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17 Feb 13
Busy times at Fast Diet Towers. We are delighted that this website is proving so popular, and that many of you are sharing your inspirational stories with the growing army of Fast Diet fans out there. We try to answer directly as often as possible – please forgive us if we can’t, we read them all and we are delighted that several key voices are emerging to hold hands, share their ups-and-downs and inspire the rest of us. Thank you.
Meanwhile, the Fast Diet book goes from strength to strength – it has been the UK’s bestseller for three consecutive weeks now. Overwhelming. But the book could only ever be the beginning of our understanding of the benefits that Intermittent Fasting can bring. The start of a conversation. As we’ve often said, the science is in its infancy and we are learning all the time. Some answers are not definitive. Some questions remain. We really want to hear your experiences to help us understand more about this radical, refreshing and healthy approach to diet. For us and for many, it has become much more than a ‘diet’ – it is a way of life, really – and sharing our experiences, good, bad or indifferent, will certainly lead to new ideas, new avenues, new thinking. We hope you will accompany us on that fascinating journey.
And so, onwards… The Fast Diet Recipe Book is due out in early May (it is available for preorder here). I have been working closely with dietician Dr Sarah Schenker, a nutritionist with both Spurs and Chelsea football clubs (and Norwich City too, just to prove she is non-partisan). The cookbook will, of course, be stacked with tons of great, tasty recipes (more than 190 of them at the last count), but there will also be a glut of nutritional advice for anyone who really wants to get to grips with what best to eat on a Fast Day when calories are scarce. Some dishes will be simplicity itself – we certainly understand that not everyone wants to be in the kitchen when fasting – while others are designed to appeal to home chefs who want to bring a bit of low-cal flair to their Fast Days. Plenty of dishes can be made ahead of time and frozen; others are quick, fresh and full of goodness. And, yes, there will be plenty of warming, filling meals too (not just leaves!). We hope you’ll enjoy them all.
18 Feb 13
I’m looking forward to the recipe book!
I have a question. What happens if you fast (500cals) for 2 days a week and on the other 5 days continue to do a traditional calorie restriction diet (approx 1200cals)? I presume this is unsafe.
I’m not asking for myself but for a number of others I have seen who are doing this. Dispite reading your book, I’m confused as to why they have come to the conclusion that this is a good idea. I think it may help if I had an answer from an authority to point them towards.
Hi Mustela – our method suggests the calorie restriction just on two days, and then normal eating on the others, as this is what MM’s research showed worked well and echoed what the scientists are doing in trials (as you know from the book). What you eat on the other days is of course up to you – though personally, I wouldn’t count calories on a non-fast day, as for me it would dash the point of the Fast Diet. The joy of it for me and for others is that you are not thinking/worrying or caring about diet/calories most of the time. The book does make this clear, as you say. Most diets fail because people grow bored of constant restriction.
Hello, my husband is 59 and an active farmer without a weight problem. He wants to know if he should do the 5:2 diet as he doesn’t need to loose any weight! I am about to start it tomorrow, so would love to know your thoughts as soon as possible. Thank you.
19 Feb 13
I am starting on Tuesday morning and feel a little nervous. A recipe book would be brilliant right now as I’d be flicking through it, deciding what to have on my fast days this week. Looking forward to getting stuck in. Roll on May when I’ll hopefully be lighter, healthier and needing some new ideas for fast days!
Hi Chickadee – recipe book is going really well, you’ll get tons of inspirations from it I promise! Going as fast as I can, but want it to be special, well-considered and complete, not a quick turnaround. Good luck with starting today – it’s really not such a big deal once you get going. Let us know how you fare.
Hi Fiona – both MM and I no longer wish to lose any weight, so we both maintain with a 6:1 system, which keeps us at our desired weight and should, we think, still bring some benefits of Intermittent Fasting. The real heart of the Fast Diet is health not weight loss, so your husband may well benefit from giving it a go. Have a look at the book for more detail.
I have found missing lunch means I continually think about food and hunger. ( never tried a diet before) So I have changed to missing breakfast and then having breakfast at lunch time. Will this still work?
@sally: You can split your calories however you like on a fast day, although it’s best not to graze all day apparently. By skipping breakfast (which is how I started out on my fasts) you’re getting in a good 16 hour fast from the previous night’s dinner until you eat again, so that’s great.
Many of us at the forums (52fastdiet.co.uk) have since found that as soon as we eat on a fast day we get ravenous, so we skip breakfast and lunch and just go for a 500 calorie dinner. It’s actually easier than it sounds and many of us feel less hungry in the day doing it this way – it also gives a really good sized meal at dinnertime and a full 24 hours (or thereabouts) with 0 cals, which should provide great benefits.
I have found that I am unusually thirsty on fast days. Does anyone have an explanation? I keep generally really well hydrated and particularly on fast days. I have about 3 cups of either tea or coffee a day.
Its confusing and frustrating as no amount on water quenches my thirst! (Its winter and I havent yet exercised on a fast day so I can rule those two possibilities out)
Would love to hear if you can shed some light on this,
My partner and I have just started the fast diet. I have weight watcher dieted this last year and lost 2 stone to reach my healthy bmi so am doing this for health reasons and she wants to lose weight as she has not been able to diet conventionally We are doing he same days each week and same fast meals but different times of eating them.. We both exercise in the gym but I find that I can feel dizzy and slightly nauseous with exercising on fast days. Is it better not to exercise on fast days?
Can anyone help? I’ve been doing the plan for 3 weeks now and have had a headache eversince, even on non fast days.I said i would try this for 2 months but i dont know if i’ll be able to stand it. I so want this to work. PLEASE HELP.
It’s not unusual to have headaches when you’re fasting as you are changing you’re normal diet, which could include caffeine, alcohol etc., and the fasting helps to eliminate toxins from the body. As you’re now three weeks in you should find that the headaches will cease fairly soon. Good luck.
21 Feb 13
I am a busy working mum who loves all food. Over the years I have become a couple of stone over weight. I have tried (and failed) so many diets I just can’t keep at it. After watching the documentary and buying the book Iam in my 5th week. I no longer get headaches or hunger pains and everyone knows I don’t eat on Monday and Wednesdays so far lost 5lbs , weighing myself again tomorrow Iam so made up . I find this so easy and enjoy my food more on feeding days . I enjoy the book and have marked pages to keep me motivated and focused. If I can do this then anyone can . Good luck to my fellow 5:2 fasters.
Is it okay to have some chocolate & or crisps on a fast day as long as it is within my 500 calories?
Hi! I started this 5:2 with a friend two weeks ago after we had both watched the documentary on Youtube. I find the fast days easier than expected but on the ‘recovery’ days, as i like to call them, im finding that i am eating cakes or biscuits or chocolate just because i can! Haha I am struggling with what a notmal day of eating would be like for me as i have been on a diet (typical 1200cals per day) for what seems like since i was 18…i am now nearly 30! Hence why i started this way of eating. However, my friend who hasnt ever been on a diet is loosing weight steadily whereas i am not at all! I am sometimes eating 2000cals on my recovery days, which i would never normally eat due to always restricting my calories. Can you help me with why i am not loosing weight and what i should do or could this be my body adjusting after years of denial! Haha Thank you so much 🙂
@kayjay2807: You can, as long as it’s within your 500 cals – however you may well find yourself feeling hungrier for doing so. You’ll find more filling foods for the equivalent cals and can always enjoy those things tomorrow instead 🙂 That said, I’ve read about a chap who was doing this alongside his missues – while she ate healthily on her fast days, he had beer & chocolate to the tune of his 600 cals. Still lost weight apparently!
@magpie: If you are overeating compared with what your body has classes as ‘normal’ in recent months/years then you won’t lose weight. I always say to new 5:2ers that they should keep eating however they have been eating recently and add in their 2 fast days. You’ll probably find you can increase your feed day intake somewhat when you’ve been doing this a while, but such a stark contrast in your new eating habits compared with the old probably won’t do you much good.
Feel free to come along to the forums at http://www.52fastdiet.co.uk and we’ll try to help you ‘troubleshoot’ your lack of weight loss situation further 🙂
22 Feb 13
Are there health advantages to eating 500-600 calories on fast days? Is there a disadvantage to just eating nothing? I find it psychologically easier to abstain from food completely a couple of days a week.
Had my first weigh in today and lost 2lbs – hoped for 2 stone, but I’ll settle for pounds! Really struggled to sleep last night – all I could think about was what I was going to eat today. I don’t think I was hungry – my stomach was not rumbling. Will this pass? I’m starting to worry about my next fast day – Monday. Is it really OK to eat what you like on non fast days? So want this to work – don’t want to stuff up as I usually do.
@neil: Dr Mosley suggested 500-600 cals as for most people this is easier than eating nothing at all, which makes it more sustainable in the long term. If you find it easier to go without food all day and it doesn’t make you feel unwell, then there shouldn’t be any reason not to. Just be sure to listen to your body!
Hi there, I have the book and have been fasting for 3 weeks now and have had good results. I just had a couple of questions regarding some things the book says & was hoping someone would be able to answer them?…
So it says that on fasting days we should avoid bread, potatoes & pasta, I was wondering why this is?
Also it says to remove skin from meats before eating but says we can use olive oil to cook with? I really do not get this since they are both fats? (I really dislike oils but do like chicken skin haha!)
So dont really understand why if im counting it in my cals for the day it matters so much if I eat a bit of chicken skin?… I know there must be reasons for these things I just really want to know what they are?
Can anyone help? 🙂 x
I think the bread/potatoes/pasta thing is to avoid carbs which may make you hungrier and don’t stay with you for long. That said, I haven’t cut them out at all on my fast days – I still have potatoes or pasta with most of my fasting meals, and have lost over 2.5stone since August 🙂 Maybe I would have lost more without the carbs but I find this way managable and sustainable!
As for the skin, I guess that’s also down to calories – I don’t see why one natural fat (skin) vs another (olive oil) is any worse than another except in how many cals it contains. As long as you keep within your 500 cals it’s fine 🙂
Thanks for the reply. I’m really more interested in data than I am in Dr. Mosley’s opinion, and I apologize for not having been clearer in my question. What I should have asked is: Are there any studies that have examined the difference between IF involving “fast” days that include a small intake of food (e.g. 500-600 calories/day) and IF involving fast days that involve a complete abstinence from food?
Thanks shiningmoogie, I think ill let myself have a couple of boiled potatos with tea tonight now haha!:)
I find if im too hard on myself IE cutting out potatoes etc on fast days then it feels more like a diet than a way of life & I really dont like it to feel like a ‘diet’
Congrats on your weight loss by the way! 🙂 x
Hi. I’ve been doing the fast diet now for 3 weeks, fasting on a tues and thurs. Both myself and my husband seem to be doing well. We only eating a bowl of Miso soup at dinner time, with some ham or a boiled egg and drink boiled water, black coffee and herbal tea throughout the day. I definately feel like i’ve got more energy, especially on fast days and run on my fast days around 5 km. I know its still early days, but I still feel like I’m not shifting any weight. My clothes all feel the same with no noticable difference? I’m 5ft 4″, 9st 10lb and my weight has flucutated over the fast days but only with a loss of approx 3lb, which seem to go back on during my eat days. Am I doing something wrong?
@neil: Sorry my answer wasn’t quite what you were looking for! We’ve got a forum at 52fastdiet.co.uk where various members have posted up interesting studies which might help answer your questions. I’m afraid I’m not very scientific so haven’t taken it all in. Check out the ‘Nerdy Stuff’ forum (you don’t have to register to view the content) and you might well find what you want to know.
@Me-Shell: Exactly, that’s how I feel! I love my potatoes, probably my favourite foodstuff so I enjoy having them with my fast days, it feels like ‘real’ food. Sometimes I use a few drops of olive oil brushed onto them and chuck them in the oven for 20 mins to make ‘fasting roasties’ (kept in their skin for extra goodness). Yum!
@dwhiteley: Sounds to me like you haven’t got a great deal to lose at that size compared with some of us, so the weight may shift more slowly. It also sounds as though you’re weighing quite often. Weighing once a week as the same time of day is generally best to notice the downward trend on the scales. If you’ve lost 3lb in the 3 weeks, that’s good! A pound a week is about the average and is a sustainable loss. Don’t feel bad about it 🙂 Also bear in mind that you may be converting fat to muscle with your exercise, so less obvious weight gain. A few lbs off may not make a big difference in how your clothes feel, but give it a couple of weeks and I’m sure you’ll start to notice!
I have been doing the fast diet for 3 weeks and have lost 6lb and have had a boost to my energy levels so want to carry on.
However at night after a fasting day I have trouble sleeping. It’s hard to get to sleep and then I wake up in the small hours feeling panicky and can’t get back to sleep. I vow I’ll never do it again until I weigh myself. I have tried to load the calories more to the evening and have tried increasing to 600 by adding an oat bar at bedtime but I’m still not sleeping. Any suggestions? I’m eating mainly protein and salads. I assume this is a low sugar problem.
@shiningmoogie. Thanks for the reply. As you say lb a wk is ok, I just thought I might have lost a bit more (i guess I am being impatient). No, I’m not drastically overweight, but do have a couple of lb I could live without. Gonna stick with it as I do feel better for it.
@jford: A lot of people seem to report this in the early stages of 5:2, but it seems to settle down. Personally I find I generally sleep better, though once in a while I have a restless mind and can’t sleep. Apparently a small glass of milk before bed can help, Dr M swears by it I hear – though I’ve yet to try!
@dwhiteley: You should have a look at the progress tracker on the forums, you can see what sort of weight loss people similar to yourself have achieved over what period of time to give you an idea of what you should/could be expecting.
i have succesfully lost 20lbs on the weight watchers plan, this has helped me re-educate my eating and i now eat a lot healthier. However i am finding the maintaining of the weight a little harder,as i am missing those little treats that we all like,and i do like to bake. What i would like to know is, if i were to change to the fast plan would i gain weight or maintain my present weight, always assuming i don’t go mad in a cake shop on my off days and stick to my present healthy attitude to food. Please advise, as all my friends just say’give it a go’.
I think you’re friends are correct. What have you got to lose? If you don’t go mad on your eating days, that is don’t go over the daily cals allowance plus 25%, and stick to the 500 cals on fast days, you are still going to hover around maintenance, give or take a few pounds. If you find you’re losing more weight than you would want, just fast 1 day a week. Go for it.
Monty – what do you mean about on eating days and daily calorie allowance +25%. What is the daily calorie allowance – is it 1200 which is what weight watchers advocate? I must have got something round my ears as I thought on eating days there were no restrictions.
I can’t believe how effective and easy this diet is. I started after the article in the Mail so this is the end of week 5. I started at 16st (I’m 6ft and a very handsome 56, Mimi) and as of this morning I’m now 15st. A stone in 5 weeks! Roll on my target of 13st.
What really amazes me is how well you can eat on only 600 calories if you’re creative…I stick to the traditional 3 meals a day. Not a great fan of Quakers Oats but at around 110 cals it’s a good low GI start and I only have to put up with it Monday and Wednesday. And that’s the beauty of the diet…you can promise yourself the goodies in the morning. Thing is I find I don’t want them! It’s definitely had a knock on effect for the other 5 days.
I find I get a 2 or 3lb gain over the weekend but this is explained by the 1000 calories from the 2 bottles of wine I allow myself Saturday/Sunday, and has usually worked out of the system by Tuesday.
Many many thanks. Just need to get a new bike now!
I am grateful to Dr Mosley for kick_starting my change of lifestyle.
I am working on alternate day fasting (Prob 700 and 1400) , zero alcohol (one lapse for special occasion: the wines were really to good to pass up.) and exercising five days a week. Aged 49
Weight reduction 121 k to 107 k, 31 pounds, over 2 stone and 3 pounds
6’1″ or 184 cm on heavy frame.
Pathology results 4 months ago were not good. Borderline to High in a number of important indicators.
As of last week, All within guidelines.
Figures available upon request.
I will continue till reach 95 k, 15 stone and then continue on 5:2.
PS I don’t have a sweet tooth, so loss of sugar is not a problem. For those that do research and try Xylitol. Recently discussed on World Service Science Program.
I’m experimenting with it for dental reasons. Improve my gums by arresting plaque. NB Teeth to date are excellent and not had a filling.
A naturally occurring 5 carbon based sugar rather than 6 carbon based sucrose.
Started on New Year’s Day.
8 weeks on Monday
23 Feb 13
@shiningmoogie Thanks again. I didn’t see what I’m looking for in the forum to which you directed me, but I did find lots of interesting information. I’ll post my question there.
Well good news after a rocky start!! with every 2 lbs lost on fast days then put on again . I now have been on non fast days for two days and weighed my self this morning and have lost now 3 lbs in two weeks since I started fast so 4 fast days so far. Measured lost half inch on waist and half inch on thighs. Really pleased as with a shoulder injury I haven’t done my swimming 4 times a week or Pilates 3 times so bring it on.!! It is so amazing what good news means when you have been trying really hard.
I am at the end of my third week of the Fast Diet. I found on Thursday, which was my most recent fasting day, that I felt strangely elated. I generally have a small breakfast at 0600 and a slightly bigger supper at about 700pm, by which time I am really bad tempered. I do not know if I need to eat more ‘bulky’ stuff for my 500 calories in order to feel fuller. Also, I feel starving overnight post fast days, and have to get up at 5.00am to eat a satsuma. And advice welcome.
“both MM and I no longer wish to lose any weight, so we both maintain with a 6:1 system, which keeps us at our desired weight and should, we think, still bring some benefits of Intermittent Fasting.”
For those not trying to lose weight it would be interesting to know if anyone has measured their IGF1 after going 6:1. Eventually I’ll probably get round to having this measured myself, but the more data the better.
Fascinating book as I like knowing about the science behind it. I am a 52 woman, have a thyroid problem, irregular heartbeat and a cholesterol level of 3.4-4.0 (my doctor is astounded) and has been this low for over 25 years even though I am 5ft 4ins and 11st 10lbs.
Would this Fast have an adverse effect on my thyroid, as it seems rather sluggish and would not like my metabolism to be slowed down. I had to do a 12hr fast and managed quite well. Just worried about fainting which has happened to me before. Willing to give it a go and my husband would like me to succeed in at least one successful weight loss
24 Feb 13
First week on the diet. Can’t bear to weigh myself in case I haven’t lost anything.
Hello, I started on Jan 14th and lost 2.2lbs in my first week. The following 2 weeks I lost 1.2lbs each week, making 4.6lbs in total. With only 5lbs to go I was very excited to hit my target by mid-March. But on the 4th week I found I had lost nothing and this week had managed to put on 0.2lb even though I have been just as disciplined and even been walking more. I now feel despondent and wondered whether this weight plateau was normal and would shift again?
I’ve now read a few other comments in the Q&A section and may follow shiningmoogie’s advice of fasting from dinner to dinner and having one 500 cal meal. I’ll see if that kick-starts anything. I fast on Mondays & Thursdays so will try it tomorrow, eating nothing after dinner this evening until tomorrow evening. Wish me luck!
Hi, my partner and i have been following the diet for 3 weeks, he is doing better than me.I am 49, 5ft 3 and weigh 10st 2. I lost 3lb in the first week then nothing in the next two, infact put 2 back on! I stopped following it for a week but have decided to try again. I have been following it for a week. We both have the same question that ‘magpie72’ asked posted on 22nd Feb also the question ‘Pat Jewitt’ asked on22nd Feb. The main question being,When you say you can eat what you like, we dont go mad but dont diet. I can eat quite a lot, is there a rough guide on how many caleries you can have daily? im guessing 2000?
+25%? really want this to work have read the book-twice.
Hi. My husband and I have been really inspired by the Horizon programme and by the book, and we’re going to start our first fast day tomorrow. I have to say, although I’m excited, I also feel hugely nervous. I’m not sure what to expect at all!! Have already planned 3 very light meals within the 500 cal restriction, and am just hoping that eating little and often won’t kick-start my appetite. I suppose it’s a matter of experimenting though, and finding what suits you best. I really hope I’ll be able to keep it up.
I’m not quite clear about non- fast days … As a female, could I really eat 2500 cals on a non-fast day and still lose weight? It sounds too good to be true – can’t help feeling I may have misunderstood something.
Well, I’m nervously going to retire to bed now – not sure how well I’ll sleep tomorrow with a rumbling stomach!!
25 Feb 13
Hi – An update. After 18 months of stupid diets and calorie/fat/anything else counting and not losing any weight I am after 4 weeks down 3.25lbs. Not fantastic compared to some but great news for me.
I have now been on the 5/2 since last August. I’m 65 and relatively fit. I’ve lost weight and have more energy. At my recent MOT the blood readings were all better. However my blood pressure for which I take 50mg of Losartan a day, has increased in both areas . Has anybody any ideas or advice, as I am very keen to try and avoid more medication. Is there any possibility that this fasting regime may be contributing.
Hi my husband and I started the Fast Diet this morning and so far so good. Been busy so not really thought about lack of food so far. Really looking forward to massive health improvements and less weight. If this works for us I really wish I had known about it a few years ago. Here’s to all our success and thanks Fast Diet Team 🙂
Hi, I have been doing the diet for just over two weeks now, so I’ve had 4 or 5 fast days. Before the diet i was already very carful with what i ate, no carbs after lunch, and mainly low fat foods. The reason i did this diet is because i love to cook and eat food and would love to be able to eat the foods i enjoy most, so i have done this on feed days. So, my calorie intake on feed days has gone up quite a bit as i’m not limiting myself, but have stuck to the fast day rules religiously. So far i have put on 4lb in the time i have been doing this diet, which is quite a lot seen as i used to weigh around 9st 9lb, but this morning i was 9st 13.5lb. Can you give me some advice? I thought the research showed that you could eat as you wish on feed days? But perhaps its not the case with everyone? I guess maybe it’s all relative? Perhaps its only effective if you already previously had a high calorie intake? I would appreciate any help, thanks!
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