Every time I read about a new diet (which is all too often), my eyes glaze over. The idea of eating cabbage soup and farting myself thinner just doesn’t appeal. Nor does quaffing Maple Syrup, eating endless Pineapple, or trying the Toothpaste diet (yes, I promise such a thing exists) or indeed any other repetitive, irresponsible or even downright dangerous regime. We have all been advised endless times that there is no magic pill that will melt the pounds off and make us whiplash thin, so why do we keep searching for one? Laziness I suppose. Lack of self control? Come on scientists… zero calorie Mars Bars would be an excellent project.
Like most people, I have tried a few things – juice fasting, eating only raw food – even the medically supervised regime at the Mayr Clinic in Austria where, if we were lucky, we ate very bland root vegetables and stale bread (amounting to a massive 300 calories per day); quite a lot of the guests at this famous weight loss clinic ate nothing solid at all, thereby giving their digestive systems a well deserved rest. None of these detoxes included eating dinner, so the evenings were very boring and seemingly endless. But, I did lose an impressive amount of blubber – which, before you ask, stayed off for ages. Well, until I picked up my wine glass in earnest again and raided the chocolate cupboard on an all too regular basis. Which is where I find myself now, half a stone overweight and with only one pair of jeans I can squeeze into without my eyes watering.
The only “diet” or “eating lifestyle” that seems to work long term (and I’m only going by the number of my friends who swear by it) is the 5:2. You probably already know, but the idea is to eat normally for five days, then limit yourself to 500 cals (600 for men) for two non-consecutive 24 hour periods a week. This intermittent fasting regime seems to embody all the principles I learned from the various detoxes I have experienced. More importantly, it is a flexible way of keeping your weight at a sensible level. Even if you choose to fast on an irregular basis. I have discovered that the best time of day to start a fast is at 2pm and end it at 1pm the next day. That suits me as I am one of those people who are happy to skip breakfast (I just don’t get peckish until midday). As Joanna Lumley says “why wake up Annie appetite?”
Another big plus is that you can choose exactly when to fast. So, rather than committing to a certain day, I decide once I’ve woken up. For example, some days I just don’t feel hungry, or I know that I am going to be so busy that it will be tricky to find time to sit down to eat. If however I wake up with a rumbling tummy, I know I am almost certainly going to be hungry the entire day. You know the sort of thing, when you can’t stop thinking about food and find yourself gazing wistfully into your fridge!
On your fasting day, try and eat your food really slowly. Chewing each bite as many times as you can gives you time to really appreciate the taste and texture of what you are eating. Sit down to eat and eat mindfully, putting your knife and fork down between each bite. This gives your satiation reflex time to kick in.
This 5:2 diet principle gets the thumbs up from me especially as I can still indulge in my one weakness – a small skinny latte (or two) every morning. I’m currently using Oatley Barista “milk” instead of cow’s milk and it is wonderfully creamy and filling.
Click on the pic to order your copy of the 5:2 diet book