Does it really work?
So, it’s been 8 years since I’ve started intermittent fasting, it all started after watching a 60 Minutes interview with Michael Mosely the creator of the ‘Fast Diet’. And like usual, part way through the segment I fell asleep and when I awoken I convinced myself that I was going to fast 2 days in a week. But in my sleep muddled mind, I had interpreted the 5-2 to be 2 days of completely not eating. So, for a period of 4 months, I’d stop eating after dinner on a Wednesday night and not eat again until Friday dinner time2 days later – fasting each week for 48 hours straight. And the results were remarkable! The losing weight part was a given, but it was the other benefits which were startling! I found I had better concentration, I felt more energised, and I required less sleep. And even my resting heart rate became extremely low which meant that my body was coasting through life!
But then Winter came about, and I found I couldn’t regulate my body temperature so on the Thursday nights after already fasting for 30 hours, I found I wasn’t able to remain asleep as I was so cold and so hungry. So, I eventually gave up on my insane 48 hour weekly fasts.
But I had become accustomed to the feeling of well-being from not eating, so I wanted to keep up this intermittent fasting lifestyle (see how I didn’t call it a diet?). So, I tried the proper 5-2 Diet, where 2 days a week I only ate 500 calories or less, which equated to only having a large salad for dinner 2 nights a week. But that wasn’t satisfying, both as a meal, and both as a sense of achievement from mastering your primal urges to consume food.
So, I eventually settled on my own version of Intermittent Fasting, which is the simple rule of: “If I’m at work, I’m not eating.” As simple as that. So, if it’s Monday, I’d start work without having breakfast, I also skip lunch and I only ‘break-fast’ at 4.30pm when I finish work for the day. It’s as simple as that. So, give or take, you don’t eat for 20 hours and then you eat for 4 hours. And I do this 4 days a week, and I allow my Fridays to be a cheat day, so I skip breakfast, but I have lunch, lunch with colleagues back in the day when we used to work from the office. And this regime has been super easy to maintain because all you have to do is nothing! No need to prepare work lunch the evening before, no need to wake up in the mornings in a rush and ponder what to have for breakfast- you simply do nothing! And because I’m blind, when I was in the office it wasn’t like I was going to stroll down to my local take-away joint and buy myself some lunch. So not bringing something to work for lunch, simply meant that I wasn’t going to eat throughout that day.
I allowed myself couple cups of water during the day, and the occasional breath of air….. But I found by not eating during the day, I just remained focus throughout the working hours, none of that post-lunch sleepiness after consuming a high carb lunch. So, I’ve maintained this from 2015 to the present, and how am I doing these days?
Well, some benefits remain- like I still have an extremely low resting heart rate, I still don’t need much sleep, I still feel super alert throughout the working day, but the weight part?….. Well, let’s just say I’m no longer a size Small, and most items from my wardrobe these days feel awfully tight.
I’m blaming it on Covid and Working From Home! The immobility, the sitting at the desk all day long, the ‘not caring’ factor? That has all contributed to the middle-age spread. But I’ve also been less disciplined with my eating, sure I still maintain the same fasting hours, but boy when I eat, I eat! My wife comes home from work and all she sees me doing is eating. And I’m eating junk hand over fist, snacks high in sugar, snacks high in sodium, and amounts of it which would shock others. And there was a day last week when I reached the tipping point, I was buttoning up a shirt, which otherwise would have perfectly fitted a year ago, but everything didn’t feel right. My belly fat was bulging out dangerously so, that the last two buttons were at risk of not meeting their corresponding holes, and my man boobs were so out there that I felt like I needed a minimiser bra, and it all got a lot worse when I sat down. So, no surprise, I wore a sweater over the shirt and felt awfully over-dressed on a 25 degree day in Sydney. And I told myself that I needed to do something, or otherwise I was at a point of no return.
So, I decided to return back to a more regimented version of my Intermittent Fasting lifestyle, the 3 golden rules being:
One. No eating while at work – That was easy, as I’ve always maintained this rule.
Two. Only eat during mealtimes, which means no more snacking before and after dinner – this was going to be harder, as there was going to be so many yummy snacks that I’ll have to give up. *Sad look*.
Three. Eat healthier – And the last was to watch what I put into my mouth regardless of the time of day, sugary snacks to be replaced by dried fruit, and the Soda Stream was now only to carbonate water, not home made fizzy sodas. *Sad look*.
And how do I feel, a week on? Amazingly good! Amazingly good! The first few days was tough, I felt hungry and cold most of the time, and lacked energy, which then played on my mood. But things started to turn a corner 5 days in, and I can already feel the difference! The waistline is less jiggly, shirts feel less tight and constricting, and I generally feel more positive and optimistic about the future. And this is only after a week of changing my habits! So, fingers crossed that things only get better in a months’ time, two months’ time etc etc.
So why am I blogging about this? One simple reason. ACCOUNTABILITY! Once it’s out there, I’m accountable to maintain this as I’ve told the world that this is what I’m doing and committed to. so hopefully this doesn’t become just a one week or one month fad of mine, but to at least maintain this stricter lifestyle for the next 6 months, during the warmer months when I can’t hide behind a jacket or sweater. But when those colder months roll in……. Haaha! Me and some choice snacks may be joyfully reacquainted., just for the months while I can hide behind a puffy jacket. *Smile*.