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the fast diet

Issue 11

October 2015

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Keeping track this autumn

So summer in the UK has been and gone, and the end of summer for many means standing on the scales and regretting all those barbeques and sangrias of the past few months. But do not fret – practise some positive thinking, and if weightloss is your mantra for the autumn, set yourself some realistic and healthy goals.

We like to think that the Fast Diet makes weightloss more manageable. By all means, have an idea of how much you might like to lose in the run up to Christmas, say, but take it one week at a time. If it looks like a long slog ahead, remember that on the 5:2 you will only be counting calories 2 days a week. Immediately it all looks a little less daunting – suddenly you can count the number of days you’ll be dieting until Christmas rather than the number of weeks!

And, as you go along, consider how you will track your progress. So many of us spend our time worrying about the numbers on the scales. Some argue you should weigh yourself frequently, some see it as unhelpful and even demoralising.

An article in the Guardian last month looked at why the scales can’t be trusted, and its author attempted to attribute fluctuations over a long weekend to various daily acts (drinking water, losing fluids, eating meals… even breathing). The conclusion was to weigh yourself daily but ignore the numbers – instead take a rolling weekly average, and only then will you see the true trend. Seems like a lot of hassle, but at least it’s better than reading too much into quite random fluctuations which could play havoc with your perception of how you are doing.

We enjoyed reading some of the more manageable recommendations on the forum. You can find some good discussion threads around worrying less about the numbers on the scales.  A lot of Fast Dieters agree that while you can by all means measure those vital stats, you shouldn't dwell on whether the numbers are going down; look out for other signs of progress, such as changing body shape, the feel of your clothes, or how your general eating habits have changed over time. Weightloss is just one of a number of benefits.

And if you need something a little more visual, you might remember this great method used by Rosie Day, which we shared on our Facebook account. Rosie used beads to represent her target weightloss and popped them into a “weight lost” jar as she shed the pounds. “It's such a satisfying feeling putting a new bead into the 'weight lost' jar,” she told us.

Remember that the Fast Diet is all about minimising the time you spend counting calories and maximising the resultant weightloss and health benefits.

Good luck!

Baked pork tenderloin with fennel

Calorie count: 220
Serves two

Fennel and pork are best of friends, and they probably converse in Italian. This is a flavourful, lip-smacking dish, full of good things for relatively little calorie expenditure.

2 tsps fennel seeds, crushed to release flavour
salt and pepper
1 pork tenderloin, approximately 300g / 10½ oz
Oil for spraying
200ml / ¾ cup chicken stock
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into quarters (keep the fronds for garnish)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Good squeeze of lemon juice
Lemon wedges to serve

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Sprinkle crushed fennel seeds and seasoning onto a piece of baking parchment. Spray the pork with a little oil, then roll in the seeds and seasoning. Sear in a hot pan for a minute on each side to seal and colour the meat. Remove pork, then add stock and crushed garlic to deglaze the pan, cooking for 2 minutes until heated through and garlic is beginning to soften.

Place fennel quarters in a small baking tray, add garlicky stock juices, olive oil and lemon juice; season, and place seared pork fillet on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, covering loosely with foil if necessary to keep the meat moist.

Remove pork from oven and rest on a chopping board, returning the fennel to the oven for a final 5 minutes to further reduce remaining liquid. Slice pork into thick medallions and serve on a bed of hot fennel, drizzled with pan juices and decorated with fennel fronds and a lemon wedge or two.


Spiced red cabbage with apples

Calorie count: 79
Serves six as a side dish

You could try adding this side dish to one of your meals to utilize those autumnal ingredients. This one tastes even better the next day after cooking and freezes well.

Cooking oil spray
1 onion, finely diced
2 apples, peeled and cubed
1 medium red cabbage, quartered and finely sliced
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 clove
1 cardamom pod
250ml / 1 cup tart apple juice
1 tbsp runny honey
Salt and pepper

Heat a spray of oil in a pan and cook onion until softened. Add apples and cook for 3 minutes, stirring gently. Add cabbage, vinegar, bay, spices, apple juice and honey. Stir, cover and simmer on a low heat for 25 minutes or until cabbage is tender. Season and serve.

Track it

Monitor your progress on the diet this autumn with the Fast Diet Tracker.

Not so sweet

Revolutionise your diet with this infographic from Michael about hidden sugars.

Feed your mind

If you’re just setting out on the diet, find all the info you need from the Fast Diet books.

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The Fast Diet, c/o Short Books, Unit 316, ScreenWorks, 22 Highbury Grove, London N5 2EF