Desperate times call for desperate measures, so the saying goes. After a year or so of trying various diets without any success, and excited about the many benefits of intermittent fasting, I decided to give it a try.
The idea of being able to lose weight, improve my health and increase my longevity through fasting seemed too good not to pursue. Other people do it all the time, why not me?
I began the day with a brisk three mile walk. I’d read recently that exercise first thing in the morning before breakfast is the best way to burn fat.
Breakfast on the 5:2 Diet
For breakfast I had Patrick Holford’s Get Up and Go! Low GL Breakfast Shake mixed with soya milk and fresh strawberries followed by a cup of green tea. The 5:2 Diet (5 days feeding: 2 days fasting per week) allows women 500 calories on a fasting day, men 600. The breakfast shake was about 300 calories. Apart from feeling a bit bloated after my liquid breakfast, I felt fine and energised. So far, so good.
Hunger kicked in after three hours. My partner phoned and commented on how tired I was sounding. My normal eating routine consists of eating regularly every three to four hours to keep my blood sugar levels up, so I guess my body knew it was snack time.
From then on I started to feel worse by the hour. My typing got more and more inaccurate. A friend phoned and I found it a real effort to string sentences together at times – my energy levels were really low and sinking fast.
Drinking hot tea helped relived the hunger pangs a bit and I was drinking loads of water too, but the hunger relief was short-lived.
Around 2.30pm – six hours after breakfast – I realised that I had wasted the past three hours. I couldn’t think straight and was finding it impossible to concentrate. I’d been staring at the computer screen, unable to take in any of the information I was reading. It felt like my brain had shut down.
The thought of another six hours in this state was just too much for me at this stage. Also, it was turning into a wasted day as I was being completely unproductive. There was no way I could adopt intermittent fasting as a lifestyle if I lost two days a week, unable to string a coherent thought together.
And so I gave up. I decided intermittent fasting was not for me and I went and had a lunch of sardines on Ryvita with slices of tomato. Afterwards I was still hungry!
So, did I give up too soon? Should I have stuck it out until dinner time? Would it have been easier next time? It’s hard to say but probably not. All the other times I’ve had to fast, like before surgery, I’ve felt just as tired and desperate.
I’ve concluded that my body is not suited to fasting. It may be because I take medication, it may be because I have low blood sugar and probably shouldn’t have attempted fasting in the first place.
But it was still an interesting experiment. It works for some people but not for others. And I’ll just have to find some other way to be healthy, slim and live forever that doesn’t involve hunger!