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The Fast Diet makes it easier than ever to lose weight. Here's how to start intermittent fasting...

Forget weighing out your food or sticking to the same few foods mealtime after mealtime because there's a new way to lose weight - intermittent fasting. And The Fast Diet is the latest and easiest way to do it.

Unlike other diet plans, intermittent fasting means you're not on a diet all of the time. Nor do you have to starve when you are. On fasting days, you simply cut your calories. Then, you're pretty much free to eat what you like on your days off. Simple!

Fasting isn't a new concept. Intermittent fasting to lose weight - and improve your health - is though. The Alternate Day Fasting Diet (opens in new tab) was one of the first plans that centred on this new approach to weight loss. The Fast Diet, or 5:2 Diet, is slightly different.

Instead of fasting every other day, authors Dr Michael Mosley and food journalist, Mimi Spencer advocate cutting your calories (500kcal for women and 600kcal for men) just two days a week then eating well for the other five. The days can be consecutive or you can spread them out in the week - whatever's easiest for you. They say it's just as effective but much easier to stick to. On fasting days, you can also spread your calories out however you wish - whether it's one or two large meals or smaller snacks throughout the day. Dr Michael says he prefers to have just two meals a day (breakfast and dinner) while Mimi prefers several small meals.

The Fast Diet makes intermittent fasting easier than ever. Click through to find out why - and get started - now...

Buy The Fast Diet: The Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting (opens in new tab) by Dr Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer (Short Books, £0.95).

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The Background To The Fast Diet

The Background To The Fast Diet

Dr Michael Mosley developed the plan after having an MRI scan for a programme he was working on. The results showed that he was what he describes as 'TOFI' - 'Thin on the Outside and Fat on the Inside'. His blood pressure and cholestoral were both dramatically above what they should be, yet he was only slightly overweight. He then tried a number of intermittent fasting diets, including The Alternate Day, fasting for four days out of seven and eating nothing for 24 hours. Struggling to stick to any, he came up with The Fast or 5:2 Diet. Buy The Fast Diet: The Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting (opens in new tab)

Is The Fast Diet For Me?

Is The Fast Diet For Me?

'We know that for many people the standard diet advice simply does not work', Dr Mosley explains in his new book, The Fast Diet: The Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting (opens in new tab) (Short Books; £7.99). 'The Fast Diet is a radical alternative.' Why? 'The Fast Diet demands we think not just about what we eat but when we eat it. There are no complicated rules to follow; the strategy is flexible, comprehensible and user-friendly. There is no daily slog of calorie control, you will still enjoy the foods you love [and] once the weight is off, sticking to the basic programme means it stays off.' Buy The Fast Diet: The Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting (opens in new tab)

The Science Behind The Fast Diet

The Science Behind The Fast Diet

'If you eat 500 or 600 calories two days a week and don't significantly overcompensate the rest of the week, then you will lose weight in a steady fashion', Dr Mosley says. But your waistline isn't the only place where his book claims that you'll notice a difference. We are now eating more junk food than ever before so our bodies are no longer used to the periods of hunger that they are designed to withstand. They are also forced to release 'the fat-making hormone' insulin more often to break down sugar. This, science suggests, is having a detrimental affect on our health - causing us to age - and develop diseases related to old age such as cancer or dementia - earlier. Intermittent Fasting is thought to have the opposite effect. Over time, your mood should improve too. Buy The Fast Diet: The Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting (opens in new tab)

What About Feeling Hungry On The Fast Diet?

What About Feeling Hungry On The Fast Diet?

Feeling hungry when fasting is an obvious concern. 'There is no reason to be alarmed by occasional, short-term hunger. Given base-level good health, you will not perish...Your body is designed to go without food for longish periods, even if it has lost the skill through years of grazing, picking and snacking'. 'The human brain is adept at persuading us that we're hungry in almost all situtations. There is no need to panic about this', Dr Mosley says. 'On a fast day, refrain, restrain, rivert and distract'. Buy The Fast Diet: The Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting (opens in new tab)

Getting Started On The Fast Diet

(Image credit: Garo/Phanie / Rex Features)

Getting Started On The Fast Diet

As long as you're fit, healthy and haven't been told not to fast, then Mimi Spencer recommends starting 'on a day when you feel strong, purposeful, calm and committed' but to 'avoid high days, holidays and days when you're booked in for a three-course lunch'. There really is no time like the present! Just make sure you take measurements (your BMI, weight and target weight) first and keep a note of your progress. Buy The Fast Diet: The Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting (opens in new tab)

What And When To Eat On The Fast Diet

What And When To Eat On The Fast Diet

The Fast Diet book offers a number of tasty meal ideas, but when you fast and how you use your 500 calories on those two days is up to you - as long as the foods you choose are high in protein, satisfying and have a low GI. Dr Mosley fasts on a Monday and Thursday with 'a moderate breakfast, no lunch and a light supper'. Mimi does it slightly differently, eating 'two meals with a few snacks (an apple, some carrot sticks) in between, simply because the vast plain between breakfast and supper feels too great' on fast days. Buy The Fast Diet: The Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting (opens in new tab)

And What About The Other Days On The Fast Diet?

And What About The Other Days On The Fast Diet?

Again, what you eat is up to you but still try to eat well. As Mimi explains: '[The] On/Off switch is critical. It means that, on a fast day, though you're eating a quarter of your calorie intake, tomorrow you can eat as you please. When you're not fasting, ignore fasting...There may be pancakes for breakfast, or lunch with friends, wine with supper, apple pie with cream. You'll still get pleasure from food.' Buy The Fast Diet: The Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting (opens in new tab)

How Much Weight Can You Expect To Lose On The Fast Diet?

How Much Weight Can You Expect To Lose On The Fast Diet?

The Fast Diet isn't a quick fix weight loss method, but you will notice a difference. 'Some weeks more; some weeks less', Mimi explains. 'As a basic guide, you might anticipate a loss of around a pound with each fast day [although not all of this will be fat]. You should, however, lose around ten pounds of fat over a ten-week period which beats a typical low-calorie diet.' Buy The Fast Diet: The Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting (opens in new tab)