Fast and Flourish – The fasting diet

Some of my friends have been asking me to share my fasting diet with them, so here goes.

I have a family history of diabetes and during my first pregnancy I had gestational diabetes, so I was informed by the doctors that this put me at a high risk of  developing Type II diabetes later in life. The advice was to make sure I was at a BMI of around 25 which means I should weigh around 58kg to 60kg. After my first child my weight settled around 82kg so my weight loss journey began. I started with circuit training at a Women’s health club and eating the recommended amount of daily calories but I was only able to shift a few kilos so I changed to a Fitness First gym. I enjoyed all the class workouts like body attack, RPM and I lost weight at first, then after a while, I plateaued at 70kg and couldn’t shift any more weight. After a few weeks of frustration, I decided to take drastic measures so I started what I called a ‘cleansing diet’ and quit the gym. I ate fruits and vegetables only for 2 days, did a fast on the 3rd day (only ate one meal of vegetables and fruit at night) and then ate a normal diet with anything I wanted but in smaller portions for 3 days in the week and indulged on one day. I combined this with a 45 minute daily walk and I lost all the rest of my weight and got down to 59/60kg. 

As a result of this weight loss, i didn’t have gestational diabetes in the second pregnancy. 

5 Years on and I now have 3 kids and went to see my doctor who asked me to do ‘what I did the last time’ to lose weight. So this got me researching why I had success with my diet the last time and I dabbled into a subject called the ‘fasting diet’. Basically, some researchers are finding that when people restrict their calories a number of days in the week (which was what I was doing on my fruit and veg days), this drastically reduces the incidences of cancer, heart disease, cholesterol, diabetes and alzheimers. The side effect of this diet was weight loss.  You can watch this BBC documentary for more information 

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xvdbtt_eat-fast-live-longer-hd_shortfilms

Christians and members of many religions normally engage in fasting for spiritual reasons. Now research is showing that literally man does not live by bread alone, but also by abstaining. 

I have lost some weight by restricting calories some days in the week, and then eating normally on the other days. At first I was doing 3 days low calorie from Mon-Tuesday and then feasting the other days in the week, but I’ve started Alternate day fasting. You can google this for more information on the research behind it. I think it’s easier to resist temptation since I can eat what I want ‘tomorrow’, also, it’s easier for my body to get into the routine. Here’s how I do it:

I eat 500 calories every other day. I find that it helps to pre-plan my meals for my low calorie day and even on the days I do a spiritual fast, I also have to pre-plan my meals so I don’t over indulge. I use the fitness pal app on the mobile phone app store. A typical low calorie day’s meal would be:

  • Breakfast: 1 hard boiled egg (76 cal); sourdough bread with small butter & jam (128+18+8); black tea with 60ml low fat milk and 1/2 tsp raw sugar (25+8) total = 263cal
  • Lunch: 1 small 100g apple (49cal)
  • Dinner: 50g spinach/rocket; 100g tomatoes; 100g mushrooms; 100g cucumber; 40g chicken breast without skin and 75g carrots: Total = 182cal

A typical normal day’s meals would be:

  • Breakfast: hard boiled egg, sourdough toast, white hot chocolate with coffee
  • Morning tea: Brownie & cake
  • Lunch: Sandwich, or Sushi or Rice or Whatever I want
  • Afternoon tea: Plantain chips, fruit and yoghurt
  • Dinner: Lasange, or Spaghetti, or Whatever I want

On a spiritual fast day, I will usually break with one apple and carrot around 3pm and then eat a light meal at night.

On Low calorie days, I try not to eat things that I cannot verify their calorific values. For example, I make my own sourdough bread and it’s luxurious with pistachios, pumpkin seeds, golden and brown linseeds, raisins or sultanas and honey. So to be able to eat this on a low calorie day, I had to determine the amount of calories within a serve and I used the ‘recipe’ section of the fitness pal app to do this. 

I find that I loose more weight when I do a cardio for 30 minutes in the morning and compliment it with a 30 minute walk during the day, but my routine has recently changed, so I’m eating my lunch in the office at my desk and then using my lunch break + morning & afternoon tea breaks to fit in a 1 hour walk after eating my lunch and then fitting in another 45 minute walk after work to my car. I find it easier to stick to walks only because I absolutely love walking and can walk for 5 hours straight if I am rewarded with good views. So my advise is to find that activity that you love doing and you will have more chances of sticking with it in the long run. 

I am finding that our bodies was not made to eat and eat and eat. We need to slow down the eating some days so that our bodies can rest and repair itself. After my normal days, I feel sluggish at night and can’t wait to eat very little just to recover from eating (lol). Also, it is good to feel hungry sometimes and to remind your body that this is a natural feeling and that it will not die because you’re not feeding it as usual. This helps us gain self control and mastery over our bodies.

Drop me a line if you have questions or you want to share what else is working for you.

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