So we’re well into February and by now (sadly) now most of us have given up on the diets we started full of enthusiasm and gung-honess in the New Year.
However a fresh start, laden with Catholic guilt, lies sparkling before us. Pancake Tuesday has passed and this means we’re officially into Lent. Now people reading from the outside world might not understand the Irish obsession with Lent. It’s a bonkers Catholic hangover from days of Yore basically, when people would eat up all their eggs and butter on Pancake Tuesday and then go on a miserable auld diet til Easter.
But of course being Irish we can’t last that long without a little break to get wasted and have “the craic” halfway through. The Lenten fast can be broken on Patricks Day when you can eat and drink all you want – but after that it’s back on the straight and narrow.
Most people nowadays just use Lent as an excuse to give up something that’s not good for them – fags, booze, sweets, chocolate and the like. And from the chart above it seems that many of us use it as a reason to take a break from gorging on Social Media. Grown women often use Lent as an excuse for dieting and The Fast Diet seems like a perfect Lenten diet to me. It’s full of misery but not TOO much misery which is important. For two days out of every seven you restrict your diet to 500 calories a day and for the other five you eat what you like.
But what can you eat on your 500 calorie days? Not much obviously – try a couple of eggs in the morning and half a chicken breast with salad or veg in the evening plus of course all the water and black coffee you want.
Proponents of the diet say it works really well and it’s good for health – studies have shown that fasting and restricting calories is good for long term health and can increase your chances of living longer.
Detractors of the diet say it’s all a load of cack and it just works because if you restrict your calories like this, your overall calorie count for the week goes down – and you lose weight.
So how easy is it to do? Well I’ve tried and failed on three occasions. I couldn’t make it past afternoon teatime without having a biscuit. No lunch made me feel fainty. In short, like all diets it was all so dreary and I have no willpower.
But have you tried it – how have you gotten on? And are you giving up anything for Lent? Do tell!