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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 mean 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

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)

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

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