Kate, 45, the reformed yo-yo dieter
October 2013 Photo (c) Chris O'Donovan
Name: Kate Harrison
Where do you live? Brighton, UK
Diet history: I've been dieting on and off for more than 20 years, all my adult life. My weight's varied by two and a half stone. Most successful was veggie low-carbing, but it just wasn't sustainable as I love baking. By the summer of 2012, I'd pretty much given up.
5:2 history: Before I began 5:2,I felt my weight was out of control. Worried about diabetes and cancer in the family. Then I saw the BBC's Horizon show in August 2012, and decided to try intermittent fasting. I realised very quickly it was working – and then set up Facebook group to share experiences.
Weight loss: I weighed 11 ½ stone, way too much for me at 5ft 4. Now I am nine stone three, so that’s 31 pounds lost/over 14kg. I now take a UK dress size 10-12 (that's 6-8 in US sizes). I feel brilliant about it – mainly because this feels so sustainable. I celebrated my Fastiversary - a year of doing it - in August 2013, and plan to do it for good.
I also talk more about my journey on my podcasts...
Positive health changes: I normally get quite grumpy in the winter, but for two years running, I've felt more energetic than ever. I am confident this is making a real difference to my mood and my health.
Fast Day Routine? I skip breakfast and tend to wait as long as possible before eating. So I might have lunch but more often, now, I wait till dinner and have some home-made soup plus a salad and Ryvita, or a great veggie dish. I like cooking but I also like the Kirsty’s Moroccan Veg & Quinoa, really filling.
How do you deal with the hunger pangs on a Fast Day – and how often do you fast? I fast twice a week, but not at all on holiday, and perhaps three days before and after holidays, to keep my weight stable. I don’t get that hungry any more, not since my first couple of fasts, but I drink fizzy water or black coffee or herb tea if I get peckish, and the hunger goes after 15 minutes or so.
What’s the treat you enjoy on Feast Days? Where do I start? I love cheese, chocolate, and baking. I am a real foodie. But though I still enjoy everything I love, this approach has changed my attitude. I am likely to eat smaller portions without thinking about it, and to enjoy my treats without guilt. I think it’s how skinny people eat naturally but it feels revolutionary for me.
How have your friends and family responded to your new lifestyle? They’re really pleased though some were sceptical at first. My boyfriend is now trying it, and other friends too. The lovely thing is that the forums and Facebook have also created a fantastic new community of people, which has been so great to see.
Will you be carrying on once you’ve reached the weight you want? Definitely. I plan to stay on a version of 5:2 for life. For the health benefits as well as fitting into my favourite jeans!
What else has changed for you as a result of 5:2? Well, I set up the Facebook page with 6 members, and now there are 15,000! Plus I've had the chance to write four books themed around the idea that small changes make a big difference, including 5:2 Your Life, The Ultimate 5:2 Recipe Book, The 5:2 Good Food Kitchen and the first book, The 5:2 Diet Book, which brought together the experiences of our original group back in 2012. Now it feels as though we're part of a global revolution!