Christie Rourke - 26 April 2017
I started fasting a few years ago. For years I have suffered with ibs (irritable bowel sydrome) symptoms of bloating, painful tummy and such. I know it is mostly due to stress but this doesn't help me stop it from happening.
Finding the 5:2 regime 3 years ago has been a revolution. Not only for giving my digestive system a break, but also for its many other health benefits. It is renowned for helping people live longer. It helps strip body fat. It gives the digestive system a much needed break on the fasting days (this is how we were made. When we were cavemen, we would have days fasting where no food was available. Then days of feasting once food was gathered or hunted). Our bodies appreciate this way of eating and respond well. It helps weight loss in a healthy long term way. No fad diets or shakes that mean your tricking your body into different ways of consuming calories. It is a lifestyle change many make and continue ongoing.
It helps lower blood pressure and stabilises blood sugar levels. No more crashing or shaking when you need food. I suffered gravely with this, even a few hours without food and I got totally hangry! Shakey and unable to concentrate, focus or perform my sports/activities.
How to 5:2
The 5:2 is one way of using intermittent fasting to gain all the health benefits. There are other regimes, like 16:8 where you would fast for 16 hours and eat between the 8 hours in the day. I haven't tried this personally but have heard accounts of this helping others.
5:2 means fasting on two days a week and feasting (or eating normally!) the other 5. It is simple and easy to stick to. You only have to focus on one day at a time and get through that day knowing the next day you can eat freely.
If you are like me, someone who had never really let themselves feel hunger for many many years, the thought of not eating may terrify you! I assure you, if I can do it so can you. Plus, you can eat on fasting days and I would suggest you be clever about it and you will succeed.
On a typical fasting day I would consume the following....
Protien bar or shake (with vegan protein powder, and almond milk, typically 120 calories. Or bulked out with a banana to make it 220 calories.
Boiled eggs (80cal with the yoke, 16cals just the white)
or egg white omletes (one whole egg and two egg whites) for 112 cals
plenty of green veg and salads, which personally I don't count too closely but you can look up each vegetable and some are much higher in calories than you may expect.
Prawns are a good low calorie high protein food to eat also.
Stear clear of sauces with lots of calories, marmite and soya sauce are good low cal flavourings to use.
And fill up on plenty of water and hot teas without milk for low calorie fluid in take. I split my meals initially by eating three small sittings. Now I can often do a late breakfast and an early dinner as around 3-4pm seems to be my hungry time. Then the evenings I don't miss food.
As a female it is suggested your intake is 500 to 550 calories on a fasting day. For males 600 to 650.
My first few weeks were a little tougher than now. I did experience some headaches. The tough thing is not getting enough water as you don't get any from food intake. So make sure you drink plenty on fasting days more than normal and this helps curb some feelings of hunger that may actually be thirst.
It can cause sleep disturbance and some issues with hormones in woman so it may be worth consulting a Dr if you are concerned. Himalayan pink salt can help balance the hormones.
But for me, after 5 weeks it felt like a breeze and actually after weekends and a few days of feasting my body craves a day of fasting. I chose days where I am busy and don't have time for food preparation and this helps keep my mind off the hunger and doesn't give me a chance to think about it. I would suggest not exercising on fasting days until you are very used to it and personally I stick to light yoga sessions on fasting days if exercising at all.
There are many other great tips out there, but I do think this is something that will suit some people perfectly and others won't get on with it. But hey, give it a try and see if it works for you.
Christie is a Sports Therapist who runs a small injury clinic in Worthing, West Sussex, by the sea. She can often be found paddleboarding, wakesurfing or sea surfing. And loves wakeboarding. Especially in her amazing pink tye dye shortie wetsuit from glidesoul for some bright summer fun! Her matching impact vest is equally as striking and great quality. See her website for more information on what she does with her days at Bodywaves www.bodywaves.co.uk