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Changing Tack - The Fast Diet (5:2)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

OK - so I was unemployed there for a while BUT on the upside I used the time to institute a new fitness regime. I started work the week before last week and everything went askew. Suddenly my routine is completely different and I can't do what I was doing before and don't have the time to cook all my meals from scratch - plus I'm in an office environment with all the temptations of cookies and chocolatey over indulgence (and boredom/comfort eating tbh).

BUT two of the ladies I'm sharing an office with are doing The Fast Diet (aka the 5:2 diet - http://thefastdiet.co.uk/) and have steadily lost weight on it. So I started on it last week. So far I've done Thursday and I did yesterday, too as I missed the Monday fast. I'll do this Monday and Thursday to kick the routine in. Two days is enough!

I went to weigh myself this morning and I could SEE that I'd lost weight off of my stomach (this isn't a result of anything I was doing before, because I had totally lost the way diet-wise). And I'm a few pounds down in scale weight too - which is nice. I had put a bit of weight back on with eating off-plan - so that's gone and a couple of new pounds have gone with it.

With the Fast Diet there are a lot of invisible benefits too which aren't immediately apparent - in fact that's why the people behind it have come to advocate it. The science has shown that fasting forces your body in to 'repair mode' so you become rejuvenated at a cellular level. All kinds of bio-markers suddenly improve: cholesterol, blood sugar, IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor 1) etc.

What's interesting is that before I started this Fast Diet experiment I was hungry all the time. I would eat my breakfast and I was hungry, I was hungry two seconds after I finished my lunch. No matter what I did, I was still hungry. So I thought, what the heck - I'll just be hungry all day twice a week and see what happens.

What's been interesting on the couple of days I have fasted is that I've realised that feeling of 'apparent' hunger is fake - it just passes on it's own. So on days where I am eating normally and I'm craving more and more food I'm beginning to realise that that's more to do with habit than actual hunger. It's an interesting process.

I'll give The Fast Diet a go. What I like about it is that mostly I can just carry on with life as normal (with the proviso that I can't go 'wild' - I still have to eat mindful of the fact that I have gallstones). But there isn't this constant weighing and measuring every day. I only have to plan for two days a week. Plus even on those weeks where you don't lose weight, you still have improvements accruing in the background in terms of cellular repair - so that has to be good.

I'll give this a few weeks and review it further down the track - but this is something I really think I can do.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STONECOT 5/27/2013 8:02AM

    I am another 5:2 fast dieter. Although losing weight is nice, I am no longer in the obese category, merely overweight, and that is no longer my over riding concern. I started doing it because I have survived cancer so far, and I want to minimise the risks of it returning, and lowering the IGF-1 will do that. It also fits beautifully into my lifestyle. I have two days where I struggle to find time to eat at all, so now I don't bother, and I don't have to think about my eating on the other five days. My eating has always been healthy, I just eat too much of everything! My GP is quite happy. He told me that you should always leave the meal table still slightly hungry, and he understands fasting well.

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RADIANT888 5/27/2013 6:14AM

    I saw Monica's message on my blog and I didn't want that to go unacknowledged - and hopefully to offer anyone thinking likewise some reassurance about what I'm doing.

The 'Fast Diet' is based on on-going clinical research which indicates that in humans calorie restriction is strongly linked to longevity. This research is being done by scientists seeking alternate ways to reduce cancer risk, diabetes and heart disease.

When humans fast the process of cell renewal changes - the body goes in to 'repair mode' and repairs existing cells in your body.

Some people take it to an extreme and 'fast' every single day - but I'm not doing that. Some people (who don't need to lose weight) eat only once or twice a day without calorie restriction - with the objective of giving the body a rest from food consumption so that it goes in to repair mode. So if they ate all their meals between 11.00 am and 5.00 pm they would be 'fasting' between 5.00 pm and 11.00 am (a 19 hour 'fast' every day).

For two days a week I'm eating a very low calorie diet and for the rest of the week I can eat a normal healthy diet without counting calories - and believe me I am eating normally the rest of the time - but with an enhanced awareness of real hunger cues versus false ones (i.e. boredom, comfort eating, etc).

I would say that previously my sense of hunger was unhealthy rather than natural. I would eat a full meal and half an hour later I would have that sensation of hunger again - but with a full belly. Something was obviously wrong there.

I think this is because I have been edging towards becoming insulin resistant which is the last stop before Type 2 Diabetes. I was constantly grazing and my body was constantly trying to ingest what I was eating - without a break really.

The Fast Diet (known in the US as the 5:2 diet) has arisen from clinical trials being done to counter T2Diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It has come out of its sheltered, academic setting and become popularised very quickly because there was an Horizon programme by Dr Michael Molloy broadcast on the BBC - and news of it has spread like wild fire. Horizon is a programme about scientific research - it isn't a consumer, life-style type programme. It takes leading edge research and broadcasts current thinking to lay people, like myself.

For me this isn't just about losing cosmetic weight and personal vanity: it improves cholesterol levels, blood sugar counts and IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor 1). The IGF-1 is related to the 'repair mode' I mentioned earlier.

I honestly am being careful. I am eating really healthily - lovely grains, low GI foods (now thinking about Low GL too) lovely healthy fat sources (nuts, oily fish, etc), fruits & veggies. And my doctor is happy about what I'm doing - I need to correct this course towards Type 2 Diabetes that I was previously hurtling along - and the Fast Diet seems a useful means to do that with excellent clinical research behind it.

It's not about crash dieting - the 'Fast' bit in the title is a little misleading - albeit catchy. It's not about losing loads of weight in a short period of time. It's about working with the body's normal mechanisms in the most advantageous way for me in terms of weight management, nutrition and creating healthy blood cholesterol/blood sugar, etc.

For me this is honestly a positive step - and I think in the future this will gain more and more endorsement from the medical community. It enjoys a lot of clinical credibility & support now because CHD / T2Diabetes / Alzheimers are on the increase and globally we need to reverse that trend.

I will be careful and thank you Monica for your words of caution. I'm not on a mission to conform to some cookie cutter silhouette - I just need to take charge of my health - no one else is going to do that for me.

Many thanks.


Comment edited on: 5/27/2013 6:32:05 AM

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BMCOLLEY 5/27/2013 12:23AM

    The important thing is that it works for you. Monitoring the diet, as you say, will determine if this is the diet for you.

Pilates Lovers
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders

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MONICA_W 5/26/2013 10:01PM

    Oh please please please be careful. Fasting is NOT a safe or healthful way to lose weight. Ignoring your natural hunger cues isn't going to teach you the difference between true hunger and "mouth"/"brain" hunger, either.

There are all kinds of fad diets out there, and very few of them create lasting, healthy weight loss, if any. This isn't a normal, healthy, sustainable lifestyle - you should speak to your doctor about a healthy way to lose weight. I'm quite certain he or she will not recommend fasting.

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MEADSBAY 5/26/2013 9:42PM

    I am loving the 5:2.
Although I sabotaged myself a bit last week -
learned a lesson.

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TRIING2GETFIT 5/26/2013 12:49PM

    Good luck with it ! I used the feel the same always hungry but actually having completed 3 fast days I have learnt that the hungry feeling does just go away. I'm not sure why i had always expected to just grow so gave in way too easily.

office jobs sucks for boredom eating and biscuit barrels - I'd like to ban them !

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THE_SHAKESHAFT 5/26/2013 9:02AM

    Well done for getting started. You won't regret it!

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TORTISE110 5/26/2013 7:36AM

    It sounds like an interesting way to learn more about your body and food preferences. Good for you for trying it!

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THUNDERLIZARD 5/26/2013 5:46AM

  I am on the 5:2 and also am learning so much about my hunger cues. It's cool. I have learned that I confuse tiredness and stress with real hungry. I hope it goes well for you.

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Another Week - Bob-Bob-Bobbing Along

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Things in my life are not especially eventful at the moment - which can be a blessing in many ways. It means I'm focussing on my health and getting in to good habits - I see it sometimes as putting in a new foundation.

So after a couple of not-so-focussed weeks, I'm getting back in to my exercise routine any - which I am sooooooooo enjoying. The effect is really brilliant. At times now I get a springy feeling in my hips and shoulders which feels really powerful and youthful. And I'm only just starting out!

I really need to keep on top of the calories, though, if I want to hit my target next year. But for now feeling my body become stronger and more flexible is amazing and I love it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DTCATSPARK 5/5/2013 9:13AM

    Good start to new week.

Amazing when you log everything and see what the costs are..... good luck.


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CLWALDRO 5/5/2013 8:26AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon You look like you are track to have a successful week.

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CSDAYS 5/5/2013 8:11AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SANDICANE 5/5/2013 8:07AM

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh I understand about those calories. Food is 80% of our success. It's a great thing to get a handle on!

Best of luck to you on your quest for health,

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Kind of a Funny Old Week

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I started this past week on good form: did my C25Ks, did my Pilates, did AM yoga which was wonderful. But then I went off the boil - which I'm pretty sure is down to PMT.

I know it happens every month but it always catches me be surprise. It was on Friday that I noticed that I had been completely overtaken by a feeling of bleakness - and that is the only word for it. I didn't want to do anything, I was really wanting to overeat, I had no hope about anything. Just not a good mindset.

Then I checked my diary and lo and behold I realised the I was due for Auntie Flo to turn up and on Saturday she did. Now me twigging this is actually kind of a breakthrough.

So instead of my C25K sessions I took long walks. Instead of yoga, I meditated. I guess I could do more but the motivation just wasn't there. And instead of being perfectionistic and insisting that I did more, I did what I did and relaxed.

Tomorrow is the beginning of a new week and then it's back to action stations. But in the meantime it's Project Pamper for me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BMCOLLEY 4/29/2013 12:53AM

    Right on target! It is so good to be able to determine what is going on with your body.

Pilates Lovers
Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

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RADIANT888 4/28/2013 12:11PM

    'Tis indeed

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SCAREWALDORF 4/28/2013 11:24AM

    It's one of those 'AH-HA' moments Spark Guy is always going on about!

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ERIN_POSCH 4/28/2013 10:13AM

    lol. great attitude. love it.

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Major Non-Scale Victory under my belt

Sunday, April 21, 2013

My weight peaked a couple of years ago at a whopping 259 lbs.

One of the things that was really horrible about being that weight was that I couldn't find a belt in a normal store that fit me - they didn't even come around my waist let alone do up. So I ordered some XXL belts on eBay - but they were too small as well. So I had to get a custom made belt.

Well, I noticed yesterday that I had reached the furthest notch on my belt but the belt was loose! The first time in years.

I got out some of those old belts that hadn't fit - and now they fit. So I now have three stylish belts to choose from and that ratty old custom made XXXXXL belt has gone in the recycling.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOLFLADY11 4/21/2013 3:12PM

    emoticon The non-scale victories are so sweet aren't they. I'm sure you are getting compliments on your new silhouette. You are doing awesome and I encourage you to keep up the hard work. emoticon emoticon

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CLCIPS 4/21/2013 11:58AM

    Yahoo!! This is exciting! I remember feeling the excitement of going down to my still-larger-but-less-large belt. And unfortunately I have recently felt the dismay of being ever-so-grateful that I didn't actually dispose of the old bigger belt, because I'm back in it. These milestones are definitely significant, and as I battle my way back out of this larger belt, I send you support on staying out of your own!

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TORTISE110 4/21/2013 7:26AM

    What a sweet and well earned victory!

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WELLNESSME09 4/21/2013 6:51AM

    emoticon emoticon
Best wishes to you towards your goals! emoticon

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LRK4CHRIST 4/21/2013 5:42AM

    Congratulations! I know the feeling on non scale victories. I pray you have a lot more.

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STAYINGTHIN3 4/21/2013 5:39AM

  Thanks for sharing and congratulations! Keep it up! As you lose, you might want to keep the old ones as a visual of how much you have lost--the way some people keep old jeans. On the other hand, I'm sure it was a great feeling to throw it away!

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Coming Back to SparkPeople

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I joined SparkPeople last year in November and did well for a while, but I went off the boil and then Christmas came and oh boy, did I over do it!

In January I had a major panic with gallstones - I didn't know I had them. One of my gallstones got loose and blocked my bile duct - which led to pancreatitis. I had felt bad all week, but I woke up one morning in absolute agony and finally admitted that I had to go to the hospital where I stayed for five days. In terms of my treatment I had such a good experience - people were just wonderful to me and I was so grateful and reassured by the treatment I received.

Because of the gallstones (and the risk of the pancreatitis recurring) I've really had to change the way I eat: red meat is gone, no cheese (*wails*) and everything is low fat. Also I eat vegetarian a lot of the time - but not 100% yet. Many, many things have changed.

So I gave myself some time to get used to that adjustment and I've only just come back to tracking properly on SP over the last couple of months. Also, I've really stepped up my exercise in the last few weeks and I feel amazing for doing that.

In terms of fitness, my starting point was lower than it had ever been. However, just be being realistic and going at my own pace, things are so much better already - so I'm in now for the long haul.

I'm finally getting to know my body and giving it what it needs - and things are looking good. As upsetting as the experience of pancreatitis was initially, I'm so glad that it happened because it has finally forced me to focus on my health and wellbeing and really taking care of myself.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RADIANT888 4/21/2013 1:02AM

    Hmm, I know - I would miss chicken and salmon the most - but for now the red meat is definitely out (doctor's orders)

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STONECOT 4/20/2013 6:47PM

    I come and go! But each time I start from a stronger place. I have always eaten well ,but my exercise has blossomed over the last six months. Fortunately I haven't had to give up anything. I would hate to be vegetarian full time.

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TORTISE110 4/20/2013 7:26AM

    Welcome back! MIssed you. Glad it was a hard route back, but know what you mean about how life sometimes forces us back to doing what we want and need to do!

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