I’ll probably fast for the rest of my life

I totally dismissed intermittent fasting and now I’m one of 5:2’s biggest proponents. How did that happen?

I’m really lucky to be surrounded by lots of ‘Nutritional Influencers’. I have a great network from both the sports performance and nutritional medicine camps. Add to that all the (good and bad) tit bits I get from Twitter, the research pieces I read, my own studies and my knowledge is growing more and more each day. But I’ll never extoll the virtues of something until I’ve given it a go myself.

Fasting has made me stronger

Clean PB 40kg

When I first heard about intermittent fasting I totally rubbished it. I’d been led to believe (and accepted this, as it was working for me) that keeping my metabolism fired up with sometimes as many as 5 meals a day was essential. For someone that’s grossly insulin resistant I apparently needed to keep fuelling the metabolic fire to keep my body burning up calories. That would probably have been fine if all I ate all day was grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli.

But I was starting to get greedy. My portions were unnecessarily large and I most certainly didn’t need to eat all I was eating. Some days I could hit 4,000 calories – if pork belly was on the dinner menu and I’d eaten a whole tin of tuna in olive oil with an entire avocado at lunch!

5:2 is everywhere right now. Since last year’s Horizon documentary two days of calorie restriction a week has become all the rage. For anyone that’s missed the 5:2 wave it basically involves two, non consecutive days of restricted calorie intake a week – 500 calories for women; 600 for men.

Here’s why I could happily 5:2 the rest of my life:

  • My primary reason is this. If going a little bit hungry twice a week means I’m lowering my chances of chronic disease as I get older, a growling stomach is one seriously small price to pay for that
  • In line with the above, I think about this all the time. Those last few days of her life were harrowing. Again, if there’s even a small chance of preventing similar grimness, I’m getting right behind that
  • Fasting makes me feel virtuous. I’m doing my bit to be less greedy and I’m lowering my carbon footprint in the process
  • Fasting makes me grateful. Grateful for the plateful I have access to morning, noon and night. It’s made me scramble two eggs not four at breakfast, it’s made me split that tuna-avocado combo over two lunchtimes, it’s made me realise that going hungry for a little while isn’t going to kill me
  • Fasting has made me therefore eat less, not more. I expected a serious binge the morning after my first day of fasting. It didn’t happen – and hasn’t happened since
  • Fasting has made me sleep better. On a fasting day, I’ll nearly always manage 7+ hours of unbroken sleep
  • It’s tricky to properly measure this as there could be many other factors at play, but I’m convinced fasting has made me stronger. The work out I complete the day following a fast (once I’ve had a proper couple of meals) is usually an awesome one. I feel able to throw the kitchen sink at it. Last week I hit a knew PR for a 3 RM clean – aware this will mean absolutely nothing to someone that doesn’t a) lift weight or b) care about CrossFit! 🙂
  • Fasting twice  week has been a really easy way to cut calories. I’m shaving off between 4,000-6,000 calories a week without the pain associated with say dropping to 1,500 calories a day and having to count and log everything that passes my lips
  • Fasting on Mondays is so easy. Weekends are nearly always a time of socialising and in turn eating more than is probably necessary. Plotting the second fasting day of the week on a Thursday makes you enjoy a weekend treat even more

Do you think you could give fasting a go?*

*Intermittent fasting isn’t right for everyone, for example, if you are pregnant. If in doubt, seek the advice of a healthcare professional

6 thoughts on “I’ll probably fast for the rest of my life

  1. The ‘compressed eating window’ (a 13-16hr gap between my evening meal and breakfast the next day) and occasional spontaneous meal-skipping, works really well for me.

    My feelings about fasting are that it’s great as long as you’re a) nutritionally sufficient and b) getting enough sleep. Both should be a given after 3 months (or so) of a whole foods (or whatever you want to call it!) lifestyle, but without which fasting is an unnecessary stress. My only misgiving about the current popularity of fasting is that some people may think it’s the first or only thing they need to do, rather than sorting out the quality of their diets, doing some smart exercise and getting regular early nights.

    I read a tweet recently in which a woman said that most of her 500kcal were going on sugar in cups of tea – someone should explain to her how insulin works!

    • Hey Primal Park Girl (great name, BTW)

      Thanks for checking in. 100% agree. It’s like you’ve read the next post I have in drafts… 🙂 Last time I checked, no one lived a longer, happy life filling fast days with Diet Coke and low fat ready meals So much ‘what is real food’ education to be done before anyone attempts to get their head around smartly using a 500 calorie daily allowance. WIll look forward to your thoughts on my next post. Stand by. Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts.

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