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How does IF work, which version is best for you — and, most importantly, is it safe? One trial in compared IF versus a standard calorie restriction diet for a full year and concluded both forms of dieting were similarly effective. However, any diet is only effective if people stick to it — and many slimmers say they find IF much easier than cutting calories. Diet followers claim fasting gives vital organs and the digestive system a rest from breaking down food thus reducing stress and inflammation in the body, which they say can lower the risk of serious conditions, such as heart disease.

However, most of the trials to date have been animal studies, and more human research is needed to confirm these benefits. There is currently no evidence to show that IF — even the extreme OMAD — is harmful, and experts say healthy people of any weight can consider fasting as a way to shed pounds.

Danielle Jones, 33, is a copywriter. She lives in Portsmouth with her husband and two daughters, aged two and four:. Three months ago I saw a shocking picture of myself that was a real wake-up call.

Intermittent fasting: The 5:2 plan is the hottest new weight loss diet

When I was 23, I weighed just 7st 5lb, but over the last decade had slowly piled on weight — especially after having my two daughters. I was a dress size , weighing over 15 stone, and at 5ft 6in had a BMI of 32, which is classed as dangerously obese. My main meals were actually pretty healthy, but my downfalls were drinking 10 cups of tea and coffee daily, each with 2tsp of sugar, plus a litre and a half of full-fat Coke.

I also liked to snack on Pringles and Dairy Milk after dinner. So instead I chose the intermittent-fasting programme.

While on the diet, I continued skipping breakfast — only having black coffee in the morning until lunch at 12 noon — and then ate dinner around pm. I felt great with lots of energy. I did find my sleep was disturbed for the first couple of weeks, but this soon settled. The weight started falling off immediately, at around lb per week for the first six weeks. This has now levelled out to lb a week. For example, last night I had chicken fajitas with lots of veg, cheese and sour cream.

When Christmas and New Year hit, my fasting plan went out the window. The silly season meant lots of booze, late-night eating and peer pressure. January is also riddled with birthdays in my family, which made it difficult to stick to the hour fasting period. I didn't want to be ''that guy'' at the family barbecue who just drinks water the whole time. While you can be flexible with the times you eat, as long as you stick to the ratio, it's not so easy when you face peer pressure and an endless line-up of delicious snacks.

Fast Dr Michael Mosley on his latest rapid weight loss diet | London Evening Standard

I really enjoyed my three-week trial and think it could work for a lot of people. But I'd advise pursuing it during a quieter time of year.

Don't punish yourself at birthdays and celebrations and force yourself to miss out - your happiness will suffer! But if you have a three-month period where there's not a lot going on, I'd say dive right in. The all-new Ask a Chef is available now! With fantastic recipes from the popular newspaper series, there is inspiration for everything from salads to chocolate cakes and quiches to sausage rolls - sure to impress at your next family or social gathering!

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Why Intermittent Fasting Is More Than A Passing Fad

Wednesday, 6 February Photo: Getty Images. It's important to play around with the idea and find a pattern that suits you.

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If you don't usually eat breakfast, stick with that. So I stuck with that for another four weeks, but it didn't get any better. On fast days, instead of experiencing a primal rush, my energy levels dropped — and dipped lower as the weeks went by. Any weight-loss benefit was counteracted by the fact that on my non-fast days, I ate twice as much as I would normally.

I became bad-tempered. As, like many women, I have a history of erratic eating, my children didn't seem remotely surprised that I veered from an egg and cucumber for dinner one day to fried bacon sandwiches the next. However, my being scratchy and exhausted upset them, to the point that they started trying to feed me. Remember, it's a general guideline: one diet doesn't fit all, but the general premise of cutting calorie intake to the quarter of what you are used to, on two days a week, does work.

It does, however, depend on what your calorie intake was in the first place. I'm not the only person to feel this way about the I talked to a close friend who admitted she was finding it as hard as I did. This seems to be a major drawback — that the denying of food leads to an insurmountable, joyless obsession with it. It occurred to me that we have ended up doing precisely what we were supposed to avoid — making dieting difficult.

And, he admits, you can cut yourself some slack: "If you're lacking in energy, eat more than calories.

Spend your two days eating just protein and veg, or cut out carbs. Mosley also suggests remembering that, on the days you are not subsisting on a boiled egg and a stick of celery, you can eat anything you want — from pizzas to chocolate waffles. Even better, as the entire planet seems to have embraced it, it is possible to be sociable and diet at the same time. So, I am not giving up. I am taking Mosley's advice, cutting just the carbs and upping the calories and Gemma Fullam You know you've arrived in Japan when the airport shuttle is the Hello Kitty Haruka Express, a pristine white loco bedecked with decals of the too-cute anime cat.

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