Swimming golden girl Libby Trickett turned to her favourite fruit to help her lose weight and get in shape for the Commonwealth Games.

Olympic champion Libby Trickett (above) is used to being called ‘golden girl’, a title she’s rightfully earned after winning several gold medals in the pool. But after she announced her retirement in 2009 even Australia’s golden girl wasn’t immune to depression and a battle with her weight.

In 2010 Trickett decided retirement wasn’t for her and set her sights on the 2012 London Olympic Games, jumping back into a strict exercise regime. However, Trickett had gained 10 kilograms and found that even 35 hours-a-week of exercise that included swimming, running, Pilates, gym sessions and walking her dog Wilson was not enough to lose the weight.

Help came from Trickett’s former Australian swim team mate turned sports dietitian Jessica Abbott and together the pair devised the Seven Day Grape Shape Healthy Eating Plan, a series of nutritious protein-rich meals incorporating Trickett’s favourite fruit. In six months she had reached her goal weight of 63 kilograms and two years later she has kept off the weight.

“Because I’m in the public eye people have this idea that I’m larger than life but I face lots of challenges. Weight gain has been a struggle for me and I have suffered from depression. After I retired I put on 10 kilos. I went through a period of about six months where I had depression which was mild but even at that level it was crippling. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed. I started to ask myself who I was outside ‘Libby the swimmer’. This was a massive trigger for my weight gain,” says the 28-year-old.

Trickett says the diet taught her to view food in a different way, learning the right way to fuel her body and showing her the different ways fruit can be added to her diet. “Fad diets are so often about restricting yourself and not eating enough but to have long-term success you need to be on a healthy eating plan. I apply the diet to my everyday life and now have a lot of recipes to draw on. The grape and fetta salad is a favourite.”

Dietitian Jessica Abbott says the eating plan was devised so Trickett could lose weight while still having enough nutrients in her diet to keep up with her intensive training (see opposite for a modified version that is suitable for people with lower energy requirements).
“Grapes were included because Libby loves them but grapes are something we all could be eating more of because generally people don’t eat enough fruit,” she says.

“Grapes are low GI. You can eat grapes every day and, like all fruits, they contain fructose, the natural sugar found in fruit which releases energy into the bloodstream slowly so it can sustain us through the day.”

Abbott says the meal plan includes food from all five food groups and even allows for dessert choices (not shown in our modified version opposite) in the total 8000 kilojoules a day.

“On this plan you can expect to lose half a kilogram to a kilogram a week. It’s designed for seven days during weight loss but it can be followed for life; you can repeat it or mix and match the days up.”

Now Trickett is back training for the 2014 Commonwealth Games with her sights set even further ahead to the 2016 Olympic Games.

Health benefits of grapes
• They are fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in sodium
• The glucose and fructose in grapes provide a natural source of energy
• Grapes are 80 per cent water so they can keep you hydrated
• They are high in fibre to help cleanse and detoxify the system
• They are a good source of Vitamin C to help maintain a strong immune system
• They are rich in antioxidants which are considered to have protective benefits
• They contain Vitamin B6, vital for a healthy nervous system

Seven Day Grape Shape Healthy Eating Plan

 Day 1

 

Breakfast

1.5 cups wholegrain cereal with 250ml skim milk

Lunch

1 serve of couscous, red grape and fetta salad^

Dinner

1 serve of beef,vegetable and hokkien noodle stir-fry

Snacks

Grape and yoghurt pot and grapes

Beverages

Water, tea/coffee or diet soft drink (if desired)

 

Day 2

 

Breakfast

Banana porridge (1/2 cup rolled oats, 200ml skim milk, banana, cinnamon) and handful of grapes

Lunch

2-3 long sushi rolls

Dinner

1 serve of vegetable lasagne with side salad*

Snacks

Non cook grape crumble^ and muesli bar

Beverages

Water, tea/coffee or diet soft drink (if desired)

 

Day 3

 

Breakfast

1 slice of wholegrain toast with peanut butter and 250ml skim milk with Milo

Lunch

1 sandwich (wholegrain bread, 60g lean ham, salad, avocado)

Dinner

2 beef fajitas*

Snacks

Grapes, rice crackers with grape salsa^

Beverages

Water, tea/coffee or diet soft drink (if desired)

 

 Day 4

 

Breakfast

1 English muffin (2 halves) with baked beans, grilled tomato, grilled mushrooms

Lunch

Thai grape and rice salad^ (1 serve)

Dinner

150g grilled fish, oven baked chips and salad

Snacks

Frozen grape smoothie and a handful of grapes

Beverages

Water,tea/coffee or diet soft drink (if desired)

 

Day 5

 

Breakfast

Fruit smoothie

Lunch

1 toasted sandwich (wholegrain bread,50g lean ham, 1slice reduced fat cheese, pineapple, tomato)

Dinner

Home made chicken pizza (1serve)

Snacks

Grape and yoghurt pot and 1 scone with jam

Beverages

Water, tea/coffee or diet soft drink (if desired)

 

Day 6

 

Breakfast

1 poached eggs, 2 slices wholegrain toast, 1 rasher lean bacon, grilled tomato and mushroom

Lunch

1loaded jacket potato (filled with creamed corn, beans, spinach leaves, shredded cheese)

Dinner

Chicken and corn risotto (1serve)*

Snacks

Grape and yoghurt pots and handful of grapes

Beverages

Water, tea/coffee or diet soft drink (if desired)

 

Day 7

 

Breakfast

2 pancakes with jam/honey/maple syrup

Lunch

Healthy home made nachos (1 serve)

Dinner

150g grilled marinated lean meat with baked potato, sweet potato and green vegetables

Snacks

Frozen grape smoothie,200g low fat yoghurt

Beverages

Water, tea/coffee or diet soft drink (if desired)

This is a modified version of Libby Trickett’s actual diet designed to be suitable for most adults

^Recipes from  www.australiangrapes.com.au

*Recipes from  www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition/recipes