And a really warm welcome to the Fast Diet website. This first week of January is, of course, prime time for embarking on a get-fit-lose-fat programme – and lots of people (across the world) are about to fast for the first time. So what do you need to know? You’ll have gathered the basics from the book – but my year of intermittent fasting has taught me a few more subtle things that might help anyone trying the plan for the first time.
First, be kind to yourself. For me, the main psychological advantage of the Fast Diet – and the key that differentiates it from conventional diet plans – is that it is never about admonishment. It shouldn’t feel like an unending slog, or a continual nagging in the gut that says you should be eating less, doing more. It will work best if you allow yourself to be human, slip up, make mistakes – always knowing that tomorrow is another day. Flexibility is built in: choose your Fast Days, adapt the diet to suit your diary, stop if it doesn’t feel right, start again when it does – thinking of it as a broad, on-going lifestyle change, not a daily drudge.
Second, do (however) stick to your targets and exercise willpower. On the days which you have designated as Fast Days, do try to be a bit tougher on yourself. Hunger is a canny beast, and you will certainly encounter it if you’re only eating a quarter of your usual calorie intake on any given day. So, use your mind to master your appetite. Keep busy. Stay engaged. Share your day with a Fast Buddy (or this forum). Try hard to stick to the calorie quota, but don’t dwell on it too much. Demote eating on those particular days and find something else to occupy your mind.
Third, know that fasting (like anything at all) gets easier as it becomes a habit. Week four will be easier than week one. Week six will almost certainly be easier still, particularly if you’re seeing a shift on the scales. Plenty of people report that they come to enjoy their Fast Days. OK, so that may sound like baloney if you’re only just setting off on this journey, but there’s something galvanising and strengthening about understanding your appetite, embracing the odd period of hunger, eating well, with thought and application rather than simply shovelling in whatever comes to hand.
So, stay committed, stay light, stay strong. After all, it’s not for long. And do let us know how you get on. Mimi x