MY EXPERIENCE WITH INTERMITTENT FASTING
In 2019 I was suffering with severe diabetes and searching for a way to heal my body and avoid medications. Now in 2022, I am happy to say that my sugar level is normal and I lost my excess weight, I do not suffer from inflammation anymore. I practice having just one meal a day and I do not take medicines. I look and feel much younger than I was in my 40s. Just changing my dietary habits has made my body happy and I have so much more energy for all my activities.
It was the benevolence of life that I found Dr. Jason Fung’s book, “The Diabetes Code”.
In this book he talks about how Type 2 Diabetes patients can reverse diabetes through a low carb diet and intermittent fasting. This can be done when your kidneys are in a good condition and not yet affected by long term medications.
I started watching Dr. Fung’s videos and podcasts on YouTube and took a lot of notes to understand this method of intermittent fasting combined with keto diet completely before practicing it.
I decided to try intermittent fasting and keto diet since I did not want to medicate my body.
Intermittent fasting is not starving. It is about eating at specific times each day and fasting for a number of hours, or just eating one meal a day.
Our bodies have the capacity to go without food for many hours or even several days. I decided to try this out and see how capable I can be.
Keto style of eating emphasizes on low-carb and high-fat food. Intermittent fasting and keto diet go hand in hand to heal the body and help the body to exhaust its sugar stores and start burning fats. In the scientific world this is called ‘metabolic switching’. Which simply means that by changing our diet we help the body to switch metabolism from glucose to fatty acid derivatives that are called ketones. Making the body get its energy from fats rather than from sugars.
Most people are used to eating three or four meals a day and snacking in between. With modern technology of computers and TV, there is hardly any exercise. This has led to a variety of modern day problems of obesity, aging, and other related issues.
Intermittent fasting works by allowing the body prolonged periods of time to burn all the sugars consumed and then begin to burn the fat stores.
The hunger hormone, Ghrelin, sends signals to our body to feel hungry. It does not stay continuously in the body system. For a period of half an hour or so it peaks and then it subsides. Just wait out the hunger and it will pass away. So at this time if we can distract the body by doing something else other than eating, maybe we are involved with some intense work for a few hours, suddenly we do not feel hungry anymore, that is because this hormone subsides.
The body waits for food to come and when we do not give it food, it automatically starts eating away at the sugars and fats that it has stored within for years. So fats and excessive stored sugars can be dissolved only by the body and not by any medication.
The first fasting I tried was water-fast for 3 days. Water provides the body with the much needed minerals and I also supported my body with adding a pinch of sea salt to my water.
The first day was okay but as the evening came I had some headache, so again added some salt to my water, and took a warm shower. This helped me get out of the headache.
After a long night’s sleep, day two began easier with no hunger. As the evening came , my mind was constantly thinking of food. So I distracted myself with music, taking a walk in nature. Calling friends on the phone. Then at one point when my mind refused to forget about food, I sat with my mind and visualized myself eating all my favorite food with feeling all my senses of taste, touch, smell all taking part in the visualization. That helped me so much because by the time I came out of the visualization, I felt full and comfortable.
Day three was easier, because now I knew how to connect and comfort my body.
So this was the start of my fasting experience.
Then from that time onwards I started eating one or two meals a day , finishing within a specific time window of 2 to 4 hours. If I started eating my meal at 11am in the morning, I would finish by 3pm, hence fasting for 20 hours.
In this 4 hour window, I ate nuts, protein and vegetables and very little carbs. I usually started my day with coffee with a tablespoon of butter instead of milk and the fat from the coffee helped me sail through the day without feeling hungry. The fat and proteins helped to feel full and satisfied. Since my diet was high in fat and very low in carbs, it helped and encouraged the body to use the fats for its energy since it did not get carbs for energy.
Intermittent fasting is very challenging but if we follow the important methods of working with the body and supporting it, we can definitely be successful.
The body definitely needs supplements like minerals, vitamins and probiotics. It is important to ask your doctor for the best supplements and take them daily. I take magnesium and vitamin B12 every day, I have found them to help subside my hunger and also keep me active and prevent headaches. Magnesium calms me down and helps me to sleep better.
It is important to avoid food triggers while fasting, for example avoid being around people who are eating, avoid working on your computer from your kitchen, if you are cooking for your family make sure you have a large cup of coffee or green tea, they reduce your hunger, do not watch food shows in TV, engage yourself in some activity that gets your mind involved in other things other than food.
Scientifically there are healthier things that can suppress your appetite, one is Green Tea, it has an antioxidant called ECGC which has a mild effect of suppressing hunger, there are also black teas, herbal teas, and bitter teas that have an effect of stopping hunger. I have found drinking cups of hot water helps to curb hunger and also hydrates my body.
I also love sweets and in this keto journey I have come across healthy sweeteners and I practiced making healthy desserts, that are gluten free and sugar free. Sweeteners like monk fruit sweeteners, erythritol, stevia are all healthy and wonderfully satisfying just like sugar. Substituting nut powders like almond flour and coconut flour has brought out great dessert recipes enjoyed by my family and also my guests. I also post a lot of my successful recipes on my site www.wellnessthrufood.com
It is now three years since I began changing my diet habits. I am now completely comfortable with just one meal a day. I have made it a habit to be very conscious of including fats and proteins and very less or no carbs in my diet. Eating normally, not thinking that I have to eat for 3 meals together at one meal. Adding up the calories, they work up to just about 1000-1200 calories. Twice a week I also make a 24 hour fast, which is as simple as eating at 1 pm the first day and then having the next meal after 1pm the next day.
Another thing that I found was since I have one meal a day, I tend to have less servings of vegetables and less fiber. Previously I used to take fiber supplements for free bowel movements, but now I found that 2 tablespoons of butter in my coffee and probiotics helps free bowel movement. Also I found a small cup of chia seeds everyday with my diet also helped to keep my bowels clear and free.
It is important to create a habit to support the wellbeing of the body . Our diligent practice helps the body to adapt to the changes. We are in a time on the Earth where we are blessed with the internet and new research that helps us with amazing information to heal our bodies and create wellbeing for the rest of our lives. Doing mild exercises like stretching, yoga, meditation, qi gong, going for a pleasant walk in nature, or walking on the rebounder, all these help to keep our body and mind active and happy.
Choosing to take care of our bodies and mind is a wise decision. The choices we make today, influences our tomorrows also.
© PRajkumar, 2022