The FastDiet? Not So Fast
I've never been much for diets. The tomato sandwich diet I tried as a kid didn't work, and neither did the green bean diet (several cans a day -- my own invention).
So when I started hearing about something called the FastDiet, I figured it was just another one of those lose-weight-quick schemes.
"No diet is fast," I wailed.
But my friends, fresh from watching a PBS series on this scheme, could not be quelled. "The 'fast' doesn't have to do with speed," they pointed out. "It means fasting."
"Yikes!" was the only response I could muster. But discovering there were 221 people ahead of me for the FastDiet book at the library shot me straight to Amazon. My curiosity cost me 10 bucks for an instant download.
Within two days, the diet's creator, scientist Dr. Michael Mosley, had wowed me with his research that intermittent fasting (limiting calories to 500 at least once a week) would reduce my risk of cancer, improve my mood, repair my genes and lengthen my life. It would also -- if I ate only 500 calories two days a week -- cause me to lose weight.
"Five hundred calories is quite a lot," I told my friends. "That's hardly a fast."
At least that's what I said before the first fast day and even an hour or so after my recommended 212-calorie breakfast of two poached eggs, whole wheat toast, and 30 (count 'em) raspberries. It wasn't until 11 a.m. that I began to feel the mid-morning hunger pangs that generally lead me to a piece of toast or a Hershey Kiss.
I could almost feel Dr. Mosley's hand slapping mine.
"Your system needs to rest," I could hear him say. "Go drink black coffee."
The afternoon wore on like the prelude to a late-day, laxative-free colonoscopy.
Half hoping I'd get dizzy from exertion and have to eat, I headed for the gym. Who, after all, could blame me if one noble pursuit was thwarted by another? But to my amazement, the workout left me less hungry and more energetic.
Boldly, I went straight to Panera to buy an ailing friend a gift card. It was my single most heroic moment of the fast. Chocolate chip cookies were in the warmer, and the promotional posters touted the supreme comfort food: Tortellini Alfredo with Ricotta, Swiss and Romano. When I passed in favor of a tall icy glass of unsweetened acai berry tea. I had never felt closer to sainthood.
By 4 p.m., I had completely disavowed my claim that 500 calories was hardly a fast, had become totally comfortable that my weight warranted only the one-day-a-week plan, and started counting how soon I could start chopping the vegetables for the recommended 312-calorie meal of steamed vegetables and grilled tuna. I conveniently overlooked the fact that I'd chosen recipes from the men's (600 calorie allowance) section. After all, I had actually eaten only 20 raspberries.
Besides, by now my Significant Other had joined the health rampage as my recommended "fast friend" and it would be cruel to restrict him to 500. Our mission was to cheer each other on, tell each other we were not really that hungry and utter random recollections of the science behind this. All without knocking each other down on the way to the tuna.
The verdict? So far, so good. But also not one bit faster than the green bean diet.
Balancing act author Pat Snyder is a Northwest Columbus resident and life-balance speaker and coach. Find the regular ThisWeek News contributor online at PatSnyderOn line.com.