Good nutrition is as important as a good mental attitude, getting enough sleep, exercise and everything else we need to put in place for living extraordinary lives.
Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle with easy access to convenience food, lack of time and busy schedules make it a much neglected part of many people’s lives.
Entrepreneurs and people driving themselves to achieving their missions in life are often more guilty than most when it comes to eating incorrectly.
In August 2012, I watched a BBC documentary produced by Dr. Michael Mosely. He investigated several systems of fasting and restricted calorie diets, eventually settling on a 2 day fast as the one that worked for him. Here is the link to the BBC article.
The documentary prompted me to try fasting for the first time. I had always associated fasting with religious fanatics or weird cults, but seeing it recommended by a doctor with mainstream medical credentials persuaded me to give it serious consideration. I had put on almost 15 kg (33lbs) after a heart attack in 2010 forced me to change my level of physical activity. Despite reducing my intake of carbohydrates and walking every day, I found it impossible to get rid of that weight. It had settled around my middle, a typical and unsightly example of middle-aged-spread or an ample spare tyre. Embarrassingly, I had been forced to buy jeans and trousers a size bigger than usual, put new holes in my belt and almost resort to using braces.
I tried fasting for two consecutive days a week, green tea and water my only beverages and a cup of soup with 18 calories for lunch and supper. I managed to keep that going for two weeks, but on both occasions, by the second evening I was feeling weak, depressed, light-headed and thoroughly miserable. I also found it extremely difficult to concentrate after midday on the second day. An additional cause for concern was the effect of fasting while taking a cocktail of drugs for blood pressure and cholesterol as a result of the heart attack.
That experience persuaded me to switch to a one day a week fast with the same restrictions on what I could consume. I found that I could manage the 24 hour fast without feeling as if I was going to fall over at the end of the day. I could manage a full day’s work, walk my 3 km and finish the day as strong as if I had eaten normally.
I stuck to the one day a week fast until the end of the year when a few events disrupted my normal routine. I stopped both the fasting and daily walking. By then, I had lost 10 of the 15 kg, had been able to wear my original size clothes again and felt better.
An active Spring and early Summer combined with a careful diet kept the weight off even though I did not resume the fasting or the daily walking. However in the last two weeks, I have been able to slow down a little and have noticed that the weight has crept up a fraction.
Last week, an article on nutrition in Early to Rise caught my attention, it mentioned the same BBC documentary on fasting and prompted me to start the 24 hour fast again. This article recommends less drastic fasting, restricting caloric intake to 25% of normal for two non-consecutive days a week (600 calories for men, 500 for women). The article also explains many other benefits of fasting, anti-ageing being one of the most important.
I have chosen Mondays and Thursdays as my fasting days, today has been green tea and water, lunch will be an apple and a cup of low-calorie soup, supper the same. I only eat breakfast at weekends so I will be looking forward to lunch tomorrow!
What about you, have you tried fasting? Will you?
Wishing you an extraordinary life.
photo from Artvex