Sunday 20 January 2019

My revolutionary new diet of diets

The pear is my current fruit of choice, but I may go back to oranges
The pear is my current fruit of choice, but I may go back to oranges
Brendan O'Connor

I was getting a bit edgy in my final weekend of Christmas idleness. I could barely get into most of my clothes and was limited to the slightly fatter end of my wardrobe. I was sick of drink and sick of people and I felt the need of the monastery. So I soothed myself by reading all the various January diets that were floating around. I wasn't demanding much, just the instant loss of about a stone without too much sacrifice.

A lot of them seemed a bit complicated and a lot of them seemed a bit light on the food side of things. There was no way I was just living on juice, or 800 calories a day, or fasting for two days a week, or for any days a week. What I was looking for was a trend. What were the new simple directives that kept cropping up across all the diets that I could half adopt to try to lose some weight.

And I found it. No breakfast. No breakfast, you see, has become a thing. Well, specifically two meals has become a thing. And a kind of 16-hour fast. This was the perfect diet for me. I never really liked breakfast much. I never used to eat a breakfast until everyone started saying that skipping breakfast made you gain weight. Turns out it doesn't. There's new thinking now around breakfast. Skipping breakfast cuts you down to two meals a day. And it also gives you a long fast. I gather the thinking now among some of the so-called experts is that you should do all your eating in one eight-hour window, and then fast for the other 16 hours. This sounds tricky until you realise that the eight hours you are asleep is included in the 16. And, by the way, you should be getting at least eight hours sleep. Have you read the Sunday supplements? Sleep is the most important thing ever. You should be putting a lot of pressure on yourself to get enough sleep.

I gather the responsible way to do the 16-hour fast is that you have your tea/dinner/supper early, and then you don't eat again until the morning. So you maybe don't eat between six o'clock in the evening and 10 in the morning. But in terms of eating the evening is when I do my best work. Far easier in my book to not eat when you're in work, distracted. So I am doing my eating between 1pm and 9pm-ish. If I get hungry in the morning I might cheat with a small pear. But no real food is taken until lunchtime. Why a pear, you ask? As it happens, I have a very good reason for that. The wife did a running course with Catherina McKiernan, and Catherina swears by the pears apparently. So the pear is my current fruit of choice until I get sick of them. That's how I like to do it. One fruit at a time. Go for it until you can't stand the sight of it and then move on, I might go back to little oranges next.

Then a bit of lunch, soup and a modest sandwich of the mother's brown bread which is a week old but still going strong. I might have a pear in the afternoon too. And then an early enough dinner - smaller portion, fill up the plate with greens - and then try not to eat too much in the evening. Maybe another pear or two. I also have the very odd taste of chocolate. I have a Wispa on the go in the fridge for the last three or four days. I literally take a bite or two of it in the evening when the craving hits. I haven't lost any weight yet but I feel even if the system isn't working, I'm definitely eating less sugar, less food in general and I haven't had a drink all week, so I feel it will pay off.

If you are some kind of nutritionist or expert and you feel moved to write to me to warn me that this diet is daft and possibly dangerous, don't bother. You think I don't know that? But let's see how it goes. If it starts working I will of course be formalising it into some kind of a system, giving it a catchy name and there'll be a book, an inspirational TV show, etc.

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