Ex-Smoker, Less Stress, No More Painful Periods, Better Skin & Self – Control

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Ex-Smoker, Less Stress, No More Painful Periods, Better Skin & Self – Control

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Monkey 8 years, 5 months ago.

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  • I’m actually an acceptable weight for my height and apart from the fact I need to do a bit of toning up I’m pretty much happy with my body shape for a woman of 40 years old (weigh 7 Stone, height 4,11 – very petite and light boned – both parents small), however I do have my problems! I’m an ex-smoker and my skin has taken a bit of a knocking, especially around the mouth area and the eyes, whilst my hair is quite brittle and poorly reflective. I have a lot of fine lines that have appeared over the last couple of years quite rapidly. I am someone who enjoys a drink (mainly wine) and more often than not I have been known to crack open a bottle on a work night to unwind whilst slouching on the sofa in front of the box.
    This fasting concept interested me when I heard about all the other health benefits, life-extension for one and the concept of “repair genes”. To an ex-smoker (given up for 4 months now) anything that can perhaps provide a bit of hope to years puffed away on cig has got to be worth a look into.
    I’ve been doing intermittent fasting now for approximately 2 months and I’ve noticed something quite remarkable! – My skin has actually improved!!!!! My crows feet don’t seem to be so prominent and I have a healthy glow to the skin which I never had before!!! Infact my partner used to say that I “looked like a smoker”. I do believe that the intermittent fasting has made me take more care of myself. I’ve also noticed a whole host of other positive things like having more energy and concentration at work. What has been a real bonus though, is the fact that I no longer have chronic abdomen pain with my period. The last two periods have been so totally different to what I’ve been used to that it is worth doing intermittent fasting for that alone! Not only have I had lighter periods but my actual mood has been steady throughout the month which has pleased my partner no end! My weight hasn’t bothered me but I find that I’m always hovering around 7 stone and that is good for me.

    How it works for me – things I now do…..

    1) My water intake has increased and I can’t bear it if I don’t have a bottle of water in my handbag when travelling. Whereby in the past I would be panicking at the thought of being down to one last cig, I now panic if I’m down to a splash of water in my water bottle. I always carry a bottle of plain water (mostly tap) all of the time.

    2) I really pay attention to what calories and nutrients are in my food (something I can’t stress enough as supermarkets can have deceptive food labels). I have made numerous mistakes when I have read the label wrong and assumed that the calories printed on the label are the “total amount” of what is contained rather than what it really says which is “a 1/3 of this pack is xyz calories” etc etc.

    3) I have set up an Excel Spread Sheet whereby I have recorded what I eat at least on fast days to keep an “automatic count” of my fasting. I have also added columns so that I can assess which of the foods I have eaten that day are giving me specific minerals and vitamins. I initially did this to keep an eye on Vitamin A and Vitamin E when I started seeing positive effects on my skin and wanted to research and explore the foods with good levels of nutrients. I have now got into a routine of what good foods I like to eat and foods I don’t bother about due to personal taste and automatically know now what nutrients they contain just by reading about them and experimenting with dishes. I don’t think I will keep up with the spreadsheet for the rest of my life but to kick start my fasting I found recording information about foods helped me.

    4) As a result of point 3, my research led me to read more on “Lypcopene”, the red caroteniod found in tomatoes. I have always liked tomatoes but probably never eaten enough of them and so now I find mind myself making sure I design enough meals in the week around tomatoes as I think appropriate.

    5) Also, as a result of point 3, I did some background reading on anti-ageing and the skin. Something that kept cropping up time and time again was the importance of eating fish like Salmon. I try to eat either Mackerel or Salmon once a week, usually with steamed broccoli or a sweet potato, but you can buy Salmon flakes which can be sprinkled over a salad, or indeed scrambled egg and smoked Salmon as a treat on Saturday morning when I have more time to prepare breakfast goes down very well.

    6) I tend to make sure I have freshly homemade food as opposed to package food for more days out of the week than not, even if it’s a quick and easy thrown together salad with tomatoes of course!!! As it is summer I’m finding that I am living off Salads but I can foresee me swapping to hearty thick soups in the winter or hot and spicy stir-fries.

    7) I have cut back on alcohol and tend now to sip my first glass of wine much longer if I am drinking on non-fast days or a night out etc. Something that sticks in my mind about beer is something I read somewhere. Someone had referred to beer as drinking “liquid bread”. This really made me think about alcohol in terms of calorie content without much nutritional value.

    8) I skip breakfast but do have a coffee with full fat milk (which I buy at my local railway station on the way to work), but as I’m NOT doing this for weight loss I feel that is ok for me. I have done fast days whereby I don’t eat again until I get home but if I’m having a hard day at work I find that having a spot of lunch lifts my mood and breaks up the day. I tend to make the decision on that particular day whether I’m leaving my full calorie intake for dinner or having half at lunch and half when I get home at night.

    9) I avoid eating late in the evening. As soon as I’m in from work I start putting something together. I try not to eat anything after 7:30pm.

    10) I always have a glass of water before going to bed and if I have consumed alcohol I tend to double that.

    11) I now aim to hit the sack on a work night before 10:30pm at the latest with the intention of trying to get 7:5 to 8 hours sleep a night.

    12) One of the most important things that has come out of “me listening more to myself” is knowing when I am stressed. Much of my stress relates to work. Up until fasting I have mainly hidden this under the guise of a glass of wine when I get home at night. Doing the 5:2 has made me look at how I deal with stress. When I’m on a fast day I cut out alcohol and that means I can’t pour that glass of wine and forget about that stressful project at work. Even on non-fast days I’ve cut back and Instead I find myself talking to my partner about my day more and my mind comes up with lots and lots of solutions on how I deal with things in a more proactive positive way. This means any stresses get dealt with as they arise and quickly extinguished before going to bed. To be honest I didn’t really know how stressed I actually was and how rubbish I was at dealing with stress until I started fasting, but I can honestly say fasting has helped me to face what stress I’ve been having in the day and ensure it doesn’t join me and my partner in bed at night! As a result of that my sleep is so much better and I wake up refreshed.

    13) I have to point out that I have a lovely partner that is also doing the 5:2 (for the long-term as a way of life not just a fad) and this has helped me enormously. We do the same fast days as we didn’t want to get into a situation whereby one of us is having to watch the other one eat normally and feel like they were missing out. It really is working out well and we have quickly fallen into a good routine. We have noticed that through discussion, watching interesting documentaries in regards to fitness and health, reading more, exploring websites, and sharing with one another things we have learned that we have really “educated” ourselves. What this is doing for us is giving us more control over our own lives. There is something to be said about that. Before I started intermittent fasting, I was getting up in the morning, having a cigarette, going to work and getting stressed, eating too many ready-meals and drinking alcohol to mask what was really happening to me in my life rather than taking a long hard look and making changes. It really wouldn’t occur to us now to stock up on endless ready-meals like we used to do in our weekly shop. Sure we still buy them but not to the same extent.

    14) In our household we decided to look at our portion sizes and buy smaller bowls and measure our food especially for cereal as 30g of most things really does look extremely little in big bowls. In fact my partner and myself now realise that before we measured out cereal we have both been having way over the recommended 30g of what most cereal boxes tell you to eat. Smaller bowls and plates do help to some extent.

    15) Have fun and experiment! One of my experiments involved zero-calorie noodles also known as “Konjac Noodles”. These are supposed to have lots of health benefits ranging from Glucose reduction to reducing fat absorption etc. These appealed mainly because they could be used to bulk up food and look like you are eating lots and lots. My partner can’t stand them as he says they are too elastic in their texture but I love them. You can buy rice and spaghetti versions of this Konjac plant substance and there is no end to what you can do with them. I find that using half a tin of chopped tomatoes as a base and depending what mood I am in I can do a curry type thing or make up an Italian dish with just few added veg like some chopped mushrooms, onions or peppers. Since it is only the sauce which contains the calories I am finding that I get the calories count anywhere between 100 to 200 as to what I see fit.

    I see this as an “approach” to “living” not just eating. Being mindful of your own body and indeed your own brain in the way you think about things. The most important thing for me is making sure I enjoy life with my partner, enjoy good times feeling well and keeping a grip on things like drinking and eating excessively because I never want to ever feel I have to pick up a cig because I’m stressed or hit the bottle because I’ve had a bad day at work.

    I know this is all a bit long-winded but I really wanted to share as honestly and thoughtfully how the 5:2 has changed my life for the better. I apologise for the length in advance.

    I wish everyone the best of health.

    Julie from Huddersfield

    Hi Julie. Well done on your journey so far. It is nice to hear success stories continuing into months. This new approach seems to have helped you make improvements as a whole in your day to day life and as you say not just eating. Good luck with your new lifestyle. 🙂

    Hi Monkey, interesting description, well done and well done on having a loving supporting partner. Just a couple of suggestions that may help. Re your alcohol intake…( excuse me while I slurp my glass of Wolf Blass Chardonay….) Try a glass of carbonated water in place of a glass of wine, it may help.
    As regards stress…. I do not take it lightly and have suffered greatly in the past, I keep some things locked in a box by my side. Well done for recognising it and dealing with it.
    Thirdly…… Huddersfield……..Hmmmmmmm.
    Just joking.
    Good Luck.

    Thanks for nice comments.

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