Complete guide to the Fast Diet
When you are trying to lose weight, you hear hundred ideas from your friends. Some say eat less, eat more, some say exercise and some say don’t. But the question is what you can do to lose weight? Eat low fat food, exercise more and do not skip meals. This is the general dietary advice people give to lose weight. It’s time consuming and tiring to plan the optimal approach for a good diet.
Won’t you love it if you could eat whatever you want to and still manage to lose weight? Yes, you can get a free reign on the choice of food by following the Fast diet. But wait! There is a catch here. You have to starve for two days a week. Who would have thought, right?
The Fast Diet, also known as the 5:2 or the Famine diet claims to help lose weight by eating whatever you want for five days a week. The other two days you have to force yourself to function with 500 to 600 calories only. The dieters have to eat two small meals, each containing 250 to 300 calories, based on their gender and activity levels. It also claims to reduce a host of chronic diseases.
The Fast Diet was created by Michael Mosley, a journalist turned doctor and Mimi Spencer, a journalist and author. Mosley’s doctor had recommended the “intermittent fasting” when he was suffering from obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The diet didn’t just help him reduce almost 20 pounds, but also reduced the blood pressure and cholesterol significantly.
The book “Fast Diet” states that when we intermittently fast, we fool our body into thinking that we may be experiencing a famine. After fasting for several hours, the body alters the type of fat you burn, preventing it from storing fat.
How does the Fast Diet Work?
The plan promises to be the easiest fad diet to adapt to your regular lifestyle. Many food lovers have been turning to this diet. The fast diet is based on the 5:2 eating pattern. You eat normally for 5 days a week and cut the calories to 25% for two nonconsecutive days a week The fasting days should not be back to back. You should have one normal day in between them. Women are recommended to eat 500 calories while men should consume just 600 calories on the two weekly fast days. The calories should also be spent wisely. The authors suggest choosing high protein foods like lean chicken and fish, nuts and beans to burn the hunger.
You have to eat two small meals and a few snacks each fasting day. You can also eat foods low in glycemic index like carrots and strawberries. The rest 5 days you can binge on anything you want to. However, according to some researchers, people following the diet did not gorge themselves on the off days
You are quite likely to lose weight while following this diet. You consume fewer calories than you normally eat each day a week. Therefore, if you stick to the plan, you can slowly, but steadily lose quite a few pounds in the long run.
The diet is beneficial for people suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Consuming foods low in saturated fats and eating fiber rich fruits and vegetables can help to keep the cholesterol and blood pressure in check, keeping heart diseases at bay.
The Fast Diet can also help prevent type 2 diabetes. Intermittent fasting increases insulin sensitivity, reducing the risk of diabetes. It is also important to choose low glycemic index foods while fasting. This will help in managing the blood sugar levels.
The book “The Fast Diet” and “The Fast Diet Cookbook” offers numerous recipes for the fasting period. You can also get assistance from the diet’s official website.
You can consume alcohol in moderate amounts for five days a week. On fasting days, you need to avoid alcohol. 1 day of fasting is recommended for maintenance, once you reach the weight loss goal.
What you can eat:
The Fast diet encourages you to eat lean protein, fruits and vegetables for fasting days. Here is a sample diet to help you make dietary choices.
Diet chart for two fasting days:
Fast Day 1:
Breakfast: 9 am
- Oatmeal with fresh blueberries
Lunch: 1 pm
- Vegetable stir-fry
Evening snack: 4 pm
- A tangerine
Dinner: 7 pm
- One fillet of steamed salmon with broccoli
Fast Day 2:
Breakfast: 9 am
- Two whole grain slices of bread with one hard boiled egg
Lunch: 1 pm
- One bowl of feta nicoise salad
Evening snack: 4 pm
- Half a banana
Dinner: 7 pm
- One fillet of oven baked chicken breast with lettuce salad
You have to drink lots of water during the fasting days. You can consume as much water you want to. You can also drink calorie free beverages like tea, coffee and club soda without added sugar. Keeping the body hydrated is crucial for facilitating detox and flushing out of the toxins.
The Fast Diet recommends daily working out, but the website also advises not to try many high endurance exercises on the fasting days. Stop working out if you feel uncomfortable.
Rules of the Fast Diet:
- Women should aim for 500 calories a day and men should not eat more than 600 calories. Try your best to stick to these parameters.
- You cannot do fast diet for two consecutive days. Splitting them would be more useful. Try fasting weekly on Monday and Thursday, allowing a couple of days for recovery.
- Stick to plants, protein and avoid consuming fat releasing carbohydrates and refined sugar.
- Drink plenty of water daily.
- You have to snack while fasting as well. Choose some healthy snacks like an apple or carrots or celery sticks with hummus.
- Keep yourself busy while fasting. This way the time will fly sooner.
- You can exercise during the fasting days as long as you stay hydrated.
- Once you have achieved the target weight loss, try a modified 6:1 format to maintain the ideal weight.
How to introduce the Fast Diet in your diet:
Try to have a late breakfast and early dinner so that you do not eat until the following morning. Give your body 12 to 14 hours between breakfast and dinner every day.
- Breakfast 9 to 10 am
- Lunch 1 to 2 pm
- Dinner 6 to 7 pm
After following the 2 days of fasting, you will realize that the hunger pangs will naturally subside. Being a little hungry between the meals is common while on any weight loss diet. However, fasting will help you overcome the hunger pangs. Remember, you are not fasting for the entire day. You are just fasting for a small period in the day. Do not skip meals and do not eat out while on this diet.
The Fast diet can provide health benefits, beyond the weight loss. Some of which include:
- The Fast diet can help in reducing high blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Fasting boosts the immunity, preventing and helping the body against diseases.
- The Fast Diet reduces inflammation, a known risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
- The 5:2 diet promotes eating a low amount of calories every week, which results in burning of the fat. It promotes eating lower calories on a weekly basis and high nutrient foods during the rest of the week.
- There are chances that you may not feel enough satiated on the fasting days, especially in the beginning of the diet.
- The Fast diet is not a true fast as the name implies. You don’t have to go for 2 days without eating anything. Starving for two days will lead to the buildup of fat, making it harder to slim down. The dieters also tend to binge on the other five days.
- Drastically cutting down the calories can be quite challenging for some people.
- The diet encourages erratic eating behavior. It centers on the notion that we should ignore our hunger pangs.
- The diet allows you to eat high amounts of unhealthy saturated fats found in cheeseburgers, fries and cakes.
- Pregnant women, children and people suffering from type 1 diabetes and eating disorders should consult their doctors before trying this diet.
- People suffering from calcium, iron and vitamin deficiency should also not follow this diet.
- Variation of fasting can make a person irritable. It can also cause daytime sleeplessness or drowsiness.
- Dehydration is the common side effect of the Fast diet.
- The diet can lead to muscle loss since the body uses muscles for sustenance during the starvation mode.
- Fasting may cause lethargy and tiredness. You may end up with nausea, acidity and headache.
- Experts are of the view than intermittent fasting can lead to nutritional deficiencies and eating disorders.
- Other side effects include irregular periods, anger, irritability, mood swings and hallucination.
To conclude, you can try the Fast diet provided you follow a balanced diet rest of the five days and avoid binging on the non-fasting days. This will help to maintain weight in the long run. Consult your doctor before starting, as it might not suit everyone. Besides following the diet, you also have to exercise, drink lots of water and get a good amount of sleep for healthy weight management. You also have to cut back on bad habits like smoking, drinking and eating rich foods on the non-fasting days.
The less fatty and processed foods you eat, the better your health will be. We hope that this post motivates you to follow the diet you always wanted to; it’s not very difficult to start as it becomes a lifelong habit later. Plan your diet and lose those extra pounds in no time. Do share your story with us. We would love to hear your views. Stay fit, stay healthy!