So, it is 6.30pm and I have eaten my 500 calories for the day. I woke up hungry (actually, I went to bed hungry last night :() but had a cup of green tea. Youngest child was ill in the night, so I was tired and my plans for ‘fasting’ at work were scuppered as I had to take the day off to look after him.
By 11ish I felt a headache coming on, so I ate my Graze box ‘love mix’ (98 calories) which was tasty and staved off the hunger pains for a short while. By 12.30 I was hungry again so had another green tea. By 2pm I was feeling a little light headed and was very hungry, so I had my Hairy Dieters Minestrone soup with one Ryvita Thin (135 calories). This was very tasty but didn’t fill me up for long and I was counting down the hours until I could start cooking dinner … At half five, dinner was on, and all consumed by 6.10! I was surprised at how much 40g of dry couscous grows to (267 calories).
Now I have to get through the rest of the evening, with just a cup of green tea to look forward to!
Overall, today has been easier than I thought (I know I still have a few hours to go!). I’ve already learnt that the hunger pains come in waves, and I can get through the dull, empty feeling for quite a while!
The reason for this blog post out of the blue is that I have become inspired. I am overweight (ok, let’s be honest, health professionals would call me morbidly obese *sob*) and it is time. I had heard about zig-zagging calories (eating many calories one day, few calories the next) some time ago, but didn’t really pay much attention to it. Then one of my close friends posted on Facebook saying she was having a ‘fasting’ day. I queried her sanity. Everyone knows fasting is not good for you, and fad diets never work, right?! She pointed me in the direction of the BBC Horizon programme, Eat, Fast and Live Longer, and I was inspired by what I saw.
I have never before followed a ‘fad’ diet. I don’t believe that diets like Atkins, The Cambridge diet, cabbage soup diets or any of those wacko diets work in the long term and the weight just piles back on when you (inevitably) start eating properly again. I fully believe the only way to lose weight and keep it off is to re-educate your mind about food, eat healthily and sensibly and get a fair amount of exercise. Easier said than done! This diet, however, does seem to be different. It has many followers in many different guises. Many spiritual groups follow a feed/fast routine. And the health benefits shown in the BBC programme are astonishing. Do I want to cut my risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimers AND lose weight at the same time? Why, yes, I think I do!
So here’s the plan. Michael Mosley tested a number of different versions of the diet on the programme – fasting for nearly 4 days every few months, fasting every other day, or fasting 2 days out of 7. Guess which one appeals to me the most?! Ha! 2 days out of 7? I think I can do that!
Now, when I say “fast” … it’s not actually complete fasting. I will take in around 500 calories on the fasting days. On the “feed” days I’m aiming for around 1700 calories, though I may tweak this as the weeks go on (see the optimism there?! Yes! I’m talking about weeks ahead!). I’ll be using myfitnesspal.com to track my calories as I know I’ll get lost if I don’t use something! Tomorrow will be my first fasting day. I plan to fast on either Mondays and Thursdays or Tuesdays and Fridays, depending on what’s happening with family life, etc.
I know if I am to succeed at this I will have to spread my calories out throughout the day (as there is not a whole lot of research around at the moment, word is it doesn’t make much difference how you consume your calories). Here is tomorrow’s plan:
Breakfast: green tea with lemon – 2 cals
Snack: graze box love mix – 98 cals
Lunch: Hairy Dieters Minestrone – 98 cals
Snack: cranberry green tea – 1 cals
Snack: cup of bovril – 10 cals
Dinner: salmon fillet with couscous, red pepper and mushrooms – 264 cals
Evening: herbal tea – 2 cals
Total cals for the day: 512
I’m also hoping to get my husband on board with this – he’s in the same boat and I can tell the health benefits appeal to him greatly (he has a fear of developing Alzheimers particularly). Guys get to eat an extra 100 cals on the fast days, lucky buggers!