WHEN Genevieve Davidson ran into her brother-in-law Mark at a party, she thought he was seriously unwell.
She hadn't seen him in about three months and he seemed to have lost half his body weight.
Thankfully, she discovered that Mark was far from ill - he was in excellent health and had been doing a form of intermittent fasting or a "part-time diet," and had lost 16kg from dieting just two days a week.
On those two days he would eat just 500 calories, but eat normally the rest of the time.
Gen was immediately interested. Despite working in the fitness industry for over 25 years she had been steadily gaining weight herself.
"Having worked in the industry for so long and knowing what to eat I was devastated with myself when I developed a weight problem in my 30s," she recalls.
"I tried every trick in the book. Personal trainers, Weight Watchers, Lite 'n' Easy, Jenny Craig, paleo ... the weight would come off for a bit, but would then go right back on ..."
With each decade Gen went up a clothing size.
"I invested in several kaftans and went to the nail salon and hairdresser to make myself feel better," she recalls.
Her health was suffering too with sleep apnoea and high blood pressure mounting.
So after seeing the impressive results her brother-in-law had achieved, she decided to give it a go herself.
After the first diet day, she wasn't sure she could continue. But she gradually got used to the routine and 12 weeks into the diet she had lost six kilos and dropped a dress size.
Feeling motivated she went to a shopping centre to buy some new clothes.
"While I was there I noticed just how many people were overweight," Gen said. "'They must not know about this,' I thought to myself.
"If they knew [about the fasting], they could be doing this too - it's so easy. They won't feel deprived, they just don't know how."
Her observations at the shopping centre planted the seed of an idea. She connected with her friend Victoria Black. They had worked in weight loss 30 years prior and recognised in each other an entrepreneurial spirit.
"Victoria and I would catch up for birthday lunches every year and we kept talking about doing a business together and this particular year I told her what I was doing - she gave [intermittent fasting] a go and lost 10 kilos easily," Gen says.
To date, Gen has lost 30kg.
From there the two friends got quite excited and started to develop their own program, which they called SuperFastDiet.
"We could see this was something that actually worked - our families and friends were losing weight too - my husband has lost 18 kilos. My daughter lost six kilos and Victoria's son lost 30 kilos. All our friends started doing it."
The new business partners spent a year or two developing their own program that covered "every facet of weight loss".
"We went way beyond [the traditional 5:2 method of intermittent fasting] and started researching and incorporating different intermittent fasting methods," explains Gen.
"People had heard about the 5:2 diet but didn't really know how to apply it."
THREE SUPERFASTDIET FASTING ROUTINES
Two-Day Method: Diet part-time by fasting two days a week (up to 500 calories) and eating normally the other five days (up to 2000 calories for women).
Three-Day Method: Diet part-time by fasting three days a week (up to 1000 calories) and eating normally the other four days (up to 2000 calories for women).
Part-Day Method: Diet part-time by eating within an eight-hour window - up to 1600 calories for women.
Gen and Victoria went on a capital raising journey for their new business and ended up raising over $2 million for the program's launch.
They went about recruiting a team of experts to contribute to the holistic program, which coaches members on physical fitness and mental wellbeing as well as diet.
Among the contributors are Biggest Loser personal trainer Shannon Ponton who provides workout tips, psychologist Dr Tim Sharp, Jacinta McDonell ("she provides the most beautiful yoga videos") and other notable GPs and dietitians.
Membership includes weekly coaching from the aforementioned team; recipes, meal plans and snacking ideas; a library of exercise, lifestyle and mindset videos and blogs; and a personal weight and goal tracker.
There's also a lively online community that supports each other on the weight loss journey.
The launch membership offer is $132 for 12 weeks (which works out around the $10 a week mark).
Word of mouth about SuperFastDiet spread before it actually launched - so much so that it became oversubscribed within the first week.
Gen believes the diet will be a hit because of the sustainable results, and the fact that you can still enjoy your wine and pizza with friends without feeling that you've "failed".
"We are all about no guilt and having fun," she explains.
"We want people to enjoy the experience as much as possible."
WHAT DOES A SUPERFASTDIET DAY LOOK LIKE?
Gen sticks to 1600 calories a day, and adheres to that most days of the week.
"I eat in an eight-hour period, she explains.
"I'm not fussed about breakfast. I'll have a cappuccino in the morning then I'll wait until lunch to eat (a turkey and salad wrap, or vegetable soup, or Corn Thins with cheese and tomato, boiled eggs and tuna and salad).
"I have a snack ready for 3pm (a piece of fruit) then a snack at 5pm (Corn Thins and dip, or a can of tuna) and then I will go for a really good dinner - fish and sweet potato fries and salad, or a chicken stir fry with zucchini noodles or cauliflower.
"I always leave room for dessert, so I'll have some dark chocolate and strawberries or something like. And I would have a glass of wine too."
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