I am to diets what Taylor Swift is to relationships. I’m convinced every new one is The One, the stayer, the answer to all my prayers… then three months later it’s all over. Except in my case, I then put all the weight back on and she writes a new album about the latest heartbreak and makes another $50,000,000.
I’ve done every diet craze of the last ten years. They all worked. I think the GI Diet was the best, the one it was most possible to live ‘normally’ on. Weight Watchers also worked brilliantly for me. Twice. When I went back a third time and the ‘leader’ just assumed I’d done it before, I knew it was a loser’s game. And not the right kind of losing.
Dukan is amazing. Three of my friends have each lost a stack of weight on it and kept it off. They followed it to the letter, no short cuts, and I don’t think they will ever put it on again now. It worked for me, but I didn’t follow through all the stages, put the weight on again, and then found I just couldn’t go back to endless plates of slimy food.
So I was immediately gripped when I happened to see Dr Michael Mosley’s (below) fascinating Horizon programme about the health and weight loss benefits of fasting.
Annoyingly it doesn’t seem to be on Youtube and I fear people outside the UK won’t be able to watch it on the BBC iPlayer, but the progression of his research was fascinating – the science rigorous and very convincing.
I immediately wanted to try the system he decided combined the greatest effect (on blood sugar and cholesterol, as well as weight loss) with the easiest stickability, which has come to be known as 5:2 fasting. This means one week equals five days of free, unrestricted eating and two when you eat no more than 500 calories (600 for men).
I started looking at calorie counting apps online and found it too difficult because everything is listed by 100g. The thought of boiling an egg, weighing it and then working out the percentage of 100g and thence the calories was just too hard. So I waited for the inevitable books to come out.
This January magazines and newspapers in the UK are full of versions of the diet programme, but I was thrilled to see that the man himself has produced a book with the very excellent Mimi Spencer, one of my preferred journalistas.
The book is great, going through all the research, before getting on to the nitty gritty of follwing the diet, with tips and meal plans, and although the calorie charts are still in the maddening 100g system (I suppose it is the only way, really…) you can find out the value of a boiled egg by cross referencing to the recipe section. 90 calories.
I am now in my first week of the diet, coming towards the end – THANK GOD – of my second day of fasting. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how I’ve found it so far. I may have chocolate all round my mouth…
Meanwhile, here is the link to the article about the programme on the BBC website.