I've felt a little on the pudgy side lately. Pants are getting tight and the kilos are creeping on, and I'm getting older so I thought about whether I should go on a diet or not, and have decided that I will. I've never really dieted before and exercise is a lifestyle thing - I did try to do it regularly but I just am too lazy. I need something I can maintain.
One of the people who is in my guild in World of Warcraft, suggested to me to try the Paleo, or Caveman diet. The diet restricts you from eating processed carbohydrates and dairy but you can eat fruit, vegetables, meat - basically anything that Caveman could eat and gather - and it sounded ok in that it wasn't a starvation diet, you could still eat. But cutting out carbs entirely is hard. What would I eat for lunch? And what about rice? It was a good idea, but I wasn't sure if I could stick to it.
Then my sister recommended the 5:2 diet. The principle is that you eat normally for 5 days and fast for 2 non consecutive days. I wasn't sure about these starving diets because I thought it would slow your metabolism but apparently there are a lot of positive things said about this diet.
I came across an article called Two Day Diets: How Mini Fasts can help Maximise Weight Loss, and they had a lot of positive things to say. An article in the Daily mail also had similar good reports. Fasting means eating 500 calories (2000kJ) a day (usual daily intake is 2000 calories, or just under 8500kJ). This fasting appears to cause a drop in levels of growth factor, a hormone linked with cancer and diabetes, as well as a reduction in LDL and triglycerides in the blood. Free radicals are also reduced, as well as levels of inflammation.
Professor Mattson, head of the neuroscience at the US National Institute on Ageing believes that it can protect the brain as well. He states that dropping your food intake dramatically triggers protective processes in the brain, similar to the beneficial effects you get form exercise. This could potentially protect the brain against degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Professor Mattson has done a fair bit of research on fasting in rats - he showed that rats got nearly all the benefits of calorie restriction when they fasted every other day when compared to those who were on a low calorie regimen all the time.
In the International Journal of Obesity also reported that fasting for 2 days had more benefit than a persistent lower calorie regime, with reduced insulin resistance in patients.
That was enough convincing for me. So I've decided that the easiest days to fast are somewhere between Tuesday and Friday - days which I work and don't have much time for lunch. Sat- Mon are days I eat with the family or go out, so I wouldn't be able to stick to it those days.
So what can I eat on my fasting days? There was a great list on Marie Claire about what I can eat:
Muller Light yoghurt (89 cals)
Banana (90 cals)
Boiled egg (89 cals)
45g porridge oats (166 cals)
Orange (59 cals)
Apple (53 cals)
Kiwi fruit (47 cals)
Crumpet (100 cals)
1 slice of brown bread (74 cals)
1/2 tin Heinz Baked Beans (100 cals)
2 egg white omelette (34cals)
1 rice cake with sugar-free jam (45 cals)
Poached egg with a slice of ham (100cals)
Alpen Fruit and Nut Bar (109 cals)
50g Total 0% Greek Yoghurt (48 cals)
Half a slice of brown bread (37 cals)
Half a grapefruit (39 cals)
Half a carton of New Covent Garden Soup Winter Broth with Bacon and Kale (96cals)
Pitta (147 cals)
Rice cake (38 cals)
Celery (7 cals)
Itsu miso soup sachet (44 cals)
1 tbsp Light Philadelphia soft cheese (28 cals)
Heinz Weight Watchers tomato soup (76 cals)
One slice of smoked salmon on two wheat crackers (48 cals)
87g cauliflower (23 cals)
Tuna salad (175cals)
Waitrose Beetroot and Cheese Salad (172 cals)
Mushrooms on wholemeal toast (110 cals)
Heinz Weight Watchers Carrot & Lentil Soup (87 cals)
1 cherry tomato (4 cals)
Cadbury Highlights Hot Chocolate (40 cals)
1 Light Babybel cheese (40 cals)
Quarter of a tin of Heinz Baked Beans (49 cals)
50g cooked prawns (50 cals)
Chicken breast (162 cals)
Cous cous (176 cals)
Young’s cod steak in parsley sauce (101 cals)
Tesco’s chilli chicken noodle salad (195 cals)
Roasted aubergine (18 cals)
38g peas (38 cals)
50g cooked prawns (40 cals)
10 spears of asparagus (50 cals)
Weight Watcher’s Mediterranean Veg Quiche (156 cals)
Morrisons NuMe Cottage Pie (300 cals)
Half fillet of salmon (185 cals)
1 roasted pepper (30 cals)
Feta cheese (100 cals)
100g brown rice (135 cals)
I'll do a weekly update and see how I go!