I watched Dr Michael Mosleys recent TV program with a great deal of interest due to having recently started a diet/training program that would get me on course to regain some of the youthful fitness Id let slowly slip away in the years since I turned 30. The BBC trailed the program with this article on the BBC website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19112549
Now, 3 months later and 12 fast days on, Im happy to say that, whilst each fast has been a mild challenge of my discipline and my dedication, it has for the most part been a really positive experience. There has been only one lapse and that came during the school holidays when I made a plate of Italian style meatballs in tomato sauce for my son. This would have been a challenge all of its own to have to deal with the sights and smells of making such a delicious meal however having only just come through that challenge with rumblings coming from down below, when my son decided the meatballs were too spicy for him and placed the hardly touched plateful back in the kitchen the game was up.
So I fell off the wagon once, not because I was too hungry to stick to the plan but simply because my desire to quit overcame my desire to hold firm. But, for the most part and through the 36 hours of each fast "day", I have resolutely stayed on course. Lets face it, its not so desperately difficult to go without for that long. The habit of eating is what usually presents the most challenges. During each fast, despite drinking plenty of water and training reasonably frequently throughout, I have been losing approximately 3 - 4 pounds. Granted it does mostly come back on the following day but not all of it does. The trajectory throughout the 3 months this experiment has taken place has been of consistent weight-loss and I place the weekly fasts as a core part of this.
I sometimes ask myself why bother fasting. Is it for the weight-loss or the detox? For me the answer is neither. Its partly an allusion to the disciplined routine of the diet I have been trying to follow through the rest of these weeks but its mostly because of all the softer reasons suggested in the BBC program mentioned previously. For those who haven't seen the documentary, it is claimed that short bursts of intermittent fasting have the capacity to kick the body out of gear and into a mode whereby the processes of repair and rejuvenation take centre stage. These effects and my perception of them may be placebo in nature but I certainly feel that my periods of abstinence are doing something good in there. Its almost an uncanny feeling of strained well-being that takes hold when the fast is in full swing.
So, in conclusion, as I lie in my bed with my laptop, 24 hours into my latest 36 hour fast, getting ready to go to sleep and dream about potato crisp forests and boats sailing across oceans of tikka masala bordered by pilau rice beaches, I feel sure that what started as an experiment brought on by a passing interest in a compelling BBC TV documentary has now become something that I may well be participating in this time next year or who knows even further down the line. So if you're reading this post feeling bloated and full after a late evening meal, why not consider for yourself if the benefits of Intermittent Fasting might be something that has a future in your weekly routine.