Is the programme right for me?

There is really no definitive answer to this question as everyone participating in the programme is different in so many ways (weights, sugars, exercise, medications, ages etc.). Having said that, the core objectives of this program are to:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Reduce blood sugars

The programme not only helps making food choices easier but it does provide that critical support through the forum where colleagues can support each other and members can ask questions of our health professionals which include sports scientists, nurse practitioners, doctors and health coaches.

Please note if you have certain medical conditions, are pregnant, breastfeeding or underweight, you should not do the diet. Please see ‘Is there any reason I should not do this diet’ for further information.

Who should AVOID a low calorie diet or fasting?

You SHOULD NOT do a low calorie / fasting diet if you are:

  • Underweight and/or have a history of an eating disorder
  • Under 18 years of age
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Diagnosed with a significant psychiatric disorder
  • Frail or recovering from surgery
  • Under active investigation or treatment or have a significant medical condition affecting ability to comply with diet and / or
  • A Type 1 diabetic and those with other, rarer forms, like pancreatic or monogenic diabetes who will not respond in the same way to weight loss.
  • Unwell or have a fever

You should also confirm with your doctor that you really are a type 2 diabetic as there are other rarer forms of diabetes that will not respond in the same way to weight loss.

Use CAUTION doing a low calorie / fasting diet & DISCUSS WITH DOCTOR if any of the following apply:

  • On certain medications
  • On insulin – detailed assessment & education by health professional to plan a suitable reduction in medication/insulin to to avoid a potentially dangerous drop in blood sugar (hypo).
  • Those who have a significant underlying medical condition should speak to their doctor first, as they would before embarking on any weight-loss regime.
  • If you have type 2 diabetes and are on medication, it will be necessary to adjust your medication. It may need to be reduced or stopped as blood sugars improve and to avoid hypos.
  • If you are on blood pressure medication this may need to be reduced or stopped as blood pressure improves.
  • If you are on diabetic medication with hypoglycaemia unawareness, so you cannot tell if you have a ‘hypo’ when your sugar level drops
  • If you have moderate or severe retinopathy you will need extra screening within 6 months (as retinopathy can sometimes get worse when blood sugar improves)
  • Those with a significant psychiatric history in the past
  • If you are taking other medications, eg Warfarin, discuss them with your doctor first.
  • People with epilepsy (though there is some evidence that diet can improve epilepsy)
  • Pregnancy. Clearly avoiding fasting/low calorie diets is wise, however if there is a risk of (or previous history of) Gestational diabetes, The Blood Sugar Way of Life might be a suitable alternative.

Please read this handout (pdf) for additional information.

As the Med Style Way of Life is less challenging to do and simply involves a Med-style low carb diet, following discussion with your doctor, this may be a suitable alternative as it does not involve fasting.

For additional information to help the discussion with your doctor – please download this letter.

What results am I likely to experience on the programme?

Results will vary across individuals however, common benefits experienced by past members include:

  • Improved blood sugar levels
  • Reduced visceral fat
  • Reduced body fat percentage
  • Weight loss
  • Improved blood pressure
  • Improved blood lipid levels
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Increased energy
  • Improvement in sleep
  • Feeling generally happier and healthier

Most importantly, we like to think of the online programme as a plan for life. Our aim is to put you back in control so that when you finish the programme you can continue to make healthy, sustainable choices. Members often comment that the information provided in the online programme is invaluable and can easily be incorporated into everyday life.

I lost weight in the first week, but my weight loss has paused, why?

It is very usual for there to be dips and surges in your progress. The initial weight loss is very motivating however, weight loss is not linear and thus we do recommend that you continue to follow the philosophies as no doubt you will have a surge again. Also, we encourage you to review your exercise plan and increase your incidental exercise, as well as your HIIT and resistance exercises, if you have not already. We also encourage tracking other important indicators of health such as, quality of sleep, mood, energy levels, and how your clothes are fitting.

For free resources and information, please sign up to our newsletter or join our Facebook page. You are welcome to post questions to our Facebook community, however, please note this is not monitored by health professionals. If you want further support, including Fast 800 health professionals on-hand to answer your questions, you may consider joining our 12 week online programme.

Isn’t it better to lose weight slowly and steadily rather than fast?

As some of America’s leading obesity experts pointed out in a review article in the New England Journal of Medicine[iv] in 2013, the belief that slow and gradual weight loss is more effective than rapid weight loss is a myth, despite the fact that it has been repeated in text books for decades. They conclude that “more rapid and greater initial weight loss is associated with lower body weight at the end of long-term follow-up.” In other words if you want to diet successfully it can be better to lose weight fast than slow.

Losing weight fast motivates dieters to stick with their programme because they see rapid results. A very low-calorie diet also means less carbohydrates, which forces the body to burn fat more quickly.

What tests can I do to monitor changes?

The easy ones are to weigh yourself and measure things like your waist, chest, hips. Some weighing machines will also give you an estimate of your body fat.

You could also take a measure of your resting pulse, as this is a good predictor of future health.

Also, ask your doctor to measure HbA1C (average glucose), cholesterol and your blood pressure.

Do I have to give up coffee, smoking or alcohol?

No, you don’t have to give up any of these whilst on the diet although, obviously, we would certainly advise everyone to stop smoking as soon as possible, irrespective of their blood sugars.

Coffee and alcohol are still allowed on the diet although the calories in both of these drinks needs to be included in the daily calorie limit (noting that alcohol is highly calorific). A pint of beer or large glass of wine contains 180 calories, so really best avoided or keep to the very minimum. The good news is that red wine is included in the Mediterranean Style diet, so once you finish the programme and move onto ‘the maintenance’ stage you will be able to introduce alcoholic drinks back into your diet (we go over this in more detail in the programme).

Black coffee and tea are fine although you will need to include any milks in your daily calorie count.

Is the Fast 800 suitable for vegetarians or vegans?

Both the online programme and the way of life are possible to do as vegetarian – just make sure to eat lots of healthy protein and fat, for example nuts and olive oil. The 12 week online programme has an entire meal plan specifically for vegetarians as well – when doing your first assessment it will update your preferences.

The 12 week online programme does not currently cater for vegans, however it is possible to adapt the mediterranean style diet to a vegan diet, provided you are ready to put a lot of thought and effort into ensuring your micro and macro nutrient requirements are met by your meal adaptions.

Can I do the programme as I am Coeliac / Gluten free?

Many people who have coeliacs disease/ a gluten intolerance have successfully completed the online programme.

The great majority of the recipes are gluten free and any recipes that do contain gluten can be easily modified to become gluten free. Our team on the forum will be able to help with any questions in relation to substitutions.

Can I follow the Fast 800 if I am doing heavy exercise?

Please note that 800 calorie a day is not suitable for those who are doing long endurance exercise.

If you are doing intense / endurance exercise, you will require more energy than most. You may still be able to follow the Mediterranean Style diet (without calorie restriction), however you may require extra nutrition to support your training plan.

We would advise seeing your usual health professional before starting any diet or exercise regime as they will be in the best position to advise.

I have allergies, can I still do the programme?

There have been many people with certain allergies successfully complete the programme.

The forum moderators are here to help with suggestions, in addition to our general recommendations to allergies to certain nuts, dairy, gluten, seafood, eggs. We do however recommend that you join the programme prepared to invest in planning to ensure that modifications are achievable and a calorie-counting app will help to ensure that you are replacing ingredients of a similar nature and calorie value.

If you have concerns about a specific allergy please contact us.

Should I discuss this with my doctor?

As with all diets, we recommend you discuss it with your doctor as they will be able to advise you on how to manage any medical conditions and you should always follow their advice. They can also help with any monitoring or tests to see how you are progressing.

For additional information to support the conversation – please share this letter with your doctor to explain the implications of the diet.

Is there any reason I should not do this programme?

You SHOULD NOT do a low calorie / fasting diet if you are:

  • Underweight and/or have a history of an eating disorder
  • Under 18 years of age
  • Breastfeeding
  • Diagnosed with a significant psychiatric disorder
  • Frail or recovering from surgery
  • Under active investigation or treatment or have a significant medical condition affecting ability to comply with diet and / or
  • On certain medications
  • A Type 1 diabetic (and those who have other, rarer forms of the disease, like pancreatic or monogenic diabetes will not respond in the same way to weight loss.)
  • Unwell or have a fever

You should also confirm with your doctor that you really are a type 2 diabetic or have prediabetes as there are other rarer forms of diabetes that will not respond in the same way to weight loss.

Use CAUTION doing a low calorie / fasting diet & DISCUSS WITH DOCTOR if any of the following apply:

  • On insulin – detailed assessment & education by health professional to plan a suitable reduction in medication/insulin to avoid a potentially dangerous drop in blood sugar (Hypo).
  • Those who are frail, under active investigation or treatment or have a significant underlying medical condition should speak to their doctor first, as they would before embarking on any weight-loss regime.
  • If you have type 2 diabetes and are on medication, then we would advise you to speak to your doctor before starting as it may be necessary to adjust your medication as it may need to re reduced or stopped to avoid potentially dangerous ‘hypos’ (low blood sugar).
  • If you are on diabetic medication with hypoglycaemia unawareness, so you cannot tell if you have a ‘hypo’ when your sugar level drops.
  • If you are on blood pressure medication this may need to be reduced.
  • People taking particular medications eg Warfarin. Discuss other medications with doctor first.
  • If you have moderate or severe retinopathy you will need extra screening within 6 months (as retinopathy can sometimes get worse when blood sugar improves).
  • Those with a significant psychiatric history in the past.
  • People taking particular medications e.g. Warfarin.
  • People with epilepsy (though there is some evidence that diet can improve epilepsy).
  • Discuss other medications with doctor first.
  • Pregnancy. Clearly avoiding fasting/low calorie diets is wise, however if there is a risk of (or previous history of) Gestational diabetes, The Med Style Diet might be a suitable alternative.

Please read this article  for important additional information.

Are the recipes difficult?

Not at all!

We have had so many past members comment on the simplicity and deliciousness of the recipes.

The recipes are designed for your success; there are a variety of options that suit both the keen cook and the novice.

Are the calories listed for the recipes ‘per serve’ or for the entire amount produced?

The calorie count is per serve. So if a recipe says that it serves 2 and is 200 kcal, this means that the recipe will produce 2 portions, each containing 200 calories.

When will the recipe book be out?

Unfortunately we can’t provide a timeframe for the release of the recipe book as yet. We do expect that it will be later on this year. There are free articles and recipes on the new website. We are regularly adding to these and you are welcome to sign up to the free newsletter, should you like to receive these direct to your inbox.

How does the private forum work?

  • Forums are private and are for use only by paid members of the cohort.
  • Your privacy is important to us and as such we aim to protect this information. We recommend you do not disclose any personal information eg. date of birth or personal address.
  • We further recommend you choose a Forum name that will protect your anonymity but you can clearly identify for yourself.
  • Members are encouraged to provide your personal statistics including height, weight, waist circumference and blood results such that your cohort colleagues can share in and support your progress. Sharing this information is optional.
  • Members are welcome to post as often or as little as they like. Discussion regarding any aspect of the diet, hints, tips, recipes are encouraged to support members of the forum.
  • Comments made by supporting doctors and advisors are general in nature.  Specific details about drug dosing and medical conditions will not be provided directly on the forum.  Individual medical advice including details about medication and dosing can be supported by direct, individual “consults” with a Doctor as part of the 12 week on line support program outside of the forum, or by your usual GP.
  • Doctors and trained advisors will monitor the forum regularly.
  • We will not tolerate any forum comments that are in any way abusive, aggressive or derogatory . Any such postings will be removed immediately and the user’s account closed with no recourse for refund of fee paid.
  • Importantly, everyone involved in this program including all Fast 800 medical team supporting the site are determined to help you achieve your blood sugar and health goals.

How long will I have access to the programme?

The Fast 800 online programme is a 12 week plan and as such is not a lifetime membership, as stated in our Terms and Conditions 3.1 (e). Your programme end date is noted in your “Week One: Orientation” email.

During Week 11 of the programme, we provide links on the Programme Home Page to all our handouts, menus, recipes and shopping lists so that you can easily download and save the content in a suitable medium for your future reference.

Additionally, your Programme Home page remains open for at least two weeks after the official end date of the programme, providing a grace period for people who start the plan later than the rest of their cohort.

Please note that the forum will not be monitored by our health professionals after the programme end date.

How much does the programme cost?

Our comprehensive programme is based on the latest science and takes an evidence-based approach to healthy living focusing on nutrition, behavioural change and sustainable lifestyle. It includes:

  • 12 weeks of exclusive meal plans, including recipes and shopping lists.
  • Healthy living education.
  • Access to health professionals across the globe for general advice and feedback.
  • A private member forum offering a 24-hour community of support and accountability.
  • Support tools for liaising with your usual treating doctor.

The full cost of the 12-week programme is £99.00

To find out how much this equates to in your local currency, please use a currency conversion calculator, like this one.

Can I pay with my credit card?

Yes, you can. You will note that we have integrated a PayPal payment processor. At first glance it can appear that it will only accept payments via a PayPal account however, it has been enabled to take a payment either via a PayPal account OR via a credit card. Proceed to the checkout and enter your credit card details, as you would with any payment processor.

If you have had a PayPal account in the past, PayPal will notice this by your email address and will encourage you to choose to pay utilising your account. If you would prefer not to use your PayPal then please ensure that you are logged out of any PayPal account you may have opened in the past and choose “No, thanks” when it asks if you would like to use your account.

Can I do the programme outside the UK and Australia?

The Fast 800 is a 12-week online programme and is suitable for members anywhere in the world as long as they have stable WiFi access. The online programme is run by a global, virtual team with practitioners / operators in the UK as well as Australia.  thefast800.com is the only url offering the official Fast 800 12-week online programme and this url is the same for members accessing from anywhere in the world.

We have had members complete the programme successfully from the UK and Australia as well as the USA, Canada, Europe and New Zealand.

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