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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.

Whatalotofpiffle Wed 01-May-13 16:57:52

Love the book and the diet! Excited!

HamletsSister Wed 01-May-13 20:35:57

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!

Salbertina Thu 02-May-13 07:29:21

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!

BumPotato Thu 02-May-13 10:32:11

I have lost a little under 10 lbs since starting 5:2 in February. I'm pleased about this but my weight has more or less maintained for the last 2 months.

I usually do my fast days on a Monday and Wednesday. I find that I'm down a couple of pounds on Thursday having done 2 fasts but back up to where I started again on Monday after the weekend.

I don't overeat on my eating days, but do indulge in red wine, which I count. I'll usually have 1500 - 2000 calories. I record everything each week on an online application and my deficit from TDEE is always between 3000-4000 calories a week.

This is the most sustainable regime I've ever done (and I've done all of them except anything involving special shakes or snack bars) is there anything else I should be doing to kickstart my loss? I have at least 3 stone to lose to get me into a the healthy BMI range.

EmpressOfThe7OceansLovesMN Thu 02-May-13 10:57:29

I hadn't heard of the 5:2 diet before coming across it on MN. Do people find they have less energy on the fasting days? And isn't it hard if you're cooking a normal evening meal for everyone else (if you cook) and you're really hungry but have to stick to something low-calorie?

ShowMeTheYoni Thu 02-May-13 13:20:02

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!

PleaseDontEatMyShoe Thu 02-May-13 14:05:26

How late in the day do you leave it before eating please Mimi? I've found I have a much less hungry day if I can wait till after 16.00 before I eat anything-any earlier, and I just seem to be starving! Is this normal/your experience, please?

Dotty342kids Thu 02-May-13 14:23:19

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!

Mimi what's your view on zero-calorie fast days? There are a few of us on here doing them, I do one a week and on the other fast day I eat up to 500 cals. For me, I was losing/regaining the same few hundred grams until I started fasting like this about four weeks ago, despite loads of exercise and a weekly deficit usually in excess of 5000. I've now lost 17lbs in ten weeks smile

Spindlewood Thu 02-May-13 16:40:31

Is it okay to do 3 fast days a week if you want to get a better start as I know my motivation to diet or my resolve is better when I get some significant results? Thank you.

roselover Thu 02-May-13 16:55:35

I dieted before I became pregnant - and it was really easy as I had a mission - to get fit for IVF - but now (gloriously) I have 3 year old twins - and to be honest I barely had the chance to go to the loo or brush my teeth for their first 18 months....plus I lived on toast and cold tea ....I am a thin person desperate to get out..I was once the queen of Ibiza....but now I just hope that people think I am pregnant and thats why I am fat!!!! I am too happy to diet....is that it? would love that body back....I am 50 years old......please help - where do I start

mammamic Thu 02-May-13 17:17:49

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

Dotty342kids Thu 02-May-13 17:47:56

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

catsrus Thu 02-May-13 17:54:19

no mammamic it is simple grin ultimately that's how all diets work! but the key to it IMO is that it is more sustainable for many people than the classic "calorie restricted every day" diet. You only need to be very self controlled a couple of times a week, you can go out for meals and even overindulge at times so long as you build in an appropriate number of fast days. Additionally there appear to be some very nice health benefits from allowing your body this recovery time. It goes into repair mode rather than build mode. That was the original motivation for Dr Mosely - in many ways the weight loss was a side effect.

I've lost 32lbs on it and am now just using fasting to maintain my new weight of 9st 2lb and to get the other health benefits, not to lose any more. I've been in maintenance mode for a couple of months now.

Unable to make the web chat I'm afraid, but definitely a big fan of this way of eating.

Willemdefoeismine Thu 02-May-13 18:28:30

Hi Mimi

I am shame-faced to say that I have been contemplating this diet for a while now, recommended it to a friend, but as yet haven't taken up the challenge myself. I find, and I know it's an excuse, that with a family around I am not at all disciplined with eating and think I'd find the 'fast' days nigh on impossible - and they are all very, very slim with no excess fat so I don't need to be giving them low-calorie meals! Help!

Also, sorry this is greedy, but this second question is really for my friend (the one who signed up to the cause on my recommendation). She has found (and she's peri-menopausal and really having quite a hard time with it) that the very low calorie 'fasting' days make her feel: "very thirsty, (obvious one), head felt quite numb, cold from deep within! The other obvious things were slight light headedness". Is that likely to be related to the diet?

Many thanks, Mimi!

TiredFeet Thu 02-May-13 19:05:09

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.

TwoKidsAndNoTime Thu 02-May-13 19:10:18

I've been doing the diet for 3 months but am finding I want to eat loads more biscuits and sweets on the non-fast days than before I was on the diet and as a result I've gained weight! So I'm thinking of giving up. Any tips?

Salbertina Thu 02-May-13 19:24:09

To follow on from last 2 posters, i also have my concerns. Never before binged but i feel i do on this on nonfast days sometimes. Feels out of control tho realise up to me to exercise restraint but i feel my body goes haywire!

charliepop Thu 02-May-13 19:50:28

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?

Miffytastic Thu 02-May-13 20:15:48

Charliepop -will DM

Mimi I second the Q about the feeling weird/light headed.
My Q: What are your views on 12hrs vs 16 vs 24? I am reluctant to forgo my morning cuppa with milk but I wonder if that's contributing to my stalled weight loss.

Merguez Thu 02-May-13 20:16:43

How can I persuade DH to do this diet? He is 52 and about a stone overweight (5' 8, 13 stone). Problem is he travels abroad a lot for business and has to socialise in restaurants a lot. Also isn't really a fan of self-denial - said he didn't want to try the diet when it was cold. Basically just makes excuses.

BsshBossh Thu 02-May-13 20:25:01

Mimi what's your current fasting maintenance regime (am interested because I've just reached goal weight and am now experimenting with continuing to fast - for health - whilst not being bothered about losing more weight)?

diamante73 Thu 02-May-13 20:36:30

Mimi,what do you find are.the best foods to eat on your restricted days. Do we avoid all carbs and have more fruit and veg at mealtimes or do we just eat a normal meal that doesnt exceed the five hundred calories?

Abitstressed Thu 02-May-13 20:49:03

How do you stay motivated, during the day, to do this fast?

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 02-May-13 20:51:06

Mimi's raring to go, so she's going make a start a wee bit early and hopefully therefore get through all the questions so we'll be off in a very short jiffy.

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 20:51:59

Hi - I'm here a bit early, so thought I'd get going now. Hello everyone, thanks for joining me - my first web chat! Very exciting

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 02-May-13 20:52:04

It's almost time to chat with Mimi. If you haven't already seen, Mimi has kindly allowed us to reproduce some of the recipes from The Fast Diet Recipe book. For inspiration see delicious recipes all sub-500 cals.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 02-May-13 20:52:32

MimiSpencer

Hi - I'm here a bit early, so thought I'd get going now. Hello everyone, thanks for joining me - my first web chat! Very exciting

OOh, beat me to it. Welcome to Mumsnet Mimi.

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 20:55:09

EmpressOfThe7OceansLovesMN

I hadn't heard of the 5:2 diet before coming across it on MN. Do people find they have less energy on the fasting days? And isn't it hard if you're cooking a normal evening meal for everyone else (if you cook) and you're really hungry but have to stick to something low-calorie?

Hi Empress - you shouldn't have less energy on a Fast Day, and in fact plenty of people report that they feel MORE energetic not less. Trials done with people who exercise in a fasted state have shown that they have greater endurance - interesting...
As far as cooking for the family goes, plenty of the recipes in the book can be modified by adding extra carbs to allow you all to eat together. Anyone fasting simply avoids the bread/potatoes/pasta - and remember it's only for two days a week

izzysmummy Thu 02-May-13 20:57:17

Just wondered I know there's a bit of science behind it, have tried similar but get the light headed thing too much and as have such a busy job, mentally and physically find anything on so few calories hard. But also wondered has this kind of diet only been proven long term on mice/rats so far? Do we really know the long term effects on humans?

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 20:57:17

Abitstressed

How do you stay motivated, during the day, to do this fast?

One really good way of staying motivated is to keep busy - a day with lots in it means that the time between eating disappears fast. I think having a fasting buddy helps too - text your friends, see how they're doing. And maybe keep a food diary (and a weight loss diary) - all great ways to stay focused

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 20:59:15

diamante73

Mimi,what do you find are.the best foods to eat on your restricted days. Do we avoid all carbs and have more fruit and veg at mealtimes or do we just eat a normal meal that doesnt exceed the five hundred calories?

On a Fast Day, the mantra is Mostly Plants and Proteins. Avoid white carbs in particular - they spike your blood sugar and are lacking in the kinds of nutrients you need to keep you satiated. Slow-burning carbs like oats can be a good start to the day - porridge with berries is good breakfast. But you must keep your protein intake up as the body does not store protein, so you need to have an adequate quantity on a fast Day

Calypso2 Thu 02-May-13 20:59:51

Who do you think deserves to win Masterchef grin

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:01:47

Miffytastic

Charliepop -will DM

Mimi I second the Q about the feeling weird/light headed.
My Q: What are your views on 12hrs vs 16 vs 24? I am reluctant to forgo my morning cuppa with milk but I wonder if that's contributing to my stalled weight loss.

It's important I think to find a patterns that works for you - and if that means milk in your morning cuppa, then so be it! This shouldn't feel like a major deprivation and you need to be kind to yourself. Do include the milk in your calorie count though.
As far as timing goes, again, a patterns hat suits you is one that you'll stick with. Michael says that you should aim for as long a fasting window as possible - the time between food. that's where your body will derive m oct benefits from fasting.

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

Calypso2

Who do you think deserves to win Masterchef grin

Definitely Natalie! No contest. Adore her. Poor Larkin seems to be having a helluva time, bless him

Hi Mimi.
I've been doing the diet for 4 months, have lost about 20 lb. Following flu a few weeks ago I'm struggling with my energy levels on fast days much more than I did before. Consequently I sometimes can't manage the full day. I know this is bad for my weight loss, which has slowed right down, I still need to lose at least 2 stone as am 5'2 & 11 stone 4. Like Bumpotato said, is there any thing else I can do? I can't do any high impact exercise as I have foot problems, although I do walk a lot.

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:05:47

Merguez

How can I persuade DH to do this diet? He is 52 and about a stone overweight (5' 8, 13 stone). Problem is he travels abroad a lot for business and has to socialise in restaurants a lot. Also isn't really a fan of self-denial - said he didn't want to try the diet when it was cold. Basically just makes excuses.

Funnily enough, men seem to really like the Fast Diet - generally speaking of course. I think they like the fact that it is science based and straightforward. I do think that fasting when the weather is warm will be easier - we haven't really experienced any decent weather since we embarked on this, but I'm guessing that salad and grilled fish will be much more appealing on a long summer's evening.
I would encourage your DH to read the book - knowing that it is ONLY for two days a week. Not much of a sacrifice!

Calypso2 Thu 02-May-13 21:08:23

Another question (if that's allowed). I have been doing the 5:2 since Michael Mosley did the webchat on Mumsnet in the New Year. I had a week off over Easter and took a week to get back but am back there now. I realise now that I was over-eating for my size/bodyweight. Not massively but I think what I eat now is much more suitable for me and I rarely feel bloated/overfull. In terms of losing weight - I certainly lost some the first 4 weeks but it's really stabilised now and I'm finding it difficult to lose the last half a stone to get to my desired weight. Did the weight loss slow down for you? Any suggestions?

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:08:37

TwoKidsAndNoTime

I've been doing the diet for 3 months but am finding I want to eat loads more biscuits and sweets on the non-fast days than before I was on the diet and as a result I've gained weight! So I'm thinking of giving up. Any tips?

I'd clear out the snack cupboard right now - a proper clean sweep, dumping the cookies and sweets, then give it another go. If temptation is too close at hand, it's really hard to resist. On a non-fast day, we suggest eating normally, healthily - not restricting, but not going overboard with treats

Saker Thu 02-May-13 21:08:37

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 ?

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 02-May-13 21:09:56

MimiSpencer

diamante73

Mimi,what do you find are.the best foods to eat on your restricted days. Do we avoid all carbs and have more fruit and veg at mealtimes or do we just eat a normal meal that doesnt exceed the five hundred calories?

On a Fast Day, the mantra is Mostly Plants and Proteins. Avoid white carbs in particular - they spike your blood sugar and are lacking in the kinds of nutrients you need to keep you satiated. Slow-burning carbs like oats can be a good start to the day - porridge with berries is good breakfast. But you must keep your protein intake up as the body does not store protein, so you need to have an adequate quantity on a fast Day

For ideas and inspiration on Fast Days you can always try Mimi's recipe book here (she was too shy to plug it grin)

Calypso2 Thu 02-May-13 21:10:59

Am with you on Natalie. Her pudding in Italy was amazing. Loved her Vesuvius honeycomb grin Larkin;s definitely lost the plot under pressure.

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:11:44

postmanpatscat

Mimi what's your view on zero-calorie fast days? There are a few of us on here doing them, I do one a week and on the other fast day I eat up to 500 cals. For me, I was losing/regaining the same few hundred grams until I started fasting like this about four weeks ago, despite loads of exercise and a weekly deficit usually in excess of 5000. I've now lost 17lbs in ten weeks smile

Brad Pilon has written extensively and fascinatingly about zero-cal fast days - and advocates it as a brilliant weight loss method. The reason Michael developed the Fast Diet to allow 500/600 calls is that this appears to be more approachable and sustainable for most people. If you can manage a full fast, then by all means try (stay hydrated!) Your calorie deficit will of course be greater over the course of a week. But most people do need some calories going in

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?

Kittykat28 Thu 02-May-13 21:12:10

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?

Abitstressed Thu 02-May-13 21:12:52

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!

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:14:50

BsshBossh

Mimi what's your current fasting maintenance regime (am interested because I've just reached goal weight and am now experimenting with continuing to fast - for health - whilst not being bothered about losing more weight)?

I reached my target weight after 3 months on the fast Diet, so now I tend to do a 6:1 pattern, fasting only on Monday - which seems to be the most popular day of the week for many of us. If I have a particularly food-oriented week (Christmas, holidays), I step it back up to 5:2. The diet is actually v flexible - you can modify it according to your weight, your diary, your family life. I'm interested in the long-term health benefits too, which is why I still fast fairly regularly

MimiSpencer Thu 02-May-13 21:15:39

Calypso2

Am with you on Natalie. Her pudding in Italy was amazing. Loved her Vesuvius honeycomb grin Larkin;s definitely lost the plot under pressure.

I know, poor love - when he sliced his finger on the mandolin! yeuch

TwoKidsAndNoTime Thu 02-May-13 21:16:17

Thanks Mimi

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.

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!

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 21:57:13

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

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 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 22:07:03

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...

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

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

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 :-)

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.

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

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