My sure-fire weight loss plan

There is a silver bullet in the fight against flab that the diet industry does not want you to know about. In fact, they are doing their utmost to hide from us the fact that there is a quick, simple and – dare I say it – easy way to ensure that nobody is heavier than they would like to be.

My interest is these matters has been an enduring one; I suppose it is the legacy of running health clubs for 25 years. A big part of my job was helping my customers lose weight; I used to hold annual weight loss awards in my Plymouth health club, Physique & Figurama, to celebrate my star slimmers’ achievements (pictured).

But unlike the fitness industry, the enormous $100 billion diet industry has a vested interest in keeping its customers overweight for as long as possible, seducing us with a bewildering array of dubious products and services. After all, what kind of business wants to lose customers as quickly as possible?

Before the day arrives when that other behemoth, the pharmaceutical industry, develops a magic pill which renders the diet industry’s so-called experts’ products and services redundant, I propose there is a natural solution.

My wife and I used to have to watch the calories very closely while maintaining a healthy diet. But despite our best efforts, the pounds crept on. We were never obese, but we knew we could so easily have become so.

At my own peak (I am 5’11”) I reached 14st 1lb and my waist had expanded from 32″ to 38″. Yet after 20 years of wishing each spring that I could enter the summer looking trim, I have finally succeeded. I have lost 21lbs in four weeks.

How has this been achieved? The answer is that I have fasted my flab off. Some days, 2 ¼ lbs would vanish.

The regime I followed goes like this: Monday, fast; Tuesday, eat (but only the amount I would eat normally); Wednesday, fast; Thursday, eat; Friday, fast; and, glory be, I would eat both days of the weekend. But during those days of fasting, I still enjoyed my cappuccinos after work and drank plenty of milkless green tea as well as Oxo cube drinks. Keeping up the fluids is crucial.

So there you have it: a regime which will deliver weight loss beyond your wildest dreams. And unlike these paid-for diets, my regime didn’t cost me a penny. In fact, I saved 40 per cent of my typical supermarket food bill on those intensive weeks.

The fasting regime worked for me, and in spectacular fashion. Nothing else had. I have to stress that I am not a man of incredible willpower; I still have not been able to break with my ten fags a day as so many of you have. If you can do that too then congratulations.

Exercise is always important, regardless of how many calories you’re consuming, so I also continued my long-established practice of having two 1½-mile walks each day. I don’t amble along, but try to walk at a brisk enough pace so as to compel me after a short time to draw breath through my mouth. So successful have my knee replacements been that I could even jog if I wanted to. Well done NHS! You’ve probably saved me from a wheelchair.

Now, I think I know your next question. Did I feel wretched on those days of fasting? Not at all. I suffered absolutely no adverse effects: no hunger pangs, no nothing. What I did notice, however, was that on those days of fasting I was considerably sharper and much more alert.

The beauty of this system – which would have made my health club boom as never before had I thought of it in those days – is that stick is followed by carrot in double-quick time.

The diet industry wants you to believe that results take time – while they make money – and considerable effort on your part – which, of course, they can help alleviate. But by fasting, I have reached my target weight rapidly with minimal effort. Every second day I would get back to eating before I plunged in again. And the weekends were simply heaven: two whole days of normal (not excessive) eating.

Another great boon you will enjoy is that, on those days of fasting, your body – which is normally clogged and at work 24/7 – is flushed out with stomach and bowels rested up; it is given a detox, if you like. And unlike those few successful dieters who mostly see it all come back on again, my method is truly sure-fire.

When I get on the scales in the morning following the previous day’s fast, it is a moment of drama. But it isn’t a question of whether I have lost weight, but rather one of how much.

Now that I have reached my goal of 12st 4lbs, which equates to a reduction of six belt notches, I am only fasting one day a week. I know that, should my weight start creeping up again, I have the means to nuke the flab.

Fasting one day a week represents a weekly drop in calories of around 15 per cent, and hopefully that should be sufficient for me. If your body naturally stores little excess fat, you may only need to fast once a fortnight to keep the weight down; but if you’re obese, you may instead be better off fasting two days a week. It’s really a case of trial and error.

Another beauty of my regime is that I shall not be condemned to eating things which are prescribed to me, many of which I don’t particularly like, at the expense of foods I do enjoy.

It is interesting to ponder why, if there are negative health side-effects of fasting, so many of the world’s religions insist on it. And remember that early man was never guaranteed three square meals a day; he regularly fasted between kills and his system evolved accordingly. Evolution works slowly and we all still have that ability. Did you ever see an overweight bushman?

Good luck to anyone who may be inspired to try this sure-fire method of losing weight. Keep me posted and let me know how you’re doing.

About tomhmackenzie

Born Derek James Craig in 1939, I was stripped of my identity and renamed Thomas Humphreys in the Foundling Hospital's last intake of illegitimate children. After leaving the hospital at 15, I managed to find work in a Fleet Street press agency before being called up for National Service with the 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars who were, at that time, engaged with the IRA in Northern Ireland. Following my spell in the Army, I sought out and located my biological parents at age 20. I then became Thomas Humphrey Mackenzie and formed the closest of relationships with my parents for the rest of their lives. All this formed the basis of my book, The Last Foundling (Pan Macmillan), which went on to become an international best seller.

Posted on July 10, 2012, in health and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Leslie Marsden

    I read your article about your weight loss by fasting and I agree entirely! I went without lunch some years ago for eight days whilst my wife was away visting her mother in Manchester. I lost eight pounds in that time, which pleased me no end! I ate a cereal for breakfast and I cooked an evening meal for myself and my grandson each day. I am fortunate in the fact that I never feel hungry. I eat because either it it ‘time’ or out of the pleasure of the taste of food in my mouth. I love spicy food and occasionally the odd cake. My problem is I like to snack on crispy things at night whilst watching TV, but if they are not in the house is doesn’t bother me! Thank you for a very interesting and enlightening article, which I am sure will help many others to get off the expensive diet band wagon.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Lesley. They’re much appreciated.

      I’m pleased that you’ve also enjoyed the benefits of fasting. It’s in the evening when we’re certainly most likely to go off the rails. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to the calories going in to you versus the calories being spent.



  2. Inspired by your article in the Herald on 12th July, my wife and I have today started our first day of fasting.
    I am 18stone ( my wife’s weight is secret!) and have tried most diets and although I have had some success I tend to put it back on when I stop. I usually stop because it’s expensive or I have to eat differently to the rest of the family. So this plan seams perfect for us.
    Thanks for the kickstart and I shall keep you informed of progress
    Regards Ian

    • Thanks, Ian, for your kind words. I much appreciate what you’ve said and I wish you the very best of success .

      I got to the point after reaching my target weight that I could very happily have gone on with one day on and one day off; I almost felt sad to abandon the regime! What spurred me on was the sheer speed with which results came through. In a way, it was almost intoxicating.

      And what an incredible bonus, that to achieve this I should save large amounts of money, not spend, and all the time I carry on eating all the things that I’ve always enjoyed… Brilliant!

      On the basis that I have faith that you will succeed, your morale will receive such an incredible boost. Effectively, it’ll be a new Ian – with a trident in hand to nuke the odd pound or two that might creep back. Set yourself a goal, and when you reach it slide under it one or two pounds: and there you stay.

      Hang in there! This is almost certainly the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself. It could also put years on your life.



  3. My mother read your article in the Herald and showed it to me. I was a bit sceptical at first, probably because I have been influenced by the slimming clubs I’ve attended in the past. But it struck a cord with us both and we thought we’d give it a go. Three days in and we are quite happy – we’re not particularly hungry and we haven’t felt any adverse effects. I enjoy my food more on my eating days and eat slower than I used to, to savour every mouthful! I’ll keep you informed of our progress. This could turn the diet business on its head!!! I just love a revolution! Many thanks

  4. Many thanks for your interest, Shirley.

    As you will appreciate, I have no axe to grind. People have often said of me that I am something of a problem solver and, late in the day, I have to admit, I think I may have solved a very big one. It has worked for me – spectacularly and in incredibly short a timescale – and I would love to feel that it will work for you. If you stick to your guns it surely will.

    Good luck and keep me posted.



  1. Pingback: The fast way to lose weight | The Last Foundling

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