Tuesday 21 November 2023

The ABC Diet



By M Parker

What is the ABC diet?

ABC stands for Ana Boot Camp.  This diet usually lasts for 50 days. 

How to do the ABC diet

The idea of this diet is very simple.  Once you get to 800 cals you must fast the next day.  For example:

Monday: 350 cals

Tuesday: 100 cals

Wednesday: 250 cals

Thursday: 100 cals 

Friday: fast

The fasting day is a water fast, so cals should be 0 for the whole day. Once that day is complete, cals are reset and you start again.  There is no set rule for the amount of cals you consume in a day, although many anorectics will state that you can't consume all the cals in one day and fast the next. If you do, this just ends up being an intermittent fast.   

In addition, I have seen planned out diets for the entire 50 days, see image below.  This planned out diet has different rules and is the one I ended up following.

My experience of the ABC diet 

Surprisingly, I found the first 25 days pretty easy.  What's more, after a while I stopped feeling hungry and seemed to have more energy. Once the sugar craving stopped, it was so much easier to control my hunger. However, I then started to get headaches, which I think could be down to the sugar withdrawal.

How difficult was it?

Ironically, the fast days seemed to be easier than the low colouring days. I found that eating little resulted in tortuous hunger for hours after. The first week was not as bad as I thought it might be. In fact, it was easy. The second week was not too bad either as long as I kept occupied. 

How much weight did I lose?

After 4 weeks, I lost a surprising amount of weight. The weight loss was steady and at one point I seemed to put on weight.  I put this down to food weight, the weigh of food eaten after fasting and not much food is in gut.  However, weight loss quickly restarted. 

At this stage, weight was 51.2 kg, BMI 17.3.

Baring in mind, I still had 3 weeks to go at this point I began to worry about losing too much weight or worst still putting it all back on again! For this reason, I started looking at suitable diets to ease me back into normal eating patterns.  This led me to the get worse diet that if I did in reverse might be the answer I was looking for with a few alterations. 

Unfortunately, I ended up with a disastrous last few days.  This resulted in my final weight loss being only 8.1 kg.  In addition, I quickly returned to regular eating patterns and volumes.  I must admit, this led me to feeling fat, awkward and uncomfortable.  As a result, i increased my workouts and even thought about reintroducing running to get the weight back down.  I really didn't want to lose the progress I have made in the last 50 days.

What did I learn from the experience?

Chiefly, I learnt that sugar will lead me to eat more. As a result, I learned to live without sugar in my tea and coffee and only adding a teaspoon in a coffee if I felt particularly weak after weeks of extremely low calories. Notably, sugar was not the only food I gave up: bread I also learnt to give up.  Being someone who is concerned about gut health and nutrition, I learnt about probiotics and prebiotics.  Furthermore, I rediscovered the joy of simple unprocessed foods and living without condiments.  

Another important lesson I learnt was how I felt better in myself during the first 25 days. Not only did I seem to have more energy, my gut seemed better in that I had a lot less pain, bloating, and wind. This led me to look again at FODMAP foods, an acronym for carbohydrates in our food, and to make more notes about whether the food I just ate was high in FODMAPs.  From this, I noticed I seem to react to polyols, alcohol sugars that are not alcohol. Polyols are the P in FODMAP and are mainly in foods sweetened with sugar alternatives. Notably, they are also in some vegetables, including cauliflower.  Cauliflower can give me gas, but the sweeteners result in pain, bloating, and smelly gas!

What did I eat?

Except for the first few days, I excluded any and all processed foods such as mock meats.  My diet consisted of vegetables and little else.  If you are really interested in what I actually ate, this playlist will explain all. Click the link below.


I quickly learnt to drink more water to avoid feeling ill, and it seemed to reduce food cravings. I learnt from the books in the library that food contains a lot of water, so when fasting or reducing food intake, it is sensible to drink more water.  I also leant to avoid sugar, which also help end the food craving.

What would I do differently?

On two dates during the diet, I realised I had little calories for the celebration days: Halloween and Bonfire night. Next time, I will plan to avoid celebration days that I don't want to miss. In addition, as the weather became colder, water fasting days became harder because only drinking water made me feel so cold!