DR MICHAEL MOSLEY's Delicious Plan to Get You Fit and Healthy

When you are young it feels like you can eat anything and not gain weight. But most of us gain about a pound a year by our mid-20s.

That happened to me. As a lean 11th in medical school, my weight slowly increased until it was 13th in my 50s.

I didn't consider myself particularly overweight. It never crossed my mind that my love for chocolate would endanger my health.

But I'm infinitely grateful for the blood test I had in 2012 that showed I had type 2 diabetes and for the research that showed that losing weight could get my blood sugar levels back to normal. It gave me the jolt that I needed.

When you are young it feels like you can eat anything and not gain weight. But most of us gain about a pound a year from our mid-20s (file photo)

These days the science is even clearer. If you are very overweight and have a large stomach, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is 11 times higher than if you are slim.

Because when we eat more than we need, fat builds up around the intestines, clogging the liver and pancreas and preventing them from functioning properly.

Research has shown that by losing weight quickly, you can find that belly fat and organs are functioning normally again. Even if you're just a little overweight, you're at greater risk.

When I lost 20 pounds eight years ago, I put my diabetes into remission, as did thousands of others. This is why the NHS recommends diets for diabetics.

Now, with a possible winter resurgence for Covid-19, the importance of losing weight is strong. Research has shown that being significantly overweight increases the risk of complications if you get the virus, and high blood sugar multiplies the risk.

This week I shared the inspiring stories of the 30 volunteers on our Shape Up Britain Weight Loss Challenge.

On my Fast800 online plan, they ate delicious meals from recipes like today's newspaper, which are packed with Mediterranean-style ingredients high in protein and healthy fats. Because they're low in carbohydrates, you'll feel full while your blood sugar levels stay on track.

I am delighted that volunteers like Jackie Frith, 51, a Sheffield life coach, saw a drop in blood sugar levels after eight weeks on the Fast800 online plan.

And Dominic Havercroft, 37, a manager of a truck dealer, also from Sheffield, found that his blood sugar level had changed from prediabetic (borderline type 2) to normal.

Covid and obesity

Losing weight is no longer about looking good or fitting into skinny jeans – it's about your health. Being overweight can mean high blood sugar levels and type 2 diabetes, making you more prone to infections. High blood sugar releases destructive molecules that affect the body's defenses.

People with high blood sugar tend to have damaged blood vessels. Covid-19 attacks the blood vessels, which, if it is already damaged, can mean a heart attack or stroke.

Covid-19 also causes blood to clot, especially in patients with elevated blood sugar levels, meaning people with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes have the biggest problems.

When you are overweight, your immune system is much less effective at first in dealing with the virus and stopping it from spreading. Later on, your immune system is more likely to overreact and damage healthy tissues.

Fortunately, it's not all bad news. Research by Professor Roy Taylor in Newcastle upon Tyne has shown that the best way to get blood sugar levels back to normal is to lose a lot of weight quickly – and that's why I was able to reverse my diabetes in just a few months.

The magic number

While sticking to 800 calories a day sounds difficult, our recipes provide all of the protein, fiber, and essential nutrients you need to stay full and healthy.

You might think you're running out of energy quickly, but limiting your daily intake to 800 calories, especially if you avoid carbohydrates, will trigger beneficial metabolic changes.

Most of us have enough fuel (in the form of fat) to keep us going for months. Usually, your body treats the fat like money in the bank, to be used only when your blood sugar levels drop. However, when you follow the Fast800 program, your body looks for energy in the form of glucose, which is stored in your muscles and in the liver and is known as glycogen.

When glycogen stores run low (ten to 12 hours after your last meal), your body undergoes a remarkable change and goes into fat burning mode.

When this happens, fat is released from your stores and converted into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The process is known as "ketosis". Your brain and your body will use this for energy.

The longer you can avoid sugar and cut down on carbohydrates, the longer you should be able to maintain this fat burning state.

Cut down on the carbohydrates

Avoiding potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, and noodles on 800-calorie fasting days will speed up weight loss. Instead, pack your plate of vegetables.

They provide important vitamins and minerals and fight inflammation, a cause of disease.

Although breakfast cereals, cakes, candies, cookies, and soft drinks are available, you can enjoy full-fat Greek yogurt and the occasional glass of red wine.

Many volunteers used to eat sugar and refined carbohydrates.

But the Fast800 plan has given them a healthier way to eat and banished their carbohydrate addiction and those with a sweet tooth.

Anna Powell, 46, who runs a candy store with husband Lee in Chudleigh, Devon, says, "I've traded sweet snacks for nuts, but most of the time I don't have any snacks at all."

End your sugar addiction

When your diet is filled with refined carbohydrates, sweets, and sugary treats, there is every chance you get caught in a loop of cravings that you can't resist.

One thing that happens is that your body releases the hormone insulin in response to the sugar or carbohydrates that you eat.

Insulin whips this excess sugar out of your blood so it can be stored as fat for future use. However, this keeps your blood low in sugar and leads to cravings for more. How to break this cycle:

  • Cut down on sugar, treats, drinks and desserts.
  • Minimize or avoid the starchy "white stuff" – bread, pasta, potatoes, and rice.
  • Try quinoa, bulgur, whole rye, whole grain barley, wild rice, and buckwheat. Legumes like lentils and kidney beans are healthy and filling.
  • Avoid most breakfast cereals as these are usually full of sugar.
  • Switch to low-fat, sweetened yogurt for high-fat yogurt and add blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, or a pinch of nuts.

Discipline is the key word

Jackie Frith, 51, is a Sheffield spiritual life coach. She says:

Before the lockdown, I was a stone overweight. I ended up wearing one more and was the hardest.

When the Fast800 Diet Challenge came, I signed up. But when I realized it was 800 calories a day, I didn't think I could do it. However, I soon realized that the recipes mean you can have three small meals a day.

I ate cereal for breakfast. But now I have a herbal tea and an omelette around noon. Lunch is at 3 p.m. and dinner is at 7 p.m. I wasn't hungry between meals.

The plan requires discipline, but it's worth it. My blood sugar levels went from a 7 percent risk of type 2 diabetes to 2 percent in ten years. I am passionate about the weight loss and plan to lose 5 pounds more.

Jackie Frith is pictured above before her weight loss

Jackie Frith is pictured above after answering

Jackie Frith, 51, is a Sheffield spiritual life coach. She is pictured on the left before her weight loss and on the right after losing weight

Breakfast burrito

Preparation time: 8 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Calories per serving: 290

Served: one

  • 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ onion, diced
  • ¼ red pepper, diced
  • 50 g bacon, approx. 1 small slice, diced
  • 30 g spinach leaves
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 15 g cheddar, grated

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan over medium heat. Fry the onions for 5 minutes or until tender. Add the red pepper and bacon and saute until cooked.

Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach until it has wilted into the mixture. Set the pan aside.

In a bowl, beat the egg with a pinch of salt and pepper until everything is well mixed. Heat the remaining oil in a small pan, add the beaten egg and toss until the entire pan is covered.

When the egg solidifies, swirl it again. When the egg is almost cooked, turn it over, sprinkle the cheese in the middle and cook for 1 minute. Slide the boiled egg onto a plate, add the bacon mixture and fold it into a packet. Enjoy!

Breakfast burrito

Breakfast burrito

Broccoli and three cheese mini frittatas

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Calories per serving: 290

Served: two

  • ¼ head broccoli, cut into small florets (approx. 65 g)
  • 30 g cheddar, grated
  • 30 g parmesan, grated
  • 40 g full-fat cottage cheese
  • 4 large free range eggs

Preheat the oven to 190c / 170c fan / gas. 5. Take a muffin tin and oil four of the indentations or place baking boxes or parchment paper in each one.

Divide the broccoli between the four wells and top with cheddar and parmesan.

In a bowl, whisk the cottage cheese with the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture evenly between the four muffin wells.

Then use a fork and stir gently so that the broccoli, cheese and egg mixture is well combined.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the frittatas are firm and begin to brown. (They will puff up as they cook and settle down as they cool.)

Serve two frittatas per person with a crispy green salad.

Broccoli and three cheese mini frittatas

Broccoli and three cheese mini frittatas

Crunchy fish fillet

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 7 minutes

Calories per serving: 206

Servings: One

  • 120 g sea bass, skin on (see tip)
  • sea-salt
  • 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ lemon, cut into 2 pieces
  • 100 g spinach

Sprinkle the skin of the fish with sea salt and rub with olive oil. Place the skin side down in a cold, nonstick pan.

Turn the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Squeeze the juice of a lemon wedge over the pulp and cover the fillet with spinach and a crumpled sheet of wet parchment paper.

Let cook for 5 minutes (it does not need to be turned and gives the fish firm meat and crispy skin). When the fillet is cooked through, remove the paper before serving on the withered spinach. Serve with the remaining lemon wedge.

Slimming tip: Enjoy a small square of dark chocolate to satisfy those chocolate cravings, says Jackie Frith, who lost 1 kg

Crunchy fish fillet

Crunchy fish fillet

Crab and cucumber salad

Preparation time: 18 minutes

Cooking time: zero

Calories per serving: 246

Servings: One

  • ¼ cucumber, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 130g white crab meat, can be made of tin
  • Fresh chives, chopped
  • ½ clove of garlic, chopped
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Put the cucumber in a colander, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and let stand for 10 minutes.

Mix the sesame oil, vinegar, crab, chives and garlic in a bowl. Drain the cucumber and mix with the crab.

Serve the crab mixture with avocado slices on the side. Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top.

Crab and cucumber salad

Crab and cucumber salad

Mediterranean salad with eggs

Preparation time: 7 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Calories per serving: 326

Served: two

  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 60g tender spinach leaves
  • 80 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • 20 g parmesan, grated
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Hard boil the eggs first. To do this, fill a saucepan halfway with water, make sure you have enough to cover the eggs and cook. As soon as the water boils, carefully lower the eggs and cook for 10 minutes.

Take the eggs out of the water and place them in a bowl of cold water. Peel and halve the eggs. Now distribute the spinach leaves, tomatoes, onions, cucumber, pepper and parmesan on two bowls.

Drizzle the salad with lemon juice and olive oil before laying the eggs on top.

Mediterranean salad with eggs

Mediterranean salad with eggs

Chicken stuffed with tomatoes and herbs

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Calories per serving: 336

Served: two

  • 40 g black pitted olives, finely chopped
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 25 g butter, softened
  • 250 g skinless chicken breast (2 fillets)
  • 100 g spinach leaves

Preheat the oven to 190c / 170c fan / gas. 5. Put the olives, tomatoes, garlic and oregano in a bowl and stir. Add the softened butter and mix well.

Make an incision in each piece of chicken to create a pocket for the butter mixture and scoop it in. Wrap each chicken breast in aluminum foil.

Place the chicken on a tray in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Season and serve on a bed of spinach leaves or cabbage.

Chicken stuffed with tomatoes and herbs

Chicken stuffed with tomatoes and herbs

Gluten-free meatloaf

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Calories per serving: 245

Served: two

  • 45 g tomato paste (for mixture and topping)
  • 1½ tsp dried oregano
  • 150 g ground beef
  • 15 g almond flour
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • ½ red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon tamari sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 large free range egg

Preheat the oven to 180c / 160c fan / gas 4 and line a small loaf pan with baking paper.

In a small bowl, mix 30 g of tomato paste and 1 teaspoon of oregano as a topping. Put aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Season. Transfer the mixture to the can and bake for 20 minutes.

Take the bread out of the oven and spread the tomato paste mixture on top. Bake for another 25-30 minutes.

Take the bread out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting it into 4 parts. Serve two slices per person with steamed vegetables or a green salad.

Gluten-free meatloaf

Gluten-free meatloaf

Parmesan crumbled baked fish

Preparation time: 12 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Calories per serving: 308

Served: one

  • 10 g almond flour
  • 20 g parmesan, grated
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ lemon, zest
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 150 g firm white fish, skin off *
  • ½ bunch of tenderstem broccoli

Preheat the oven to 200c / 180c fan / gas 6.

Mix the almond flour, parmesan, parsley and lemon zest in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to the mixture and stir (make sure the crumb mixture is coated with oil).

Press the mixture evenly onto the fish fillet with your hands (the mixture should stick to the fish).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the fish fillet on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning once. The crumb should turn golden brown and the fish should be white throughout.

In the meantime, steam the tenderstem broccoli and serve with the crumbled fish and a pinch of lemon.

Parmesan crumbled baked fish

Parmesan crumbled baked fish

* Choose a firm, white meatfish like snapper, cod, haddock, hake, or pollock.

A glass of water beat hunger pangs

Dominic Havercroft, 37, is a truck dealer branch manager and lives in Sheffield with his wife Becki. He says:

My weight had been out of control for years but I had become complacent so doing the Bupa health check up before the Shape up Britain challenge was a real wake-up call.

The glucose test results were higher than expected and I found that if I continued to gain weight, I was at risk for type 2 diabetes and my blood pressure was high, which was also related to my weight.

I also have back pain for years and see a chiropractor regularly. I knew that if I continued down this path I would get into trouble.

I just ate too much of the wrong thing. I always got a mast to take with me for lunch at work. I ate about 3,000 calories a day.

Eating 800 calories a day was daunting. But drinking more water really helped. In fact, it was the key to my weight loss. I made sure to drink two liters a day, and when I get hungry I sometimes have a glass of water with some sugar-free juice. It made such a difference.

I start with Greek yogurt and blueberries in the morning and now I love cottage cheese with apple. At work, I'll have a Fast800 shake for lunch and then come home to Becki for a 400-calorie dinner, like stir-fried vegetables, soup, or chicken and veggies.

It really helps to follow the plan together as we've made sure there are no nibbles around the house. I only fell off the car a couple of times – at birthday parties.

Dominic is pictured above before his weight loss

Dominic is pictured above after answering

Dominic Havercroft, 37, is a truck dealer branch manager and lives in Sheffield with his wife Becki. He is pictured on the left before his weight loss and immediately after losing weight

But I feel fitter than before the lockdown and, best of all, my back pain is gone.

Becki Havercroft, 31, is a holistic therapist living in Sheffield with husband Dominic and their 12 year old son Alfie. She says:

The hardest part for me was cutting out chocolate. I have a very sweet tooth, but I train myself to have some strawberries or blueberries as a treat instead.

I've always been a yo-yo-dieter – the heaviest I've ever seen is the 15th – and I was afraid that if I lost weight quickly, I would gain weight again just as quickly. But that didn't happen.

Instead, the weight has gradually decreased, about 2 pounds a week, and I'm determined to keep going until I reach my goal of 9½ st.

When I heard that full fat was allowed on the Fast800, I panicked. We're so used to turning to low-fat foods on diets that I couldn't understand how it would work.

Since I no longer have a gallbladder, I also have to be careful about how much fat I consume because my body doesn't process it as well. I was expecting to feel a bit "urgent" after consuming foods like full fat cheese, but I'm just conserving the portion size and I'm fine.

Becki Havercroft is pictured before her weight loss on the left

Becki Havercroft is pictured right after the weight loss

Becki Havercroft, 31, is a holistic therapist living in Sheffield with husband Dominic and their 12 year old son Alfie. She is pictured on the left before her weight loss and right after losing weight

A typical day for me would be yogurt with passion fruit or a poached egg for breakfast, a simple cheese salad for lunch and dinner could be a pan or soup.

I've found that having high protein in meals helps me stay full and when I'm hungry occasionally, I drink water, which usually helps until the next meal.

I walk a lot, but I also started doing HIIT exercises on the Fast800 online program, which has helped me strengthen. But beyond that I feel emotionally and mentally in a better place. It just shows that what you eat really affects your mood.

It's a big change for me. Before that, I could eat a whole pack of digestion without thinking. Now I am much more attentive to what I eat.

It helps that Dom does most of the cooking and we supported each other.

Additional coverage: Jill Foster and Angela Epstein

Stop feeding a sweet tooth

Reduce sugar

Sugar contains no nutrients, no proteins, and no healthy fats. Ideally, we recommend that you consume no sugar and certainly no more than 25g (the equivalent of about six teaspoons) per day from any source, including fruit.

Stick to berries (you can mix with plain Greek yogurt) and hard fruits (apples or pears).

Watch out for hidden sugars

Almost all processed foods, including treats like pasta sauces and peanut butter, contain hidden sugars.

If a food label says something that ends with "-ose", it is likely a form of sugar. Glucose, fructose, sucrose, lactose, maltose, and galactose are all sugars.

Stick to berries (you can mix with plain Greek yogurt) and hard fruits (apples or pears) (file photo)

Stick to berries (you can mix with plain Greek yogurt) and hard fruits (apples or pears) (file photo)

Avoid fruit juices

Fruit juices are extremely high in calories: a small glass of apple juice contains around 140 calories, just like three apples.

In commercially processed fruit drinks, almost all of the fiber is removed. In whole fruits with their skin on, fibrous cell walls take time to break down, allowing for a more gradual release of energy.

Juices, on the other hand, lead to sugar spikes.

Avoid sweeteners

Unfortunately, some artificial sweeteners seem just as bad, if not worse, than sugar when it comes to weight gain and diabetes.

They can disrupt the microbiome, these insects in your intestines and cause inflammation. If you have to, stevia is probably your best bet.

Your chance, Dr. See Mosley

Visit us this Thursday at 6 p.m. for an exclusive live event with Dr. Michael Mosley and Dr. Clare Bailey, as we launch our new Shape Up Britain health campaign using their revolutionary, scientifically proven Fast 800 plan to help you lose weight fast!

Book your FREE spot now at mailplus.co.uk/events

Recipes from the thefast800.com online program, followed by our volunteers. The Fast 800 Recipe Book: Mediterranean Style Low-Carb Recipes for Intermittent Fasting and Long-Term Health by Dr. Clare Bailey and Justine Pattison, foreword by Dr. Michael Mosley (Short Books, £ 16.99)

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