Last night Matt and I watched a show on PBS called Eat, Fast & Live Longer. The man behind this show is named Micheal Mosley and he has lots of shows that air on PBS that teach you about science. Last night Matt and I were drawn in as he talked about our eating habits as humans. Pretty much most of us eat all day everyday- some healthy some not.
The thing about always eating (which is what we are told to do to keep our metabolism going!) is, that our cells are always focusing on digesting our food. I haven't gone without consistently eating 3-4 meals a day for pretty much my whole life so, that's a a lot of digesting.
The point Mosley is trying to make is that there could be potentially great health benefits if we would fast ever so often to help our bodies work on healing instead of constant digestion. For a better explanation of this you should watch the show here and check out his website here.Mosley's research claims that if our body gets a break from digesting our food and being in GO mode everyday it could focus on repairing things that are wrong.
By the end of the episode Matt and I agreed we wanted to try the 5:2 diet because the argument Mosley makes absolutely worked on us. Food related diseases are such a silly way to make yourself sick or die because all it takes to prevent these preventable diseases is to eat less.
Mosley's research claims that this way of eating will cut your risk of cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's just to name a few.
So what is the 5:2 diet?? It simply means you eat normally 5 days a week and 2 non-consecutive days you eat 400-500 calories (for women) 500-600 (for men).
This way of eating gives your digestion a break twice a week. Does it sound crazy?? Maybe but, the more I read on Mosley's website the more I'm convinced to at least try it.
When I think about the food I'm always surrounded with I know there is way more offered to me than I need. I'm active but not an athlete so eating 500 calories 2 days a week will be a little hard but not impossible for me. On fasting days (which really you're not totally fasting b/c you get to eat 500 cals!) you are suppose to drink tons of water. You can also have black coffee and tea with no added calories (sweetener, milk, creamer).
A major benefit of this way of eating is that people loose fat around their waist. You should loose weight on this diet and the weight you're loosing is fat, not much muscle.
How does this look? Mosley fasts on Monday and Thursday. On fast days he eats 300 calories for breakfast then 300 calories for dinner with lots of water and tea throughout the day. He says not to obsess over calories on the other 5 non fast days but to not get crazy and eat everything in sight. You can have normal meals and 1 dessert. Healthier foods (lots of veggies) are always better.
Should you still exercise?? Yes. You should be as active as possible without making yourself feel exhausted. You can walk, do some pushups, or yoga however, you probably shouldn't do a super hard HIIT workout, a heavy weight workout or try to run 5 miles on your fast days.
So, I started trying this out today! I had a scrambled egg and two slices of bacon for breakfast. I'll eat again tonight around 6 or 7 pm and I'll have about 200 calories worth of food, not sure what yet.
It's about 1pm and I've had lots of water and one cup of tea besides my breakfast. I feel hungry right now but it's not too bad. I know that tomorrow will be a normal eating day and that's not too far away so I'll survive.
I think the weight loss potential is great but I'm more interested in the other health benefits of this. I know I'm still young and could keep eating normally for decades before the signs of age related diseases show up but I'd like to start now and see how I feel.
When I think about how easy food is to get I can see why fat so quickly creeps onto the body. Taking a break from constantly eating sounds kind of smart to me and very doable.I think most of us eat way more food than we actually need. Also when you think about food and exercise, it takes a lot of hard exercise to burn a significant amount of calories. Most of us are just not willing to workout that hard. Plus you know what they say, no amount of exercise can make up for a poor diet. oh yeah, and abs are made in the kitchen. Health and fitness are so much about food, eating, calories. Exercise is important but what you put in your mouth makes or breaks you.
Eat, Fast & Live Longer covers daily calorie restriction (limiting yourself to only nutrient 1900 calories of dense food everyday of your life). He says this is good but it's hard for most people to stick to and while you would be very healthy eating this way, the body doesn't go through the short time of fasting which makes your body focus on cell repair and using stored fat. It also covers monthly 3-4 day fasts where you only east 50 calories a day for 4 days and drink all the water and tea you want. Results from doing that are good but it's too hard for people to stick with.
Again, you should watch Eat, Fast & Live Longer for yourself and see if you come out convinced like me.
I'll update you all in maybe a month to let you know how it's going!
*What I've written is all information I've gleaned from Mosley's website and Eat, Fast & Live Longer. Make sure you do your own research to find what works for you!