As part of my aim to get healthier and fitter, I thought it would be interesting to try out a few of the different diets that are on the market and see what really works (or not).
I thought I would start with a relatively simple one to “ease myself in”. So, may I present The Mini-Fast.
What is it?
I’m sure you’ve all heard about the trend in fasting such as the 5:2 diet, well this takes that concept but in an easier to follow format. Rather than severely limiting your daily calories twice a week, which can be difficult to fit around every day life and leave you feeling hungry (and grumpy if you’re anything like me!), instead you take advantage of your natural fast overnight and extend it to midday.
During this time you are also encouraged to do 40 minutes of excercise before your first meal of the day.
What results can I expect?
Apparently I can expect to lose up to a stone in six weeks.
How does it work?
The man behind the diet, Dr. Julian Whittaker, director of the Whittaker Wellness Institute in Newport Beach, California, says:
The mini-fast with exercise takes advantage of the natural fast you undertake every night. Let us say that you finish dinner by 8pm, by the time you get up at 7am the next morning you will have fasted for 11 hours.
At that point your body is beginning to deplete the glycogen stores and beginning to rely on fat for energy.
But when you exercise in the morning, while still in this fasting state, you rev up your body’s engine. You low through your remaining glycogen and go straight into burning fat and until you eat you will remain in that fat-burning state.
What do I have to do?
It sounds quite simple. All I have to do is abstain from eating before midday. Tea, coffee, water and other low calorie drinks are allowed, you can even add a small amount of skimmed milk and calorie- free sweeteners if required, but no food.
After midday, you are just told to eat sensibly with no calorie counting. Ideally, you should stick to lean meat or fish, vegetables and low fat, low glycemic carbohydrates in sensible portions. Obviously, junk food isn’t recommended and alcohol should be consumed in moderation, if at all.
What is the 7 Minute Workout Challenge?
I bought this app a while ago, but only actually completed one workout before today.
The app claims that just by performing this cycle of 12 exercises once a day you can achieve the equivalent of one hour’s workout in just 7 minutes.
The catch is – you need to do then to the best of your abilities (high-instensity) and rest very little in between…
The 7 minute workout effectively increases your metabolism, so the benefit is in effect throughout the day.
I don’t always have the time or energy to perform the 40 minute workout required by this diet, so I thought I’d put this app to good use and try it alongside.
Why do I like the idea of this diet?
It doesn’t feel like I need to go too much out of my way to make this work. In fact, it almost sounds too good to be true. I’m rubbish at eating breakfast anyway, so usually end up snacking on something unhealthy by 10-11am, so having the no food before midday rule will help me cut out those wasted calories.
What are my concerns?
As I said above, it does almost sound too good to be true. If this diet works then it is very little effort for a reasonably good return.
We normally hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but this diet cuts it out. The claim is that, yes, breakfast does kick-start your metabolism, but by cutting these calories out you will actually have better results. Even if you do end up eating more at lunch through skipping breakfast, it is very unlikely that you will eat an entire extra meal’s worth of calories and therefore will still have taken in less than normal by the end of the day.
I’m going to try this diet in its loosest sense to begin with. I will fast before midday, not eat junk and try to eat reasonably healthily for the rest of the day. I am also committing to doing the 7 Minute Workout Challenge every morning.
So, my first workout is complete and I’m mid-way through my first morning fast. It’s early days, but so far this feels doable and I’m looking forward to seeing what the results are.