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healthyfoodDiets don’t work. I’ve made that point before. Or as I say, they work, until they don’t. Meaning that they all pretty much help you lose weight, but they all have a fatal flaw.

That can vary. Some are so bare of variation that you can’t stand it after a couple of weeks–the grapefruit diet comes to mind.

Others restrict your intake of calories too deeply. You are constantly hungry, while others deprive you of a whole food group and nobody wants to give up grains or dairy forever. (Well some do and more power to them.)

But the problem is when the diet is “done.” You return to eating the forbidden foods, or resume a normal caloric intake. And the pounds return with a vengeance. It has to do with set points and chemically what happens when we go into essentially a “starvation” mode.

I have come upon something that might be very different. It’s a lifestyle change in eating rather than a diet per se. It is meant to last a lifetime, not just until you reach your goal weight.

It has apparently been around a long time, but is gaining renewed notice around the world because of a doctor in Britain who developed what is known as the 5:2 diet. It’s a modified fasting diet.

Basically you eat 500 a day for a woman, 600 for a man, two days a week, but not consecutively. The other five days you eat normally. (normally being something you might have to work at a bit if you have been a overeater for years).

I’m not here to recommend it, let’s make that clear. There seems to be some short-term studies that suggest it helps the blood chemistry, helps a lot of folks to lose weight, reduces cholesterol and blood pressure. Longevity experts (some of them at least) claim that fasting in some fashion lengthens life, and helps prevent diabetes and cancers.

My issue is that although I eat fairly healthy foods most of the times, and I exercise more than an hour a day, I haven’t lost any weight, and my weight impinges on what I want to do. I am carrying too much in the area between my shoulders and my hips. I have lost not so much as a pound after more than six months of exercise.

So, when I ran into this, it seemed worth looking at.

Since it was Lent and we are supposed to be fasting anyway at least once a week on Friday, it seemed a serendipitous time to give it this fasting diet a try. So I have.

I have fasted one day all ready–last Tuesday, and today is my second day. I don’t find it particularly hard to do. I feel light and energetic actually. I feel a certain peaceful contentment which I think has to do with the spiritual aspect of the whole thing.

I have found so far, that the days I eat normally, I really do eat normally. I have no desire to “make up” for the two days by eating more food. I’ve all but skipped the afternoon snack I used to have without fail.

The most valuable benefit so far, is that I’m beginning to know what hunger feels again, and that is now a standard I can actually use to determine whether I want to eat something just because it’s “time” for a snack. I find that I am skipping the snacks because I’m objectively not hungry, and there is no need to munch.

That can only be a good thing.

The five hundred calorie restriction lends itself to eating vegetables and fruits. Vegetables are mostly all low in calories so you can make a big stir-fry which is filling yet stays within the limits. Fruits are more caloric, but they are sweet and filling.

I’m doing a big salad with some homemade vinaigrette and a few grilled shrimp today. And I’ll have a big wonderful apple tonight. I’ll be hungry, but not uncomfortably so.

I plan on checking the scales on Tuesday morning. We will see if this helps the pointer descend or not. I’m figuring it will.

One diet I find rather laughable is the paleo diet, which urges its followers to eat like “our ancestors”. It avoids all dairy and all grains. The dairy I get, the grains I don’t. Wild grains were always harvested and eaten as found. The real issue with this diet is that the meat that is urged upon you as “all you want” is not the free wild game that our ancestors ate. The meat we get now is full of antibiotics used to keep the cattle and pigs “healthy” on diets foreign to them.

Intermittent fasting is probably closer to what our ancestors actually did. When they found food, they ate. When they didn’t, they didn’t eat until they found more food. Fasting was forced upon them, and there is the question at least as to whether our genetic makeup now works best in that  environment.

I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing.

 

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