With winter and another lockdown, it’s hard to stay positive. However, this is not the time to get stuck in comfort foods and give in to despair.
We are fortunate to live in a country with excellent health services, where three safe and effective vaccines are being introduced. I believe that with their help we will have Covid on the run by late spring.
Because of this, I also think this is a great moment to get in shape and prepare for better times – and also to be the healthiest to fight off Covid infection.
Last week, I started the Daily Mail’s inspirational 30-Day Health Kick – a month of simple and practical steps to improve your health. As part of this campaign, this newspaper featured a brilliant 30 day wellness journal, a daily diary where you can record your progress and put ideas from our experts on wellbeing into practice.
I’ve filled out my wellness diary and am happy to say that over the course of the first week I not only increased my activities and cut out the junk food that crept in over Christmas, but also, ‘We did it too, To achieve one of my main goals, which is to lose the 1.8 kg I put on during the holiday season.
Doctor Claire Bailey and Doctor Michael Mosley. We are fortunate to live in a country with excellent health services, where three safe and effective vaccines are being introduced. I believe that with their help we will have Covid on the run by late spring
I did it by going back to the Fast 800 diet and eating 800 to 1,000 calories of delicious, filling, low-carb food every day. And the recipes I followed are all from my wife’s latest book, Dr. Clare Bailey, The Fast 800 Easy, who serialized the Mail today and next week as part of our one-of-a-kind Eat to Beat Disease franchise.
Clare, who has been a general practitioner for 30 years, has much experience of using diets to help patients with health problems, more recently with a low-carb, low-calorie approach (you can learn more about Clare and her groundbreaking work in Weekend Magazine Today).
We named this new book “The Fast 800” “easy” because the recipes are not only easy to make, but many are based on pantry basics (and are inexpensive to make).
They all aim to provide 800 to 1,000 calories a day with balanced and nutritious foods. This calorie intake is a proven way to lose weight quickly, effectively and effectively – and is based on years of research. There is understandably a lot of skepticism about diets in general because they never work and still not just losing weight because of vanity?
There are certainly many ineffective diets out there. As for vanity, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look better, but the real purpose of The Fast 800 is to make you healthier.
In addition to Clare’s irresistible recipes, I’ll be writing every day next week about the latest scientifically proven benefits of rapid weight loss.
Not only will I’m going to show you how to prevent and even reverse a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, but also how to get rid of fatty liver (which nearly a third of us have, many without knowing it, and the can lead to liver failure).
If you’re significantly overweight, especially around your belly, losing weight can boost your immune system – your most valuable weapon against Covid-19 – and improve your sleep, which in turn helps reduce stress and anxiety. It will also reduce your risk of certain types of cancer, including breast cancer, and improve heart health – still one of the UK’s biggest causes of death. It can also help prevent dementia.
When it comes to immunity, as tragically found at the beginning of the pandemic, people who are overweight or obese are much more likely to end up in the hospital if given Covid with worse results than people with lean results.
Being overweight or obese (especially having too much fat in the gut) is linked to chronic inflammation, for which your immune system is constantly on alert.
If they stay on high alert, over time your immune system cells can start damaging your healthy tissues, and we now know that chronic inflammation plays a key role in the development of a number of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, Heart disease and cancer.
Chronic inflammation also undermines your immune system’s ability to destroy dangerous microbes like SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid.
Losing weight not only strengthens your immune system, but it also helps you (and your partner) sleep better, not least because it helps fight snoring, which is often caused by wearing excess fat around your neck.
Two of the Nearly 800 dieters who shared their stories on the following pages both noted that they had stopped snoring and slept better within weeks. You will now wake up energized and refreshed for the first time in years.
That wasn’t a surprise to me. When I was an overweight diabetic, I slept poorly, at least in part because I snored so much. Once I lost weight, not only did my blood sugar return to normal, but I stopped snoring. Clare was delighted on both counts.
Chronic inflammation also undermines your immune system’s ability to destroy dangerous microbes like SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid. In the picture Dr. Mosley
But perhaps more important to many readers is how The Fast 800 can help prevent dementia. There is a growing body of research into the potential benefits of intermittent fasting, a key part of The Fast 800, and one of the most recent discoveries is about dementia, which I find especially exciting as it is a disease for which there is no cure.
Researchers have found that intermittent fasting not only delays the onset of some forms of dementia, but also delays the development of symptoms such as cognitive decline.
In animals, intermittent fasting has been shown to increase levels of a hormone called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor – natural compounds that can protect cells from everyday damage – and have a protective effect on the hippocampus, the area deep in the brain that plays an important role plays memory.
How does the Fast 800 Diet help you lose weight to achieve all of these?
From 5: 2 to Fast 800
I first became interested in the science of rapid weight loss when I discovered through a random blood test in 2012 that I had type 2 diabetes. The doctor said I had to take medication.
This came as a bad shock as my overweight father had diabetes in his fifties and died of diabetes-related diseases at the relatively young age of 74.
Principles of the Fast 800 plan … and how it can work for you
My Fast 800 plan has three phases. . .
LEVEL 1: THE FAST 800
If you want to lose weight quickly, try to stick to 800 calories a day for a few days, weeks, or even months, as long as it is safe for you to do so. Real food is best, but while you are adjusting to your diet, for convenience, use meal replacement shakes for up to half your daily caloric intake to suit your lifestyle, perhaps for breakfast or lunch to work.
- Try to eat within a 12-hour window (9 a.m. to 9 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.) to maximize the health benefits of your overnight fast.
- Studies show that it’s better to eat most of your calories early because your body is much better at handling sugar and fat in the morning than it is in the evening.
LEVEL TWO: THE NEW 5: 2
- Choose two days per week if you’re sticking to 800 calories (the days can be consecutive or separate). On these fasting days, try to extend your night fast to 14 hours.
- On “fast” days, whether you are in the rapid weight loss phase or the new 5: 2, many people find it easier to skip a meal and have two meals and a small snack instead of three. It is often easiest to skip breakfast or combine it with lunch as a “brunch” and have another meal later in the day.
Eat healthy on not fast days. No calorie counting, but keep an eye on portion sizes and stick to a Mediterranean diet.
LEVEL 3: A HEALTHY LIFE
- When you hit your ideal weight, stay there and stick to our super healthy Mediterranean-style recipes.
- No calorie counting, BUT pay attention to portion sizes. Eat the food you love, but in much smaller quantities than you used to. n Weigh yourself regularly and try 6: 1 (800 calories one day per week) as your weight begins to increase.
- Always try to eat within a ten or twelve hour window.
- Exercise on “fast” and not fast days. Not active? Start with brisk walks and add in light resistance exercises like squats. Increase the intensity over the weeks.
- Reduce your alcohol consumption. A large glass of wine (250 ml) or half a liter of beer has 230 calories. You can enjoy a glass of wine or two (preferably red) on not fast days and when you reach your target weight.
- The Fast 800 Easy by Dr. Clare Bailey and Justine Pattison (Short Books, £ 16.99). © 2021 Dr. Clare Bailey and Justine Pattison. To order a copy for £ 14.44 go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193. Free UK delivery on orders over £ 15. Promotional price valid until 1/24/2021.
NOTE: This diet is not suitable for teenagers or if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or are undergoing fertility treatment. Do not follow the diet if you are underweight or have an eating disorder. Before starting a new diet, discuss with your primary care doctor whether you are taking medication or have any medical conditions, including diabetes, low or high blood pressure, retinopathy, gallstones, or epilepsy. You should also not do this if you are frail, unwell, or during endurance training. Visit thefast800.com/faqs for more information.
I didn’t want to go the same way. So I set out to find out if there was a drug-free way to “cure” my diabetes, and then I first heard about something called “intermittent fasting,” which makes your calories pretty dramatic some days a week reduced. I tested different forms of intermittent fasting before settling on what I called the 5: 2 diet.
The original idea was to reduce your calorie intake to 600 to 700 calories a day two days a week and eat healthy the other five days. With this approach, I was able to lose 9 kg and get my blood sugar levels back to normal without taking any medication.
A few years later, I came across some amazing new research from Professor Roy Taylor, a diabetes specialist at Newcastle University. He told me the main reason I had managed to hit my diabetes on the head was that I had lost a lot of weight quickly.
He had done studies that showed that if you lose more than ten percent of your body weight (which I had), the fat is drained from your liver and pancreas and your body goes back to its previous health.
In this way, most people with type 2 diabetes could reverse their condition and stop their medication.
He suggested that the best way to do this is to speed up your initial weight loss by reducing your calories to around 800 per day for at least eight weeks.
At the time, this was considered heresy in two ways.
First, because all medical textbooks stated that type 2 diabetes is an incurable, progressive disease. Second, because we’ve all been told that rapid weight loss is dangerous and ineffective (despite evidence to suggest otherwise).
So Professor Taylor and Professor Mike Lean of the University of Glasgow started a large study funded by the Diabetes UK charity in the hope of proving that a few months on a fast weight loss diet of 800 calories per day could help patients with type 2 diabetes could help reduce their medication.
The results published a few years ago were incredibly impressive. Those on an 800-calorie diet lost an average of 10 kg (22 lb), and nearly half were able to put their type 2 diabetes into remission and get their blood sugar levels back to normal despite stopping their medication.
As a result, the NHS recently started offering this approach to 5,000 patients.
It turns out that this 800 calorie approach is even more effective with younger people.
A recent study by researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar of patients in their forties showed that using this approach resulted in an average weight loss of 12 kg (26 lb) and almost two-thirds the reverse was their type 2 diabetes.
However, this approach doesn’t just apply to people with type 2 diabetes.
A similar study conducted by researchers at Oxford University in 2018 showed that people who were overweight or obese and followed an 800 calorie approach for three months had lost more than three times as much weight (23.5 lb or 10.7 kg) the end of a year than those who follow standard recommendations.
How it can work for YOU too
With the help and advice of medical researchers, I put together a program I called The Fast 800. The idea is that if you are fit, you begin a rapid weight loss that most people have been shown to be safe sustained for weeks and months.
You may want to take this approach when you have a lot of weight to lose. if you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes; if you have been diagnosed with fatty liver (where there is a lot of fat in the liver); if you want to start your weight loss journey on a bang – or maybe because you’ve hit a weight loss plateau. If you are taking any medication you must speak to your doctor before starting.
Not everyone can or wants to stick to 800 calories a day for long. After a few weeks of rapid weight loss, I suggest that you consider switching to what I call “New 5: 2”.
The calorie amounts I came up with for my original diet – 500 to 600 calories twice a week – were effective, but some people found this approach a little too difficult. So now I recommend sticking to around 800 calories twice a week.
Are you still going to lose weight quickly? Yes, especially if you start with the quick weight loss approach and then move on to the new 5: 2.
How much will you lose Well, based on a number of studies, including a recent one by Clare at Oxford University, people lose an average of 10 kg (22 lb) in three months, which is largely sustained in the long-term studies, although it takes caution because there is always a risk that if you go back to your old habits, you will come back again.
How to stay slim for a lifetime
The recipes in Clare’s new book, featured in The Mail today and next week, are all based on a low-carb, high-protein Mediterranean approach.
The reason I like this way of eating so much is because it’s consistently voted the healthiest diet in the world by health professionals.
Since it is high in protein, it will help reduce hunger pangs and ensure that you are maintaining your muscle mass. This is important because you need your muscles to move, but also because unlike fat, muscles are metabolically active, which means your muscles are burning calories even when you sleep.
If you eat 50g of protein a day, your metabolism won’t break down when you lose weight. A lower metabolic rate means you are burning fewer calories, making it difficult for you to lose weight.
The protein intake in this plan means you will find it much easier to lower weight in the long run.
The Mediterranean approach is also a way of eating that doesn’t require you to cut out entire food groups. So I believe it will be far more sustainable in the long run (which is why it is the basis for the third phase of “maintenance” of the diet).
Regardless of your reason for losing weight, the solution can be as simple as The Fast 800 Easy.
I’ve lost 20 pounds, it gave me a boost
Victoria Bateman, 36, who works in hospitality management, lives in Devon with her 32-year-old husband Kieron, a truck mechanic, and their eight-year-old son Stanley. She says:
I have the most beautiful scenery on my doorstep, but before I went on the Fast 800 diet, I was often too lazy to enjoy.
Not only was I overweight – I am 5 feet 5 inches and weighed 13 st 10 pounds on my heaviest [BMI 31.9, ‘obese’] – but my heart suddenly began to pound wildly for no apparent reason. It started when I was pregnant with Stanley. I got painful palpitations and shortness of breath.
Victoria Bateman (pictured before the diet), 36, works in hotel management and lives in Devon with her husband, Kieron, 32, a truck mechanic, and their eight-year-old son Stanley
Tests showed I had sinus tachycardia, an unusually high heart rate at rest. When I had an episode – about once a week – the only option I could take was to take beta-blockers: drugs that slow the heart rate. To be active, I couldn’t do anything strenuous because it would make my heart beat faster.
Then, last August, I decided to try the Fast 800 Diet, mainly to help lose weight but also to feel energized.
I was amazed when a few weeks later the wild heartbeat and shortness of breath simply stopped.
The only thing I could trace it back to was diet. It was remarkable. I’m not as tired as I am, so I can keep up with Stanley.
Then, last August, I decided to try the Fast 800 Diet, mainly to help lose weight but also to feel energized. Mrs. Bateman is pictured today
I walk more – without palpitations – and have invested in a running machine and an exercise bike.
I have taken antidepressants in the past, so I may occasionally tend to feel bad, but I haven’t felt this at all since starting the diet.
I lost 9 kg and was able to wear jeans again. And my skin looks so much lighter. This has brought a much needed positive change in my life.
It reversed type 2 diabetes
Mike Yeatman, 54, is a former customs officer and now lives in Spain with his wife Christine, 55. He has two grown daughters. He says:
Since I started The Fast 800 last March, I’ve lost 21 kg – that’s the equivalent of 21 sachets of sugar – and reversed my type 2 diabetes.
I received this diagnosis in February of last year and it was the wake up call I needed.
I was scared. It is one thing to think that you are overweight and middle-aged, but another that you have an illness where you may lose your toes or lose ten years of your life. I’m 6 feet 1 inches tall and my GP said I was 17 feet 4 pounds [BMI 32, ‘obese’].
Since I started The Fast 800 last March, I’ve lost 21 kg – that’s the equivalent of 21 sachets of sugar – and reversed my type 2 diabetes. In the picture Mike Yeatman before the diet
I lost a stone in two weeks. Christine says I don’t snore that much. It changed my life. My blood sugar level has dropped from 55 [48-plus is ‘diabetic’] except for 32 [‘normal’ is below 42]. It changed my life. In the picture Mr. Yeatman after the diet
My wife and I ran a busy pub, so I was on my feet all day, but I hadn’t done any “proper” exercise in years. Also, customers bought me drinks and it wasn’t uncommon for me to finish work at 2am and then stick to a cheese platter and wine.
My GP suggested trying to lose weight and exercise more instead of medication, and a friend suggested the Fast 800 diet.
When the first ban was announced in March last year, we had to close the pub so I knew I would have time to cook and exercise from scratch. So I tried, and since Chris wanted to lose weight, too, she did too. We were never hungry. We made fresh soups that were filling and tasty.
I lost a stone in two weeks. Christine says I don’t snore that much. It changed my life. My blood sugar level has dropped from 55 [48-plus is ‘diabetic’] except for 32 [‘normal’ is below 42]. It changed my life.
I have run out of blood pressure pills
Jackie Frith, 52, is a life coach based out of Sheffield. She says:
I was able to take off the blood pressure pills that I’ve been taking for years. And I started visiting a personal trainer once a week and exercising more. Until I lost weight, those two things would have been unthinkable.
I was a stone overweight in early 2020 and put another stone on the first lockdown. At 5 ft 5 in and weighing over 12 st [BMI 28.8, ‘overweight’]I felt bloated and out of energy.
In July I found out about The Fast 800. After 12 weeks I had lost more than 2 st (12.7 kg). My blood pressure had increased with my weight and was 160/100 at one point, but before Christmas it had dropped to a normal 127/80. It also made me fitter.
I started going through menopause about a year ago. One of my symptoms was brain fog, but I recently trained for a new job and found that I pick up things a lot faster than a year ago
I have fibromyalgia, which causes chronic pain and stiffness all over my body, and I am often in agony. But now, with my increased activity, I’m not as stiff as I was. My thinking is also clearer.
I started going through menopause about a year ago. One of my symptoms was brain fog, but I recently trained for a new job and found that I absorb things a lot faster than a year ago.
One of the things I love most about The Fast 800 is that all of the meal planning is done for you which is helpful as a busy professional woman. The first few weeks were really difficult. I longed for goodies like chocolate and pizza. But that desire has diminished over time. I now have dark chocolate in my closet and when I feel like it, I have a square.
I gained a few pounds over Christmas but I’m not worried. I know that I will not drop back to 12th place.
Now I can sleep properly again
Stephen Brown, 43, general manager of a holiday park, lives in Devon with partner Kelly, 42, a ward nurse. The couple have four children aged 17 to 11. He says:
When I started The Fast 800, I lost 7 pounds in the first week alone, which had a positive effect on my morale and I started to sleep better.
I went to bed every night and knew that at some point I would be woken up by my own snoring. The problem was that at 92 kg and 5 feet 8 inches I was overweight [BMI over 30, ‘obese’].
When I started The Fast 800, I lost 7 pounds in the first week alone, which had a positive effect on my morale and I started to sleep better. In the picture Stephen Brown before the diet
I often felt out of breath just walking up the stairs and suffering from a lot of gas and indigestion. I took Gaviscon every night. Pictured after the diet
If I didn’t wake myself, I would wake my wife. In the end I would retire to the guest room – which interrupted my sleep more.
My weight had gained and by May 2020 I was the heaviest I had ever been. I was on leave from work, we ate takeout a few nights a week and drank a couple of beers or glasses of wine every night.
I often felt out of breath just walking up the stairs and suffering from a lot of gas and indigestion. I took Gaviscon every night.
Die Entscheidung für das Fast 800-Programm fiel leicht.
Ich wiege jetzt 78 kg und das Schnarchen hat aufgehört. Ich gehe gegen 22.30 Uhr ins Bett – zur gleichen Zeit wie zuvor – aber jetzt schlafe ich bis gegen 7 Uhr durch.
Ich fühle mich viel entspannter und schlafe wie ein Baby. Ich bin auch nicht mehr atemlos, nachdem ich die Treppe hochgerannt bin.
Die Verdauungsstörung ist gerade verschwunden.