At the end of the 2012 I began the process of intermittent fasting. I lost around 20lbs over 3 months and I felt really good. However I wasn’t as disciplined with the process as I would like to have been.
2013 was a tough year and I let the habit slide; all the weight I lost eventually came back.
That can happen with any kind of diet but I really wanted to put the process of fasting through its full paces.
So, 5 weeks ago I made the decision to begin fasting again and so far it’s worked out very well. I’ll share some of my weight stats below.
Initially the losses were great and then it slows and becomes a steady weight loss process.
133.8KG. 295lbs. 21.07st.
Weight as of 18/10/2014:
130.1KG. 286.8lbs. 20.5st.
Weight as of 26/10/2014:
128.7KG. 283.8lbs. 20.27st.
Weight as of 03/11/2014:
128.5KG. 283.5lbs. 20.25st.
Weight as of 08/11/2014:
128.1KG. 282.4lbs. 20.17st.
Weight as of 15/11/2014:
128.1KG. 282.4lbs. 20.17st.
It’s not all been smooth sailing. There have been days when it has been very difficult to stick to the fast and follow through. On other days, it was relatively easy.
I fast on Tuesday and Friday and this Tuesday just gone, was probably the toughest fast day for me yet.
I had about 4 hours sleep and part of my fasting rules is no coffee or caffeine, and no sugar. I really felt the afternoon lull and was close to nodding off at my desk.
Still, it’s a small price to pay when considering my overall health.
Two weeks ago I had a long drive on the day of my fast which was a daunting prospect but, I managed to keep my focus elsewhere and so I didn’t feel any ill effects as a result of the fasting.
So far the results have essentially mirrored what happened to me last time but this time, I’ve found it much easier to stick to the plan
I came across an article which talked about some of the pitfalls of fasting, it briefly touches upon the aspect of being preoccupied with food on fasting days you can read it here – https://news.health.com/2014/08/01/4-reasons-not-to-try-intermittent-fasting/
That is true, and that happened to me. However my opinion is that is necessary part of the fasting. That preoccupation with food was a sore reminder to me just how addicted to food I was.
I still think about food on my fast days, but it is now less severe than when I first started.
It also talks about loss of muscle and strength. haven’t found that to be the case and I can now do more push-ups than I could before I started fasting.
When fasting is talked about the first thoughts that come to mind for most people is either Ramadan or intermittent fasting and the recent fad that it was turned into.
It’s worth noting that the concept of fasting dates back centuries; probably longer. It’s nothing new and it’s benefits have always been well documented.
I remember my mum doing her regular fasts and also encouraging us to join her because of the health benefits it offered.
I wanted to tell you that I believe that you should give fasting a go because I believe it will benefit you in the long run.
I believe that the heavy consumerist culture that we have, especially surrounding junk food, contributes heavily to the state of our health. We have massive campaigns to raise money to fight diabetes, cancer, heart disease.
You can eliminate most of these very easily but adopting fasting as a way of life. If you take the responsibility for yourself, just imagine how different this world would be.
If you fast, you will greatly decrease your chance on contracting any of those diseases in one massive swoop and the evidence supporting this is relatively conclusive.
From a scientific and research stand-point, what we don’t have is documented evidence of the long term effects of fasting. I’m hoping to make this a very long term commitment and share my findings as I go along.
Here’s where I have include one of those disclaimers.
I am not a medical professional and you should seek medical advice before undertaking any dietary changes. The information I present here is purely personal and should not be taken as medical advice.
For those who may think I’m purely a blind advocate of fasting, you would be wrong. I believe along with the positives there are some drawbacks to conside, but overall I feel it’s something thing that will benefit everyone, hence why I believe you should give it a go.
Here are some of the benefits I’ve experienced as a result of fasting.
- Number 1 on the list is of course is losing weight. If you fast you will likely lose weight. However, the challenge is stagnation. I know of someone who tried an ADF (Alternate Day Fast) program and although they lost weight in the beginning, after a few months their weight completely stagnated. My theory on why is that the person in question didn’t exercise at all. If you don’t exercise, chances are you’re not going to lose much weight with any kind of diet.
- Being slim doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy and being a bit overweight doesn’t necessarily make you unhealthy. It is relative. If you are slim though and you don’t want to lose too much weight, you can always just fast once a week and so, another benefit is the flexibility. You can still enjoy all the foods you love and just once a week employ the fasting method.
- I’m becoming more consciously aware of what I eat. I’m by no means a health freak, and I have no intention of becoming one. I can’t personally live that kind of life. I love nacho’s and chocolate way too much! It has however just made me think twice about what I’m eating, and how much.
- I’m saving money through fasting. I estimate that I will save around £500 through the course of a year as a result of fasting. Again, I’m not fasting to save money, it’s just a by-product of the fasting.
- I enjoying my food much more. After a fast, or the meal I have on my fast day, I appreciate so much. Normally I just scoff down food and don’t really give it much thought.
- My digestive system appears to be working a lot better. I won’t go into too much detail on this point but just to say for many years now my digestion hasn’t been great and as a result of the fasting it is steadily improving.
- Fasting is a great way to reset a body clock and sleep much better. Because my fast includes the principle of no sugar and caffeine, I find on my fast days, I feel tired earlier, and hence I naturally want to go to bed earlier. I fall asleep quicker and I sleep more soundly.
Here are some of the drawbacks I’ve discovered from the fasting.
I believe most of these are outweighed by the benefits. If you can survive these, ultimately you will reap the rewards.
- On my fast days I can feel tired and sleepy. By the time I usually get home I’m almost ready to hit the sack. I also tend to feel quite cold and also feel a little lethargic over the course of the day. So if I know I need to do things like write articles, it does make it that much harder. I found the best way to combat this is light exercise. A brisk walk for example can help.
- I also feel like I’m losing more hair. I could be imagining it, but to me, when I look in the mirror I feel like my hair is a little thinner and I’m losing more of it. Not something that worries me at all since I shave my head anyway, but my main thing to take away from this would be to understand why it is happening. I don’t have that answer yet but if I find the answer I will let you know.
- My clothes are getting bigger by day which means that if I keep this up I will soon have to splash out on an entirely new wardrobe. I’ve already dropped a belt loop and if I keep this up I will soon be walking around with my trousers around my ankles. 😆
- Fighting the cravings for food can be tough and distracting. There is no simple answer to this except to just to keep on going by using whatever means necessary to distract oneself from the thought of food and the next meal.
- There is the social aspect which can be a downside to fasting. Last Friday I’d almost forgot that I have pre-booked a night out with friends which included dinner and bowling. I was fasting and my best intentions didn’t pan out. I thought I would be able to just have a salad but the food was just so good, I just had to tuck in! If you’re fasting on a day when you’re supposed to be out, I’m not going to lie – it’s going to be tough!!
I actually quite enjoy the challenge and discipline the comes along with fasting. Some people say it’s easy because you can eat anything you like on your non fasting days. I find that doesn’t make it any easier.
It still requires a great deal of commitment and effort to follow and not cheat yourself on the process.
The difference in fasting and other diets is that fasting can be a way of life, not just a fad. Most diets are designed for the short term. E.g. Atkins is only for the short term. Staying on Atkins long term could be harmful to you.
As with anything in life, the level of success you achieve through fasting is equal to your resolve. If you stick by it, I believe it will benefit you for years to come.
If you do decide to give it a go, I welcome you to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.