The Fast Diet: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer

I was a late arrival at the Five Two fasting diet party. It was only when I stumbled across an article in a newspaper that I took the time to find out a bit more and quickly realised that this could be a regime that would work for me. For those who don’t know, the 5:2 involves fasting for two days each week and eating normally on the other days. The fast days are not entirely without food since women are allowed 500 calories on those two days while men have 600 calories to play with. The book suggests that the calories be split between breakfast and dinner and that there should be a break between the two fasting days.

What I like about the 5/2 diet is that it seems easy to incorporate into a busy lifestyle. It appealed to me because I instantly realised that reducing my calorie intake to 500 on two days of every week would result in weight loss without having to think about food too much.

I had already been following the general idea of the fast diet for three weeks before I purchased the book so I was curious to see  what I might have been missing. I bought the Kindle edition which cost under $4 so it didn’t set me back much more than a magazine would have done. It is a fairly short book and did not add a great deal to what I already knew. The concept of the diet is simple and doesn’t need much explanation. In the first part of the book, Michael Mosley explains the thinking behind the diet and suggests that intermittent fasters experience not just a reduction in weight and bad cholesterol but an increase in energy and a heightened sense of emotional well being. Then Mimi Spencer provides some recipe suggestions for meals that you an enjoy on your 500/600 calorie days. The last section is calorie table for common foods.

The book does give a couple of practical tips of which the two that resonate most strongly with me are:

  • Tell people that you are doing the 5:2 diet — it motivates you to stick with it
  • Prepare your meals in advance for the fasting days so that you will not be tempted to exceed the allocated calories

What I like most about the Fast Diet idea is that it is not so much a diet as a way of life. It is flexible enough to be easily adjusted because you can shift your fast day on a day if something crops up like a family occasion or a work dinner that you have to attend. And because you can get back on track within a day or two it’s easy to stay with the strategy. Also, eating normally on your non-fasting days means you don’t feel like you are constantly counting calories and being deprived of the foods you love.

It is a long time since I have felt motivated about a diet and for that alone, I am grateful to Mosley and Spencer.

The Fast Diet: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer is published by Atria Books. ISBN-10: 1476734941; ISBN-13: 978-1476734941.



Natural Alternatives to HRT by Marilyn Glenville

About ten years ago, I picked up a book called Natural Alternatives to Dieting and with it, I got a free copy of Natural Alternatives to HRT. At that time, I had a quick scan of the HRT book, read a list of symptoms and thought well, I definitely don’t have that.

Familiar symptoms

I forgot all the book until some years later, at a point in my life where I was suffering from panic attacks and anxiety, feeling quite jumpy and stressed. I had seen my GP and asked for a referral for counselling which he talked me out of. Instead, he told me to take a few days off work and have a rest. I was glad of the break from work but really felt no better at the end of a week off.

Then, it suddenly dawned on me that the way I was feeling was not unlike how I had felt at the start of menstruation when hormones were in disarray. It got me wondering, and I dug out Marilyn Glenville’s book Natural Alternatives to HRT for another look. Sure enough, this time, many of the symptoms were familiar. It was a tremendous relief actually. I wasn’t cracking up. I was probably in perimenopause. Just knowing that, helped me to relax and get over it.

There is a lot of sensible advice in this book – some of which I have taken, some of which I haven’t. What I like about it is that it puts managing menopause into a zone where you can take some steps to control the emotional and physical chaos.

If you’re embarking on the journey, and in need of a guide, you could do a lot worse than start with this one.

I recommend it.