I’ve made an interesting discovery since posting about the Fast Diet yesterday – the word ‘diet’ provokes strong reactions. I entirely understand. I loathe the word and concept so much I covered my copy of the Fast Diet book in wrapping paper, so my daughter wouldn’t see it lying around the house. I don’t want her to grow up thinking that dieting is something all grown ups do.
Neither do I want her to spend her childhood – as I did – with a parent in ill health, so I simply have to get the weight off that I carry around my waist; the place we are constantly told is the worst risk for heart disease. Which is what killed my dad at 63 and both his parents even younger.
I’m a genetically programmed cardiac time bomb and the apple shape body has to go. I wish I could do it by taking more exercise and eating ‘in moderation’, but I know from experience I just can’t keep that up. I need clear rules and the sense of undertaking a project to stick at it.
And, as always, I’m fervently hoping this is the last ‘diet’ this yo yo dieter will ever have to do. The proof will be in the pudding – or how much less of one I resemble in a few weeks time – but here’s how it’s been so far.
Fast Day One
8.45am An hour ater than usual, had my usual breakfast of oats soaked in semi-skimmed milk, with 0% fat yogurt, half an apple chopped up and blueberries. This seems to add up to 224 calories – or nearly half my day’s allowance of 500, which is a bit scary.
11am Feel peckish, with a craving for some nice crunchy crackers. Which is exactly what I would normally be snacking on aroud this time on a normal day. Remind myself can have them tomorrow and resist.
Have another cup of tea instead. Think I will find not being able to have tea with milk, whenever I damn well want it, the hardest thing on this regime. I certainly couldn’t deal with caffeine cravings as well. So in future will measure out 100ml of milk each fasting day (100 calories) and see how far I go with it.
12.30pm Starting to feel food obsessed. This is when I would normally start thinking about what to have for lunch. Have a cup of black coffee, which is surprisingly satisfying. Once that wears off start to feel really chilled. I suffer from Raynaud’s syndrome and all my fingers go white, so I can’t type.
1.30pm Have a cup of instant miso to get fingers back. Delicious, although 84 calories seems monstrous for what is basically a mug of salty water.
2.30pm Go out for a walk with a friend to distract myself.
3.30pm Could gnaw my own arm off. I normally have a mid-afternoon snack around this time, so it’s clear my body is well programmed to expect these regular top ups.
4pm Have to go to kitchen to check options for child/husband dinner. Everywhere I look there is food. A big chunk of brie. A pomegranate my daughter has cut in half. A bowl of apples. A bow of grapes. Normal me would have happily grazed on all this without thinking about it.
4.30pm Is it really not dinner time yet? It’s hard putting just two potatoes in the oven to bake… Wonder if the family will notice they are having their dinner an hour earlier than normal.
5.10pm Can smell the baked potatoes cooking. Feel like a dog in a cartoon, could follow the scent for miles…
5.15pm OOH I think it might be time to put my fish in the oven!!! Oh, no it’s still too early. If I eat at 5.30 I’ll be climbing the walls by bedtime, although I have scheduled an orange for later… that’s how KRAZEE I am. How much orange is 100g though? Finding the food weighing aspect hard. Will have to be more stringent about it, but really don’t want my daughter seeing me do that. It’s neurotic and eating disorder-y.
Measured my waist to concentrate my mind. V v bad.
6pm Dinner! Fillet of white fish, cooked in tin foil with garlic, ginger and lemon (a combo which would make balsa wood quite palatable – actually, I wonder how many calories there are in 100g of that…?). A small mountain of spinach. Feel quite satisfied.
It was hard watching the family tuck into cold chicken and baked potatoes (with lashings of butter). Had a little bit of chicken – no idea of the weight. Find that element of this regime hard to accept. Think I will deny myself the orange to make up for it.
But I’m just about through Day One and I’ve survived and feel oddly keen to get on with the next one. Will stock up with Diet Coke and sugar free gum, although I didn’t need either today.
Also very much looking forward to the arrival of my Miracle Noodles… A friend who has already lost 5 kilos on the diet told me about them. They’re the secret of slim Japanese women, noodles made of fibre some obscure Asian vegetable, which rack up only 5 calories a packet.
7pm Finding it distressing even to read the word ‘gin’. Have a diet ginger beer in one of my best highball glasses and it hits the spot.
According to my calculations, I have eaten exactly 501 calories, although I do fear I’ve been a bit lax about milk in tea.
10pm Go to bed feeling quite hungry, but buoyed up by the knowledge I can have a monster fry up in the morning.
The next morning: didn’t feel hungry at all… Less hungry than usual, in fact. I’m a big breakfast eater, but feel slightly queasy at the thought.
Amazed. Would be quite happy to face another day of fasting and it feels a bit like I’m ‘breaking my diet’ not to, but I’m going up to London, so I’m going to eat normally today and fast again tomorrow.
Fasting Day 2
Woke feeling really hungry after fisting chocolate raisins into my mouth last night in panic at the thought of the food restriction coming today. Find it hard not to eat daughter’s breakfast bacon…
Made myself weigh everything and used water instead of milk on the oats, which was fine. Measured out the 200ml of milk for the day – not much of it. If I can’t have enough cups of tea from that will have to switch to vile, lower-caloried skimmed milk, which I loathe.
11am Postman delivered Miracle Noodles! Can have two packs with my dinner and will only be 10 cals. Here’s praying they are edible.
12 noon Feel really hungry again and slightly crazed with it. Re-read book and reminded myself that I could snack, if desperate but the whole point is to give your body a good long stretch with no food to deal with at all. Had one spoonful of the coleslaw I made for dinner the day before and a precious cup of tea.
Rest of day much the same as yesterday’s pattern, including miso soup, which was almost too salty to bear. Think I will phase those out. A packet of sugar free gum got me through the afternoon in my office.
6pm Managed to hold out reasonably late for dinner again. Had the Miracle Noodles – the ‘fettucine’ style – with a tomato sauce and three meatballs. The meatballs and sauce taste like celestial angel food. Feel my senses have been heightened by the day without snacking.
The noodles are pretty foul, like hot shredded plastic bags, but with the sauce mostly drowning the taste, they were bearable and have certainly filled me up. They would be much better in soup or a stirfry and that’s how I’ll use them in future.
7.15pm Have found today much harder than the first fast. I feel quite weak and want to go to bed. I think next week I’ll do my fast days two days apart – say, Monday and Thursday.
I’m also going to follow religiously one of the daily menu plans in the book, or from the Sunday Times Style supplement, as I am a little concerned I’ve gone through all this and busted my 500 limit unintentionally and I won’t lose any weight.
Am surprised to find there is still 50ml of milk left in the fridge at bedtime, so that’s going to be fine.
One thing I have realised doing this, is that I am like a prawn in our kitchen: swimming around cleaning up all the little bits other people haven’t eaten. My daughter left two licked Orea halves in her lunch box today and last week, they would have been in my mouth in a flash. Equally I would have hovered up all the delicious slightly burned little crumbs of meat balls left in the frying pan. Today I stopped myself. No point making such an effort and then blowing it for some cheap biscuits.
No fasting now for three days. And no blogging about it for a couple of weeks, when I’ll tell you how I got on.