Today is another fasting day on my 4:2:1 diet. So I thought I would share with you my plan for fasting days because I know how daunting it can be to try and contain your intake to 500 calories.
My Dad is currently trying to lose some weight and when I mentioned it to him and told him how it has worked for me in the past, and how he can still have the things he wants to he actually sounded defeated when I mentioned the fasting days. But if you find a few 100 calorie snacks you can split your day into snacks if that makes it easier for you, then you can have 5 snacks throughout the day, the secret though is to keep it simple and light. There’s no room on these days for packaged foods, you’ll have to keep it to plain. To make this work for me I had to do some research into the content in some foods, but I guess the one thing you have to accept defeat with is that you will probably struggle to sustain your nutrient intake for the day. For instance what I struggle with on a normal day is my fibre and protein intake. I also don’t think I eat enough variety of vegetables and I struggle to find new ways to get them in, my plan for next week is a warm vegetable salad, I like to add nuts to that so that’s a great way to get them in. But, I do get bored with things from time to time so it’s good to mix it up.
My meal plan for fasting today is:
- Breakfast – coffee
- Lunch /afternoon tea – Fruit/fruit and berry smoothie (use unsweetened almond milk – less calories 43/serve)
- Dinner – hoki fish fillet and steamed veggies (150 calories)
I’m planning to make a smoothie using a banana, strawberries and some frozen berries (approx 200 calories), that leaves me 150 calories for my coffee at work and at home this morning.
My recommendations for snacking on a fasting day are keep it to fresh fruit and veggies. For instance you can use:
- Slices of carrot, celery and capsicum dipped in hummus
- Rice cakes with cottage cheese and tomato
- Apples and pears
- Rice crackers (probably the only packaged snack I would suggest)
Of course sticking to salads on fasting days would also be an easier option, just be aware of adding dressings because some contain a lot of sugar, also be aware of adding too many nuts, cheeses etc. Just add a little of everything. I like to make a vegetable salad with either sweet potato or pumpkin, capsicum, onion, mushrooms, baby spinach and pine nuts. You can add herbs for extra flavour and I usually make my own dressing from lemon juice and olive oil, you can also add in some balsamic vinegar.
Fasting days can be challenging, just remember to plan your week in advance. Have your fasting days preferably on a busy day when you have lots of distractions, I choose to have mine on working days where eating is more structured because that’s what I find I really need on these days, to begin with anyway. I leave my “free days” for days when I’m catching up with family or friends because I never know what those days might hold, and the other days are easy. I guess I don’t really need the “free days” and they’re never really too over the top, but they are days I might struggle to manage within my 1200 calorie days. As you go with the routine you find you don’t really need those days, and last time I did this the fasting days weren’t an issue for me either, you just get more creative.
Just remember everything in moderation, and fasting diets aren’t for everyone, I only use it when I feel like I’ve plateaued and I need to lose a few extra kilos, it seems to give me that kick start I seem to need without having to starve myself – since that’s not a healthy strategy. You might think you’re starving yourself on fasting days, but if you go about it correctly you’ll find you really aren’t, and I don’t really struggle with them that much what I do struggle with is a variety of low calorie options.
I also don’t do any hard cardio exercise on these days, I stick to something basic. Either a challenge like the squat and pushup ones that seem to be going around on facebook, or yoga.