Five days at Grayshott Spa has turned Sarah Vine into a new woman - and the weight is dropping off

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Now that I'm back in the real world, I've had a bit of time to assess the takeaway benefits of Grayshott's Regime .

First, though, some facts. I lost 3.5kg in the five days that I was there. The actual course is seven days, but for various reasons I had to skip a day either end. If I had done the whole thing I probably would have lost a bit more.

But that's not the really interesting part. Anyone can take a bit of weight off when they're in a highly controlled environment. The proof of the quinoa is whether those benefits can extend beyond the luxury of the health resort.

Since arriving home - five days as I write - I have lost another 2.5 kgs. And it was a very social week, mind, with two work dinners out and several glasses of wine. So I wasn't exactly behaving myself.

For the first time in my life - and I mean this quite genuinely - I now feel that I have a workable strategy for reaching my target weight of 75 kgs.

Here's why:

1. Thanks to the daily lectures at Grayshott, I now understand the mechanics of sustainable, healthy weight management. I know about good and bad fats, I know the difference between a vegetable with a high glycemic index and one with a low GI - and understand why one is preferable to another. I know how and why my body processes sugar, carbohydrates, proteins and so on. I have acquired a mindfulness about food that I've never had before.

2. Having removed all gluten and processed foods from my diet, I:

a) Have steady energy levels. That means no afternoon slump, no morning munchies.

b) Don't feel especially hungry, even on my fasting days. On Saturday, which was a hectic day since my husband was away campaigning in Newark and the children had full-on sporting/party activities, I had two eggs and some mushrooms for my breakfast and some nuts at around 6pm - and I was on my feet and fine all day.

c) Do not crave sugar or comfort carbs. Having removed these things from my diet, I simply no longer want them.

This is the beauty of the Grayshott programme. It's not really about weight loss at all. They're not depriving you of food, or filling you full of laxatives. It's about re-education. It's about losing all those bad, harmful habits. It's about showing you a practical blueprint for healthy eating.

And if you eat well you won't be fat.

I just have one regret: I wish I had known this 20 years ago.