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Live webchat with Mimi Spencer, author of bestselling The Fast Diet Recipe Book, Thursday 2 May 9-10pm

(85 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 30-Apr-13 17:39:44

Mimi Spencer is joining us on Thursday at 9pm to chat about her latest book The Fast Diet Recipe book. The book, which has shot straight to number one on Amazon, has 150 calorie controlled meals for all 5:2ers to enjoy on their fasting days.

Mimi has been writing about food and diet for over 20 years as a columnist for Observer Food Monthly and on Waitrose Food Illustrated. She co-wrote The Fast Diet with Michael Mosley who joined us in Jan for a webchat. Whilst Michael explains the science behind the diet, Mimi explains the practicalities of how to go about it. As she says: 'I am a mother and a wife and a cook like you, wheeling my trolley around the supermarket, desperate for inspiration about what to cook tonight. This book's as much a function of personal experience as professional know-how'.

Join Mimi on Thursday at 9pm. If you can't make the live chat, post a question to Mimi in advance here.

Short Books have offered mumsnetters the chance to buy The Fast Diet Recipe book for just £10 incl P&P: Call 01206 255777, and quote the code: FASTMAY13. This will be available to the end of May.

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:18:06

Kittykat28

I have just started the 5:2 on Monday and have fasted on Monday and Wednesday. Went out today for lunch with friends and couldn't finish it and didn't feel hungry again all day, is that the stomach shrinking already?

I absolutely think that your appetite and your palate changes after a few weeks on the diet. things that were once completely tempting can lose their appeal. i used to love stooge - dough, pies, cakes. But these days I can take them or leave them. It's a question of mindfulness I think, awareness - you're more tuned into your appetite, hunger. It's psychological as much as physiological. I also think that if you've managed to lose some weight, you're rather proud and don't want to lose the momentum - it's just easier to say no!

BsshBossh Thu 02-May-13 21:18:21

Thanks Mimi. So do you, generally, eat throughout your fast day or do you save your calories for a single meal?

HamletsSister Thu 02-May-13 21:18:39

What about my question? I posted really early and nothing......

ShelaghW Thu 02-May-13 21:20:01

Hi Mimi
My husband and I started this diet together, he is still on it after 7 weeks and lost 9 lbs! I didn't cope well, I just kept overeating on non fast days! What would u suggest please?
Shelagh

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 02-May-13 21:20:04

HamletsSister

What about my question? I posted really early and nothing......

Don't worry Hamlets - will make sure Mimi sees it.

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:21:49

TiredFeet

2 friends I know have independently expressed concerns about this diet, as doing something very similar was exactly how their anorexia was triggered. Admittedly there were other factors involved in both instances, but they are very concerned about the risk that diets like this can contribute towards the development of eating disorders.

It's really important to say that this is not something that should be undertaken by anyone with an eating disorder. it's stated clearly in the book (along with caveats about type 1 diabetics, pregnant women, anyone under 18). That said, the fasting recommended on the diet is occasional, short-lived and not total; there are still calories going in. Anorexia, as you say, is a function of complex issues. Do remember that fasting has been practised for millennia across all the world's major religions. Stay safe, be careful, stay flexible. If it's not working for you, stop

Salbertina Thu 02-May-13 21:21:50

Yep me too please!
Sustainability after lapsing plus
avoiding non-fast day binge

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:24:24

BsshBossh

Thanks Mimi. So do you, generally, eat throughout your fast day or do you save your calories for a single meal?

I don't eat throughout the day as the idea is to aim for as long a fasting window as poss. If you can't make it through 12 hours without food, snacking is OK as long as you stick to the 'right' snacks (try almonds, strawberries, cherry toms). Otherwise, i simply have a good breakfast (with protein!) and then a big load of veggies and some protein (grilled fish/chicken) at around 7pm. tThere are tons of good ideas that tick these boxes in the Recipe Book - I've really worked to come up with interesting takes on the theme. Soup is great too!

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:28:26

HamletsSister

I have been doing the diet for about 3 months with a break for 2 weeks of holiday only. I do 2 non consecutive days a week, breakfast (porridge) and supper (mostly vegetables) all at under or around 500 calories. No snacks or lunch. For the other days I eat normally. Today, a non fast day, I had porridge, a baked potato beans and sweet corn for lunch, a small bowl of chicken casserole and rice, salad and 2 pieces of toast for supper. (About 2000 calories)

However, I have maintained my weight but lost nothing. I don't really drink and live on fizzy water and herbal tea. So it is not my drinking.

Why aren't I losing anything? I also run 2-3 times a week (about 5k) and am 44, 5ft 10 and 13 stone. I just want to lose a stone.

Help!

Hello HamletsSister! I think you need to take a medium term view of the diet. I understand that some people plateau and can get really disheartened. I see that you've looked at your exercise and your drink intake, and that all seems to be fine. I would try to introduce some protein at breakfast rather than just porridge. V imp! Baked potato and sweetcorn are highGI foods,so try to adapt to low GI 9lots of ideas in the book). Toast not great either - avoid those carbs! Good luck HamletsSister

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:30:59

ShowMeTheYoni

I am the same as bumpotato (never thought I would type that grin). I have done this for a few months and feel great BUT still have maybe half a stone to lose. I have upped exercise a lot and keep calls to 1500-2000 max a day, walk everywhere. Seems like I am doing all the right things but have hit a huge plateux. How do I kick start it? Stop for week or two? I am eating healthy too and track it all on MFP. Thanks!

Yes, people do plateau, but I would say Stick With It! And do make sure you eat protein on a fast day. I wouldn't stop - but do check your exercise and what you're drinking - steer clear of juices, milky coffees etc

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:33:07

Saker

I tried a 5:2 regime for a few weeks earlier this year, although I admit I haven't read the book, just basing it on what I have heard. It was okay for the first 4 or 5 times of fasting but after that every fasting day got harder and harder and I thought more and more about food throughout it, especially in the evening. I also then felt hungrier the following day and started really dreading the fast days. Is that something I'm not doing right? Or purely psychological ?

OOh, please don't dread a fast Day - that will make everything doubly difficult. Take it in your stride. Hunger passes, and your next meal really is never far away - and tomorrow you're back to normal eating. I do think there's a huge psychological component to this: try exercise, maybe yoga/meditation - or staying busy on a fast day to take your mind of it. Don't make it a mountain to climb. Good luck!

ShowMeTheYoni Thu 02-May-13 21:34:59

Thanks smile

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:36:16

Dotty342kids

*mamma*, yes, broadly, like any healthy way of eating, its basic concept is less cals taken in v expended. However, what is making this more of a lifestyle than just a diet is that all the early research (indeed, what led to the whole 5:2 phenomenon in the first place) is that regular fasting seems to lead to a whole load of health benefits and a reduction in the nasty health conditions associated with getting older. So, hopefully resulting in a longer, healthier life. The Horizon programme which introduced so many of us to this explains it far better than I do but hopefully Mimi can also explain more smile

Thank you Dotty - you're quite right. The Fast Diet came about because MM was keen on finding out how to extend his chances of living longer - the research suggests that there are clear health benefits to be had from intermittent fasting - from guarding against cardio-vascular disease, stroke and certain cancers to improving brain power (yes, really!). One of the reasons that it has proved so popular is that it's a long-term plan for a longer life - it's absolutely not just about weight loss

Saker Thu 02-May-13 21:36:18

Ok, thank you, I exercise regularly anyway, but reading other replies, I'm thinking I need to eat more protein also. I will give it another try.

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:39:11

mammamic

hmm I may be missing something here but surely the reason everyone is losing weight on this diet is because you're eating 30% less per week...

Is that too simple confused

BTW, yes, if you eat fewer calories you will lose weight, basic law of thermogenics. The very basic premise of the Fast Diet is that you slash calories twice a week and therefore have a calorie deficit at the end of each week. That bit is not rocket science. What's interesting are the metabolic effects of occasional fasting. The anti-ageing health benefits - that's where the power really lies

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:40:38

charliepop

Apart from a couple of lapses for Christmas and holidays, I've been doing 5:2 for about 6 months now - and have found a lot of positive benefits alongside the weight loss. However (TMI alert) my menstrual cycle went from a very regular 30 days to 26 days very quickly after starting this WOE and has continued with these shorter cycles - I think something different is going on hormonally, with extended PMT etc - is this something other women have experienced? And does this have any implications we should be considering?

I'm not expert on the hormonal issues you talk about here - best ask your doctor. What I would say is that we await further studies on a number of areas, and the menstrual cycle is certainly one of them. If you are worried, do please see your GP

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:43:11

ShelaghW

Hi Mimi
My husband and I started this diet together, he is still on it after 7 weeks and lost 9 lbs! I didn't cope well, I just kept overeating on non fast days! What would u suggest please?
Shelagh

I'm afraid you've probably hit the nail on the head - overeating on non-fast days. I am interested to know how men and women respond to the Fast Diet - I suspect we respond rather differently, but the human studies simply haven't yet been done. I suggest you stick with it and eat normally and naturally on a non-fast day without bingeing - don't feel deprived, but do feel in control

Worcestercat Thu 02-May-13 21:44:38

Which is the best day/time to weigh yourself.
I fast on a Tuesday and a Thursday. However, I find I am lighter earlier on in the week rather than a Thursday evening before I eat... Is this normal?
It makes me think I am doing something's wrong. I literally weighed in like this
Original weight: 12st 4
Tuesday of week 2 : 12st 1
Thursday of week 2: 12st 4
Tuesday week 2: 11st 13
Thursday week 2: 12st 2

What is that about?!

Thank you.

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:45:22

Dotty342kids

I've been doing this since Feb too. Need to lose a good 1-1.5 stone and lost first 4-5lbs easily and quickly. Then hit a stall for the next few weeks and have only just seen some movement on the scales again this week. It can be quite disheartening but keep with it, I don't know about the rest of you but I feel great on this WOE! Full of energy and just really positive.
Yes, I've had some spectacular lapses and falls off the wagon but the blessing with this is that you just think "oh well, I'll do a fast tomorrow / the next day instead". There's much less of that sense of having "failed" that you get with other diets.
Mimi I really enjoy planning new things to eat on my fast days, it's definitely make me try some new stuff and it's good fun to try to find tasty recipes under 500 cals each week. I now have a store of good basics to fall back on when I'm feeling lazy.
Do you find that there are certain foods you rely on / avoid like the plague? I now eat far more lentils / chickpeas and far less carbs!

Yep, love those lentils - there's a fab recipe in the book for Puy lentils with feta and sun dried toms, a real stalwart for me in the summer. Do you have any good chickpea recipes? Love those little guys!

Monturani Thu 02-May-13 21:46:27

I love the Fast Diet. It really works. Does it work for dogs? I have two and one of them has become rather large. Would it be ok to put her on a Fast Diet - say once a week?

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:47:25

Worcestercat

Which is the best day/time to weigh yourself.
I fast on a Tuesday and a Thursday. However, I find I am lighter earlier on in the week rather than a Thursday evening before I eat... Is this normal?
It makes me think I am doing something's wrong. I literally weighed in like this
Original weight: 12st 4
Tuesday of week 2 : 12st 1
Thursday of week 2: 12st 4
Tuesday week 2: 11st 13
Thursday week 2: 12st 2

What is that about?!

Thank you.

I always weigh myself on the morning after a fast day. Don't be disheartened! You may well go up and down a bit. Think medium term - do at least two months and don't get obsessed with those scales (remember muscle weighs more than fat!)

Saker Thu 02-May-13 21:48:59

This is my second question so I will understand if you don't answer; I just looked for your book on Amazon and was amazed at how many other diet books published this year are around under the same principle. Are you resentful about how many other people are jumping on the publishing bandwagon?

Worcestercat Thu 02-May-13 21:49:00

Thank you for your reply. Will try weighing tomorrow morning- good plan. X

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:50:58

MelanieCheeks

Hi mimi, you were already a healthy bmi when you started this approach. How did you set your own target, what's your opinion of bmi?

The BMI measure is only general and doesn't take account of body specifics (ethnicity, age etc), so I treat it with studied caution. It is however one of the very few tools we have to discover whether we are a 'healthy' weight or not. I don't think I set a BMI target for myself - I was far more interested in how I felt and how I looked in my jeans! My BMI is now around 20, and I do want to keep it in that zone.

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:52:39

Saker

This is my second question so I will understand if you don't answer; I just looked for your book on Amazon and was amazed at how many other diet books published this year are around under the same principle. Are you resentful about how many other people are jumping on the publishing bandwagon?

As Karl Lagerfeld would say, it is the sincerest form of flattery! We're not resentful at all. As MM says, he didn't 'invent' intermittent fasting - he has simply synthesised the available research and came up with a method that is workable for many people.

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