Friday, 22 February 2013

You don't always need to eat cake - fasting

We've been out for the last two hours, in a cold biting wind, watching Prince Charles open the village shop. Like visitors at a zoo, trying to catch a glimpse of an exotic animal. My fingers were frozen but a brisk walk up a steep hill, pushing my sleeping daughter in the buggy, soon warmed me up.

It's 2pm and we're home now. There's a hot cup of coffee steaming next to me. But there's no milk in it and I'm resisting the banana muffins sitting waiting in the tin on the shelf. Today I'm fasting.

It's my second day of fasting in my first week of the lifestyle advocated by Dr Micheal Mosely. And it's probably the first time I've felt weak. My whole body feels cold and what I really need is a cup of strong milky tea accompanied by some kind of cake.

Weirdly, I'm really enjoying it. It makes me feel good, energised, bright. I don't feel like I've given anything up, deprived or even hungry. The empty stomach feeling is actually really nice.

So is fasting another fad diet for those lazy arses who can't be bothered to change to a healthy lifestyle?

It's not just about losing weight, there's a lot of science behind fasting. It's claimed to lengthen life expectancy, can reduce levels of IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1, which leads to accelerated ageing), switches on DNA repair genes and reduces blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.

I'm simply controlling what I'm eating to get the maximum health benefits, but only for two out of seven days. On the other days I can eat what I like but that's not happening. I'm questioning everything I eat (now that I know I can go for most of the day without). It's already having an impact on the rest of my diet.

So it turns out I don't always need milk in my coffee and I don't always need cake after a walk. Who knew?