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Where’s my Dad gone?

My father has lost a grand total 36 pounds on The Fast Diet (so far). This is an astounding, life-changing achievement and I am hugely proud of him.

Here’s what he says about it (and I really think he’d say this even if we weren’t related!): ‘The point is, it’s just so easy. It’s not like dieting at all. I have a selection of four or five different dishes which I have on Fast Days… and I like all of them!  And my need to snack on non-fast days has disappeared too.  In the 6 months since New Year I can only remember being hungry once.’

I remember years of bugging him to lose weight, worrying about his blood pressure, his knees, his heart. Now, there’s a true lightness in his step and he looks fit as a fiddle. Here’s his Before and After pics (he had to be persuaded to let me have the Before…)

My folder 2004 part 2 1159photo

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Where’s my Dad gone?

Gratified to hear that the stars of Coronation Street are doing well on The Fast Diet. One of the most interesting quotes to emerge in the press this week was from Cherylee Houston, who plays Owen’s daughter Izzy. She has been on the diet for six weeks and is finding real success with it. According to The Sun, ‘Cherylee, who uses a wheelchair, has a form of the rare painful tissue disorder Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and finds the diet helps manage her pain… Says Cherylee: ‘When I looked back I realised the fasting had changed my pain pattern a lot, which is amazing…’

It’s something that Michael and I alluded to in the first book, and a subject which is of increasing interest. Michael says: ‘Studies show that intermittent fasting leads to reduced production of so-called inflammatory factors and that may be one reason why it may help with a range of conditions from arthritis to asthma . There is also some evidence (mainly animal, but human studies have begun) that within a couple of weeks your brain starts to produce a protein called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor in response to intermittent fasting and that helps improve mood, which may also be helping.’

We are very interested to hear your stories about the effects of intermittent fasting. Has it improved your chronic pain? Do let us know.

Beyond pain relief, Cherylee says she’s feeling more energetic on the Fast Diet too: ‘The diet is about allowing your body to replenish itself,’ she says. ‘Our bodies weren’t really designed to eat three times a day continually. We need down time. And what everybody is saying is that, after they’ve done it for a couple of weeks, they get more energy.’ We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

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Where’s my Dad gone?

Before and After

Hi Michael

I want you to know that The Fast Diet has been life changing for me.  Before I started the diet I lived a moderately active lifestyle- going to the gym a couple of times a week and running now and then but my weight just wouldn’t reduce.  In fact it steadily creeped up until I found that I had hit 105kg (230lb).  I’m 42 years old and 185cm tall (6’1″).  I was quite distressed to find that this put me comfortably into the ‘obese’ BMI range.

After watching Eat, Fast and Live Longer I decided that this was a diet I could employ, I’ve got a wife and two young daughters who need their father around and so the additional health benefits with lower cholesterol, lower IGF1 and the potential protection against dementia seemed compelling.  I’ve been on the diet since I saw your show and with the odd blip during holidays and long overseas travel I have stayed on it.  In fact it isn’t my diet, it’s my way of life now.

So to my results.  Since starting the diet I’ve lost 15.5kg (36lb) in weight, dropping to 89.5kg and I’m now just a couple of kilos from my target weight.  My waist has gone from 37″ to 33″ and I’ve lost an inch and a half off my collar.  My running times have improved (32 mins for a 6km lunchtime run) and I can squat an 80kg barbell so I don’t see any evidence of loss of muscle mass.  My wife is enjoying similar (though not quite so dramatic) results and I have become a bit of an evangalist for the diet.

I’m a consultant medical product designer and I’m involved in helping to develop products for diabetes care, amoungst other diseases.  Knowing that this lifestyle is giving me the best possible protection from developing this diabetes and many other complications of getting older gives me a lot of hope for the future.

Please feel free to use any of the photos I’ve attached.  (If you’re wondering about the dog food shot, that sack of dog food is how much weight I’ve lost so far.)

Regards

SA

Sack Weight

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Where’s my Dad gone?

Michael before.
This is a photo I saw on the wall of my mother’s house taken a couple of years ago when I was about 188 lbs. My wife Clare took the other photo this evening. I am wearing the same shirt but am now 168 lbs. I’d love to see how you’re doing. If you’d like, post your story or send in your before and after photos to stories@thefastdiet.co.uk and we’ll put some up on the site. Good luck with the diet. Michael

Michael after.

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Where’s my Dad gone?

The official Fast Diet forums are now open for discussion. As Michael says, “We have a well informed and supportive community who will encourage you on your way and throw in some of the latest research to keep you motivated.” So pull up a chair, have a cup of tea (I’m having mine black, it’s a fast day) and let’s chat.

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Where’s my Dad gone?

As time goes on and the Fast Diet message spreads, we hear news of all kinds of people reading the books, embarking on the diet and finding fantastic success with it. As I wrote recently in my You Magazine column, ‘thousands of people have tried the Fast Diet, including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the newsroom at the BBC, and, I’m told, Miranda Kerr. I’m also told that Liv Tyler, Ben Affleck, Beyoncé and Christie Turlington are giving it a go, but I doubt it – chiefly because if I believed they were, I would explode with excitement and require resuscitation with abucket of cold water and a sharp slap to the face. Still. I have had triumphant messages from cardiovascular surgeons, parish priests, two headmistresses, one traffic cop, seven shop assistants, three staff nurses and a woman I bumped into at the chiropodist…’

The latest additions to the roll call include both the food editor and the wine editor at The Guardian (‘a diet for foodies,’ as Felicity Cloake put it in her column), plus Benedict Cumerbatch who told The Times at the weekend: ‘I am on the 5:2 diet. You have to, for Sherlock.’ We hear on the grapevine that Sir Mervyn King is a fan too, while Phillip Schofield is on it and apparently grappling with his hunger, as we all do in the early stages. Even Kate Middleton’s uncle is giving it a go out in Spain: as the Telegraph reported, he recently said, ‘Managed a starvation day yesterday on sub 300 calories and I can feel it’s fallen off me, like my hair… Fat day today, 5-2 diet under way.’ Looks like the diet has truly broad appeal!

More important than any newsworthy devotee is that the diet is making a real difference to the lives of so many. Thank you for all your stories and tips – keep them coming in. I was out at a friend’s house for supper on Saturday, and 7 of the 8 guests were on the Fast Diet. We discussed it at length while getting through tons of delicious French cheese, a fabulous dark chocolate cake and plenty of red wine (for them, not me!). Which just goes to show that Felicity is right: this really is a diet for foodies. You CAN have your cake and eat it. I had mine with a dollop of cream… But we’re all fasting today. It is Monday, after all.

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Where’s my Dad gone?

Michael, I saw your programme and then watched again with my husband, we liked the idea and thought it was manageable and about more than just weight. I was 12st and too heavy and I’m now 60, retired and needed to keep fit as well as healthy. My husband was obese at 15st.

We began doing 2 days in a row at first. I downloaded the Fitness Pal app so I could keep track of calories on the fast days. We had each other as moral support, and we encouraged and commiserated with each other. We began to lose weight steadily. There were weeks at about mid November where we were not visibly losing weight but we noticed the inches disappearing from our waistlines.

I am now 10st 5lb and my husband is about 13st 11lb. Both of us have reduced waistlines! We decided to split the fast days after about 5 weeks and it is so much easier to deal with the nagging munchies, you just tell yourself that you can have a treat in the morning. It is much better to be busy on a fast day as the thoughts of food are lessened.

I told some other friends and now have a small group on Facebook, we chat on the group about success rather maintain healthy levels of nutrients, take a daily Sanatogen to supplement any lack that may occur. I was worried about potassium and iron levels as I am a vegetarian. One of the best foods we use is quorn as it is incredibly low in calories.

We both feel that the diet is extremely effective and manageable. It has changed our outlook on food. We will continue until we have reached our target weights and then probably maintain a 6/1 lifestyle which will enable us to maintain the weight Thank you for the programme. It’s changed our lives for the better.

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Hi Doc,

I saw your 5:2 special after I got back from my 40th birthday trip. On the drive back, I was just so disgusted with myself and somewhat despondent, as I had gone back up to 194lb’s. I’m 5ft 10, male, and had in 2009 gone up to 200!. Then I saw your show on iPlayer, Eat, Fast etc. Was brilliant, highly recommend it. Best time spent in front of the TV in my life.

I have been doing the diet since then, and now weigh 172lbs, and have started swimming 4 times a week in the last 2 months as well. It is the easiest thing I have ever tried to make myself feel good. The weight loss is good, but the rest is great as well. You just feel so much better. My next door neighbour also tried it for a few weeks. He lost 11lbs, and said the same thing I did. He noticed his insides now are good, no more reflux etc etc. I had that for the last 20 years. Basically beer & eating crap.

Thanks really, you have changed my life a great deal. I have also been like a rabid ex-smoker, evangelizing on the benefits. So I have had a few people start, and they all are blown away at the results.

Merry Xmas and have a happy new year

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I started doing IF after seeing the television documentary in August.  As I’m a sceptic about faddy ‘diets’ I was interested in the research behind it and did a bit of reading before really getting stuck in.

I’ve now lost 22 lbs, down from 11.4 to 9.10 (BMI 24.04 to 20.69). I’m 57 and post menopausal – had been struggling to kick start loss of the weight that had crept on during the past 5 or so yrs.

Having just come through christmas with no weight gain I think this way of eating is pretty amazing – and yes I ate the full works, including christmas pudding, cake, chocolates – but have now learnt to eat and enjoy (without going over the top) and then compensate. The most important thing for me is that I see how sustainable this is long term – no “going on a diet” and then struggling to keep it off in a depressing cycle.

I’ve just read the book and think it’s a very good intro to the ‘experiment’!  All I would add is that I started out doing smaller meals throughout the day on fast days – but found it easier to not eat anything at all until the evening if I’m busy (eg at work or out and about).  Eating breakfast really does make me hungry for lunch – so not eating anything until an evening meal makes far more sense for me.

Some weeks I do 5:2 some 4:3  – the fast days fit around my life, not the other way round.  I don’t do two in a row (tried it once but it felt too much like being “on a diet”!).  My diet is generally healthy anyway, mainly plant-based, but over the years I was clearly eating just that bit too much each day and the weight crept on.

 

See Maria’s meal plan for fasting days.

 

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The biggest, biggest tip of all:
It’s a diet that is the same no matter what your size or age.

I can tell my husband that he has to be good on a Thursday but can eat chocolate on a Friday. The fact that no food is banned on five days a week makes it a way of life not a diet. He has not lost much weight since we started in September, but his waist has dropped three inches – something all men would be pleased with. He has noticed his irritable bowel problems (family history of diverticulitis) have cleared up almost completely after fasting. Probably to do with the fact that the intestines have time to actually finish dealing with everything and settle properly. The complete opposite of the “little and often” brigade. I have lost a stone and am now lighter than I was at graduation and yet currently have a glass of wine in front of me.

Top tips

  • Reject snacking :  it started with ‘selling product in hard times’ rather than ‘people need this’
  • Hunger will pass : unless you are an athlete carrying no body fat, hunger translates into calling on reserves – ie the muffin top – be as active as you can manage when hungry and burn that visceral fat
  • Skipping meals creates starvation mode : such utter bollocks, starvation mode only kicks in after a week!

Being 47 with a BMI of 20.8 while regularly drinking wine is NOT to be sniffed at :-)

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So far I’ve lost 21 lbs  and I can honestly say that in  30+ years of dieting I’ve never known such a fantastic and easy way  of losing weight.  But it’s not just that, I’d say it’s become a Way of Life for me now as I feel that after all these years I’ve finally become free from the tyranny of ‘diets ‘.  I’ll never go back to the likes of Weight Watchers and who’d have thought that shedding weight could be so easy!

I’m now hovering just above 10st and BMI 22.6 down from 26.4 in August which is utterly brilliant – I was a stone and a half heavier when I started this. Hopefully this time next week after intending to thoroughly enjoy Christmas. I’ll be roughly the same weight but as this is a WOE (Way of Eating) for me.  I’ll be back fasting on the 27th (and no doubt with relief..)

I never thought when I started this that I’d actually prefer my fasting days. I’m not obsessive, I love food and cooking and eating, so it’s not about the not eating so much but it’s the feeling of energy and clarity you feel during and after a fast day.

I started this after seeing the TV programme but didn’t have any blood tests done, so I don’t know if I’m getting the health benefits, but I’m pretty sure I am. As a post menopausal woman of 55 who was starting to feel old and tired and definitely unsexy  it’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve got my mojo back ( in so many ways if you know what I mean).

When I first started this I often woke at night hungry but I don’t anymore.  This WOE feels natural and I think that my body has now tuned into a more intuitive way of eating. Now when I want something on an eating day I actually ask myself if it’s worth ‘spending’ the calories on it. I NEVER starve myself, but I now ONLY eat the things I really like, so when they offer the cakes and sweets round in the office and I don’t really want one (as I don’t really like sweet things anyway), I can feel quite justified in not being pressurised into having one just for the sake of it.

Top tips

  • Chilli sauce!! (Always make your fast day meals tasty because they are more satisfying).
  • Remember that the hunger doesn’t build  – it’s amazing how many days  I wake up after a fast not at all hungry
  • Drink lots of fluids (its easy to get dehydrated on a fast day and water fills you up anyway)
  • Green tea, (green tea with lemon grass is my favourite). though I have real black coffee too
  • Miso soup , (if really really hungry , though I don’t find I need it very often these days )
  • I always eat 2 small meals (though lots of people prefer just one)  , 2eggs and slice of ham for breakfast , then a  big plate of veg , in the evening could be either soup or strir fry (in stock) with a few prawns  ,
  • Have a 8hr eating window only  –  so I always make sure that I h get in 16hours of not eating anything , so in effect I have 500 calories in 36 hours
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