily and didn’t have a large appetite.

"However, about five years ago, I was injured at football which resulted in a knee operation. At the same time, they discovered I had diabetes.

"My weight gain since then has been consistent and I have put on a lot of weight because I’m now inactive and can’t exercise, and also because of the diabetes. I still eat healthily, but just can’t shift the weight. My friends nickname me Mr Fat B. I am sure you can work out what it stands for!"


WEIGHT: 18st 4lb


CURRIES and beer are Derick’s downfall, he readily admits.

Working in Edinburgh and commuting from Lanarkshire, he says he often finds it easier to drop in to an Indian takeaway on the way home rather than cook for himself.

"I eat a lot of curries, pastas and rice. I eat a main meal at lunchtime and dinner and often have a cooked breakfast."

As an avid football fan, he can’t resist having a few pints after a match, another reason why his waistline has expanded.

The father-of-one admits he doesn’t eat healthily, but is determined to change his ways. "Every year I say I’m going to do something about it and now I am.

"It’s got to the stage now where I’m consistently going up waist sizes - from 34in to 36in, and now it’s 38in.

"I don’t do exercise, apart from a bit of walking. The car makes me too lazy.

"I really want to get fit as well - my son is 11 now and I would love to be able to do more with him, like go out on the bike."

Derick, 37, a distribution manager, says he used to be very slim until he was in his mid-20s, never weighing more than 12 stone despite his 6ft 3in frame.

"I used to be like a rake up until I was about 24," he says. "I don’t think my lifestyle changed, but my metabolism must have.

"I have a friend who has become really large and I don’t want to get to the stage where I’m the same size as him."