Fast Days

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

This is a post about dieting so if that is a subject which bores the pants off you click away now.

I'm doing the Fast Diet (details all in the link). I think it is marvellous. I've only been doing it for three weeks and I've lost 4lbs. I knew it would work. If you follow any diet you will lose weight. The trick is to keep following it.

I've done calorie counting and points counting over the years and although they work I found it so hard to keep counting. Continual measuring, calculating and planning is soul destroying. Giving up puddings, cakes, chocolate and wine is horrible. When you are cooking for a family every day you don't want to be cooking separate meals for yourself. But I'm happy to do all these things if I know that the next day I don't have to. And that's the beauty of the Fast Diet, there is always light at the end of a very short tunnel. Hunger, after all, doesn't hurt and it doesn't last.

I usually choose Mondays and Wednesdays as my fast days. Obviously I never choose Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays. Today has been a fast day and I have eaten my 500 calories. Yes I am quite hungry and by bedtime I will be hungrier, but I shall go to sleep knowing that tomorrow I won't have to count calories. Tomorrow I can eat what I like. But I won't be indulging in a feeding frenzy I shall just eat normally without worrying about calories and on Friday I shall make Nigella's blondies for us all to enjoy over the weekend. .

This is what I ate today


Brunch - 60g smoked salmon and a poached egg - Approx 200cals


Dinner- fish stew made with cod, red peppers, passata and veg stock and lots of smoked paprika. Spices are a big help in making low-cal food taste satisfying. Approx 280 cals

The rest of the family had eggs, chips and beans which they greatly appreciated. Sometimes I double a meal and give them the other half on a fast day, mostly though I give them pasta because I'm not very keen on it and they love it.

It's simple to understand, easy to follow and you don't have to give up your favourite foods.
Anyone else doing it?

70 comments:

  1. I am - a variation on this one but so far so good.

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    1. Looking forward to comparing notes.

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  2. If you keep posting some inspiration, I might join in, Sue!

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  3. I read about this in 'The Radio Times' but couldn't be bothered to get my head round it to be honest. However, if you think it's worth it I might have to send for the book and give it a try! As usual, 'The Quince Tree' gives me inspiration.xx

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    1. You don't really need the book. Everything you need to know is on the website. 500 cals a day, two days a week. That's it.

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    2. hello! Me again!

      just wondering how you are doing with this? Are you still doing it? Does it work?! I've been doing this for three weeks now, so far so good, but of course I'm struggling with recipes (And its just very hard feeding the hungry hordes - i.e. my two boys - at the same time as NOT eating their food too!). Did you come up with any Quince Tree specials for your fasting days?
      So glad you haven't abandoned this just yet!
      Best wishes
      Heather

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    3. and by 'abandon this', I of course mean your blog!

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    4. I'm afraid to say that this, like all my healthy eating plans was very short lived. Feeding the rest of my family was my stumbling block too. However, you have prompted me reconsider it, or something similar, that poached egg and smoked salmon look good.

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    5. oh thats a shame! What made you stop? I thin this is probably the only thing I'll keep up as I only have to think twice a week. I am wondering what it will be like over half term though with my parents visiting, hubby away, kids at home…. and I'm trying not to think about december and all the seasonal treats...

      I did think the egg and salmon dish looked yummy - I remembered you had posted something about it late one night (as you do when hungry!). I must give it a go!

      I do this with my hubby and we also use a fitbit charge hr (a wristband watch thingy) so we are also slightly competitive when it comes to who's done the most steps in a day / week (me so far!). The fitbit website has a dashboard where you log all your food which is very useful for the fasting days and helps keep me in check on other days if I'm being a bit treatful. I don't like wearing it mind, its pretty uncomfortable and quite chunky but it serves a purpose.

      I'm thinking of doing your cheap and cheerful cake today for the school cake club sale on friday…. if it will last that long though!
      Best wishes
      Heather

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  4. I love the idea of it, and I've heard a lot of people say that it works. I'm tempted to give it a try. It would be so much easier if Mike would do it as well, but he will take some convincing.

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  5. Anonymous10:02 pm GMT

    Yes. And it's also good for establishing a food-intake awareness. A healthy option. Lost weight (combined with healthy lifestyle/exercise). That breakfast looks reeeeallllly good anyday and everyday!!

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  6. I think it sounds great. My only hesitation is that I don't like to do any obvious dieting, because I'm concerned about what body image issues I impart to my teenage daughter. Do you have those concerns given you have a daughter too?

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    1. Katie has a very healthy body image and indeed a very healthy body. My body is not healthy and it's time to fix it. I see nothing wrong with making my children aware that being 5 stone overweight is unhealthy.

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    2. Good point. Thank you.

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  7. I have had my first 500 cal day today - and will also be doing mon and weds. A bit peckish but nowhere nearly as bad as I thought. I had the same spiced turket burgers as the rest of the family but with a big salad instead of chips and a roll!

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  8. I am!! I saw Michael's programme Eat, Fast and live longer...it was brilliant.(check youtube it may be on there) It's not really classed as a 'diet' as such but a way of reducing what we eat 2 days a week, which obviously then leads to weight loss, and this is carried on for the rest of one's life. It's a no-brainer when you know of the health benefits...the list is long! It's worth persevering with it, you get used to it quite quickly and it makes you so aware of the calorific value of food. I know a lot of people who saw the programme and have stuck to it, so keep going Sue x

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    1. I saw the programme back in August. Well worth a look. And yes the long-term health benefits are many. I do hope it becomes an ingrained habit.

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  9. This is the first I've heard of it. I may check it out. I hate points-counting. I personally think that Weight Watchers just legitimizes the bad habits and disordered eating I've always done and that's why it doesn't work well for me.

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  10. Although I didn't watch the entire programme I caught a bit of it and heard the rest from a couple of friends, who followed the diet for a few weeks before giving up. Like most women I've tried, and failed, a variety of diets, mainly because I couldn't work them into my normal routine. As you say, calorie counting is a pain, but necessary on the two fast days. How do you work out how many calories you've consumed?

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    1. Weighing, planning ahead, looking at the calorie info on packets and using calorie guides both on-line and in books.

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  11. Sue, this sounds interesting and I wish you well as the weeks go by.

    Today I've begun my Lenten tradition of no chocolate. Sometimes that leads to a tiny weight loss, but I admit to rarely weighing myself, usually just judge my weight by how familiar clothes fit.

    Please do let us know how the two fasting days affect your overall energy level. I have a physically demanding job that seems to keep my metabolism jogging along, and wonder if fewer calories would see me dragging my feet.

    As always, the photos of your meals have made me hungry! xo

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    1. Frances my fasting days haven't had any effect on my energy levels at all. I have not felt faint or had headaches or anything like that.

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    2. Thank you Sue, for your reply. I might try some version of this eating modification, and will let you know if I do, and what results.

      (Meanwhile, your recipes always do tempt me. I passed along your colcannon potato/kale/bacon recipe to my brother, and he thanks you, too.)

      xo

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  12. I've been doing the walk fast, not eating any less diet. I've lost a stone. Many of my friends have done the fasting with great success, although they seem to do the two fast days in a row. I think finding what works for you is the best diet, as long as it doesn't involve those ghastly fake shakes/soups/powerbars that really freak me out.

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  13. I share your feelings on dieting - I too hate counting calories, although found it to be the 'best' way to curb pigging out. Think you are brave to do this sort of diet, I don't think I could fast at all. In any universe. Good for you for girding your loins and getting down to it. I will be doing a post today on a similar theme so stop by and yawn along with my 'diet' ha ha....

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    1. I certainly will Janice!

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  14. They have been featuring this diet in the Daily Mail this week and I have been toying with it in my mind - slow but sure weight loss is always the best kind - good luck with it, I shall be coming back to see how you are faring and to compare notes.

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  15. It looks good, I'm going to look into it too. The two meals you show look absolutely delicious! Julie x

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  16. I'm doing it Sue. Three weeks and I've lost 4lb too. I hate the fast days (Monday and Wednesday for me too) but can do it knowing that I can eat normally the next day... and have a slice of cake if I fancy it. I think it is brilliant.

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    1. Gina it's wonderful to hear that you are at the same stage as me and fasting on the same days. I shall think of you on Mondays and Wednesdays. It is brilliant isn't it?

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  17. You're right about any diet working when you stick with it! Mine is working too and I'm not feeling frustrated as all is included - the amounts are simply paramount! Well done for your success!

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  18. I started this an was very enthusiastic but I fell off the wagon quite quickly. I found that it doesn't work out on a work day (biking to and from, on feet all day etc) and I have not enough will power when I am home alone. But. Perhaps a delicious brunch like yours may win me over and persuade me to stick at it. Will keep you posted. Ax

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  19. Oooh no. That sounds like torture. I know why I need to lose weight - it's wine and chocolate. A little less, a little more exercise like Driftwood... I couldn't manage a work day and then the children on 500 calories a day. Oh dear me no. No matter how much I could stuff in the day before.

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    1. I understand it isn't for everyone, but I have found that the busier I am the less I think about food. Also the realisation that the feeling of hunger won't kill me and does not need to be satisfied immediately has been something of a revelation. it has also helped me eat less on non-fast days.

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    2. Surely you don't need to lose weight Mrs Coffee?

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    3. Oh dear yes. I do. Far too many of the clothes that I bought to replace the ones that didn't fit me are feeling tight...

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  20. I look forward to comparing notes too! I've been doing it since late August last year after I watched the programme. I've lost 15lbs so far but am frustratingly on a difficult to get off plateau, weight-wise. Last week I changed tactics and am not having any carbs on my fast day, only fruit/veg and protein. We'll see if it's made any difference on scales day tomorrow! He's a very informative tweep (if you're into Twitter) and often tweets answers to lots of questions, so well worth a follow.
    If I could lose another half a stone, I'd be very happy.
    It really hasn't been that difficult to do, in my opinion, and after not fasting for two weeks over the Christmas period, I truly felt that my body was crying out for less food (not that I consider myself a big eater anyway). Plus the whole 'I can eat what I like tomorrow' psychology is excellent, though I rarely stuff myself just because I can!
    Good luck, Sue, stick with it! x

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    1. Wonderful! I must say I prefer to concentrate on protein and F&V on fast days. The protein keeps me full (well fullish). As you say looking forward to comparing notes.

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  21. Excellent - I saw this too and am giving it a go. Sue, maybe you could give us some suggestions of 200 - 500 cal meals to encourage us !

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    1. I don't want this to become a diet blog but I think there's room for a few posts with some low-cal meal ideas in the future. meanwhile there will probably be cake :)

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  22. I've just started this and feel really hopeful about it It's great to hear other people are doing it too. I've been given recipe .book for inspiration. It will be nice to hear how you're getting on from time to time.

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  23. I'm glad it's working well for you. My husband has been on it since early Oct and has lost 1 + a half stones so far. He loves that he doesn't have to think about being on a diet for 5 days a week. What he has realised is that he may have to continue with it in one form or another for life, once he has reached his target weight, to maintain it, and he feels quite ok with this prospect.
    Best wishes

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  24. Sounds interesting - there's no way I'm going back to Weightwatchers to lose the 'baby weight'. I need to drop a good stone, ideally a stone and a half. Another diet which has worked for me in the past was food combining.
    The fast diet sounds better as I'd only eat differently twice a week.
    Am very tempted to give it a go. Suspect this week's shopping list may look a little different... Thanks for the idea - it sounds nice and simple. And planning ahead is one of my very favourite things (after cake).

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  25. Normally I just read your posts and drool over the amazing food you cook so I hope you don't mind me joining the comments! I am doing the fast diet as well. I have done 5 weeks and lost 6lb. I am fasting on a Monday and Tuesday which are my two busy days and find the busier I am the easier it is. I am also finding I am much more productive on fast days with no lack of energy which is good with a 4 and 7 year old to run around after!

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  26. Sue, I think this sounds brilliant. As somebody who has yo-yo dieted all her life, I need a diet that will keep weight off. I'm really good at losing 3 stone and feeling great for anything up to 18 months but I always, always go back to old ways and put it back on over the next 18 months! The idea of a diet you could do for life because it only involves 2 days a week is exciting. I am tempted to give it a go.
    Good luck - keep it up! I will be willing you on.

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  27. Anonymous7:30 pm GMT

    I've been doing this for two weeks, ie 4 non-consecutive days. I think it is amazing. I've lost four pounds and feel much less sluggish.My always-dodgy digestive system has totally calmed down - we weren't designed to constantly, never-endingly process food and I think my gut really appreciates the rest! I have had hunger pangs every now and then, but they don't build up to a catastrophic level, they seem to fade away... The best bit of advice I was given, from someone who has lived this'diet' for months, is to sip, sip, sip water through the day. I'm also sleeping so well, despite the water! Please do give us some diet ideas... AnnaC

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    1. The hunger does fade away doesn't it? Drinking plenty is important, I like red bush tea on my fast days.

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  28. A friend is doing it, and keeps telling me I should. I definitely think I might give it a try. I was supposed to start dieting in January, but then I was ill. So I said February but my Mum has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and to be honest dieting is the last thing on my mind. But I'll get there :D

    Huge well done on your 4lb ... slow and steady wins the race :D

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  29. Hi Sue

    I too am following this programme, although mostly I am doing it for the very many health benefits. I feel more alert, sleep better (perhaps the reduction in caffeine?) and enjoy the challenge of really thinking about everything I eat on fast days. Not to mention, waking up the following morning and really, really enjoying my first coffee of the day. Also I have lost 7lbs and my muffin-tops already and only started in November. I took two weeks off over Christmas and then just picked up again when I returned to work - it really is the easiest regime to build into one's lifestyle. I love the fact that I could eat half an enourmous homemade Bakewell Slice and still not put on a ounce.

    I will be starting to put some of my favourite recipes on my blog so pop over and take a look at my Veg Soup, which comes in at 100 calories for 1.5 pints.

    Carole x

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  30. Everyone should see the film "Hungry for Change." You can read more about it on their website. I enjoy your blog and photos!

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  31. I've been doing this for 6 weeks now and have lost 8lbs. I lost 2lbs a week in the first 2 weeks and it now seems to have settled at 1lb a week. I usually do my fast days on Monday and Thursdays, but move them if there is something happening involving food. Like the Monday when it was my daughter's birthday when I just moved my fast day to Tuesday). That's the brilliant thing about this way of eating, it's so flexible.

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    1. Absolutely. I love that aspect of it.

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  32. It's something I am dabbling in too, mostly for health benefits, weight loss is an added bonus :)

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  33. We've been doing this since about August. We both lost weight initially, then have stayed static for quite a while (I'm at my ideal anyway, so very happy). We found that we love not feeling over full - we feel better on our fast days (Tuesdays and Thursdays)!
    The original plan was more for the long term health benefits rather than weight loss. The idea that because we eat too much our bodies stay in 'growth' mode rather than 'repair' mode spurred us on.
    We've explained to the kids what we're doing, and they just take it for granted that a couple of times a week they get to have something for tea that dad doesn't like!

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    1. It's really encouraging to hear that so many others are fasting. The long-term health benefits are another reason why I am so keen to carry on.

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  34. I'm now at the point of trying this myself, having dragged my heel. Very interested in knowing how it's worked for people. Have heard many positive reports.

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  35. I did this for a couple of weeks after the programme first came out and was amazed and astonished at how well I felt, rejuvenated and invigorated rather than the tired and hungry feelings I was expecting. Yes, you do get hunger pangs, but a cup of black coffee or a large glass of sparkling water helps the pangs to go away and then you go back to feeling lighter and really good again.

    I was going to resume this immediately after Christmas but fell victim to this dreadful flu type bug that is doing the rounds and I'm now only just starting to feel (almost) 100%. So I have decided that next week will be the week I will jump back into this style of eating and hopefully remain doing it for the long term health reasons as well as the brilliant weight loss and feeling of lightness it gives you.

    Nice to hear that you are doing well on it and that it suits you. I am going to spend this weekend doing some calorie research and actually planningout a list of suitable meals so that I can plan ahead for each week and not be led into temptation by not having things ready. My days are usually Monday and Thursday.

    Sue xx

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  36. Anonymous1:43 pm GMT

    A version of this 5:2 diet was in Good Housekeeping magazine in the spring of last year, it was being targeted as being helpful for preventing breast cancer and was related to a NHS hospital that had done trials - I can't find the link now.

    The food on the fast days was based on vegetables, milk and milk products such as cottage cheese and yogurt. I soon got fed up with the milkyness of this diet and now I just have home made soup with toasted seeds on top for both meals. I make these and freeze in bulk as I've found that the food cravings are diminished if I don't have to think about food at all.

    On fast days the rest of the family eat home made frozen ready meals like chilli, lasagne or spag bol that so I don't spend time cooking for anyone.

    I've lost 2 stone so far.

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  37. Anonymous1:51 pm GMT

    I found the link to the Good Housekeeping version of the 5:2 diet

    http://www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/health/diets-2-day-diet-dairy-diet?click=main_sr

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    1. Thanks for the link and your comment. Well done for losing such a lot of weight! I too would get weary of the milkyness and I love your idea of building a freezer supply of soup and other meals for the rest of the family. It is nice to have a rest from cooking as well as eating on fast days -a rest from food in fact.

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  38. Anonymous3:21 pm GMT

    Thanks for your reply Sue.
    As a further comment, if you pick your 500 calories carefully you can save a lot of money on groceries too.

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    1. So smoked salmon and prawns are out then? Damn! I see what you mean though.

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  39. Hello Sue
    I did this diet for quite a few weeks last year, just after the horizon programme, I felt great on it and lost a fair bit of weight too, then along came winter and Christmas and it all went to pot.
    I have started again this week and funily enough did monday and wednesday, but my days will change depending on what the week holds.
    It will be wonderful to see what you've been eating as it can be a bit tricky especially when having to feed the family too.
    looking forward to more posts, in the meantime i am going to try your cinnamon roll!
    love jooles xxx

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  40. I'm doing it too Sue. Consecutive days and have been doing it for a few weeks. Going well, not feeling too hungry and not seeing a loss in energy either. I have had the odd week off around Christmas and recent bad weather but it's encouraging me to eat healthily even when I'm not on a fast day.

    I saw the programme when it first aired on the BBC and was inspired to have a go. The long term health benefits seem to be great too.

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  41. I'm doing it too, and have recommended it to friends. I've lost 6 lbs in 3 weeks. It's much more do-able than I thought it would be and I love waking up the day after a fast day and thinking oh, goodie, I can eat normally today. When it's a fast day I have a banana for breakfast, soup for lunch and something very light for supper. I think my appetite has shrunk a little as it's getting easier all the time.

    Anyway, I'm rambling - well done on your 4 lbs loss, and enjoy your blondies this weekend!

    Gillian x

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  42. Hi Sue

    Thanks inspired for the second time since following your blog. I just have a quick question can you not have milk in tea or coffee throughout the day, even if the milk is part of the 500 calories? Tried to find out online but not having much luck.

    Thanks again

    Louise x

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    1. Your 500 cals can be made up any way you like. I allow myself two coffees with milk on fast days but the milk comes out of my 500 cals.
      Black tea and milk can be drunk freely.

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    2. Thanks Sue, tried it today for the first time. Porridge for breakfast and chicken and mushroom Thai soup for dinner. Wasn't as bad as I imagined it could be. 4-6pm was the worst could have ate a scabby horse!!!

      Louise

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  43. I am very fearful of hunger pangs and have no will power. I fear I am not an ideal candidate for this diet but will enjoy it vicariously because you are such a good writer.

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  44. I think this is an excellent way to keep your weight down or to lose it. I used to have "fasting" days regularly before my DH retired, it isn't so easy now!
    Carol xx

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