Inspired by the Horizon programme, Eat, Fast and Live Longer, I have decided to begin on an Alternate Day Fasting diet. The basic premise of the diet is to eat a radically reduced amount of calories (approx 25% of the recommended daily intake) every second day and then to eat normally (ie no dieting) on the off days.
According to my BMI, I am currently classified as obese, which I think is slightly unfair since the BMI calculations discriminate against tall people (more of that another day). I am 191 cm (6 foot 3 inches) and 117 kg (258 pounds). My BMI is 32. Obese or not, I definitely need to lose weight. I am 43 years old and have had fluctuating weight all my adult life. At my present height I have been between 69kg (152 pounds) and my current weight. For the first time in my life, though, I can feel my weight impacting on my health and, more than anything, this is what is motivating me to try and lose weight.
My target weight from the diet is 91kg (200 pounds). I would like to do this by 30 June 2013 – 26 kgs (58 pounds) in 11 months, does not seem too ambitious.
So what convinced me that the Alternative Day Fasting approach is right for me?
- what research there is seems to suggest that it is an efficient way to lose weight. I will write a detailed post on the research at some stage, but controlled studies showed people losing approximately 2 pounds a week over an 8 week period;
- the idea of dieting only every second day seems much more acheivable than trying to constantly diet (I have tried that and for me I simply cannot stick with it);
- it will hopefully have limited impact on my family and my social life. I am planning that on my fasting days, I will have no breakfast or lunch (just black tea/coffee/water) and then have a small/healthy dinner with the family, which is the meal we most commonly share. Having days when I don’t have to diet at all, means that work lunches and nights out with friends will still be possible.
- it is flexible enough to allow for blow outs. While I am aiming for a fast every other day, the research shows the diet is effective even where you fast only 2 days a week.
- but the main reason I like this diet is that it does not just cause weight loss, but intermittent fasting is also potentially helpful in preventing a range of diseases, including heart problems, cancers, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease etc.
What are my RULES:
- I will aim for fasting on alternative days, but will be happy with 2 days a week. I will target fasting for 12 days per month;
- On fasting days, I will aim for a maximum of 600 calories. I will try to do this as the evening meal, so that I effectively fast completely for 24 hours – ie from evening meal on the off day until evening meal on the fast day;
- On off days I will try to eat normally (ie not like a glutton) but will not actively watch my diet;
- I will exercise, but not part of a regime, only when I feel like it.
- I will not drink alcohol on fast days but will drink some on off days (wine only).
Otherwise, I am just going to relax and try not to obsess about it. So here goes…..