A Yoga Teacher’s Perspective
I never thought in a million years that I would ever embark on a fast. I’d previously placed fasting in the category ‘not for me’, alongside things like marathon running.
It is then a testament to the power of the BBC Horizon programme Eat, Fast and Live Longer presented by Dr Michael Mosley that I was immediately persuaded enough by the health benefits to give it a try.
For any readers curious enough about the programme, it is still available to watch as a series of clips on Youtube. Since it was aired there has been a lot of media coverage including an excellent article in The Sunday Times magazine (behind paywall) and the following article in the The Telegraph by Dr Mosley himself. And since first writing this post Dr Mosley and Mimi Spencer have released a new book and website called The Fast Diet.
The 5/2 diet is essentially an intermittent fasting (IF) routine which means you eat as you normally would for 5 days of the week and for the two other days of the week eat a maximum of 600 calories.
After doing a little more research I settled on Brad Pilon’s version of the diet: Eat, Stop, Eat (ESE). Via this version of IF you consume all 600 calories of your allocated daily allowance in one meal and then go for 24 hours until the next meal. i.e breakfast to breakfast or dinner to dinner. I found his argument to be quite persuasive on physiological grounds as to why this is a more beneficial way of IF, compared to splitting the 600 calories into two meals over the day, but of course it is a matter of personal choice.
After a bit of a false start; I succeeded with the first attempt but folded on the next two attempts, I cracked it. I am now able to do it relatively easily and have been doing it for 3 weeks.
The results have been quite pleasing and surprising. The pleasing aspect is that I have lost 7 lbs and have gone down a good couple of belt notches. I was not exactly porky to begin with, but since ahem turning 40 it is almost like my stomach was waiting for that number to begin noticeably expanding! It is quite amazing how quickly this has been turned around.
There are two things that have surprised me quite a lot. The first is the lack of hunger that I encountered. I imagined that I would be famished and perhaps a bit light headed and wobbly. I have felt hungry, but it passes relatively quickly and herbal teas can be surprisingly filling. The second big surprise is an increase in energy levels. I guess it wasn’t until I tried fasting that I could have experienced just how much energy is expended simply digesting meals. This was a real eye opener.