15th January 2024

“The healthiest I’ve ever felt” – Lara’s Story

When Occupational Therapist, Lara hit 50, her weight rocketed and she couldn’t get it back under control. Then she discovered The Fast 800 Programme and turned her health around in just one year. At 51, she’s stronger, fitter and has more energy than she did in her thirties, and she hasn’t looked back!

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How it all started

Lara works as a full-time Occupational Therapist in a hospital environment, commuting every day. She had a healthy diet (or so she thought), and was pretty active. So why was she gaining weight? Lara was more than a stone and a half heavier than she wanted to be, but the biggest issue wasn’t just her weight: she was suffering from exhaustion and was even considering changing careers as a result.

Lara’s body was changing due to perimenopause, and she felt like she didn’t have a grasp on her weight. Like so many, Lara had also developed an unhealthy post-work routine, often turning to a large glass of wine to unwind after a stressful day and a long commute.  

In February 2023, sitting at home ill on the sofa, it finally got too much; Lara knew she needed to make a change. Being in the healthcare sector, she appreciates evidence-based health research, rather than following the latest fads and trends. So, as she was already familiar with Dr Michael Mosley’s work, she began reading the science around intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating (TRE), and found The Fast 800 Programme.

Time to make a change

Trusting in the science, Lara became motivated to put in the work and took the plunge by signing up for the Programme. Straight away, she joined the community groups and found them invaluable for support and encouragement. Specifically, she began posting in the menopause group to connect with others who were just like her. Though it seemed overwhelming at first, her new community provided reassurance and advice as she got to grips with the new lifestyle. 

After following our comprehensive questionnaire, the Programme suggested Lara try The New 5:2. Wondering how she would feel full on 800 calories two days a week, she was sceptical but gave it a go. However, Lara was surprised to find that after the very first fasting day, she felt satiated and full of energy for the first time in a long time.

Watching the weight fall off

She discovered new joys in preparing the varied recipes in the Programme, on both her fasting and non-fasting days, and the shopping lists became a staple feature for her while she enjoyed selecting her meals each week. She educated herself using the helpful articles on the Programme and would email the health coaches with any questions she had for expert advice along the way. 

Quite simply, Lara was amazed by how well her body responded to the changes, and how quickly she saw the weight start to melt away; it took just 13 weeks for Lara to lose an incredible 1.8st (12kg)!

As well as her diet changes, Lara also found that her newfound energy levels enabled her to develop a fun exercise routine. Having started on the beginner level of the Programme, she quickly switched to the intermediate level and has managed to maintain a daily practice. Having an exercise ball and mat at home meant that whenever Lara got a spare 15-20 minutes, she could quickly and easily follow a 15-minute HIIT class, making it easier than ever to develop healthy habits. As she had never been one for going to the gym for hours on end, these quick blasts of daily exercise suited her perfectly. Better yet, she could now go out with her friends and dance for longer than ever before, with her improved flexibility and stamina!

Where is Lara now?

Since becoming a member of The Fast 800 community, Lara has managed to re-programme her approach to food and eating. Having learnt how to eat smaller portions, eat less carbs, avoid snacking, and exercise every day, she is now going forward more independently with lessons she’ll use for life, making her happier and healthier for good.

Incorporating daily exercise not only benefited Lara’s stamina and weight but her sleep too, which has improved hugely, as she now wakes feeling rested and clear-headed. The knock-on effects have meant her mood is a lot lighter too, showing how a holistic approach to health positively impacts all aspects of life.

Three questions for Lara

What is the biggest surprise since starting the Programme? 

One of the most unexpected parts of the Programme is the general overhaul of how I feel in myself day to day. It’s so nice to wake up and feel like I’ve slept well and I’m alert and awake. I’ve always drunk alcohol and smoked cigarettes since I was in my teens, so I don’t remember ever feeling like this. This is the healthiest I’ve ever felt!”

Did you come across any obstacles while following the Programme? 

During the summer, I was invited to a festival and I knew that I wanted to kick back, relax with friends and have a drink. I knew it was going to be a struggle to find healthy foods at a festival, so I emailed the Health Coach to ask for advice and they were great. They advised me to prepare some healthy food in advance to take with me and they suggested which drinks to have and which ones to avoid. My friend and I did some serious cooking pre-festival and it worked brilliantly. I woke up feeling great each day and had a wonderful time with no hangovers. I even returned home the same weight!”

How did your health journey impact your menstrual cycle or perimenopause?

Interestingly, throughout my life, I had always menstruated every 21 days, not 28 days like most women. However, when I turned 50 my cycle became sluggish and I noticed I was menstruating every 4 weeks. After a few months of being on the Programme, it went back to every 21 days and that’s how it’s remained ever since. I feel that everything in my body is working more efficiently. I did notice that I experienced hunger when I was on my period during fasting days and occasionally at night time too. Again, this is something I emailed the Health coaches about and found a healthy solution for me.

If you’re feeling inspired by Lara’s story, get started today with a 7-day free trial and discover The Fast 800 resources, tools and support to help you lose weight and keep it off. 

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