Whilst everyone was enjoying their Easter weekend (in isolation) I decided it was a great time to commence a fast. If you've read my previous post you'd know that I am going through some current health issues. Just to recap currently I have alopecia aerate and non-alcholic fatty liver disease. Based on my studying, this means some drastic lifestyle changes need to occur to reverse these.
Prior to this weekend I had never fasted for longer than 12 hours. Whilst, I was aware of some of the benefits, I just hadn't looked into it enough to realise it could be so beneficial for me. I had heard a little bit about the 5:2 diet, and the fast 800 calorie diet which had been written by Michael Mosley but I hadn't really taken much interest in them. That was, until a friend and fellow uni peer suggested I read one of the diet protocols as it might be beneficial for me. On Friday I borrowed my Mum's copy of the book and began to read it.
Basically, The fast 800 calorie. Is a diet that involves low caloric intake. You start on a 800 calorie diet for a few weeks anywhere, between 2 weeks to 12. Then you commence a 5:2 diet. Where for 2 days in the week you stick to 800 calories and on the other days you don't count calories (You don't just eat whatever you want either). Finally there is a maintenance stage where you eat a health diet and occasionally have a fast (800 calorie day) the book explains this so much better than I can.
Michael Mosely's books is not about extended fasting but I will explain why I decided to do that shortly.
It didn't take long for the book to really interest me. As Michael goes to explain the people that would benefit this type of protocols which includes people with fatty liver disease (i.e me). The thing that I really like about Michaels writing is that it is all backed up by writing. Not only does he discuss his own protocol but he discusses research relating to other diets and theories which I found admirable and interesting. One of the studies that really interested me was about fasting, this women had an autoimmune condition and the process of fasting over a 3 day period allowed her immune system to reroute itself, which resulted in her symptoms reducing!
And this is why I decided to fast. Alopecia is considered an auto-immune condition, usually auto-immune conditions are called that because the cause is unknown. Naturopaths try and find the cause, at least a cause which alleviate symptoms! Regardless I decided that I had nothing to lose and hoped that going on a fast may wake my immune system up and stop it from killing my hair follicles which is causing my hair loss.
So basically, not only can eating a low caloric diet reduce fatty liver disease, which is caused by sudden weight loss but extended periods of fasting could potentially zap my immune system out of what ever crazy things it is currently doing. Honestly, what did I have to do.
Whilst I was keen to start the 800 calorie diet I was also curious to see what fasting would be like so decided to commence with a fast. I had my last meal at 7pm Friday night and didn't eat again until Tuesday morning.
I need to reiterate that if you are unhealthy or have health concerns that you should consult your doctor before commencing a fast and use your common sense, there's no failure in having to cut a fast early.
In an ideal world I would of loved to have had my blood test taking prior to my fast and after it had been completed but I wasn't so fortunate.
During my fast I ensured I drank plenty of water, I had herbal tea and drank a bone broth miso soup at lunch for some sustenance.
All in all, it was quite easy fasting and I was not as hungry as I thought I would be. The biggest issue I had with fasting was psychology. I am so use to cooking and having it in my daily schedule that it was hard to not think about. I also, still cooked for my partner. Watching him eat was somewhat difficult. The feeling of hunger came in waves and was never very strong nor did it last long. Well this occurred for most of the fast anyway. I also maintained a normal day, ensuring I exercised as per normal each day. Definitely wouldn't recommend a marathon or starting some form of exercise you've never done before but if it's in your regular routine than it shouldn't be stopped.
On my final night I was extremely hungry, which resulted in an awful nights sleep. I feel this is probably a sign that I should of listened to and I probably should of had something small like an egg to curve this hunger.
So the results, I know you're all curious. After my 4 night, 3 day fast I lost a total of 3kg and 2 cms from both my hips and waist.
I've had a bit of a bad food day today but will follow the 800 calorie diet as of tomorrow. I will monitor my weight and continue to do this until I am satisfied. I will then commence a 5:2 diet. Not only will I be focusing on caloric intake by I will also be practicing intermittent fasting, where for only 8 hours of the day I will eat.
Obviously it is to soon to determine whether my fast has slowed down my hair loss but I am definitely not against attempting another fast. Maybe in 2 weeks or a months time.