There’s has been a lot of interest in the idea of intermittent fasting and I have been asked how one goes about starting. For me, it was quite straight forward as many a long year ago, I used to fast every Friday from 06:00 in the morning until the same time in the evening.
On reflection, at that time, I was not ready for such observance. I was working in a stressful environment, and my mood was often poor whilst fasting, probably because I was not taking in enough liquid. I curtailed the regime after about 3 months. But what I learned was how to prepare myself and also what it felt like. I also learned the mental discipline that was required, especially when around other people who are eating.
This time round, I have decided to fast twice a week. Early in the week on Mon or Tue and then on Thu. This is known as a 5:2 regime. My fast hours are between 19:00 to the same time the following evening.I have deliberately chosen this time as it allows me to remain social. If I have plans for an evening that involves going out with friends to eat, I will plan we week accordingly. In fact, my wife did this for our evening out last Sat. Her fast ended at 19:00 and she was bale to break it with friends in a great place.
On fast days I drink constantly throughout the day, mainly water and herbal tea. I did not experience any problems at all last week; in fact, I would go as far as to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am older, wiser and also a much healthier person, both physically and mentally than at the time of my previous fasts, . I also work from home and do not have the stress of traveling by public transport or the pressure of an office full of people munching away all day long. I say this as in contrast my wife found her first fast day quite difficult. I am convinced this is probably due to the stress of her pressurised job and responsibilities. Also, males and females might not be able to follow the same protocols due to hormonal differences, I am not quite sure.
After completing my last meal of the evening, it feels natural not to eat again for that day. As emphasised, I continue to drink. During the fast day, there are one or two moments when I start to crave food and natural bodily instincts become more apparent (rumbling of the stomach for example). At those points, I drink and focus more on what I am doing. The moment passes and I am soon able to enjoy a meal with my family in the evening. It all feels quite natural and very liberating. Oh, by the way, I did add honey to my herbal tea on a few occasions; I’m sure that made a big difference.
On non fast days I eat as good a quality of food as possible and eat a lot of it, but no more than I need, I do not overeat. Lots of fruits and veg in a spectrum of colours and prepared using a variety of methods (I love beetroot by the way); lots of tofu, especially sausages, and marinated pieces. Yum! Chicken and fish are also staples in our household (no red meat at all). I eat eggs on each of these days, for no other reason than I love them. No ready meals apart from pizzas, take-away foods limited to once a week from a reputable source, likewise for eating out. Limited salt and sugar intake.
The great thing about fasting is that there is no definite template. If what I have started does not appeal, consider the following. Just remember, fasting can be a weekly routine, integrated on a monthly basis or as an occasional event:
Reduced Eating Window: Eat within a set number of hours, often somewhere between four and seven hours. Alter the window depending on your schedule and preferences.
Early and Late Meals: This is basically fueling at the top and bottom of a day. The day’s food intake and nutrients are balanced between an early meal and later afternoon/early evening meal.
Author: Jules Jack Date: 15 October 2012