total gear shift

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  • I started the 5:2 diet (classic approach with 500 kcal on fast days) a bit under two weeks ago, so I am now 4 fast days in. The reason I started were mostly, that I was feeling very bloated and was lacking energy. I was also struggling with chronic back pain that had been bothering me for the past three months or so and made the ususal amount of activity/excercise I normally do more or less daily almost impossible. Basically, instead of playing golf, walking or cycling, I was laying on my couch feeling sorry for myself. And comforting myself with food. Mostly of the not so good kind. I’ve never been overweight, but I was beginning to feel plumber and more bloated daily. Something had to give.

    I had heart a lot about the positive effects that fasting can have, but all the documentaries and articles I had seen about it had always been about more classic long term fasts, which felt a bit too extreme and were difficult to integrate into my normal work life. So I started researching short term or intermittent fasting and that’s how I encountered the fast diet and decided to give it a try.

    I jumped into it the very next day, a bit unprepared, and made it through my first fast day with lots of water and tea, a bit of broth (the kind that comes from a cube), carots and cucumber sticks for lunch and a nice filling dinner of fried curly cabbage with lean crude ham. I did feel hungry during the day, but not unbearably so.

    In the evening (before I even ate the cabbage dinner), my body reacted with diarrhea. It was as if all that water and tea which I drank during the day, just washed through my gut without meeting any resistance. It shocked and surprised me, but it wasn’t such a bad feeling. More like some kind of cleanse.

    After dinner I did go for a short half hour walk, but I felt pretty tired and was walking much slower than I usually would.

    The next day felt totally normal, though. I wasn’t overly hungry, started my day with my usual yoghurt with nuts, berries and linseed shreds and ate normally the whole day. My gut had settled down as well. It was almost as if the fasting day had not happened at all.

    The next fasting day fell on a Saturday. I was a bit worried at first that being at home all day would make it harder for me to stay away from food and not snack all the time, but actually it was a very pleasant day. I stayed in bed long, allowed myself to just relax and only do things I felt like doing. I had a late breakfast/early lunch of yoghurt with strawberries and an early dinner with an omelet with a slice of dark whole grain bread and smoked trout and a big bowl of salad. It felt like a lot to eat. And it energized me immensely. I think that is when my body flicked the switch. I went for the longest walk I had done all summer afterwards and I have been doing some kind of excercise/physical activity every day since then. I went cycling, played golf and took long walks. The pain in my back which even relatively strong pain killers could not subdue before, is reduced to an occasional little twinge.

    I still find it hard to believe that such a minor change in behaviour can have such an immense effect on the body and overall wellbeing in such a short time. It seems to have been exactly what my body needed. I am now really looking forward to every new fast day. I have started to eat better or at least more consciously on the eating days as well.

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