As you may know I’ve been doing Thinking Slimmer for coming up to 2 years now. My behaviour around food has changed massively. I now make the right choices around food (it must be at least 6 months since I’ve had lunch or dinner from McDonalds because I just can’t face it)
I eat smaller portions. If I need to snack I snack on fruit more often than not. If I do eat crappy food I eat very little of it.
I run most mornings.
Because of my Nike Fuelband I know I am active enough in the day. The minimum for a day with no exercise is 2000 fuelpoints. Most days I make it to 3000 points +
…I haven’t changed size in well over a year.
It just doesn’t make sense.
And I am in a great place in my head so I thought it would all change.
But it seems that for some reason I am keeping the weight on – probably with some misguided belief around protection as a result of the events of my childhood. I feel very disconnected from my body.
It’s been really frustrating me because everything else is great but I guess at the end of the day feeling disconnected from your body is not great for weight loss.
It seems that no matter how hard I try to work my way through the mental side of this with all the new skills I have, I’m getting nowhere.
So it’s time for a different approach.
It’s time for me to beat my body.
The first thing I am doing is the Mutu system – an exercise system designed especially for mothers to help tone up that middle area. This will be added to daily runs and a few exercises with club bells.
Next thing I am doing is the very badly named “Fast Diet”
I say it’s badly named because it’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle choice.
The principle is that out of every 7 days in a week you fast for 2. Fasting, according to this book, is to eat less than 600 calories if you are a man and 500 if you are a woman. For the other 5 days you eat normally.
This is generally split between breakfast and dinner – it’s not a snacking through the day thing.
The Fast Diet has amazing health benefits, and a side effect of helping you lose weight. The principles, as I understand them, take us back to the cave man days where we were solely focussed on survival. We would have days where we gorged on a beastie we’d caught and days of fasting while we were hunting. Our bodies are geared up to swap between eating and not eating on a relatively frequent basis.
When we are eating our body takes the nutrients it needs but is mainly focussed on storing the fat and stuff. So by eating all day we are storing all day. When we stop eating our body not only starts working through those stored reserves but also goes into repair mode. The theory is that while we are in a period of ‘famine’ then our body needs to be as strong as it can be to survive so energy is focussed on repair.
The other interesting thing is around insulin and blood sugar. Apparently our bodies are not geared for the high sugar diet we have and the cells get saturated with insulin and develop a lower tolerance, limiting the effectiveness of processing sweet foods and leaving more sugar in our blood. This can lead to diabetes and heart disease.
By fasting we de-saturate those cells so the insulin is as effective as it can be.
They have also found links to improvements in cognitive functions – although they need more research on this to fully validate it.
So as I read all about it, it seemed like a no brainer.
I have heard many great weight loss stories around the 5:2 approach so as part of my “Beat the body” campaign I decided to try this.
On Sunday I had my first fast day (before I read the book!)
Now I was half starved as a child so depriving myself of food feels like a punishment to me and I was very aware of this going into it. I was ready to abort if I genuinely felt it was triggering me in the wrong way.
I found Sunday really hard. I normally don’t eat much on a Sunday but I do usually have a small amount of porridge for breakfast. Because I hadn’t read the book I was going with the 500 calories through the day approach and thought I would stick to liquids (latte’s etc) for my 500 cals. This was a mistake
Mid morning I was corrected by a friend on Twitter and I had a banana. All I could do all day was obsess over food. My stomach rumbled and I felt shaky.
I didn’t think this approach was for me. I decided I would do it as a dinner to dinner thing. So eat nothing after dinner at around 8pm until the next day’s dinner time at 8pm.
I was glad when I got to the end of the day and had completed it, but resolved that it wasn’t for me
The day after I felt better in myself.
So whilst I initially thought it wasn’t for me I figured I’d give it another try. I knew I was in a meeting all day in London on Wednesday so I would be busy enough to be distracted. I also bought the book.
I read the book and was totally convinced this was the right thing to do. Meanwhile I heard from loads of people who were doing it very successfully and had lost loads of weight.
So yesterday I did it again. It was easier. The book says the first couple of days you do it are the hardest.
This morning I got on the scales out of curiosity. I have lost somewhere between 4-5lbs in the last week (I don’t really do scales!) I also am watching my body fat% because I expect that to change too.
The great thing about doing this with Thinking Slimmer is that you don’t go wild on the 5 non-fast days (although I don’t think it would matter if you did!) I eat normally and healthily for 5 days and fast for 2.
So here are my tips for the diet
- Read the book. It won’t take long and it helps to understand what you’re trying to achieve
- Accept that the first 2 days are the hardest. If you can get through them then the rest will be relatively easy
- It is not 500 calories of snacking – it is breakfast and dinner. So plan breakfast and make sure you have a couple of hundred calories (couple of boiled eggs are good). Nuts are good too because they are filling. Fish and as much salad as you can manage are good for dinner. This is not about starving – it’s about fasting
- I find dinner to dinner works well for me and doesn’t disrupt any social activity I have planned. It’s still 24 hours so you are giving your body a chance to do its thing.
- Do it on a day where you are busy. Don’t take the quietest days of the week. You don’t want to be like I was on Sunday and obsessing over food all day
- Chill on the other 5 days and if you are worried about it try something like Thinking Slimmer.
That’s it really. I will continue to keep you posted on my progress.