Disqus for Where Are My Knees

Guest post - The Fast Diet: a two week convert

Friday, 14 March 2014

The following post is brought to you by the lovely Becca who has written posts for us previously. You can check out her blog here: Friendly Film Fan and I'm sure she would be happy to chat about the 5:2 plan over on twitter.


We’ve all done it, reduced our calories so low for a few days to shed a couple of extra pounds, put our bodies into starvation mode and then proceed to gain back those lost pounds plus more when we finally, finally, let ourselves eat carbs again.
I am guilty of this. I am also guilty of ‘being good’ and reducing my chocolate intake, only letting myself have alcohol or sweets once a week, going on soup diets and trying to simply exercise the weight away.
Needless to say I have failed at all of this (having no long-term will power) and I have never found the idea of going to a class appealing, despite it being one of the most successful and sustainable methods. The weight I need to lose is that pesky ‘last ten pounds’ that won’t shift no matter what, I needed something different that I could stick to forever – and I hope I have found it in the Fast Diet.


Now I am not writing this post having been on the Fast Diet for weeks or months and am now the svelte figure I always dreamed of being. No. I am two weeks into this thing and I already love it.

I know many people on this diet (also known as the 5:2 Diet or Intermittent Fasting), but thought it impractical and bad for you to spend two days a week severely lacking in calories. Then one of my best friends revealed she had been doing this intermittent fasting since the new year began and had lost over a stone, was feeling healthier and happier than before and found it, the most important word in the dieting dictionary, EASY.

Two weeks in and I have to agree. For those who don’t know the philosophy behind the Fast Diet I highly recommend reading the book by Dr Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer or watching the Horizon film that Mosely made in 2012 called Eat, Fast and Live Longer. I have to say the science really convinced me.
It is based on the principal that humans are designed to fast – we would hunt our prey, gorge then go for weeks without eating again. Today we are so used to having three square meals a day and grazing in-between that when we skip a meal our brains panic. What? No food? We must be dying!
No, you’re not dying. You’re okay.
This diet does not advocate skipping whole days of food. What happens instead is you have a quarter of the calories you normally require (500 for women, 600 for men) split however you want on two, non-consecutive days a week. I have been experimenting with my allowance and had a sandwich for lunch and noodles for dinner the first day, a protein filled late breakfast with nothing else to eat (but lots of tea, Pepsi max and water) the second, and breakfast biscuits for lunch with a small amount of curry and rice for tea on my third.
I have found a Monday/Thursday routine is best because then I get at least two days between each ‘fast’ where I do not count any calories. Plus I don’t start work until 1pm on a Monday and it is quite easy to work through my late break (gaining some time off in lieu in the process).

The first day was pretty hellish for me, because all you can think about is food when you are restricting it. Plus I wasn’t exactly prepared food-wise, so my biggest piece of advice is to stock up on veg/salad so you can gorge yourself on something.

The second day was much better, and the third was almost easy.
The key thing I am loving about this change of eating habits is if I really want some chocolate (or other ‘bad’ thing) I can have it. It might be a day later than my craving but still, it’s not true denial if you can have it at some point. The Full Fat version. An entire tub of Ben and Jerry’s if I so desire.

I mentioned earlier that the science convinced me to pursue this diet (along with my friend’s fantastic results). By consuming low calories on intermittent days I effectively put my body into ‘repair mode’, NOT starvation. My body will begin to use the sugars in my blood to produce energy, moving on to the fat once it has burnt through all the sugars. This lowers my blood sugar levels; cutting the risk of getting diabetes. This is particularly nice to know as my Grandfather had type-two diabetes along with a plethora of other illnesses.
There are other long term benefits they believe will come from this type of diet, including cutting the risk of developing Alzheimer’s at a young age (i.e. before 80) and being healthy much longer into old age.
All pretty convincing stuff.
If anyone out there has an interest in this diet do read the book, it does not cost much and will open your eyes to a new way of living. I am looking forward to seeing my body change and my eating habits develop better patterns, with the odd tub of Ben and Jerry’s thrown in.

PS: another added bonus I only just realised this morning – my skin has started to clear up and my chin, normally my worst nightmare, is clear for the first time in years.

9 comments:

  1. I have found the idea of intermittent fasting interesting, and I know someone at work who has got along with it really well (has been for months and months now), but it was the 'science' part that put me off a bit. Not to say that it doesn't work, but most of the studies so far have been conducted on mice and the few human studies have involved very small numbers of participants, so for me I don't think it can be said (yet) that eating in this way puts your body into a state of 'repair'. If you think about it, for most people cutting down to 500 calories 2 days per week till constitute a 3500 deficit (or 1lb) so you would expect a weight loss. Definitely interested to see what more studies reveal though!

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  2. I'm loving reading all the good reviews on this diet as I am just starting week 2. Week 1 went well and I feel the same, that at least I get to have the things I crave every now and then, and to be honest I think the fasting has actually made my cravings subside already. Anyway, I'm hoping for the best...hope, something most diets had completely robbed me of. Good luck! :) Happy fasting.

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    1. Ah good luck! I'm not too focused on the amount i lose but i believe its about 7lbs so far-the main thing is I feel so much better, actually stop eating when full and weirdly look forward to my 'fast' days! It's been such a relief to find this diet plan, hope it keeps working for you too!

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  3. Nice article and a good way to manage a calorific deficit or 'diet' but to split hairs it's really more a intermittent minimal eating plan when done that way. I have done 'Intermittent fasting' for 12 months now, I lost 16 lbs over that time. I am now doing a regular 6:1 Fast. For me the fast is literal and lasts for 24hrs (usually finish eating around 5:30pm then fast from 7pm-7pm). It is worth note that Intermittent fasting has been popular in the body building and fitness world for a long time 'google Brad Pilon' a lot of the science points to the actual 'Fasted' period needing to be more than 16hrs in order for the body to have completely digested the last meal, at this point we will begin to use fat reserves particularly if working out, 16hr fast :8hr eating window fasts are particularly popular with body builders as the fasting period activates natural growth hormones 'Google the Hodge twins' However eating through the 'Fasting' day, all be it small amounts, means the body is always digesting and always has a re supply of glycogen to the muscle reserves and by any scientific logic this turns it from fasting to 'minimal eating' this is beneficial and can be more manageable but 'Intermittent Fasting it is not' as the digestive system is never truly rested and the physiology will not switch into an effective repair mode whilst it still expends energy and enzymes on digestion. So yes it is effective but don't kid yourself that you are actually fasting, lets call it what it is "Intermittent Minimal Eating"

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  4. I guess it's a fair point that you don't have to actually be food deprived for too long if you don't want, but some days i have a single meal in a 24hr period, so unless herbal tea/water counts then I'd say i do have a 'proper' fast sometimes! But hey, its working for me so I'm not too worried if Michael Mosley got his terminology a bit wrong!!

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  5. This is great! i have always wanted to know where all the yummy Veganplaces were and now I can easily eat out at these place or order in! thanks so much!
    Fast diet

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  6. I am very happy to read your posts Gem and I want to try a quick diet 5: 2 may be, fast diet

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  7. It was wondering if I could use this write-up on my other website,
    gluten-free

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  8. Do you love Coca-Cola or Pepsi?
    ANSWER THE POLL and you could get a prepaid VISA gift card!

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