This is the first time I am embarking on a fad diet. I have never had a relationship with Messrs Atkins or Dukan nor have I ever binged on cabbage soup or African mangoes. I guess you can pretty much call me a fad diet virgin. I was fortunate enough not to have any significant weight woes before. I used to be a regular at the gym and I usually watched what I ate. However my recent pregnancy has left behind an additional baggage of eight kilos that somehow do not seem to budge, no matter what I do. Well, to be entirely truthful, I haven’t been doing much. I have my excuses lined up! Juggling the needs of a seven month old baby and a full time job is pretty challenging. I have had no chance to hit the gym. Breastfeeding ruled out any thoughts of dietary restrictions. But now it is a whole new year (not so new anymore but still pretty young!) and the baby has been weaned. So shoo away the excuses. It seems like a good time to embark on a new diet. When I started scouring around for a diet that I can adhere to in the longish run, my faithful friend, the Google search engine, threw up a number of interesting, scary, bizarre options. However the word on the street is 2013 belongs to the miraculous 5:2 diet.
‘Well, it doesn’t seem too tough!’ I thought when I first read about it. One needs to restrict calories intake to 500cals (for guys it is 600cals – you lucky buggers!) for any two non-consecutive days in the week. For the remaining five, it is business as usual. You can eat whatever you eat. For a person with a sweet tooth and not to mention a fondness for eating out, the ‘whatever you like’ part seemed very nice indeed. And wait, there is more! This diet apparently has highly beneficial effects other than weight loss– it prevents diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and helps you live longer. Apparently there is no data to prove those as the studies conducted so far have been done only on rats. But aren’t we all rats in a rat race anyways? So weight loss , brain boosting and longevity plus the ability to eat chocolate on feast days, what’s not to love here?
7:30 am – Woke up and remembered today is the D day. Spend some time on preparing and packing salad for lunch. Store brought stuff has way to much dressing.
9:00 am – Decide to postpone breakfast. Well, I have to stretch out 500cals as much as I can. So my logic is that the sooner I eat, the sooner the food will be digested and the sooner I will feel hungry again. So by pushing things out a bit, I am making life easier for me.
10:00 am – Breakfast at last. Have a single slice of wholegrain bread and a hard-boiled egg. Well the sample diet meals had allowed for two eggs. But I squirrel one away for the long day ahead.
11:00 am – Feeling quite good. This diet is not too bad!
12:00pm – Munch on my leafy salad (no dressing) while gazing longingly at the lovely aromatic Yaki Udon being devoured by a colleague at lunch time. Maybe the next time, it might be a good idea to pretend to be super busy and having a working lunch at the desk, instead of being masochistic enough to come into the cafeteria
2:00 pm – Head out for a brisk walk with a colleague. Surely some light exercise will only help my cause.
3:00 pm – Not sure exercise on a fasting day is a good idea anymore. The salad I ate for lunch has long been digested and I am feeling light headed. So I gnaw on a small apple trying to relish each bite. “Concentrate on the juice, the sweetness, the texture!” I tell myself. It got finished all too soon.
4:00 pm – Hunger creeping in again. Uh – oh. Turn to chewing gum for distraction.
6:30 pm – Reach home. Begin preparing grilled chicken for dinner. Need some energy for the act of making dinner. So munch on half a Lebanese cucumber ( I read somewhere cucumber is a negative calorie food.)
7:15 pm – Chicken being grilled. Feeling seriously hungry now. Not enough energy left in me to play with baby daughter . Poor thing, she is a bit crestfallen.
8:00 pm – Dinner. Mmmmmm…. Grilled chicken and vegetables never tasted as good. Hurray, fasting day comes to an end.
Day 2 –
7:30 am – Wake up wondering why it is fast day so soon. Surely day 1 was just yesterday. In truth though, it has been two days past by.
8:30 am – Postponing breakfast was probably not a good idea the last time. Eat half a sachet(8gms) of porridge with skim milk.
11:00 am – Working from home today. I thought removing the stress of commuting might help, but I forgot to factor in the part that being at home means so much closer to all the tempting stuff in the pantry. Get the thoughts of that slab of chocolate in the cupboard out of your head!
1:30 am – Vegetable salad with a small serving of lentil soup. Just salad for lunch last time had made me terribly hungry by mid afternoon.
5:00 pm – Snack on a handful of unbuttered popcorn.
6:00 pm – Today has been a much better day compared to the previous one I feel. Sure, I am hungry but not ravenously so, unlike Day 1. Is it because I have gotten used to the idea of fasting? Guess, it is more to do with the fact that I have become a little wily in spreading the calories through the day.
8:00 pm – Two small rotis (Indian homemade flatbread) with vegetables.
Verdict at the end of Week 1 –The scales say that I have lost a kilo! Yippee! Maybe fad diets really work. I know I have a long way to go still and that managing to not regain the lost weight is going to be tricky. But for now, I am going to celebrate with some ice cream! After all one should make hay while the sun shines. The next fast day is just round the corner.