I promised, after I had completed six-weeks of the Fast Diet, I would post a full and frank review.
I found myself asking all sorts of questions, so indulge me why I interview myself.
How long did you try the Fast Diet for? Did you stick with it?
I started the fast diet just after new year and ran with it for a total of six weeks.
To my surprise I stuck with it, finding 2 days in each week (usually Monday and Thursday) to eat 600 calories.
I overate slightly on one of those fast days but only by 50 or 60 calories.
How did you eat on Fast Days?
I can’t live without a coffee first thing (finding I get a headache when I fail to start the day with caffeine, which is a different addiction!) so I always had one coffee in the morning with either porridge or scrambled eggs and ham.
I then stuck to just water during the day and saved myself for a largest evening meal. This was usually chicken breast or smoked fish, with plenty of green vegetables or salad. There was usually room for a 2nd coffee.
Did you find yourself hungry on Fast Days?
I was hungry more on the second fast day than first.
I had put this down to eating more at weekends but on my last Fast day I found it easier than ones that had gone before. I found myself hungry earlier in the day but I made sure I was armed with a bottle of water.
I also, when the weather allowed, went walking on my (non) lunch half hour.
Did you eat sensibly on non-fast days?
For a couple of the weeks yes. Unfortunately I found myself consuming more than I am used to on other weeks. This is not because of any cravings but what I call the January effect. It’s cold, it’s dark and it’s difficult to find the motivation.
I have eaten fewer calories daily for a long time on my weight loss journey (to lose 130lbs you have to!), so on the weeks I stuck with my reduced calorie intake I lost more weight than the weekends that I indulged and didn’t calorie count during the week.
But I possibly would have lost weight anyway by calorie counting only.
Did you exercise?
I walked most days Monday to Friday.
I do this anyway, trying to get at least 30 minutes of walking a day. Best weight loss happened on the weeks with the most dry days.
The big question. Did you lose weight?
Yes. I estimate about 5lbs.
I say estimate because I didn’t weigh in before I started and it had been a very indulgent new year.
But lets put this in context, by adhering strictly to my calorie counting before christmas, I lost 6lbs in four weeks.
However, I did eat excessively over weekends and even during the week, (on the non fast days), and probably put on less weight than expected if I hadn’t been sticking to some diet or other.
So, any other benefits?
I know one of the reasons I became overweight was eating when I wasn’t hungry. Its something I still fight against.
What fasting has taught me is that hunger is not really hunger, just thirst or boredom.
It’s also proved to be that hunger doesn’t grow exponentially but comes in waves, often passing completely for a period of time.
It’s also made me appreciate, more than ever, the benefits of water and the amount I drank on fast days went up significantly.
As for other benefits to health, without a control group, an extensive amount of time and access to doctors I wouldn’t know.
Would you recommend the Fast Diet?
If you have been losing weight for a while, probably not.
If you have just realised you are no long the svelte athlete you once were, this will work, quickly, effectively and make a difference, I believe.
If you are more interested in the other possible long-term benefits; then yes you have nothing to lose.
And in summary?
The fast diet, like every other diet, isn’t a magic bullet, an answer to all your obesity woes.
What is does offer is a fairly sensible way to lose weight. Eat sensibly 5 days a week and fast on other days. There are no excluded foods or excessive calorie counting, no complicated rules or regulations.
It is very usable. Once I reach my weight goal I may consider using it as a “6:1 diet” and Fast on one day a week to maintain my weight and hopefully reap some of the other medical benefits.
For now, if you are looking to lose a significant amount of weight, I would stick with the simple mantra:
“Calories Out should be greater than calories in”