maggiealderson

Life in the fast lane

In Diets on February 10, 2013 at 4:48 pm

 

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OK, here it is for all of you who’ve been wanting to know how I’m going with the fasting malarky… You want the short answer? Of course you do: so far it’s yes and no and yes.

YES because it’s so much easier to do than I expected, but NO because I haven’t lost as much weight as I was hoping. And YES because I feel really great on it.

On the down side, I’m not back in my skinny jeans and I’m definitely not back in the favourite pair of trousers which are my goal garment. But on the up, my meh jeans are feeling looser and I could wear my belt one notch in, if I wanted to. My husband says I look slimmer.

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But while I’m a bit disappointed about the slow tummy inches loss, I’m not giving up. Losing fat slowly and steadily is meant to be the best way to keep it off and, even apart from that, I feel so spiffingly well on this regime. Full of energy and good cheer. Much better than I did when I started.

Glancing through the Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer book this morning, I came across a section I hadn’t read before, where they explain the research that’s been done on the positive effect of fasting on mood. That is definitely working for me – and for a moody cow, that has to be good.

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Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

You have to be really obsessive
I’m now at the end of my first four weeks, except it really only counts as three because I squandered the first one, not being meticulous enough about my intake.

I had loads of cups of tea with semi-skimmed milk and finished off what was left of my daughter’s chicken at dinner, without accounting for the calories in either of them and, I soon realized, this really made it all a waste of effort.

If you’re going to do this thing, you have to do it. You have to be utterly anal and count everything you eat, which does take some mental arithmetic as the calorie value of everything is listed per 100g… I have weighed lettuce, which was a new experience, but if you don’t go to those lengths, it’s amazing how easy it is to whack on another fast-wrecking 100 calories.

So from week 2 onwards, I weighed everything and measured out 100ml of 1% milk at the start of each day, accounting for the calories in my daily reckoning.

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Find out which fast day meal system works best for you
Michael Mosley has a cooked breakfast and dinner. Mimi Spencer has a muesli breakfast, an apple for lunch and a cooked dinner.

After trying both regimes, I found the resulting dinners too disappointing and have taken the lead of my fasting buddy, Maria, who has been doing it for two months and has lost loads of weight. She eats nothing at all until dinner.

Like her, I find it exponentially easier to eat absolutely nothing through the day than to tease my hunger with little morsels and then I can use all my calories – except for the ones I’ve assigned for milk – for dinner. If I’m desperate, I have an apple at lunch time and take another 50 calories off my evening meal.

Choose your days
It’s important to choose your fasting days on Sunday night for the coming week and stick to them. If you keep changing days, it would be all too easy to accidentally miss one, so I do Monday, then Wednesday, or Thursday, depending what I have on.

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Plan your fast day food
Obviously you can’t rely on happening to have the right food in the fridge. I plan my fast dinner the day before, so I can maximise the satisfaction of my measly calories.

I don’t find the food plans in the book very helpful, as they are all for a two-meal day, so I’ve calorie calculated a few dinners which work for me and it’s easier just to stick to them, rather than constantly trying new things. I’m looking forward to the the weather getting warmer (it’s foul in the UK right now) so I can have more salads.

Here’s my menu:
*Chicken breast stir fry, with lots of chili, garlic and ginger, with a 10 calorie pack of miracle noodles – which are bearable if you rinse them a lot before cooking and definitely add to your sense of satisfaction.
*Chicken breast cooked en papillotte (in a tin foil parcel) with garlic and lemon, served with piles of steamed veggies, toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on the top (all weighed, of course…)
*Grilled chicken salad
*Grilled fish with salad, stir fry or steamed veg.
*Smoked haddock baked in the oven with steamed veg.

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Black coffee is your best friend
I find having no food all day exponentially, weirdly, easier than I expected. It’s odd. But if I do have a serious hunger pang, black coffee really does the trick. There’s a reason all those slender French women drink so much of the stuff…

So is sugar-free gum
I’ve heard about all the possible (but not irrefutably proven…) health hazards of aspartame, but as a means to an end – to get rid of what is a definite health risk, with the fat around my middle – I’m not going to worry about chewing gum for a few weeks.

It gives my mouth a burst of flavour – I particularly like the new exotic fruit ones – which gets me through the tricky part of the afternoon.

And as above for sugar free drinks. I have a diet ginger beer as my cocktail while I make dinner and I love it.

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Weigh yourself once a week – and after a fast day
I have weakly allowed myself the odd ‘in between’ weigh in and it was very disappointing as my weight seems to go oddly up and down day to day.

It’s hard not to worry about the non-fast days
I have rather been torturing myself that the home-made cookies and treacle tart I’ve eaten on my non-fast days are the reason for my slow weight loss.

I keep neurotically re-checking the section of the book which says you can eat what you want on the other five days – cakes, pies etc – but after years of restrictive diet misery it’s just so hard to trust it.

I always go to sleep on a fast day planning the lavish breakfast I’m going to have the next morning – fried bread always features in my fantasies – but when I wake up on that blessed dawn I don’t feel hungry at all. It’s really surprising.

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Some post-fast mornings I haven’t even managed my normal breakfast, but once I do start eating I do rather want to eat the whole world. I don’t, of course, but it makes me a bit anxious that I’m mustering all this self discipline to fast and it could be all for nought.

This wasn’t helped when I read one of the many excellent articles Mimi Spencer has penned in the British press on 5:2 fasting in recent weeks, where she mentioned that at the same time she started fasting, she also gave up drinking alcohol entirely.

This isn’t mentioned in the book – it just advises not wasting calories on alcohol during a fast day – and in my moments of doubt, I can’t help wondering how much that contributed to her fabulous weight loss. I don’t drink much anyway, so I don’t think it’s the golden ticket for me, but I felt slightly let down when I read it.

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You have to exercise
I’ve now accepted this is where I’ve been sabotaging my efforts. I absolutely detest all exercise except for dancing, sex and walking round shops, but I know I really have to force myself to do it. My successful fasting friend, Maria, is very sporty and gets a proper work out four times a week, plus cycling everywhere.

My other two successful weight loss friends (one’s a committed Dukan-ista, the other swears by Weight Watchers) both exercise that much. I know it’s the answer. So I went to the gym this morning and I’m determined to make it three days a week, plus my beloved yoga for toning.

I’m hoping this will make the difference the next time I report in on my progress, in four weeks time. Meanwhile, we will speak of jollier things… Watch this space.

PS I didn’t want to illustrate this post with any more pictures of empty plates, dismal bowls of salad, or even shots of women whose body shapes I envy, so instead I’ve just put up things which make me happy. Which are:

Treacle tart from the baking blog notsohumblepie; my cat Gonzo, when he was a kitten, conquering the North face of my drawing room curtains; Cary Grant with his poodle; chickens; Gucci loafers; Miranda Hart kissing ACTUAL Gary Barlow in a recent episode of Miranda; Bill Nighy; the Manolo Blahnick Campari pump in patent leather; Cam from Modern Family, saving their special tree in the park (I fell off the sofa laughing when he appeared in this outfit…); Paul Hollywood’s cream buns.

 

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  1. Hi Maggie, well done you. The hardest thing about weight loss is getting your head into the right space. And the exercise malarkey is certainly the go. Look forward to the wearing of dream weight jeans story in 4 weeks time x

    • I fear it will take a lot longer than that! But thanks for support. I will fast one day a week for the rest of my life, I think. The research regarding dementia is so compelling, even before you get on to the more obvious heart disease, diabetes, strokes, cancer… benefits.

  2. Hi Maggie,
    I find this all so very fascinating – thank you so very much for sharing this with us.
    It’s funny – in my twenties, if I had a “big weekend” I’d level it out by eating very little for a couple of days (I’d survive on black coffee and apples) but always felt it wasn’t a ‘healthy’ thing to do, even though it really helped me to never get overweight (I always felt a bit guilty fasting – as though what I was doing was somehow ‘wrong’). I’ve always thought you had to eat throughout the day for energy, etc – but obviously it’s ok to do it and the health benefits are there. I must read this research. Dementia? Cancer? Stroke? These are biggies – and ones I’d love to ward off if I can. Aside from that, I’d just love to get rid of a bit of flab that’s settling around the place and stop that “kilo creep” that’s happening. I’m getting that book today!
    Loved the “happy” shots….each one better than the one before it!
    Take care, Cx

    • Google ‘Dr Michael Mosley fasting’ and you’ll get loads to read. Also I think you can find the original TV programme he did for the Horizon, on the BBC,w hich started the whole thing.

      I think you stumbled accidentally on the answer to not gaining weight! I have read one negative article saying it was encouraging people to be anorexic, but while anyone with a history of eating disorders shouldn’t go near this diet, for people like me with dangerously high waist measurements the risks of doing nothing about that are much greater. People have always fasted – every religion has ritual fasts – and I think we’ve just lost the trick of it. Let me know what you think when you’ve done some reading.

      • Hi again Maggie,
        I did some reading and Googling – thank you! It makes such sense and compelling reading. So much evidence. Those health benefits are hard to ignore. I love Dr Mosley (well, not in that way….well, maybe a bit – he is quite cute….) and have seen many of his programmes on telly and found him intelligent, educated and informed. (I hadn’t put the name and the face together till I googled him). Anything that is good enough for him is good enough for me! I love food far too much to be anorexic – and, as you say, so many religions/cultures fast – there is nothing “wrong” with it. I just feel so much better about doing it now! I have always had lowish cholesterol and blood pressure – so maybe this is why (the fasting). Of recent years I haven’t done the fasting at all and this has been the only time my weight has ever crept up (which it is now doing at an alarming rate!!….) I’m on to it again now – I really want to shed some fat and live longer (with my brain cells intact!) I think this is the key! Thank you! x
        PS – my brother in law, who is a doctor (and a slim, healthy one in his late 50’s who looks a decade younger than he is, dammit) has always said calorie restriction (when you can do it) is the answer. He once also said that if you are really trying to lose a bit of weight, don’t exercise to start with as it will make you hungrier and you will eat much more. By all means exercise – as it is fabulous for good health and fitness – but start the real hard core exercise when you’ve lost the bulk of the kilos you want to lose. My husband followed this years ago when he was overweight – and lost 10 kilos, then got fit and has never put it back on. I think there’s something
        in that.

      • This is so interesting – this is exactly what my Dukan pal has done. She lost all the weight and then started the exercise program. After a year of the exercise (hard core running and pilates) she has the body of a later life supermodel… So I’m going to just up my exercise a bit (I wasn’t doing enough by any standard), restrict my calories more on the fast days and then see how I go… Thanks for this intell. x

  3. Keep up the good work and keep us informed. I know I should be doing similar!

    • Just do it… It’s so so easy, you’ll be amazed. HOnestly, I thought I’d die without breakfast and now I don’t always have it on my non-fast days… we don’t need 3 meals a day. It’s a revelation to me. x

  4. Well done Maggie. I’m amazed you are finding it so easy to fast. I once tried to start a complete fast and fainted on the tube on the way to work, purely, I believe, at the thought of not eating for the rest of the day. I think a lot of it has to do with your mind set. Another thing you might want to try is not eating for 12 hours between the time you finish your evening meal and the time you have breakfast (this is on non fast days). I do this and just drink hot boiled water after dinner. Apparently your body starts to burn fat during the night, but if you leave it without food for longer it slows down this process. It doesn’t really fit with the fast theory but seems to work for me. I also walk up a hill every day (we live in the country in a valley, so it’s easy and enjoyable). By the way, I love the way you write and am so glad I’m on your blog list again. I used the buy the weekend SMH purely for your column.

    • Thank you for all your lovely comments. I don’t eat after dinner anyway… The big difference for me is going from dinner the night before up the next day, so it’s a 24 hour rest for my whole system and I’m asleep for one third of it. Fingers crossed I start to see a bigger change with the exercise. x

  5. Slow progress is good progress. I am doing the fast with my husband and we eat protein and calorie minimal foods like asparagus & celery. Masses of water and weak black tea. I am using sugar free gum too.
    Hoping my cholesterol levels will go down and the other help benefits will go up.
    Soon you will be doing this in summer, I think that helps. Come to Sydney for awhile, the warmth makes it easier.

    • Yes, it will be SO much easier when it’s not 2 degrees and sleeting ALL DAY, like today. How much are you losing? I’m so hoping the exercise will make the difference to me, as I don’t want to get discouraged. I need to do this for my HEALTH going forward and the skinny jeans will be an incidental bonus…

      • So in just over three weeks, 2.5 kilos and yet very little sign of it budging from my waist. I have been fairly strict and regular during the fast days. Like you my mood seems lighter and I definitely have lost that bloated feeling.
        Don’t get discouraged, you are doing this while feeding a child and I don’t have that added temptation. Think warm thoughts ( about how you inspired so many of us to give this a go for our health.)

      • But I’ll feel crap if it doesn’t work for anyof us! You’ve lost twice as much as me, so you’re doing well. I think I may have figured my problem out and I will post on it when I’ve doen a little more research… x

      • I think I might have more weight to lose than you do. Plus. I started right after a conference where I was eating/drinking more than usual. I am staying on 500 calories for the day. A 300 calorie stir friy with well measured veggies, ginger, meat with crunchy bean
        sprouts has livened up dinner.

        We are fasting from about 8pm on the non fast day, until 7 am on the next non fast day, more than 24 hours. Most of that time we are sleeping, but do you think that is affecting the weight loss?

        My weight loss hasn’t been as dramatic over the last week, but the mood lift is still there, hopefully the cholesterol is melting away. My appetite over all has been reduced, so my portions on non fast days is getting slight smaller. I drink copious amounts of water.
        Did you find any great tips?

      • How much do you have to lose? I would like to lose 8 kilos, although 4 would make a massive difference… My next weigh in is on Tuesday and it’s a bit nail biting. My jeans just don’t feel looser, which is very frustrating.

  6. Love your pics. Love Miranda. Such fun!

  7. I wish you wouldn’t keep showing me those Manolo shoes, I even dreamt about them after you wrote about them last time! Isn’t covetousness one of the 7 deadly sins?
    And exercise is def the way to go, gets addictive and good for the mental health too. Keep up the good work, we’re all in the same boat. X

    • SORRY. I know and I keep trying them on and finding they are too high, but the lower heeled ones have an almond toe and I want POINTY. And they are just too expensive…. Oh I hope you’re right, but I’ve never got addicted to exericse yet. I hate it. Except dancing, so must do more of that too.

  8. Lovely post Maggie, with happy pictures, what a difference that made to a ‘diet column’, you’re quite right!
    Agree with you about the black coffee thing. If you have that, you just don’t seem to need food for hours. I’m 59, and want to maintain a habit of modest calorie intake for health and jeans-fit …. one satisfying meal a day is surprisingly not that hard a regime, specially if that day is full of rushing here and there – you find you just forget to eat. I take coffees into the car with me.

    • The coffee thing is a revelation to me – and finding that ‘three meals a day’ is utter cock. We all eat too much, too often. Dr Mosley has given up lunch for good, says he doesn’t need it. I think this is the start of a whole new way of thinking about food.

  9. Hi Maggie, love mad Gonzo, the gorgeous chooks and the hilarious Miranda.
    And not to forget Mary Berry. What a lovely voice she has.

  10. Great to hear Maggie on your ‘tweaks’ for fasting. Im about to try the not eating for 24 hours that Michael Mosley does 1 day a week. I will eat a good cooked breakfast and satisfying lunch and then see how I go for the next 24 hours. I expect it will be ok, just incredibly boring!
    I lost 8 kilos in 6 months and it was slow let me tell you. I lapsed over Xmas and put on 2 kilos but that was more to do with drinking too much champagne than actually eating.
    Exercise is a must. I do High High Intesity Interval training x 3 a week on a cross trainer. It gives a lot of bang for your buck. Hard as you can go for 30 seconds then slow for 90 seconds. Do this 8 times. Its great and has lowered my heart rate right down and is quick and doable.
    I do hard yoga x 3 times a week but apparantly after reading the Science of Yoga I found out it lowers your metabolism! Oh well i love it for so many other reasons so will continue.

  11. I’m half way through my third week and feeling good. I too save all my calories for the evening meal as it just works for me.

  12. Hi Maggie
    I started the week after you first blogged about it, so think I’m coming into my 4th? week, and my weight loss has also been really slow. After the first couple of weeks I think I dropped 1kg and all up, I’ve probably lost 1.5kg. I was a bit disappointed last week as I thought I would have lost more by now, but I guess everyone loses it differently. The upside though is I’m now fitting into things that were just that little bit too tight a month back, so now have access to a few new things in my wardrobe that have never been worn…yay! And I really don’t mind my fast days. I do Tuesday/Thursday and sometimes find myself yearning for Tuesday on a Sunday just to be able to have that flat-tummy feeling all day. I will definitely persist, at least I know my excess weight is going in the right direction even if it is slow.
    x

    • This is so interesting – everyone posting about fasting is saying the same thing: that we actually ENJOY the fast days. I like the ‘light’ feeling to and the sense of being in control of food. Not enough to go too far with it and try and eat like that every day, but two days a week is just right. You are also the fourth of us to have only lost a small amount of weight. I’m going to look on the boards today and see if I can find any insight into it. I’m hoping it was because I wasn’t exercising and that will make the difference. Do you exercise? There is also the issue for me – and one other person on here – that I have been on so many bloody diets, I wonder if my body is less keen to let go of the fat. Also my age… I’m going to post if I get any insight. x

      • I was exercising 30mins a day on non-fast days for the first 2 weeks, but was lazy last week and had no exercise. Ive not been on many diets, though like you said could be an age thing (49).

  13. Well done Maggie! Thanks for bringing my attention to this approach to eating. I went out and bought the book and have been on it for a week now. I am finding it surprisingly easy so far. Much easier than worrying about calories or points every single day. I do what you do and just have on meal at dinner time on my fast days, but I cheat and just buy a lean cuisine frozen meal and a fat free pudding so I know I’m eating under 500 calories.

    I’m looking forward to hearing more of your progress in the weeks to come.

    • Yes, a friend suggested the pre-calorie counted ready meal thing, but I find the food pretty ordinary – and with all the horse meat controversy that’s going on in the UK right now, I ain’t eating no frozen food! I hope you lose weight faster than I am. I’m going to have a look at the ‘boards’ today and see if I can come up with any more tips.

      • Horse meat !!! I’m in Australia so I must have missed this. Hopefully it’s just a UK thing!

  14. Thanks for the update Maggie…I am fasting today as I read this. I am into my 4th week and I think I have lost about 1.5kg so far. Slower than I wanted too BUT I also find I look forward to the fasting days. (Mon & Weds or Thurs) Just not having to think about what to eat and how healthy it is and if it’s a carb or low GI and how much have I already eaten today etc etc (the usual thoughts after years of “trying” to watch what I eat). I also like the flat stomach feeling at the end of it and probably quite inexplicably given how much I love nice food I just really like the break from eating.

    It has been difficult to get my head around the whole concept of not eating small high protein meals continually to keep my metabolism high and I still dont really understand why we’re now not meant to worry about starving leading to muscle wastage and a subsequent drop in metabolism.

    I have been very lazy when it comes to the food and I have been having a cup of tea or 2 for breakfast, small skinny latte about mid morning , then an Optifast shake (152 cal) for lunch – (filling) and then lots of herbal tea in the afternoon and another Optifast shake for dinner, then another cup of tea – allowing about 100 cals for milk in my tea during the day.

    I didn’t know about the not drinking alcohol at other times…I dont know how to put this without sounding like an alcoholic but I like having a social drink so that’s not an option for me. Missing lunch regularly is probably doable but I find if I do this on a day when I have already started eating breakfast I end up starving and making poor choices late in the afternoon.

    So much to ponder, it’s going to be interesting to see how it all pans out.

    • Your experiences sound exactly like mine… I’m going to go looking for the fasting ‘boards’ today to try and figure out why some people have lost 5 kilos in the same time we have both lost 1.5. I do wonder if it’s because – as I can see by what you’ve written – we are both coming at this after many years in the diet battleground. I feel exactly the freedom you do – SO much easier not to have to think about food much, rather than the constant planning of meals and what you are allowed 24/7. I’m with you on the alcohol thing too. As I don’t drink much, I don’t see why I should give my social drinking up and I’m not going to! One thing I can answer for you: you don’t go into muscle wastage/starvation mode because the fast is so short. That’s why I think some stupid versions I’ve read of this system where you pretty much diet AND then fast are absolutely missing the point. Good luck and let me know how you get on. If I find any great tips on the boards I’ll post about them x

      • Well yesterday I only lost about 500g but I was dehydrated before I even started so I think I probably didn’t have as much liquid to lose. I also have not got back into my 5-6 x a week exercise routine yet after our summer holidays – so hopefully when I mix exercise back in I will get better results. That said last year I trained my butt off (unfortunately not literally) and I didn’t lose the weight I wanted to. I built myself up to being able to run 10k in under an hour but my weight stayed the same and when I wasn’t vigilant with what went in my mouth it started creeping on again.

        That’s one good thing so far – no exercise and a summer of eating more and my weight hasn’t ballooned – so maybe the fasting has helped with that. My BMI is 24.11 so just within the healthy weight
        range. It’s those pesky last 3-5kgs that are the hardest to lose.

        Thanks for clarifying about the muscle wastage – I dont easily gain muscle so it’s important to me that I dont lose it after all the hard work it took to build it. Hope you find some good tips Maggie on the boards x

      • I think I might have more weight to lose than you do. Plus. I started right after a conference where I was eating/drinking more than usual. I am staying on 500 calories for the day. A 300 calorie stir friy with well measured veggies, ginger, meat with crunchy bean sprouts has livened up dinner.
        My weight loss hasn’t been as dramatic over the last week, but the mood lift is still there, hopefully the cholesterol is melting away. My appetite over all has been reduced, so my portions on non fast days is getting slight smaller. I drink copious amounts of water.
        Did you find any great tips?

  15. Have you looked at my fitness pal for calorie tracking? You choose what you eat (they have a lot of prepared stuff), put in the weight and it works out the calories for you.

  16. Maggie – I was just wondering (in a staff meeting this morning, teehee) how you were going with this and when I opened my email there was the update. It’s fascinating! Good luck with keeping it up and I may even give it a go myself! xx

    • I wish there could be a little more action on the weight loss/looser trouser front. I’m going off to look at the Fasting ‘boards’ to see if there any good tips out there x

  17. Keep us posted Maggie and keep posting! So glad you’re blogging again!
    Meg

  18. Well done Maggie! I’m so glad you’ve decided to exercise. I go to the gym and bike ride and when I don’t, sleep doesn’t come easily. I will try the fasting malarkey when I get back from our skiing holiday. I so miss your SMH column and am thrilled you’re blogging again.
    Diana

  19. Go Maggie! I think you are right that ‘obsessive’ is the way to go – otherwise all kinds of things start to slip under the radar (left over Tim Tam crumbs, anyone?)

    I thought about your journey the other day, when sitting in my GP’s surgery and getting a not too gentle reminder of reasons why things may not be so good in the girth area…

    I find so much now that my crap eating is not even that enjoyable anymore: I am gratified for a few minutes and then, bang, nothing. I have a long way to go, but would like to say that your experience is at least giving me a good nudge in the right direction.

    And now on to something completely different: just had a little eye surgery this arvo, now minus some eyelashes for a while (and, shock, horror, NO eye makeup allowed for at least two weeks!). What’s a girl to do?? Then I remembered your blog about makeup and lashes. Yay! Thanks again for saving the day.

    • Are you sure you should be putting glue on those lids??? I think I would be reaching for the glamorous sunnies… Hope it all feels up well. x

      • Oh, gosh, no – I do have the sunnies lined up. No makeup at all for a couple of weeks, but may be donning the lashes when safe: though it’s not as bad looking as I thought, now the swelling has gone down. Not cosmetic surgery, I hasten to add – just a (ahem) wart on one of my lids. My Grade 1s always suspected I was a witch!

  20. Hi Maggie,

    In relation to exercise, I found this book extremely helpful and I have now signed up for my first half marathon… Cheers Px

    Run Fat Bitch Run (Paperback) By (author) Ruth Field

    Is there a large arse-shaped dent in your sofa? Unwatched workout DVDs gathering dust on your shelves? An eye-wateringly expensive (and rarely used) gym membership burning a hole in your bank account? Does the sight of your wobbly thighs leave you cowering under the duvet? Then it’s time you faced the truth: the only option is to lace up and hit the ground running. Straight-talking, funny and brutally honest, RUN FAT BITCH RUN will give you – yes, you – the push you need to get out of the door, pounding the pavements and shedding pounds in no time. Hate running? No worries. RUN FAT BITCH RUN will give you all the tools you need to transform that passion into real motivation. Locate your inner grit and long-lost energy Follow a fuss-free and completely foolproof beginners’ programme Throw away the scales, stock up on pasta and enjoy carbs without guilt If you want to lose weight, get fit and become an ass-kicking, gets-things-done superwoman, there’s only one thing left to do …RUN!

  21. Interesting about the weight loss – I went quite hard core paleo – so no grains – for a good month before Christmas (already was eating minimal processed grains) and thought I would lose a bit. I ended up losing about 1.5 kilos (that number again!). It took about two weeks to lose anything.

    Here’s an annoying but interesting anecdote about the importance of exercise in weight loss: my husband lost 17 kilos over about a year and has kept it off for the past year with absolutely no change in the amount of exercise he did/does. He cycles to/from work every day and also goes to the gym, walks quite a bit etc. Just all diet. Portion control and lower carbs. He’s 37. I feel like stabbing him in his sleep occasionally!!!

    Also, I read in that fasting story in The Australian that one man fasts from 2pm to 2pm – sounded quite manageable.

    • Ha ha ha – I regularly have conversations with my gf’s about wanting to stab our husbands in their sleep too. For exactly the same reason! (& sometimes other small reasons too) Last year I exercised like a demon (5-6 times per week) and it was only when I changed what I was putting in my mouth that I got any result. My husband and many other men I know seem to lose weight far quicker and more easily than us women. It’s very annoying. I dont think the 2-2 fast would work for me because once I have started eating in the morning – I’m hungrier all day.

      • I’m quite encouraged by the exercise thing, but I’m being told the opposite by other people, so I will jsut have to try both and see what makes the difference for me. In the past it’s always been the combo… x

    • I find the fasting manageable in any form, it’s the slow weight loss I can’t handle! Although I think I may have figured it out now, going to post about it soon.

  22. Thanks for the update. Just using your notes, the articles and what I found on the web, I started 3 weeks ago. The first week was an education about calarie counting, but I feel in the grove now. It is surprisingly easy, and feel a better. I did not weight or measure myself, but my clothes are looser. Living in Sydney, the books literally arrived yesterday. Looking forward to reading them and learning the finer details. Good luck withe the jeans. And I love Cam in the tree too! Lyndee

  23. Hi Maggie, I’m just wondering what boards you visit for information on the 5:2 diet?

  24. Interesting. Sorry to hear that results are not happening as fast as you like, but stick at it.
    Anyway, I loved the picture of Gonzo and Cary Grant with his poodle ( and I am one of those people who are really sniffy about cute animal pictures!).

  25. Have you considered measuring centimetres lost rather than kilograms? I lost some weight last year (changing my eating habits and doing more exercise) and noticed that the weight fluctuated from week to week but the body measurements gradually got smaller as i toned up. For me this was more rewarding anyway, as my main goal was to fit into smaller clothes. Good luck! Slow and steady wins the race! 🙂

    • Yes, I’m doing that too! it does help, although it is all painfully slow… The exercise is really important too and I’ve stepped it up. Fingers crossed I’ll be in my smaller jeans soon, but it’s trying my patience a bit x

  26. Hi Maggie

    I’m on my fourth fast day and am really liking it – I lost just under a kilo in my first week.

    As I mentioned on Twitter, I’ve gone for soups from Optifast – a Very Low Calorie Diet. It’s designed for dieters having 800cal a day, every day, (which is my idea of hell) – each soup is 173 calories so I’m having one of them at midday, a late afternoon snack of 100grams (about 80 cal) of tofu marinated in a teaspoon of soy, garlic and chilli and then baked in the oven, and then another soup with the remaining handful of calories topped up with spinach or cauliflower which I blend and mix in with the soup.

    For me this is just easier than the measurement involved in making up real food, and as it’s only a couple of days a week I don’t get bored.

    My miracle tip – Chilli. A guy at work brought in a bunch of homegrown chillis last week and I took a bite out of one to test how hot it was. Turns out very hot… but what I then found was that I wasn’t hungry at my normal lunchtime. I did some research and found that chilli is an appetite suppressant, has been used in various studies in which people ate chilli before or with a meal and end up not eating as much in total. So now on a fast day if I get hunger pangs, I take a bite of this hot chilli and am fine for another hour or so! (It helps that I really like chilli, if you couldn’t handle the heat it’ll be a different story.)

    The other thing that I’ve found is for me the first time you eat is like the old “Breaking the seal” concept when drinking alcohol – you end up hungry again relatively soon. In the four days I’ve done it I’ve shifted my soup from 10:30am to 12pm and it’s meant I can shift my snack to about 5pm and last soup to about 8pm before I go to bed at 10:30. The first day I had my dinner soup at 6pm and was ravenous by 9pm!

    • Great it’s working for you.

      I have found exactly as you have, about a tiny bit of food making me want more food, so I now eat nothing from dinner the night before until my 6pm supper. I’ve now been doing it for four weeks and I don’t get hungry at all. It’s really really odd and has made me think we have all been eating TOO MUCH and TOO OFTEN. The whole three meals a day thing is starting to look ludicrous.

      I’m doing my next weigh in on Tuesday and will then review, as I seem to be losing very slowly. However, I won’t give up, as I feel so well on this new regime. Who knew?!

  27. Dear Maggie, I don’t know how you do it but you seem to be making a wonderful fist of it. Friends of mine swear by Bikrum yoga (the heated room fast yoga). I couldn’t think of anything worse myself (the heated room not my thing as I am water person), but as you are a yoga devotee already, maybe you could consider? Apparently one has no appetite at all afterwards! Perhaps there is a pre-dinner time class somewhere near you?
    How devine those Campari Manolos! BX

  28. Hi Maggie… didn’t realise you were blogging about “Life in the Fast Lane” until today… must get out from under my rock more often! I have been fasting 2 days pw since reading the article in The Australian and finding it remarkably easy. I was motivated initially by the health benefits, however the difference in the fit of my clothes is nothing short of amazing, and definitely in a good way! I find it works best for me if I eat a significant breakfast and fast until next morning. My great standby is miso soup at dinner time, with loads of sparkling mineral water and tea throughout the day, plus a few blueberries or almonds along the way if/when I need them. Planning a post of my experience shortly.

    • Will be interested to read it. I find it weirdly easy – but the weight just isn’t coming off! It’s so frustrating, but my clothes just aren’t getting looser. NOt giving up yet, though, because I feel so well on it. I think we’ve all been eating too often!

  29. Hi Maggie. I was wondering how you were getting on with this – are you still fasting? It sounds really difficult but ideal if you can do it. Great to read all the tips and comments.

    • I’m going to post about that next! Watch this space.

      • Enjoying your blog Maggie. This is my 12th week and I have lost 11lb so far. Battling agains steroids and heart meds so loss quite slow. I have to have 200 cals at Breakfast in order to have meds and then 300 in evening to have meds again. I’m sticking with it though. Good luck to you, you have convinced me I need to exercise more than just walking the dogs. By the way SUGAR FREE GUM is deadly to dogs very quickly so please don’t leave any within reach folks !

      • wow – didn’t know that about the gum and dogs. What happens? Is it any gum, or the sugar free in partic? must tell all my dog owner pals. I think your loss is fantastic. I start again on Monday after 2 weeks holidays. Keen to get back in the saddle and your report is encouraging. They say 1 pound a week is the ideal speed of loss to keep it off so nil desperandum x

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