Several of my friends are doing the ‘Fast Diet’ which is also known as the ‘5:2 Diet’. In a very brief summary, on the Fast Diet you eat what you like for 5 days a week and then “fast” the other 2 days a week. This is not a complete fast but a very low calorie intake; 500 Kcal for women and 600 for men.
When I first heard about it I thought there was no way I could do that so I marvelled at their willpower and went on a vegan diet instead !! I was tempted to try it when I met Jeremy and Helen recently because they are doing it. One of them works full-time in an office and the other works at home looking after 2 young boys. This made me think it could be doable even when you are busy so I bought the book. I bought this one by Dr Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer.
Since giving up my vegan diet I have been over-eating and undoing any good work I managed while on the restricted diet. So I decided I would try a fast day. The book says to find the way of eating that suits you. Some people like small portions of food through out the day, whereas others prefer just 1 or 2 meals a day. I decided to take in “breakfast” but to see how long I could go before eating it. I know that when I start eating, I seem to keep eating. So that was my strategy.
I arrived at the office today with a boiled egg in one pot and a peeled and sliced pink grapefruit in another. I brought that in from home. On the way in I picked up a large black coffee and during the morning I had herbal tea and water. I felt fine. I was able to function quite normally and had not eaten a thing. It definitely helped that I was very busy today so time flew. It was also good that the office was quiet (many people work from home on a Friday plus it is half term) so I was not often tempted by colleagues eating at their desks.
I wanted to make sure I exercised so despite the light snow fall and freezing temperature, I decided to walk down to Borough Market and have a wheatgrass shot (20 calories!). If I walked the most direct route it would have been 1.2 miles to get there. But I walked a much longer route. One of my colleagues has a good route which starts off in the Barbican but I have never managed to repeat that route. I just get lost in the Barbican which is really frustrating.
I came across this woman, who was hanging around near the theatre. She seemed quite lost too.
I remember when the Barbican opened in the early 1970’s. It seemed such a strange idea to want to live so close to the City in a little community that had homes, a school, shops and entertainment all there, in one development. I wish I had bought one of the flats then – how they have gone up in value and nowadays loads of people want to live close to where they work.
Each time I get lost in the Barbican, I am surprised by how deserted it is. Endless concrete walkways and hardly anyone around. It is quite bizarre.
Coming out of the Barbican I found myself on a series of high walkways which led to the Museum of London. At the end of the road called ‘London Wall’, was a large part of the original, erm … London Wall. This is the wall that used to circle the City – the square mile.
Back down at ground level I couldn’t resist a slight detour to St.Paul’s Cathedral. I took the time to walk round it and admire it. This is the rear view
and this is the view of the front.
I eventually arrived in Borough Market. Oh how I have missed this lovely place. I have been reading about the grand re-opening and it is so much bigger now! Even more gorgeous and lovely than before and it was packed with people today too which is great. Those stall holders deserve plenty of custom for standing there in the cold. There was cheese everywhere so not a great place to be when on a very restricted calorie day.
A 3 mile round trip for a thimble full of wheatgrass. I don’t even like it but I wanted to make every calorie count today and this is meant to be amazingly good for you.
I bought another black coffee on the way back to the office as I was beginning to feel hungry and my hands were so cold it was lovely to have something to warm them up on. Back at the office I had another herbal tea and that kept me going until 4pm when I was too hungry to wait any more so I enjoyed my grapefruit and boiled egg.
Back at home I was planning on salmon and vegetables. But the salmon fillet I had used up all my remaining calories. I did consider having half the salmon with vegetables but only for about half a second. I steamed the salmon and then went crazy and ground pepper all over it. Living on the wild side!
59 g boiled egg = 85
nearly 300g pink grapefruit = 90
Wheatgrass shot = 20
136 g salmon = 306
Daily total = 501
I am amazed at how many calories are in certain foods. I would never have guessed a grapefruit had as many calories as an egg. So fasting like this 2 days a week will be really good to get me used to appreciating the calories in all my food. Weight Watchers doesn’t count points for fruits and most vegetables so you get in the habit of eating loads of them which is not good. This fasting regime will help shrink my stomach and give me the confidence to eat small meals. I have proved today I am not about to faint or collapse if I don’t eat. Plus I managed to work and walk.
I have almost enjoyed today. I perhaps foolishly, feel rather proud of myself for sticking to 500 calories. I feel a sense of achievement and although I am looking forward to breakfast tomorrow, I am planning a healthy start to the day. I do not have the urge to binge and eat rubbish. This temple is feeling virtuous and wants to remain so.
Well done. I sent you a PDF file about another way of fasting that happens by fasting from dinner to dinner so you are sleeping through alot of it. You eat your dinner, sleep and fast through your breakfast and lunch and eat again at dinner. Eat Stop Eat is the plan.
Thank you Laura for the pdf. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but I will. I am going to try another fast day on Monday and am strangely, looking forward to it.
That’s good to read Zoe. If releasing and maintaining the weight is boring, it is up to you to keep it alive and encouraging and I really believed you were doing this with the experimenting you love to do with foods. Fruit is loaded with sugars as you know and really should be eaten under control and replaced with more veggies. Paying attention to water consumption, sugar and sodium will propel you in the right direction for all of your body.
That sounds like a good Fast Day, well done. Richard and I have been doing what Laura suggests, although even so, we don’t really manage the calorie-limited dinner part of it!
To be honest I find it much easier to fast completely (no food, but as much water, herbal tea and black coffee as you like) for two consecutive days, because your blood sugar has stabilised by day 2, so you don’t get the same hunger pangs as you think. However, when I’ve done it that way, it’s always been part of a spiritual thing too – I offer God my hunger, and ask him to help me feel strong, and I know it’s much harder when I forget to pray and meditate!
Holly I love it. All of it. I find that fasting makes me so much more aware of the food I am eating by appreciating I have it to eat, saying Thanks and enjoying the taste so much more.
Amen to that, Laura! After a bit of fasting, even the simplest soup is wondrous! We try to say thank you for the blessing of lovely food on our table every day. We’re so lucky in this country with the good food we have available. 🙂
Holly, I was going to send you this diet as an idea for you both because I know you ocassionally fast and get something extra from that experience than I do. I was thinking it may suit you both and you could do it together but you are aware of this diet approach. I think it is funny you then struggle with the low calorie supper and am pleased you are now realising how boring and hard it is to maintain a weight loss programme.
Hi Zoe, the 5:2 diet has just started getting publicity here in Oz and they will show the tv program later in the year. Can I ask about the 5 days where you can eat what you like, can you actually go all out with your food? No limits? How you are all well. Therese xo
Hi Therese. If you want to lose weight, you need to eat sensibly in the 5 days. Obviously stuffing your face with cake and guzzling champagne isn’t going to help you lose weight 🙂 There are apparently lots of health benefits to fasting besides losing weight. I wish I had seen the programme and I will watch it if it is repeated. This way of eating certainly seems to be the latest craze!
Hope you are all well!