LIFE IN THE FAST LANE
5:2 DIET: Friend or Fad?
Monday 22nd April 2013
Weight: 9st 3
I’ve never really been one for a faddy diet. In my book losing weight demands two actions: eat less, move more. Men fare better than women: they see the world in black and white – no means no, not the “just-one-cupcake” approach that we girls adopt.
The 5:2 diet sounds like a bit of a dream … you’re only ever 24 hours away from a bacon sandwich. On a regular diet, a bowl of cheesy pasta is a distant ray of light. On this diet, you eat 500 calories (600 for a man) for any 2 days a week and eat what what you want for the remaining 5. Yep, you heard me: WHAT THE HELL YOU WANT. And it fits in with your diary too. Night in on your tod = fasting day.
It became mainstream last August when the Horizon documentary made by doctor and broadcaster, Michael Mosley, aired on BBC2. He lost a stone in 6 weeks and saw his body fat reduce by 25%. According to him, fasting can actually be good for you – it cuts the risk of stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and breast cancer, improving asthma symptoms and lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s. It also stimulates the production of antioxidants and proteins, which protect cells from stress and disease. So let's get this straight: I can lose weight by stuffing my face 3 days a week, it doesn't interfere with my most frequent of habits - eating and drinking with friends, AND it's good for me??
I write this on the eve of my first fasting day … let the proof be in all the puddings!
End of Week 1
Sunday 28th April
Wow. Not gonna pretend that was easy. Hungry afternoons at desk drag on interminably. I definitely recommend fast days to be days when you’re out and about and not sitting sedentary at your desk … checking the time … how long until the next bite of banana … can't concentrate … what's the time … sip of water might help ... I wonder what my notepad would taste like… what did you say the time was? Oh god, it’s not even an hour since lunch...
You get the picture. It's tough. It’s quite something how a snack of 3.5 grapes is as tasty as deep-fried camembert. Raw celery has never tasted so good.
It’s all about distributing the calories. By the evening your body has almost grown accustomed to the hunger so there's no poing in leaving the evening meal too late. I find skipping breakfast, having an early lunch at midday and an early supper at 6pm works well. Then as hunger starts to creep in again, you kill it by going to sleep.
I reckon it’s definitely doable.
Beginning of Week 3
Monday 6th May
9 Stone 1
Well I've lost 2 lbs in 2 weeks. Pathetic! Our Philip Schofield recently lost 9 lbs in 4 weeks, what's going on?!
I’m just about to reach for a crunchie but wait ... hold on, 1 lb a week is actually a healthy and consistent amount to be losing. And if it comes off slowly, it stays off longer. I will soldier on. And besides, it's definitely getting easier.
It’s a clever diet because it makes you aware of the excessive calories you eat on normal days. And you’ve suffered so much on your hungry days that you don’t really want to undo it straight away the next day. A friend confessed that the diet had made him realize how much more he’d been eating than he actually needed. When he thinks back to his old portions, he realizes that it was mostly greed, not a need for fuel. And thankfully, however many sausage baps you think you’re going to put away the morning after a fast day, you just can’t. Your stomach won’t be able to handle large portions of rich food straight away, which keeps you on the right light and healthy path.
However, by the weekend virtuous Monday and Wednesday are a distant memory and I’m back into bad habits. Maybe I’d be seeing Philip Schofield level of weight loss if I wasn’t secretly challenging my 6ft 5 boyfriend to eating contest every Sunday.
It's amazing how your mind is affected. I don’t usually eat a big breakfast and I’m not normally hungry before 11am, but on a fast day, I’ll wake up ravenous, having dreamt about food all night, and can’t get croissants off of my mind. Annoying.
Beginning of Week 6
8 stone 10 – ½ a STONE LOST!!
I didn't get round to weighing myself for a few weeks so this morning I almost fell off the scales! Oh my god - this diet works! It may have taken 5 weeks but I have lost a whole half stone! Result.
I guess that "The Fast Diet" is something of a misnomer - speedy weight loss this is not. The speed and intensity of your results depends on what you do on your non fasting days. Philip Schofield and Michael Mosley were probably abstemious with a capital A on their days off. I was not. I bloody went for it - I wanted to challenge the diet. And the diet won! Half a stone in 5 weeks - and counting! Looks like the proof really was in those puddings ...
Take a look at my next post for some recipe ideas ...