How you got to where you were at weight/health-wise
I’ve struggled with my weight all my life. I’m one of those people who can look at food and put on weight! Also I eat when I’m stressed and eat when I’m happy. Basically, I just like to eat.
What you have tried in the past to lose weight/get healthy? Why didn’t it work for you?
Mostly I’ve calorie counted, but a couple of times I tried Slimming World and both times I put on weight doing it. I was always conscious of what I was eating and was recording it, but I couldn’t seem to keep the weight off for any length of time.
How did you find out about fasting?
There was a supplement in the Radio Times in January 2013, as a follow up to the Michael Mosley Horizon programme, which I hadn’t seen.
What appealed to you about it and made you decide to start it?
I think it was the thought of only having to deprive myself massively on two days a week. Also it was the health benefits listed that intrigued me, especially as type 2 diabetes runs in my family. I knew I needed to lose a lot of weight and, after hitting my heaviest weight for a long time 7 months earlier (16 stone 1lb), but in all that time only losing about 8lbs through calorie counting, I knew I needed to do something more drastic. I had thought about trying Weight Watchers, as a couple of my husband’s work colleagues had done it during 2012 and lost a lot of weight. However, I was really reluctant to go the ‘group’ route and also having to pay for something that I felt I should be able to do myself.
What did you want to achieve?
I just wanted to see if it could work, initially. But the main thing I wanted to achieve was weight loss.
Did you have a particular timescale in mind or other motivations (eg forthcoming events, a health scare etc)?
After about 20 years of talking about it, my husband and I had decided that we were going to go to Australia in 2014. Originally we had planned to do at least a 6–8 week tour and I didn’t want to still be as fat as I was for this trip. As it turned out we were only able to go for just over 2 weeks in February 2014.
How were your early fasting experiences?
Right from the start, I found it quite easy. Of course I felt hungry and, at the start, I had a snack at about 1pm and then tea with my husband when he got home from work. Gradually I pushed the snack back to about 3.30pm. It probably took me about 10 months to get to the stage where I could go all the way to my evening meal to eat.
What were your early results like?
I lost weight pretty steadily, averaging about 1.8lbs a week over the 1st three months and this dropped to an average of 1.5lbs a week over the 1st 6 months.
Your Fasting Journey
What did you do which made fasting sustainable for you?
Right from the start, I fell into doing 4:3. I found this suited me because it meant I could eat a little bit more on my feed days, which I found really helpful.
What do you like/dislike about it?
I don’t think there is anything I dislike about fasting. What I like most about it is the feeling of being in control of my food. Now, I don’t worry about social occasions or holidays, because I know what to do if I put on weight.
How did the loss/health benefits progress?
I used to get pains in my legs, around the hips, and these have completely disappeared. Generally I just feel so much better – and my doctor is delighted with me. My BMI is now in the normal range from having been obese. Inevitably the weight loss slows down and the last few pounds were/are stubborn.
When did people start to notice the changes in you?
Probably when I’d lost about 2 stone, I started to get some comments.
When did you reach your goal?
I originally reached my goal (11 stone) just before Christmas 2013, which was around 11 months after I’d started fasting. Then after Christmas I lost another 5lbs. However, I did put on weight during my holiday in February and it took me a month or so to get back around my target, which is where I am now.
How did you feel about reaching your goal?
It was a great feeling, but having lost such a lot already, I was already feeling great.
Did you find it easy/hard, fast/slow?
I have found the whole fasting experience surprisingly easy. I didn’t have any negative side effects. The couple of times I got a bad headache usually coincided with the time of the month, but not every month. I didn’t have any problems going shopping on fast days and often went to the coffee shop and watched hubby have coffee and cake, while I sat there virtuously with my peppermint tea!
Your Fasting Future
Have you considered how you plan to maintain? (or are you currently maintaining, and if so, how?)
Although I am back around my target of 11 stone, I would ideally like to lose up to another 7 lbs, so I will continue to do 4:3 till I get there. Then I will go to 5:2 for maintenance. I will carry on with my weekly weigh in and will let my target weight be my ‘warning’ to take any extra action.
Will you keep fasting in some form or have your eating habits changed in other ways to help you maintain?
I intend to carry on fasting for the rest of my life. I feel it’s a completely sustainable way of life for me and finally gives me control over food.
Have you hit any bumps in the road while maintaining – i.e. continued unwanted weight loss, unexpected gains etc?
When I went on holiday in February, I didn’t fast or follow any eating windows as such. I didn’t think I’d been that bad, food-wise, but the weight piled on very quickly. However, I didn’t panic, just got back on it when I got back and the weight has been coming off again.
Your Top Tip!
If you could give a new faster just one piece of advice based on your experience, what would it be?
Make sure you plan what you are going to eat on your fast days and don’t be afraid of feeling hungry.
Fasting in a Nutshell
Fasting has given me the control of food and my weight, which I never had before.