As I sit here eating my melted cheese and tomato baguette with a lovely cup of tea and look forward to a Chinese takeaway for dinner tonight, you wouldn’t think I was on a diet. But I am. I can’t eat like this all week but I don’t mind putting in some hard work ‘fasting’ for a couple of days when I can eat like I normally would for the rest of the week.
I’m trying the popular intermittent fasting diet or 5:2, where 5 days a week you can eat as you normally would but on 2 days you have to stick to eating (and drinking) no more than 500 calories for a woman and 600 calories for a man. This is a quarter of the recommended daily calorie consumption.
Now I’m not a fan of diets, I’ve never seriously dieted in the past and I’m not overweight. I’m 5ft 6ins and 9 and a half stone and consider myself a fairly healthy eater and I try to exercise regularly. However this diet (or as I like to think of it lifestyle change) caught my eye for a few reasons. Firstly to lose some weight, although I’m ok with my size, I’m still carrying some extra baby weight (even though my son’s now 2 and a half) and I’m getting married in June and would love to drop a few pounds for the big day.
Secondly and more importantly I’m interested in this diet/lifestyle change, for health reasons. Intermittent fasting also claims to help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Two diseases which have been prominent in my family, I lost my Father to Myeloma, a type of cancer when he was only 59 and my mother to heart disease at the age of 65. Having lost both my parents by the time I was 25 I would love to be around as long as possible for my son and anything that could help me achieve this is worth a try!
To help me learn more about intermittent fasting I got the book The Fast Diet by Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer as I’d seen a BBC programme with Dr. Mosley investigating fasting and trialling this way of eating with notable results. The book explains in detail the scientific evidence to support the claims of the diet and why it could be really beneficial.
Helpfully, the book also includes some suggested meals and recipes and tips to manage the fasting days and hunger.
I’ve been trying intermittent fasting for about four weeks now and to be honest it was really hard to start with. I found I was pretty fed up on the fasting days and constantly thinking about food! A few weeks down the line and it has got easier, the biggest change for me has been cutting down on cups of tea and coffee. I like to have a few in a morning and can’t drink it without a spoonful of sugar and these calories were really mounting up! So on my fasting days I’ve cut out the tea and coffee and switched to calorie free hot water and lemon or herbal teas.
Another aspect I’ve struggled with is my son’s leftovers! I usually pick at anything he leaves as I don’t like seeing it go to waste but now I leave it for daddy to eat or depending on what it is, let the dogs have a treat!
It is a lifestyle change that is easy to fit into your life and your family, but it does take will power and some forward planning. I find that if I’ve planned exactly what I’m going to eat throughout the day I’m less likely to get tempted.
As far as physical changes go I have lost 2 pounds already, it doesn’t sound a lot, but I’ve been trying (and failing) to lose any weight since last summer, despite going to the gym more frequently and trying to eat healthier in general. I think the weight loss would be greater if I was heavier to start with.
Strangely, I also find that on my fasting days I seem to have more energy in the evening, which is very unlike me! I’m a morning person and would happily go to bed at 9pm each evening!
It is something I am planning to continue with as I can fit it into my life and not feel like I’m missing out! If I have a meal out or going to a party I just don’t fast on those days. Although at the start the fasting days were a struggle I’m now fairly used to eating much less safe in the knowledge that the next day I can eat whatever I like!
If you are interested in the diet check out the book available at book shops and on Amazon.
By Jill Westhead, morethanmummies.com
If you are trying intermittent fasting or have tried it in the past please tell us your thoughts or advice in the comments below.
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