Woman attributes 7st weight loss to Cambridge Diet: How does the popular plan work?

A composite before and after weight loss image of Araba Coxon who lost 7st using Cambridge Diet plan. (SWNS)
Araba Coxon lot nearly 7st using the Cambridge Diet plan. (SWNS)

A woman has attributed the popular 1:1 Cambridge Diet to helping her achieve a 7st (44kg) weight loss.

Araba Coxon, 40, was told that fertility could be an issue when she was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries as a teenager.

However, after 18 months of trying she fell pregnant naturally, and when it was time to try for baby number two she didn’t want to let her weight keep her from conceiving.

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At the time, Coxon weighed 15st 9lbs (99kgs) but she lost nearly 7st by following the 1:1 Cambridge Diet.

“I barely took any pictures of my son in the first six months which I am sad about now,” she explains.

“When I look back the pictures aren’t of me - I am always behind the camera taking the picture of my son and my husband, Elliott. I lost who I was, I didn’t feel like Araba anymore, I was embarrassed to go out, and I still wore my maternity clothes.”

Araba Coxon composite before and after weight loss. (SWNS)
Araba wanted to lose weight to help her conceive a child. (SWNS)

She had been told by doctors that one way to overcome fertility issues was to keep her weight down, but she described it as a “losing battle”.

“I managed to get pregnant with my son but I had to lose weight for him,” she says.

When she decided to try for second child, she turned to a fertility clinic but knew she had to have a BMI of under 30 to qualify for IVF.

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However, after losing the weight Coxon fell pregnant naturally just before the treatment was about to begin.

“I was so happy to be able to wear beautiful clothes again and maintain that healthy eating.,” she says.

“For me losing weight meant that I got Araba back - any mum that reads this will identify that when you become a mum you lose part of yourself. In that relationship, you become someone that this little person relies on completely, losing that weight, Araba came back – my confidence came back.”

How does the 1:1 Cambridge Diet plan work?

The Cambridge Diet is a largely meal replacement diet that aims to fulfil a person’s nutritional needs while cutting down calories.

Developed by Dr Alan Howard at Cambridge University in 1970, the diet later entered the mainstream in the 1980s, but has been rebranded as the 1:1 Cambridge Diet in recent years to recognise that par of the plan sees 1:1 support from a diet consultant.

A man making a meal replacement shake.
The first step of the Cambridge Diet focuses on meal replacement. (Getty Images)

The diet works by placing the body into a metabolic state called ketosis, so it is similar to the keto diet in that respect.

As no carbohydrates are consumed, the body begins to burn stored fat which can lead to a fast reduction in weight.

What are the six steps of the 1:1 Cambridge Diet?

According to the official site, there are six steps to the plan, from eating meal replacements through to maintaining your goal weight.

In step one you replace all meals with the diet’s “nutritionally complete meal replacement products” - either three or four products per day.

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The first step is designed to “kickstart” your weight loss, and you can only stay on this step for a maximum of 12 weeks as you’ll only be consuming around 500 calories per day.

For reference, the amount of calories an average sized woman should eat per day to maintain her weight is 2,000. For a man it’s 2,500.

The second step introduces one healthy meal per day, and the third step sees participants eat one healthy breakfast, one light lunch and a low-calorie dinner.

Woman stands on scales. (Getty Images)
Those on the Cambridge Diet often see quick weight loss in the first few weeks. (Getty Images)

Step four is similar to step three with the addition of healthy snacks, and step five sees you return to more normal sized meals. By this point you should be on about 1,500 calories per day.

The sixth and final step is the maintenance stage, where you are now eating to maintain your weight loss.

Throughout the programme people on the 1:1 Cambridge Diet work with diet consultants to find the best way to reintroduce foods and the calories they should be on.

How much does the 1:1 Cambridge Diet cost per week?

Meals on the 1:1 Cambridge Diet plan cost an average of £2.78 per meal, which means it can be £58.38 per week for one person based on the three meals a day plan.

Additional reporting by SWNS.

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