Six people who took part in the Fast800 programme show off the results

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Before our 30 volunteers started on the Fast800 programme, they recorded their weight and their waist measurements.

As well as losing 39 st 8 lb between them, they lost an impressive 9 ft 8 in from their waistlines.

Here, six of those who took part reveal how they did it.

CUT OUT CRISPS

Clare Pass, 48, is a civil servant who lives in Sheffield. She says:


Because I’m tall, people couldn’t believe how much I weighed. But my weight crept up steadily after quitting smoking three years ago.

Until then, I weighed 9 st and my waist was trim. But at the start of this year, I was wearing a size 16 and my waist measured 35 in.






I have fibromyalgia, which causes pain and tiredness, as well as sciatica in my hip. I lost a stone during lockdown by cutting out crisps and chocolate and by doing 10,000 steps a day.

But the Fast800 challenge has transformed what I eat. A typical day now consists of Greek yoghurt and berries for breakfast, Greek salad for lunch and something like chickpea patties for dinner.

I want to get below 11 st now and drop another dress size. I’ve lost 2 in from my waist so far.


Clare Pass, 48, is a civil servant who lives in Sheffield

Clare Pass, 48, is a civil servant who lives in Sheffield

She says: 'I lost a stone during lockdown by cutting out crisps and chocolate and by doing 10,000 steps a day'

She says: 'I lost a stone during lockdown by cutting out crisps and chocolate and by doing 10,000 steps a day'

Clare Pass, 48, is a civil servant who lives in Sheffield. She says: ‘I lost a stone during lockdown by cutting out crisps and chocolate and by doing 10,000 steps a day’

MY IBS HAS EASED

Alex Wainwright, 24, a delivery driver, lives in Sheffield with husband Ryan. He says:

My stomach is flatter now I’ve lost weight. I’m fitting into size 34 in waist trousers (my waist is down from 38 in) and I feel much healthier.

I’ve had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for years and sometimes it’s been so crippling I’ve had to take days off work. I’ve never found the cause, although I avoid certain triggers such as fizzy drinks.

But carbs may be another, as the IBS is much better.

I used to have two or three flare-ups a week but I’ve only had two or three while I’ve been doing the Fast800.

I have breakfast most mornings — yoghurt and berries — then a lunch of, say, paprika prawns. Ryan and I have got into the habit of cooking together in the evening using fresh ingredients, which we didn’t do before and we’re eating veg like spinach and kale for the first time.

Alex Wainwright, 24, a delivery driver, lives in Sheffield with husband Ryan

Alex Wainwright, 24, a delivery driver, lives in Sheffield with husband Ryan

He says: 'My stomach is flatter now I’ve lost weight. I’m fitting into size 34 in waist trousers (my waist is down from 38 in) and I feel much healthier'

He says: 'My stomach is flatter now I’ve lost weight. I’m fitting into size 34 in waist trousers (my waist is down from 38 in) and I feel much healthier'

Alex Wainwright, 24, a delivery driver, lives in Sheffield with husband Ryan. He says: ‘My stomach is flatter now I’ve lost weight. I’m fitting into size 34 in waist trousers (my waist is down from 38 in) and I feel much healthier’

NO LONGER BREATHLESS

Ryan Fletcher, 28, is a hairdresser and lives in Sheffield with husband Alex. He says:

Over the past year I’ve put on about 3½ st, my waist had reached 36 in and I’ve been suffering badly with sciatica. I was so unfit. I used feel breathless walking up stairs.

The physiotherapist I see can’t believe the difference since I began the diet. I lost 10 lb in the first week which made a huge difference. I’ve only had two sciatica flare-ups in the past six weeks, which is amazing. I’m moving easier — the doctors said I had the flexibility of a 50-year-old man before but now I walk the dog without getting breathless. I’ve nearly lost 1½ st and I’ve trimmed 4 in from my waist. My goal now is to get to 14 st.

Ryan Fletcher, 28, is a hairdresser and lives in Sheffield with husband Alex

Ryan Fletcher, 28, is a hairdresser and lives in Sheffield with husband Alex

He says: 'The physiotherapist I see can’t believe the difference since I began the diet. I lost 10 lb in the first week which made a huge difference'

He says: 'The physiotherapist I see can’t believe the difference since I began the diet. I lost 10 lb in the first week which made a huge difference'

Ryan Fletcher, 28, is a hairdresser and lives in Sheffield with husband Alex. He says: ‘The physiotherapist I see can’t believe the difference since I began the diet. I lost 10 lb in the first week which made a huge difference’


FASTING IS EASY

Rachel McGarty, 51, is a teacher from Rotherham and lives with husband Grant and their three children. She says:

Until I had children, I never had a weight problem. I put on a lot with my first child and it spiralled from there.

When I weighed myself at the start of this diet, I was shocked I was 14 st 7 lb and my waist 40 in. I found the fasting relatively easy by skipping breakfast, then having lunch around 12.30 pm and dinner at 6.30 pm.

I’ve lost weight from my face and middle, plus I’m less stiff.

Rachel McGarty, 51, is a teacher from Rotherham and lives with husband Grant and their three children

Rachel McGarty, 51, is a teacher from Rotherham and lives with husband Grant and their three children

She says: 'I found the fasting relatively easy by skipping breakfast, then having lunch around 12.30 pm and dinner at 6.30 pm'

She says: 'I found the fasting relatively easy by skipping breakfast, then having lunch around 12.30 pm and dinner at 6.30 pm'

Rachel McGarty, 51, is a teacher from Rotherham and lives with husband Grant and their three children. She says: ‘I found the fasting relatively easy by skipping breakfast, then having lunch around 12.30 pm and dinner at 6.30 pm’

I’M ENERGISED 

Catherine Pashley, 48, is a complementary therapist from Sheffield. She’s married to Scott and has three grown‑up children. She says:

The first four weeks were hard, as I was drained of energy. But being part of a group on the Fast800 online programme really helped because we shared recipe ideas and tips.

Now, I can last 18 hours without eating — that is from 4pm, when I have my ‘evening’ meal, to 10am the next morning.

My energy levels have soared and I feel more confident trying on clothes.

Catherine Pashley, 48, is a complementary therapist from Sheffield. She’s married to Scott and has three grown‑up children

Catherine Pashley, 48, is a complementary therapist from Sheffield. She’s married to Scott and has three grown‑up children

She says: 'The first four weeks were hard, as I was drained of energy. But being part of a group on the Fast800 online programme really helped because we shared recipe ideas and tips'

She says: 'The first four weeks were hard, as I was drained of energy. But being part of a group on the Fast800 online programme really helped because we shared recipe ideas and tips'

Catherine Pashley, 48, is a complementary therapist from Sheffield. She’s married to Scott and has three grown‑up children. She says: ‘The first four weeks were hard, as I was drained of energy. But being part of a group on the Fast800 online programme really helped because we shared recipe ideas and tips’

BODY-CONFIDENT

Joanna Brown, 41, is a civil servant from Sheffield who is divorced and has one son, aged 11.

When I first saw what the Fast800 entailed I thought: ‘I can do this.’ But two days in, I was starving. However, I stuck with it, drinking water to stave off hunger pangs.

In the first week, I lost half a stone and my skin is better than it has ever been. I’m thrilled with my weight loss so far.

I was a size 20 and now I’m a size 16 and I’ve lost 2½ in from my waist. 

Joanna Brown, 41, is a civil servant from Sheffield who is divorced and has one son, aged 11

Joanna Brown, 41, is a civil servant from Sheffield who is divorced and has one son, aged 11

She said: 'I was a size 20 and now I’m a size 16 and I’ve lost 2½ in from my waist'

She said: 'I was a size 20 and now I’m a size 16 and I’ve lost 2½ in from my waist'

Joanna Brown, 41, is a civil servant from Sheffield who is divorced and has one son, aged 11. She said: ‘I was a size 20 and now I’m a size 16 and I’ve lost 2½ in from my waist’

Trouser Test that means it’s time you took the hint!

Like many people, 45-year-old Phil Langdon ended up buying clothes with ever-larger waist sizes on entering middle age.

Between his job as a retail manager and the demands of a young family, there never seemed to be time for the running and cycling he’d once loved.

At night, he’d slump exhausted on the sofa and ‘snack on rubbish’. Family meals were often ‘convenience foods such as ready-made lasagne’. Over the years, he ballooned to a 40 in waist.

Which was bad news for Phil as waist measurements are a key indicator of potential health risks.

So when Phil heard about the Daily Mail’s Shape Up Britain challenge, he jumped at the chance to join the 30 volunteers from two areas of the UK to overhaul his weight and lifestyle.

He was one of 13 people from a street in Chudleigh, Devon, along with 17 members of a Facebook friendship group in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, who took part.

They followed a weight-loss programme based on the Fast800 diet I’d devised with my wife Clare, a GP and best-selling food writer, for eight weeks to see how much weight they could lose and what other health benefits they’d reap.

The results were amazing. The volunteers lost a total of 39 st 8 lb, with 23 of them losing more than a stone each.

Like many people, 45-year-old Phil Langdon ended up buying clothes with ever-larger waist sizes on entering middle age

Like many people, 45-year-old Phil Langdon ended up buying clothes with ever-larger waist sizes on entering middle age

Like many people, 45-year-old Phil Langdon ended up buying clothes with ever-larger waist sizes on entering middle age

BEWARE VISCERAL FAT

Phil, I’m delighted to say, lost 1½ st and the joint pain he had in his knees and lower back had vanished. Happily, he’d also lost inches from his waist, where we store the unhealthiest type of fat — visceral fat —which collects around our guts and infiltrates our organs. It is particularly dangerous as it is linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes and kidney disease plus Covid-19 complications.

‘I was wearing trousers with a 40 in waist — now I’m down to a 32,’ says Phil, who’s also ‘chuffed’ he’s no longer too exhausted to play with his lively two-year-old son.

Overall, our 30 volunteers lost 9 ft 8 in off their waistlines and have seen positive changes to their health in a short time.

And it’s important to stress that this challenge is not just about looking good and fitting into smaller trousers. Losing weight is important for your health, as the coronavirus pandemic has shown.

Those who are very overweight are much more likely to end up in intensive care if they get Covid-19 and less likely to find a vaccine works when one is available.

This is because fat, especially around the waist, produces chemicals that spread through your body, causing chronic inflammation, which in turn makes your immune system less effective. Being overweight also puts you at higher risk of developing diseases like cancer and dementia.

All of this is relevant to most people, as two-thirds of British adults are overweight or obese.

Fat, especially around the waist, produces chemicals that spread through your body, causing chronic inflammation, which in turn makes your immune system less effective (stock image)

Fat, especially around the waist, produces chemicals that spread through your body, causing chronic inflammation, which in turn makes your immune system less effective (stock image)

Fat, especially around the waist, produces chemicals that spread through your body, causing chronic inflammation, which in turn makes your immune system less effective (stock image)

But while many people think the number on the bathroom scales or your body mass index (BMI) is the best way to judge if you’re overweight, research shows it isn’t necessarily so.

This is because BMI doesn’t tell the whole story and may even lull you into a false sense of security.

Your BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilos by your height in metres squared; readings of 25 and over are considered overweight and those over 30 obese. So it’s possible to have a low BMI if you’re otherwise slim but ‘a bit flabby’ round the middle, which is alarming as this is where visceral fat is stored — as I know myself.

I was shocked when, in 2012, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Although my weight had crept up between my mid-20s and mid-50s, I didn’t think I was particularly overweight. That is because I was a classic TOFI (thin outside, fat inside), with the dangerous visceral fat hidden in my abdomen. At the time of the diagnosis, that fat had spent time clogging my liver and pancreas, which is what led to diabetes.

Rather than take medication, I discovered intermittent fasting, lost 20 lb and reversed my diabetes. That in turn, led to me developing the Fast800 diet.

Weight loss is not just for people whose BMI indicates they are overweight or obese. If you have a spare tyre, like Phil, then this could be a sign of ‘hidden’ fat.

A large part of the problem is our grab-and-go modern diets, packed with processed sugars and starchy foods, which can raise blood sugar levels.

I was a chocoholic myself before realising the damage the sugar was doing to my health.

Weight loss is not just for people whose BMI indicates they are overweight or obese. If you have a spare tyre, like Phil, then this could be a sign of ‘hidden’ fat (stock image)

Weight loss is not just for people whose BMI indicates they are overweight or obese. If you have a spare tyre, like Phil, then this could be a sign of ‘hidden’ fat (stock image)

Weight loss is not just for people whose BMI indicates they are overweight or obese. If you have a spare tyre, like Phil, then this could be a sign of ‘hidden’ fat (stock image)

MEASURING UP 

Our bodies respond to excess glucose in the blood by producing the hormone insulin which pushes that sugar into our muscles for energy, but also stores excess as visceral fat, in places like your liver, pancreas and abdominal cavity.

The problem with visceral fat is that it behaves in a metabolically different way from subcutaneous fat, such as that on your bottom or thighs.

Not only does having lots of visceral fat affect your immune system, but it means you are more likely to develop high blood pressure and high blood sugars, leading to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

This is why it’s important to keep an eye on your waist size and measure yourself correctly — with a tape measure, around the belly button.

The NHS says you should take action if you’re a man with a waist of 37 in or more, or 31.5 in if you’re a woman, regardless of what your scales or BMI read.

But the good news is that following a low-calorie regimen, such as the Fast800, can shrink your stomach, encouraging your body to switch from burning sugar to burning fat stores — starting with visceral fat.

This doesn’t just collect around your waist and internal organs; it can also be streaked through your organs, like bacon, so it’s possible you might lose this ‘hidden’ fat yet only see a small improvement in your waistline at first. One of our Devon volunteers, sweet shop owner Lee Powell, 48, reversed his non-alcoholic fatty liver disease after going on our eight-week experiment. The condition is caused by a build-up of fat which can lead, over time, to liver failure.

While Lee lost 13 lb (going from 15 st 2 lb to 14 st 3 lb) in that time, his waist didn’t shrink as fast as I would have predicted, from 41 in to just 40 in.

The problem with visceral fat is that it behaves in a metabolically different way from subcutaneous fat, such as that on your bottom or thighs (stock image)

The problem with visceral fat is that it behaves in a metabolically different way from subcutaneous fat, such as that on your bottom or thighs (stock image)

The problem with visceral fat is that it behaves in a metabolically different way from subcutaneous fat, such as that on your bottom or thighs (stock image)

But the fantastic news is within a few weeks of starting my Fast800 plan, Lee had drained the fat from his liver, which is now fine. This is great news for his health and he is absolutely thrilled, although he has more to lose off his waist if he sticks with the plan.

Studies also show that the process is enhanced only if you eat at meal times — with no snacking — and follow intermittent fasting guidelines.

This involves extending your overnight fast and leaving 12 to 16 hours between an early supper and breakfast next day. Find more at thefast800.com

This explains why I was so pleased that our 30 volunteers lost an impressive total of 9 ft 8 in off their waistlines. Most lost 2 in to 3 in in eight weeks.

Becki Havercroft, a 31-year-old holistic therapist with ‘a very sweet tooth’ from Sheffield found hers had shrunk by 4½ in, losing 9 lb, with positive effects on her stamina and mood.

HGV mechanic Kieron Bateman, 32, of Chudleigh, like many British men — carried most of his extra pounds around his waist. Kieron’s already lost 4 in from around his middle (going from 52 in to 49 in) has taken up cooking and now enjoys playing football with his eight-year-old son after losing 1 st 10 lb.

And he knows this is just the start: ‘I know I’m still very large, but it’s amazing what a difference the weight loss has made so far.’

We’re also keen for you to share in the health benefits of my Fast800 plan, too.To inspire you further, today we’re sharing another mouth-watering selection of healthy low-carb recipes devised by my GP wife Clare and our experts.

To see Clare cooking some of the recipes, visit instagram.com/drclarebailey.

Rapid weight loss isn’t for everyone (see below), but the great thing about the Fast800 is it’s very flexible.

So why not give it a go today. It’s never too late to improve your weight, health and wellbeing. 

The Fast800 is only suitable for those who are overweight or obese. If you have any health concerns or you are taking medication, speak to your GP before embarking on the plan.

Passion Fruit and Hazelnut Yoghurt

Prep time: Five minutes

Cook time: Nil

Calories per serving: 185

Serves: One

  • 100 g plain full-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 10 g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 passion fruit

Spoon the yoghurt into a bowl or glass jar and stir in the hazelnut pieces. Now, cut the passion fruit in half, scoop out the seeds and stir them into the yoghurt.

Passion Fruit and Hazelnut Yoghurt

Passion Fruit and Hazelnut Yoghurt

Passion Fruit and Hazelnut Yoghurt

Simple Strawberry Yoghurt   

Prep time: Two minutes

Cook time: Nil

Calories per serving: 241

Serves: One

  • 100 g plain full-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 100 g strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 20 g almonds, chopped  

Spoon the yoghurt into a bowl, then scatter over the strawberry slices and nut pieces. Enjoy!  

Simple Strawberry Yoghurt

Simple Strawberry Yoghurt

Simple Strawberry Yoghurt

Cheese and Mushroom Omelette 

Prep time: Ten minutes

Cook time: Ten minutes

Calories per serving: 286

Serves: One

  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 50 g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 50 g full-fat cottage cheese
  • 15 g Parmesan, grated

In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a fork until combined. Add black pepper and a splash of water, and mix again.

In a non-stick frying pan, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add mushrooms and fry for 5-8 minutes until cooked through. Remove the mushrooms and set aside. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, ensuring it covers the entire base.

Leave for 1 minute, use a spatula to gently lift the egg away from the edges and allow the uncooked egg to flow to edge of the pan. When small bubbles form around the outside of the top surface of the omelette and it looks cooked, spoon the mushroom mix onto one half of the omelette and top with both cheeses. Fold the empty side of the omelette over. Cook for another minute. Flip or slide onto a plate and serve immediately.

Cheese and Mushroom Omelette

Cheese and Mushroom Omelette

Cheese and Mushroom Omelette

Beef Skewers with Zoodle Salad   

Prep time: 20 minutes (plus extra to soak skewers and marinade the beef)

Cook time: Eight minutes

Calories per serving: 343

Serves: Two

  • 4 bamboo skewers
  • 300 g beef rump steaks, cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 1 courgette, (about 200 g), spiralised
  • 1 carrot, spiralised
  • 80 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 20 g raw cashews
  • Fresh coriander
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ red pepper, chopped into bite-size chunks

FOR THE MARINADE

  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp tamari sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cm root ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder

Cover the skewers in water to soak. 

First, make the marinade: in a medium-sized bowl, combine 1 tsp of lemon juice with the tamari, garlic, ginger and five spice powder.

Add the beef cubes and toss to cover. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours to marinate.

In a large bowl, combine the courgette, carrot, tomatoes, nuts and coriander leaves. Drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice over your salad and mix to combine well.

Cover and set aside. Drain your bamboo skewers and start threading the beef and red peppers onto them, an equal amount on each.

Drizzle over the remaining marinade to coat. Pre-heat a chargrill pan on high heat and then reduce to medium. Griddle the skewers on it for 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally, until just cooked through. Serve two skewers on each plate with half of the salad.

Beef Skewers with Zoodle Salad

Beef Skewers with Zoodle Salad

Beef Skewers with Zoodle Salad

Halloumi and Asparagus Salad

Prep time: Five minutes

Cook time: Ten minutes

Calories per serving: 325

Serves: One

  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
  • 60 g halloumi, cubed
  • 50 g spinach leaves

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the asparagus for 4 minutes or until tender. Remove the spears, set aside and keep warm.

Place the halloumi in the pan and fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden.

Put the spinach leaves on a plate and top with the asparagus and halloumi cubes. Season with lemon, salt and pepper before serving.

Halloumi and Asparagus Salad

Halloumi and Asparagus Salad

Halloumi and Asparagus Salad

Pesto-baked Fish

Prep time: 12 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Calories per serving: 342

Serves: Two

200c/180c fan/gas 6.

First, line an oven tray with baking paper. Now, add the almond meal, basil leaves, pine nuts and garlic to a blender and pulse to make a paste.

Squeeze in a little lemon juice and add the Parmesan, olive oil and season with sea salt. Whizz to combine well, keeping a thick, paste-like texture.

Spoon the pesto paste onto the fish fillet evenly.

Sit the fish on the baking tray and add the lemon wedges. Roast for 15 minutes, or until the fish is golden and cooked through.

* Choose a firm fish with white flesh, such as snapper, cod, haddock, hake,

Pesto-baked Fish

Pesto-baked Fish

Pesto-baked Fish

Teriyaki Tofu with Courgette

Prep time: 15 minutes (plus 40 minutes to marinate)

Cook time: Ten minutes

Calories per serving: 346

Serves: One

  • 125 g firm tofu
  • ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 courgette, thinly sliced
  • ¼ avocado, sliced

For the marinade

  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cm fresh ginger, grated,
  • ½ red chilli, deseeded

First make the marinade. Add all of the ingredients to a screw-top jar and shake to combine. Coat the tofu with the marinade and allow to marinate for 40 minutes.

Place a large non-stick frying pan over a low-medium heat and cook the tofu for approximately 2-3 minutes on each side — pouring over any remaining marinade while cooking.

Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan, pour in the olive oil and sauté the courgette for 4 minutes, or until it is lightly browned.

Serve the tofu with the courgette and sliced

Teriyaki Tofu with Courgette

Teriyaki Tofu with Courgette

Teriyaki Tofu with Courgette

Tasty Salmon and Egg Salad

Prep time: Five minutes

Cook time: Ten minutes

Calories per serving: 312

Serves: Two

  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 100 g smoked salmon
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • 100 g rocket
  • 80 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ red onion, sliced
  • ½ lemon

First hard boil the eggs; bring a pot of water to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, then add your eggs and cook for 7-8 minutes. Drain, cool in cold water. Refrigerate one hard-boiled egg for another time. Peel and quarter the remaining egg.

Add to the smoked salmon, avocado, rocket, cherry tomatoes and red onion to make the salad.

Serve between two plates, drizzled with lemon juice.  

Tasty Salmon and Egg Salad

Tasty Salmon and Egg Salad

Tasty Salmon and Egg Salad

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