1,721 of 1,809 people found the following review helpful
The best diet since sliced bread!
, 21 Jan. 2013
This review is from: The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting - Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer (Paperback)
The best review on here is that of Mike C from 31/12/12. So good, in fact, that I haven't bothered to buy the book! Why? Well, I saw the original Horizon, back in August, so I know the how & why of the diet; I'm a perfectly competent cook, so I don't need the recipes; the rest of it is padding to me as much as it is to Mike. Why am I here, then? Well, just in case you need any further persuasion to invest in this, I thought I'd add my two penn'orth, plus I'd like to mention a a few points that I think are particularly worth considering.
I experimented with the diet after the programme was shown, then had a very dissolute December, knowing full well that I was going to go at it full tilt in the New Year. I started on the 2nd, 19 days later, I've dropped 10 lbs with no problems, no loss of energy (I play squash vigorously, and 5-a-side when I can get a game), and no trouble sticking with the plan. So, yes it works. Absolutely.
However, the most important point to emphasise is that this not a weight loss diet. Weight loss is entirely a side effect of the real purpose of the diet, which is to prolong life. It's a milder version of Alternate Day Fasting. This is scientifically unproven as yet, but is said to reduce the chance of developing various cancers, and to help manage a variety of conditions / illnesses wide enough to include diabetes & arthritis. What tends to get the headlines is the fact that on your Fast days, you cut your calories to a quarter of the recommended. What is more significant is reducing your protein intake. This is said to force your body from "growth mode" into "repair mode" where, instead of creating new cells, the body attempts to repair damaged ones. Since cancers are essentially uncontrolled cell growth, it's obvious how this diet could help; equally, repairing damaged cells will presumably help with any number of ailments, aches & pains.
Personally, I'm no fan of calorie counting. The vast majority of people have no idea what a calorie really is or how it's measured. Therefore, my advice is don't fuss too much about the limits. For a man, you're supposed to keep the protein under 35g & the calories to no more than 600. If you stick to the protein limit & bust the calorie limit by a couple of hundred, it's not going to hurt you. It's the protein limit, I think, that is more significant in switching to repair mode. I've been varying between a 4:3 & 5:2 version of the diet, and I've probably hit 8-900 calories on half the Fast days & still shed pounds plenty quick.
Key psychological point: you don't actually feel like you're on a diet. There is no constant struggle to discipline yourself day after day after day. Five days a week, you eat normally; two days you fast. You can do two days consecutively (I was doing Sun & Mon last year), you can split them, it really doesn't matter. But it isn't difficult, on a single day, to adjust your diet, knowing full well you can eat what the heck you like the next!
As far as food goes, it's quite simple. On Fast days, cut your protein down, cut out the standard starchy staples (spuds, pasta, rice, bread). Eat plenty of non-root vegetables, along with some chicken or fish & you're pretty much there. Even if you're not much of a cook, or short on time, it doesn't take much to grab some mixed frozen veg from the freezer (beans, sprouts, casserole veg, broccoli, cauliflower, that sort of thing) & flash it in the microwave. Fresh or frozen, you can always pep things up with herbs, a sprinkling of seeds (fennel, caraway, etc), or a few splashes of soy / oyster / Worcester / Tabasco sauce. Plenty of variety there, so it doesn't get boring either.
Final trick: drink plenty; sip, sip, sip throughout the day. Now, you are allowed black coffee / tea on the diet, but I don't drink either, so I just drink water. The important thing is sip, sip, sip, though. On a fast day, I'm typically drinking 3-4 litres, which gives the system a good flush, as well! But it's not a huge glug followed by nothing for hours. Sipping throught the day keeps the hunger pangs at bay and makes it easy to stick to. And it's only for one day, remember!
For me, the diet isn't much of an adjustment. I don't east fast food or much by way of sweets / dessert, most supermarket ready meals tend to be fairly healthy anyway, and I cook a lot, freezing & re-heating a good deal of it, so there's always plenty of quick food for office days, when I'm out very early & back late. For you, it might be more of a change. If it is, though, you're likely to see even more of a benefit. Being down so many pounds already, I'm dropping the 4:3 version of the diet this week. Once I'm in the shape I want to be in, 5:2 will probably become 6:1, as Michael Mosley has done. But it's an effective diet, an easy one to follow, and one that I will probably follow for the rest of my life. Try it & see for yourself!
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