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How to chip away the weight with a potato-only diet

Andrew Taylor is nearing the end of his year-long regime. Photo: Jason SouthAfter eating only potatoes for the past year, you’d understand if Andrew Taylor ditched spuds for good.
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But he will gladly tuck in if they’re served on New Year’s Day, when he ends his slavish, self-imposed diet.

Because it’s not about the potatoes.

A year ago Mr Taylor, 36, of Elwood, weighed 151 kilograms, with an addiction to pizza, chocolate and soft drink. He had an unhealthy relationship to food. Having been an elitekayaker in his youth, he’d stopped exercising and suffered depression and anxiety.

He needed a circuit-breaker, but couldn’t just stop eating, so in desperation he tried the next best thing – focusing on one foodstuff.

Potatoes seemed to offer the most vital nutrients, including iron, protein and vitamin C, and sosince January 1,2016, he has eaten 3.5kg to 4kg of spuds per day.

Awild experiment, but a spectacular success. He has lost 52kg, feels mentally well, and kayaks or rides his push scooter one or two hours a day.

His cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar are now normal and his iron and calcium levels are “great”.

He has received thousands of emails, including from a US man who lost 30kg by eating potatoes, and appeared on TV in Romania, Poland and Britain.

Root cause: Curing a junk food addiction by eating only potatoes for a year paid off for Andrew Taylor, who lost 50kg. Photo: Jason South

His advice is to stop looking to food for pleasure and emotional support and have “a healthy detachment from food”.

“I’ve got a saying now: ‘Make your food boring and your life interesting.’ “

On Sunday morninghe will break his faston Seven’sSunriseprogram, live from Elwood Sailing Club, and doctors and nutritionists will speak.

Mangoes would be nice, but under his new ethos, he’s not fussed.”I’m looking forward more to the party and people than the food.”

From 2017 MrTaylor will eat a plant-based diet – fruit, veggies and grains and no meat, eggs or dairy.

Having quit teaching, he will be a stay-at-home father to his son Teddy, aged three, and do public speaking, health coaching and write a book.

“I want to help people get healthy and change their relationship with food in a similar way to what I’ve done.”

Lorraine Baker, the n Medical Association’s Victorian president, was impressed Mr Taylor stuck to a disciplined exercise and unprocessed food program – which included soy milk for mashing, sweet potato and B12 supplements – and sought medical advice. But the diet wasn’t recommended because a more enjoyable, varied diet was more sustainable.

Dietitians Association of spokeswoman Melanie McGrice​ said Mr Taylor’s diet was “extreme” and large quantities of potatoes were needed to meet daily nutrient requirements.

She wondered whether the weight would stay off. But the diet could be a good kick-start, and too few food choices could be more effective than too much choice, leading to junk food.