Since bursting onto our screens over a decade ago, Dr Michael Mosley has become the go-to for weight loss advice – but the Buckinghamshire local wants to speed things up even more.
What can you tell us about the Fast 800 app?
The app is a nutritionist, a personal trainer, a health coach, a tracker, a community and mindfulness support – all in the palm of your hand. It is effectively all the features of the programme that we know our members love, but now more convenient.
How much information will we be able to access on the app?
Plenty… Educational articles; Structured exercise plans to suit different fitness levels: beginner to advanced with chair-based options for those with reduced mobility; Library of workouts including Pilates, yoga, stretching, resistance and HIIT; A library of guided meditations; Changing Habits course designed by a team of qualified psychotherapists; A community where health coaches support members, facilitate discussions and run events; Community interest groups for topics such as menopause, blood sugar and diabetes, keto, men’s health and more.
Why was now the right time to launch it?
We did extensive member and team testing on the app and it wasn’t until we were confident that we had fixed any issues and had received consistent, positive feedback from our test members that we felt we were ready to launch the app.
How much work originally went into launching The Fast 800?
Years of research, product development and content development went into originally launching The Fast 800 programme. Since the initial launch, we have striven to continuously keep up with the science and ensure we are constantly adding value to our members. This is not only through tech developments, but also through new content launches and community events.
Why did you feel the need to develop it?
We wanted to make it easier than ever for members to start and stick to their weight loss journey for better health. Plus, based on the regular feedback we had from members, we knew that an app was an important priority to support their user experience.
What is the biggest misconception about The Fast 800?
The Fast 800 is an 800 diet only, when in fact that is only one of our approaches (The Very Fast 800). Our goal is to transition members to the Way of Life approach once they achieve their weight loss and health goals, which is a flexible approach that can be followed for life.
The Fast 800 ‘is just a diet’ when in fact it is a complete lifestyle change package (nutritionist, personal trainer, health coach, goals tracker, mindfulness and community).
Has it evolved in any way since 2018?
The programme has changed significantly since 2018. We have completely rebuilt and restructured the programme and are on a completely different tech platform compared to when we first launched. We have also launched a new community alongside countless new recipes, meal plans, exercise plans and community events.
Some additions since 2018 include:
· Over 700 recipes (we started with about 200);
· Worked with guest recipe developed to introduce Mexican, West African, Indian and family-friendly cuisines (all based on principles of the med-style diet);
· New meal plans: vegetarian, keto, two meals a day, transitional 3:4 meal plans to help members transition from The Very Fast 800 to The New 5:2. We’ve also optimised all plans so that ingredients are used across the days, reducing member’s weekly supermarket spend;
· Over 50 new Pilates workouts;
· New yoga workouts and series;
· New HIIT and resistance training series and workouts;
· New low-impact exercise level to help those with low mobility access the benefits of exercise;
· Worked with external behavioural change experts to create a behavioural and habit change course that we’ve integrated into the 12 week programme;
· Almost 40 new mindful meditations;
· Over 140 new educational articles;
· New community groups and community events (such as Keto Cook-a-long, Reset Challenge, Exercise Challenge, Mindfulness Challenge);
· Expanded our health coach team and expertise;
· A new app!
In a nutshell, what are the different variations of The Fast 800?
The Fast 800 has three flexible approaches that follow the principles of a moderately low-carb, Mediterranean-style diet. Each approach has variations to suit different circumstances and you can switch easily between each approach as your needs change. Some people start with The Very Fast 800 or The Fast 800 Keto (the 800-calorie plans) if they have a significant amount of weight to lose or to kick start weight loss, while others start with The New 5:2 or the Way of Life for gradual, sustainable weight loss and to improve their overall health.
Way of Life: involves following a Mediterranean-style diet, with no calorie counting or restrictions. It is perfect for those that want to improve their metabolic health and follow a healthy lifestyle, but don’t want or need to limit their calorie intake. This approach is designed to be followed for life and reaching this approach is a great goal to set.
The New 5:2: incorporates intermittent fasting for gradual weight loss and improved metabolic health. Two days per week are allocated as fasting days, where you only consume 800 calories each day. The remaining five days of the week are non-fasting days, where no calorie limits apply. We recommend you apply the principles of the Mediterranean-style diet, along with sensible portion sizes across the week.
The Very Fast 800: As with all of our approaches, this follows a moderately low-carb Mediterranean-style diet alongside a reduced caloric intake. Scientific trials have shown reducing dietary intake to 800 calories per day to be very effective for rapid weight loss, much more so than going “slow and steady” (The DiRECT Trial, The DROPLET Trial). It is an intensive approach to weight loss, though it’s not suited to everybody.
Why is the Mediterranean diet so good to follow?
There is a big body of scientific evidence to support the belief that a Mediterranean-style diet is great for your physical health and your waistline. It will cut your risk of heart attack or stroke by around 30%, reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 50%, and slash your risk of breast cancer by 70%. It is also a great way to lose weight.
Recent research shows it is great for your mental health and well-being too, having a positive effect on mood and helping to ease depression. That’s because the foods that make up the traditional Mediterranean diet (plenty of olive oil, nuts, oily fish, fruit, veg and whole grains, a reasonable amounts of full-fat yogurt and cheese, and perhaps even a glass of red wine with the evening meal) are packed with the nutrients your body needs.
Can you pick out two case studies that really highlight what The Fast 800 can do?
Pawel Gadomski, Manchester, a doctor who works in the NHS, lost over 60kg and put his prediabetes into remission. Pawel successfully combined The Fast 800 with weight loss medication and then weaned himself off the medication after 4.5 months. There’s been a lot in the press about diabetes medication, and I think people appreciate that alone, they’re not always the answer. Once people finish the medication, the weight tends to come back on, so that’s why they need to make positive changes to their lifestyle whilst using the medication.
Jill O’Connell, who is 65 and lives in Kent, lost 30kg after signing up to The Fast 800 programme. Jill started with The Very Fast 800 (800 calorie approach) and then transitioned through The New 5:2 and the Way of Life. Since losing so much weight, she noticed an improvement in her knee pain and in her general mobility, plus she can now get on the trampoline with her grandkids. It’s not just the physical improvement she noticed; her eldest daughter put her arms around her and Christmas and said: “I’ve got my mum back.”
What are your hopes for The Fast 800 app and where would you like to take the programme next?
We hope to help more and more members achieve their health goals through the app and by following the latest in science and research, and by listening to our members incorporating feedback and requests. We will be making constant UX improvements and adding extra value for our members through new recipe and meal plan launches, workout videos, mindfulness content, community events and much more.
Did you always have the ambition to be a TV presenter we look to for dietary advice?
No, I just fell into becoming a TV presenter. I was asked to present a series called Medical Mavericks, about medical self-experimenters, and that led me to doing more work on TV. In 2012 I discovered that I had type 2 diabetes and rather than start on medication I made a documentary called Eat Fast, Live Longer, where I invented the 5:2 diet, lost 10kg, and reversed my diabetes. That led to everything else.
Looking back, which of your TV shows fill you with most pride?
I think the TV show which I am most proud of is Eat, Fast, Live Longer because it triggered a worldwide interest in intermittent fasting and showed that type 2 diabetes can be reversed through weight loss.
Any future TV shows on the horizon?
I’m making a four-part series for Channel 4, which goes out in January 2024, where I help turn round the health of four different families. I am also doing a couple more series of my very successful podcast, Just One Thing. Next year I will be doing a live tour of the UK, which includes being at the Wycombe Swan on 20 February. So if you want to take selfies or ask questions, do come along!
I believe you live in Buckinghamshire – whereabouts and what do you love about the area?
I love the countryside and the fact that you can go out in the fields and see red kites flying overhead. I also love the fact that I can jump on a train and be in London in 30 minutes.
Do you ever go out and enjoy one of the area’s local restaurants?
I certainly do. There is such a wide range of different cuisines to choose from and normally they are very high quality.
What other local places do you love visiting?
I swim in the Thames, with my wife Clare, and I also like visiting National Trust properties, including Cliveden.