I’ve been weight watching for a decade. Eventually I decided it would be better to lose it instead. This is the first diet I’ve tried that actually worked!
- 1 What Is It?
- 2 My Experience
- 2.1 Why Pick This Diet?
- 2.2 How Do You Do It?
- 2.3 Is It Difficult to Do?
- 2.4 How Long Does this Diet Take to Get Used To?
- 2.5 Did You Follow the Diet Closely?
- 2.6 What Helped the Diet Most?
- 2.7 What Did You Eat Less Of?
- 2.8 What Did You Eat More Of?
- 2.9 Did the Diet Work as Described?
- 2.10 What Was the Easiest Thing?
- 2.11 What Was the Hardest Thing?
- 2.12 Some Words of Advice
- 3 Here’s a Diet Spreadsheet For You
- 4 Disclaimer
- 5 Related Posts
What Is It?
It’s a diet that has been researched by Dr Michael Mosley. You may have seen him on TV, looking at other aspects of health and physiology. You can be sure that he has experienced everything he has written about.
The method is simple:
stick to a daily limit
of 800 kCal
This worked for me because it has a clear and simple target. But if you have any ailments, don’t jump into it without assessing any potential risk to your health first.
You don’t necessarily need the book in order to get results, but I found the additional information helpful. I also find it helpful to read about it as I go because just because its encouraging and helps you to stay with it.
If you want a copy, consider supporting Waterstones by buying it here. You can also see what he says about it himself on his own website.
My diet brought about a weight loss of 8 kilograms over 5 months. That’s about 10% of my body mass and its probably mostly fat. That has to be a good thing. It will definitely help to steer me away from diabetes.
It took me 5 months to lose the weight. According to the book, I could have lost the weight at about twice that speed. I put this down to my sedentary lifestyle. I enjoy creating this website, but its not the same thing as running a marathon. Had I raised my level of exercise I’m sure I would have lost weight a lot quicker.
Why Pick This Diet?
I found this diet a lot easier to consider for a few reasons.
- I have limited cooking abilities and without that skill, a lot of the diets I have looked at come apart at the seams. When they refer to replacing or omitting specific food types it severely limits the range of dishes I can make.
- The different diets seem to contradict each other with respect to what you should and shouldn’t eat and what the health benefits are. To date, I haven’t had enough interest to figure out the relative merits. So in order to choose a different diet, I’d have to have an extended phase of research (including finding recipes for useless cooks).
- I like measuring things, so counting my calories is actually something I am interested in doing for its own sake. I can quite understand that for other minds it would be a dull task.
In short, measuring things suits me just fine and I can eat what I want in theory. Seems like a good start.
How Do You Do It?
Making the adjustments necessary to get in line with a limited calorie diet isn’t as simple as it sounds…
Don’t make excuses for yourself.
- Don’t buy biscuits, cakes or alcohol. If they aren’t in the house you won’t eat them.
- Don’t buy the foods you like when you suspect they might be high in calories… they probably are.
- When you find out that the food you thought was low calorie isn’t, it’s true value has to go on the hit list as well.
Find Some Useful Alternatives
This wasn’t so easy. It’s possible to make a ‘side-salad’ dish from the local store more interesting dish by adding anchovies, pine-nuts olives and feta cheese in measured amounts. Being able to eat a salad that I liked helped a lot. It’s a good one to have as an evening meal.
I didn’t give up potatoes and rice as some diets prefer. Instead, I measured them and put them into the calculation. One of my best low-calorie meals is spiced rice (cinnamon, cardamon and turmeric), with (frozen) pineapple chunks. You can cook the whole thing in a rice cooker in one go. It makes a decent base for a more ambitious recipe as well.
Is It Difficult to Do?
When people started to notice that I looked gorgeous they started asking questions. I was asked the difficulty question a lot. My answer was that if it were that difficult I wouldn’t be able to stick to it. I love food after all.
800 kCal is about one-third of the kCal intake that is considered normal in the UK for men these days. For some, the dietary figure suggested by Dr Mosley comes as a bit of a shock. Dr Mosley says he arrived at this figure from participant feedback on his research and he referred to as the magic number for weight loss.
How Long Does this Diet Take to Get Used To?
I didn’t expect to change my diet overnight. I allowed myself 1 month to ease myself in. It takes time to…
- Adjust to eating less
- To adapt to your new diet
- To learn what foods you need to remove
- To find good replacements
Although I was targeting 800 kCal daily, I allowed myself something extra when I felt I needed it.
Did You Follow the Diet Closely?
I didn’t aim to follow the diet strictly, although my version of loosely would probably seem ‘Not Loose At All’ to some people.
Counter-intuitively, to make things easier for myself I didn’t have any ‘rest days’ at the weekend or whatever. I felt it would be easier to make progress if I stayed with the same limit for each and every day. One less thing to think about, and no bump going back to the restricted intake.
Since the diet took several months to complete, I did have lapses where I ate good solid meals for a couple of days or just felt I needed something extra to stay healthy.
What Helped the Diet Most?
It quickly became apparent that I needed a spreadsheet to be able to keep track of the number of kCals in foods and how much I was eating. By measuring the things I learned where I was making mistakes. A number of measurements I discovered were surprising.
Once you know what the problem foods are you will naturally drift away from them if you really do want to lose weight.
What Did You Eat Less Of?
In order to feel full on 800 kCal, you will want to pass over the food that is calorie dense simply because your portion will have to be pitifully small.
You quickly find that meat cannot be the focus of the meal because the small portion size will leave you feeling hungry at the end of the day. You will learn to make the meat a side issue in a plant-based meal. I’m ok with that as it feels intuitive that plant-based foods will be less demanding on your body in general.
What Did You Eat More Of?
Salads, potato, soup and rice became the foundational meals I returned to. Although carbohydrates are not liked by some diets, I feel better with carbs.
Did the Diet Work as Described?
The diet worked but took twice as long to complete than Doc Mosley suggested it might. However, I didn’t boost it with exercise and this was a deliberate choice on my part. If I am to continue going along this track for the foreseeable future, I will need to make it’s daily execution a routine part of my life.
In other words, I don’t want to have to run for 5 kilometres in order to earn the right to eat a biscuit. The daily routine needs to be sustainable.
What Was the Easiest Thing?
The easiest thing about this diet is that its very simple to understand, implement and monitor. That is the key to its success for me. Over time I learned how to determine exactly where I was in relation to to the food I was eating and what the outcome was going to be.
What Was the Hardest Thing?
There are times when you are sticking to your limits rigorously but do not lose weight. A week or more can go by without a long lasting shift in your weight. If you carry on regardless, there will be an inevitable step down in your weight.
One of my most disappointing mistakes was with Nissan noodles. I really liked them. It wasn’t until late into the diet that I realised that I had been tricked by the wording of the calorific value of the contents. They are just as bad as every other manufacturer and you will be taking on about 430 kCal with just one packet. One more packet and your done for the day.
Some Words of Advice
In order to lose weight you have to embrace the following:
- You will feel a little hungry most of the time.
- If it tastes good, you probably shouldn’t eat it :0) At least not in large quantities.
- Accept that the amount of food that people normally eat in a day is unreasonably large.
- People will tell you repeatedly that you can take a break and treat yourself to a big meal, or a lovely treat. All the people that told me that were overweight.
- It will take a few weeks to get into the process properly and you should allow for that.
- You will need to execute your daily moves with the long view firmly in mind. You will need to maintain a patient and steadfast mindset.
- Once you reach your target, you will not be finished with the diet.
Here’s a Diet Spreadsheet For You
I made this spreadsheet for myself and it is intended to be used as a day tracker. Every day I would erase my data and start afresh. It might save you some time to start monitoring your intake using this one and modify it as you go.
Be sure to confirm all of the measurements yourself. The spreadsheet has the following columns:
The number of kCals per 100g portion. You can copy this value from packaging labels.
The number of grams of a food you are eating
The kCals of the portion calculated from the first two columns
The group category for the food
The name of the food
The number of portions you are eating represented by the Total column
The numeric total of the calories you are eating
- nnn kCal
The remaining number of calories available
Care has been taken to keep the information in this article as accurate as possible but errors are possible, so be aware of the full disclaimer here.