I thought of calling it the Eat What You Want Diet, but I that name might be misleading even if it is in a sense correct. You can very much8 eat what you like, but possibly not as much as you like. The point however is to consider what you really want to eat, and focus on that.
Please do not get too hung up on the word gourmet. It doesn’t mean you have to eat sun-dried tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar all the time; merely that you should be picky about what you want to eat. You decide. The fundamental principle of the diet is to figure out what you really enjoy about food – what you like to eat, and when and how you want to eat it. Try to become more aware of when you stuff food into your face out of habit or boredom, but do not particularly enjoy it. You do not have to do all this analysis up front. It is probably better if it evolves over a period of time.
When you know what food you really enjoy, do not even think of giving it up. Figure out ways of enhancing that enjoyment. Seek out the best quality. Learn to cook it yourself. Go to excellent restaurants to experience it. Hopefully, for many if not all foods, this search for quality will naturally lead a reduction in consumption, out of budgetary constraints and availability issues if nothing else. But if it doesn’t, don’t worry too much. It is life-enhancing, takes the emphasis away from the negativity of dieting, and is only part of the Gourmet Diet.
The other part is learning to stop eating food you do not particularly enjoy. If you are not sure how much you like something, go ahead and try it when the opportunity arises, and ask yourself if it was worth it. If not, don’t do it again. If you are honest with yourself, I think you will find that even food items you thought you liked turn out not to be so great after all. Find out which foods are particularly calorific, and be particularly discerning with those. On the other hand, encourage yourself to eat fruit and vegetables. Realise that you do not die if you remain hungry for a few hours, and that food tastes even better if you delay gratification.
Monitor your weight. If you have stopped losing weight at any point and are still overweight, tweak your diet appropriately.
Does it work? Anecdotal evidence suggests it does. That evidence comes from the inventors of the diet – me and a couple of mates. I lost weight and kept it down for a decade or so, which was pretty good going, but now I admit I need to refocus. Apart from this veritable wealth of evidence, it is also very well established that if you cut your calorie intake sufficiently you will lose weight. In that sense, the successful application of the Gourmet Diet is a special case of the Eat-Less Diet, and it is easier to eat less when you enjoy food more. That’s how it worked for me anyway.
And what has all this got to do with wine? It wasn’t my main motivation for writing this, but wine is calorific too and the same principles apply. Wine enthusiasts are usually very much aware of the idea of drinking less and better quality to keep alcohol content in check. It works for wine calories as well as alcohol.