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Trying fasting for the first time

As I was investigating dieting and nutrition, I started to hear more and more about fasting. It was not a target in the first few weeks as a significant change was needed to move our diets to a healthier place and this change of diet was having enough of an impact on our weight. With the reduction in our carbohydrates, we naturally started eating fewer meals a day and after about 5 weeks we decided to do some intermittent fasting. The more we did this the easier it became. We slowly transitioned from 16:8 to 18:6 and then OMAD. This improved the rate of weight loss and as I learnt more about insulin, I decided to believe the Jason Fung weight loss model that says you won’t lose weight if your insulin is high and the best way to reduce insulin levels is fasting. We decided to eat in 1-hour windows and to do this a few times as possible each week. In mid-March we adopted a plan of 6 big and 4 small meals each week with one 47-hour fast and then and Mix of OMAD and TMAD on the other days. The next evolution of this is was to drop some of these meals and increase the number of longer fasting intervals. This approach is going well for weight loss and also seems to be manageable on a low carb diet. By mid-April this had evolved into 4 meals a week with two 2-day fasts and two 36-hour fasts.

We feel we are quite strict with fasting and these are the routines / rules that we aim to follow.

  • We only eat within a 1-hour window for each meal.

  • Outside of the eating windows we only consume: water, salt, apple cider vinegar, black tea, black coffee and fruit teas.

  • We take salt water at least once each day with 5g of salt.

Sometimes we find the eating window a little restrictive and we may have a glass of wine or a coffee in the hour after the eating window.

With OMAD I felt very little hunger during the day. Now that we are fasting every other day, I do find hunger more of an issue. The salt water helps as does the routine as it is clear when we will next eat. What we eat also seems to make a difference. One day we had a couple of slices of bread and I found it hard to make it through the next 48-hours without eating. It seems that the fewer carbs we have when we eat the easier, we find it to fast.

Listening to Jason Fung, Megan Ramos and Sten Ekberg helped me believe that fasting was possible and healthy. It is difficult at first as society has ingrained within it the need to eat multiple times per day. It took a while to stop feeling guilty that we were missing breakfast, however once you realise that it is possible to keep going without it does become easy to keep going. In April, I did a 5 day fast. This worked well for even faster weight loss and caused no problem during the fast. I should have just eaten soup at the end of the fast; I had a normal meal and this was too much. I had stomach ache, bloating and gas that evening. However, I was fine by the following morning.

For me the combination of low carb and fasting is the quickest and easiest way I have found to lose weight. Once I reach my weight goal, I will switch to OMAD and maintain this if it keeps my weight stable. I then may do a one or two 48 hour fasts each month for some of the other benefits of fasting.

The things I miss the most are not having milk in my coffee and not getting to sip wine throughout the evening. This is relatively easy during lockdown (now on day 25). However, once things open up again and we can socialise we may find this too restrictive. My initial solution for this will be to be more flexible in our eating windows but add in some longer fasts if necessary to maintain a stable weight.

These were the YouTube videos I found the most useful when starting to fast:

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