Fast Beach Diet: tips and tricks for fast days

White plate with knife and fork surrounded by vegetablesFast days can seem daunting to the uniniated, but they get easier with practice - promise.

Here are some top ticks and tricks to help get you off to a flying start.

 

Be fastidious about your calorie quota

If you have been on a fasting, or indeed any, diet, for a while, it's human instinct to develop a more blasé approach: you feel you know what's what, so you start to slip and an 'unconscious non-compliance' creeps in. For the next six weeks, don't guestimate, don't cheat. Be particular. On fast days, renew your vows and be resolute about those calorie quotas.

 

Axe the snacks

Remember, your aim is to secure a food-free breathing space for your body. No nibbles, no quibbles. But if you absolutely must have a snack, make it a good one: think berries, an apple, a carrot.

 

Prep your fast day food in advance

... so that you don't go foraging and come across a leftover sausage lurking irresistibly in the fridge.

 

Don't panic when you feel hungry

While hunger pangs can be aggressive and disagreeable, they are more fluid and controllable than you might think. A pang will pass. So... Wait a while. Steer your mind towards something else. Take a walk. Phone a friend. Drink tea. Take a shower. And take heart: it will get easier.

 

Find a Fast Friend

Fast with someone - your partner, your cousin, a friend. That way you get mutual support, camaraderie, joint commitment and shared anecdotes.

 

Toughen up on non-fast days

For six weeks only, you'll need to watch what you eat on non-fast days as well as fast days and exert a degree of dietary restraint. The good news is that even modest changes in the way you eat and think can really make a difference. The idea is to introduce as many healthy habits as possible over the course of your Fast Beach Diet, exercising just a bit more informed caution.

 

Glass of water being poured outsideStay hydrated

Drink plenty of water. Get into the habit of drinking a glass of water before and after fast day meals. And drink water when you feel hungry too - it really does help; the stomach is a simple beast. It will also stop you mistaking thirst for hunger.

 

Cut out alcohol or reduce intake

A recent survey found 85% of consumers don't know how many calories are in a glass of wine, and 63% don't consider wine when counting their calorie intake. Remember, alcohol is stacked with calories and largely devoid of any nutritional benefit.

 

Shift your eating habits

  • Avoid refined carbs - go for low-GI carbs as much as possible: jumbo oats, brown rice, stoneground wholemeal bread)
  • Cook at home when you can, to control the quality and quantity of what you eat
  • Cut back on treats - not for ever, just for a bit
  • Choose unpackaged food - the ratio of plastic to foodstuff is generally a pretty good indication of nutritional value.
  • Cut the 50/50s. According to the Scripps Research Institute in Florida, food with a 50:50 fat:sugar ratio interferes with our mechanisms of self-regulation; there's simply no 'off' switch. So, avoid the 50:50 foods: cheesecake, doughnuts, those moist chocolate fudge cakes that look so fetching in supermarkets...
  • Move towards a Mediterranean diet (big up on fresh veg, fruit and fish – you know the score)
  • Cook to suit the summertime - grill and barbecue, choose raw foods, embrace Japanese food...
  • Implement the Rule of Three-Quarters: fill your plate with veg at the expense of meat and carbs – a 75:25 ratio is ideal
  • Go demi-vegi and make meat a once-a-week treat

 

Watch what you drink

While many of us are aware of the calories loaded on our forks, the ones that lurk in cups and glasses frequently go uncounted.

  • Beware the 'health halo' of smoothies and juices. Commercial smoothies can have a similar sugar content to non-diet fizzy drinks and are loaded with calories.
  • Drop the pop
  • Choose the right coffee. A Starbucks grande whole milk caffé mocha with whipped cream, to take one extreme example, has 396 calories. So, decide right now to ditch the gaudy coffees that have danced into our lives. Try instead, just for these six weeks, to drink your coffee black and sugarless.
  • Sleep well, if you're able to. Remember that, whatever our hormones are doing, poor sleep robs us of the energy required to make the best of a day. This low energy cycle is the enemy of sustainable weight loss, since sugary, salty, starchy snacks are incomparably more enticing when we’re tired. So, commit to going to bed at a reasonable time while on your diet, and try to get a good eight hours in.

 

If you are in reasonable health, short fasts (which will always, don't forget, include the Fast Diet's calorie allowance) should be fine. If you are on medication of any description, please see your doctor first. There are certain groups for whom fasting is not advised. Type 1 diabetics are included in this list along with anyone suffering from an eating disorder. If you are already extremely lean, do not fast. Children should never fast, so this is a plan for over-18s only. Pregnant women should eat according to government guidelines and not limit their daily calorie intake. Similarly, if you have an underlying medical condition, visit your GP as you would before embarking on any weight-loss regime. 

Last updated: almost 2 years ago