It seems as if half the population of the developed (and therefore obese) world is currently reading The Fast Diet, otherwise known as the 5:2 Diet, or Intermittent Fasting. The author, Michael Mosley, is a BBC journalist with a medical degree, and his documentary and book (co-authored by Mimi Spencer) seem interesting.
The rules are simple: for 5 days of the week, eat as you normally do, but twice a week, limit your food to 500 calories (for women) or 600 (for men). Someone I know tried it and found it worked. She even fasted a few times during a holiday in France – how’s that for dedication?
As Mosley points out, many religions include periods of fasting. During Yom Kipper, Lent, and Ramadan, the aim is similar in each case: to concentrate on spiritual rather than material things and – in extreme cases – to mortify the flesh. All require self-discipline, but they use quite different strategies.