Day 136: before the fast

Posted by Paola

Sandwich: light Philadelphia cream cheese, feta cheese, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, dill pickle, red chilli, Branston pickle + cassava crisps

+ 2 plums, satsuma


Cereal bar


Rice with peas, two fried eggs, low-fat yoghurt, half-fat cheese, mustard

+ 2 satsumas


Late snack
Baked cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage with balsamic vinegar. Also looks like half-fat cheese in the photo but I don’t remember adding it.


I am going to try alternate days of reduced (500) calories, having recently watched the Horizon programme “Eat, fast and live longer”.

Not really convinced by it but it might be a way of getting back into the habit of reducing calories, because I haven’t actually been dieting recently, just food-diarying.


6 thoughts on “Day 136: before the fast

  1. I didn’t watch the programme – my mum told me about the ‘five and two diet’ a couple of months ago, which I googled, and came across a load of information, including the alternate day fasting diet. I decided I’d have a go at the latter.

    The background is that my weight continued to rise until early 2011 when I reached 14st 8lbs. That’s when I put the brakes on. I did a really good job of dieting, eating healthily and not having anything sweet. As a result, I lost 41 lbs by December. Then came Christmas. :-/

    So I slid a bit, gaining 7 lbs by mid-January. Again I put the brakes on, but then I started a gruelling job that involved 10 hour days training (on my feet) with over three hours of commuting. It was exhausting. I ate sandwiches for lunch, but getting up at 5:15am necessitated a mid-morning snack, and by mid-afternoon, the effects of the sandwich had gone and mid-afternoon snacks were called for and… you guessed it, up went my weight. I ended the contract up a stone and a half at 13st 1 lb, still a net gain over my previous high, but…

    So, to the ADF with a goal of 500kcal on my fast day. I eat normally on my ‘off’ day, still watching what I eat, but not strictly. On my fast day, I generally have a low-fat yoghurt for breakfast (around 70kcal) and a cup of tea (10kcal), a medium banana for lunch (app. 90 kcal) and then a light meal in the evening of around 350kcal. While it goes slightly over the suggested limit, I don’t beat myself up too much!

    After seven weeks, I’ve dropped 4 lbs – not much but 10 days in the States where I wasn’t dieting (quite the opposite) did cause the scale to swing up a few pounds which I’ve now lost.

    My intention is to keep at this because I find it much easier than standard diets where I always feel deprived. This way, that feeling only lasts a day!

  2. Really interesting to read your update, Anna. Well done for losing so much originally.

    After a few days, I’m finding the alternate day fasting interesting, but not for the reasons I expected.

    Logic suggests otherwise, but I’m finding it easier planning for a 400-500 calorie day than for 1,200 calories.

    I was only really ever able to lose weight when I kept under 1,200/day which meant calculating calories for every meal.

    With alternate day fasting, I have to think about calories one meal in 8 (as I used to eat less more often when I lost the 70 lbs).

    I’m making sure to prepare all the fast day’s food the day before so that I don’t have any room for temptation in the moment after “what shall I eat?”

    I’m hungry every fast day but it makes me feel worthy and I know it’s doing me good. I think about what I’ll eat the next day.

    I’ve worked out that, as long as I don’t exceed 2,000 cals on the other days, I’ll still lose weight.

    The upside is that I can eat whatever takes my fancy on the ordinary days and not feel bad about it. I haven’t had that freedom for many years. It’s good to be cooking again and not worry about low-fat alternatives.

    But the downside is that I’m thinking about food every day: I’m not happy being food obsessed. I’m either hungry and fantasising what I’ll eat the next day or thinking up things to eat, over-eating and feeling ill.

    However long I do this regime, I hope that the least I will learn is to handle hunger.

    If I do stick with it, it occurs to me that, once I achieve my target weight/size, I’ll just fast for fewer days a week. Maintenance was always a problem (having regained 35 lbs after losing 70).

    By the way, the Horizon programme said to have a single meal on the fast days but I’m also spreading it out through the day.

  3. Hopefully you’ll get into the swing of this regimen and it’ll work for you.

    I imagine the reason the Horizon programme suggested one meal only on fast days is so that the day is a proper fast and you the therefore get the other suggested benefits from fasting; whereas I’m really doing it for the weight problems in which case it doesn’t really matter how I spread out that 500kcals. And as you say, maintenance should be relatively easy.

    As for constantly thinking about food, I think that’s always an issue when on a diet. I try not to think about food at all on fast days, although around about 5pm I’m usually working on sticking out another 90 minutes before I get cooking! Drinking lots of water seems to help with the hunger.

    I shall watch your blog with interest over the coming weeks to see how you do.

  4. I’m hearing really good things about intermittent fasting – both in terms of weight loss but also in terms of general health benefits, which is interesting. I’ve not been keeping up here but I’m interested to see how this works out for you.

    After losing 5 kilos at the beginning of the year, I’ve only just managed to hold steady. I’m doing a lot more exercise but the temptation is to reward my work with food. Need to find that balance again!

  5. Well done for maintaining. That’s an achievement for me but I’m still 12kg up from where I was 3 years ago.

    I’m unconvinced about ADF – for me, anyway. My weight is fluctuating so much, there is no steady decline at a week level. Since starting, I was 2.3kg down at one point. But now I’m just half a kg down from my starting weight.

    I find that I am over-eating, even though I know it’ll make me feel ill.

    From the start, ADF seemed extreme to me. I have to choose between steadily losing weight at 1,200 calories a day and restricted food daily vs. the freedom to eat calorific food every other day, being hungry and frustrated on fasting days and sporadic weight loss.

    That choice actually looks bonkers now that I’ve written it. But the idea of having to weigh everything and count calories for every meal … ugh.

  6. Agree with Paola, Sylvia – congratulations on holding steady.

    I’ve been doing the ADF longer than Paola and am seeing a slow decline in my weight (about a pound ever couple of weeks) and like Paola, my weight appears to fluctuate up and down by up to a kilo when I when weighing daily.

    While on the non-fast day you’re supposed to be able to eat ‘normally’ I can see how easy it is to binge out on the naughty stuff like cake, biscuits and chocolate. It’s a kind of reaction to eating so little the day before, but I’m finding as time goes on, that craving seems to be diminishing. Oddly, it wasn’t a fast day and I was so busy, I forgot to have lunch and didn’t miss it, so I made up my calories in nuts.

    I’ve decided to plan on avoiding exceeding 1500 kcals on my non-fast day for a few weeks, starting next week (I’ve got a social event tomorrow so it won’t be possible) to see how that goes. I won’t count exactly, but after all this time I have a fair idea of the calorific value of most foods to be able to keep a rough tally! I’ll report back…

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