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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.
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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.

Maria

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.

Bettie
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.
emoticon

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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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