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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.

Can you rephrase your question, tiredfeet, I'm not sure i understood it fully myself?

TiredFeet Sun 05-May-13 19:13:17

hmmm mimi rather missed the point of my question. its obviously not advised for anorexics, but I do think its a risk for anyone to try fasting like this if they are feeling at all vulnerable.

BsshBossh Thu 02-May-13 22:14:44

Thanks for coming on Mimi. Enjoy your cake! I'm fasting today but have a nice slab of cake planned for tomorrow :-)

BigEmma Thu 02-May-13 22:07:08

Thanks so much for a fab chat Mimi and for a great book. Natalie won Masterchef!

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 22:07:03

I've loved this - thanks for your questions everybody (especially the woman with the hungry dog). I'll definitely be back to pick up the thread of our conversations. Good luck to everyone embarking on the Fast Diet. Now I'm off to eat butterscotch cake...

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 22:04:56

akarucker

*Mimi*, I hear people talk about head hunger vs real hunger. I have to say, although I stick with them, I'm pretty sure I'm feeling 'real' hunger during a fast! Are they talking about the non fast days perhaps? How do you really understand if you're hungry?

That's such a great question. Hunger is fascinating. There's a huge psychological component of hunger - we're all so afraid of feeling hungry at all, and most of us aren't used to the feeling and are really worried by it. I have come to quite like the feeling - it passes, it's short-lived, I know I won't keel over. I think we do suffer from 'head hunger' brought about by simple things like the clock ('oh, 1pm, must be lunch time) and habit (home from work? I'll have a biscuit). It's really worth nailing these signs of habit hunger, and know that you can overcome them.

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 22:00:17

Abitstressed

Just another quick question, I have found real problems with sleeping when following a low carb diet, have you found insomnia to be a problem when doing the fast days? and if so, how do you overcome it? thanks!

Some people on our website www.thefastdiet.co.uk have mentioned problems with sleeping. I don't have a study to back this up, but I wonder whether it's about metabolic changes that come up as a result of short-term fasting. MM suggests a banana before bedtime, in case it is hunger that's keeping you awake (though it shouldn't be if you have a had a decent supper).
Anyone knows who's won Masterchef??

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:57:13

Salbertina

I did 5:2 religiously for months last year and it came fairly easily to me. Since then due to lots of domestic upheaval, I've fallen spectacularly off the wagon and find myself regularly tucking into crisps, choc etc when a few months ago i wasn't even wanting bread!

How do i overcome these carb-cravings and get back on the 5:2 in a sustainable way? Going cold turkey? My dh is rather partial to all things sweet so often mousse/cake etc in fridge, doesn't help either. Any advice, please? Thanks!

You can have it tomorrow. Mañana mañana my friend! I would clear out the carb treats for a fortnight - I think that's long enough to 'retrain' your palette so that you'll start to enjoy other things; replace carbs with fruit n veg - in a while you'll start to want them instead of mousse and cakes

akarucker Thu 02-May-13 21:56:37

Mimi, I hear people talk about head hunger vs real hunger. I have to say, although I stick with them, I'm pretty sure I'm feeling 'real' hunger during a fast! Are they talking about the non fast days perhaps? How do you really understand if you're hungry?

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:54:29

Monturani

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?

I have a gorgeous dog - half spaniel, half labrador (Diggory) and he has a HUGE appetite. But that's fine - dogs will be dogs! Make sure he gets lots of walks - glad you love the diet, but your dog won't thank you for skipping his meals!

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.

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.

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

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

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?

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!)

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 21:45:22

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!

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 21:43:11

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

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 21:39:11

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

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 21:36:16

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

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

Thanks smile

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!

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