So I’ve kept a bit quiet on that front lately, while I try and get it straight in my head what I actually want to do. I’ve thought about it a lot and D and I talked about it while we were away because he wants to lose some weight too. And for the last couple of weeks we have been doing intermittent fasts – commonly known as the 5:2 diet.
The premise is simple. For 2 days a week you eat 500 calories or fewer (600 if you’re a bloke). The rest of the time you eat normally. Emphasis on the normal – you don’t gorge, because it defeats the point. I’m probably teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here; there was a BBC documentary about it a few years ago and it has since become quite mainstream. I think I even mentioned it in a blog post a couple of years back having done one fast day out of curiosity and given up in a fit of disgust. So why come back to it now?
The answer is pretty simple. I just cannot face accounting for every little thing that I stick in my mouth anymore. I’ve successfully lost weight by counting calories, I’ve successfully lost weight by counting points but I seem to have used up every last little ounce of willpower to do these things again. It is utterly, utterly tedious and utterly, utterly joyless and I don’t want my food to be tedious and joyless all the time.
If this works it means that I only have to think about counting calories for two days a week. And, don’t get me wrong, fasting is a bit blooming miserable. But it’s only for two days a week. Psychologically, it makes a massive difference to be able to say, “Oh, hello mince pie. I can’t eat you today, but I will be wrapping myself all around you tomorrow. Wait for me.”
It helps a lot that D is doing it too. We can be a bit hungry and a bit miserable together. And, like I said, the fasting itself hasn’t actually been as difficult as I thought and I’ve successfully completed four fast days so far. I eat a very light lunch at around one o clock – two oatcakes, two Laughing Cow triangles and some chopped salad or a couple of clementines. I drink plenty of sugar free squash and a couple of black coffees during the day. And then dinner is either a bowl of soup or something simple but high in protein like a piece of fish with vegetables or an omelette. I hoard 10 calories for a splash of milk so I can have a cup of tea after supper. At the moment, we’re relying on quite a lot of ready-made stuff simply because we don’t want to have to cook on fast days, but that’s OK.
And the results? The results are as follows:
Week 1 weight loss / (gain) (0.4) lbs
Week 2 weight loss / (gain) 3.0 lbs
Total loss / (gain) 2.6 lbs
Bit of a mixed bag there, but I’m going to give it a bit longer before I come to any firm conclusions. I have no expectations that the losses will be quick – a pound a week is my modest ambition, and so far I have achieved over and above that, albeit not in a straight line. Over those two weeks I have had fish and chips, wine, a roast dinner, cheese, chocolate, mince pies (clearly not all at once). So although I’m conscious not to go absolutely mad nor have I been particularly abstemious.
D and I are committed to doing this until the end of January – although I can’t see either of us managing even one fast day between Christmas and New Year (you never know but…you kind of do). So whether it works or not, at least I’ll have given it a fair try. I really, really hope it does. The only alternatives that I can see at the moment really blow. As ever, beloved readers, I will keep you posted.