Yesterday, I completed my first fast based off the 5:2 diet (I hate the term diet, but whatever). The basic concept is to reduce your calories to 1/4 your need two days a week and consume normal calories five days a week. The rough estimate for this is 600 calories for a man, so I went with that. After some research it turns out my daily caloric needs are closer to 1500 than 2400 (remember, the calorie recommendations are based on an average and none of us are truly average). So, next time I’ll probably try to do the fast with about 400 calories instead.
Anyway, it went pretty well. I had my only meal at 11am and it was a huge bowl of veggie tofu scramble and a half-portion protein shake. I’m trying to get as many nutrients as I can for the amount of calories that I take in, and that means lots of veggies and a little nutritional yeast to pull things together. Next time I’m going to cut out the tofu and replace it with black beans, that’ll give me more bulk by replacing the fat with protein.
I really didn’t feel too hungry until around 6pm, but that eventually passed. Drinking water, green tea, and a little bit of coffee was also a big help at keeping my stomach full. I’m sure going to bed around 10pm also helps because that means I’m asleep for a lot of the fast. Unfortunately, sleep didn’t come easily last night. I didn’t really feel hungry but my mind kept drifting towards what I would eat the next day. It was kind of weird. My sleep was kind of shit, I kept waking up and tossing and turning all night… I don’t know if that was because of the fast or because of other factors (Higgins moving around, the temperature being a little hot, etc).
I think I’m going to make a weekly fast part of my routine. It went well and if I do it on my running rest day I don’t feel like I’m hurting myself. In addition, I’ve realized that I am accidentally doing another type of “fast” diet, the 16:8 diet. In the 16:8 diet you try to consume all your food in an 8 hour window and “fast” for 16 hours a day. I already kind of do that, I usually don’t have my first meal until around 10pm and my last meal is around 6pm. I think I’ll just formalize that now.
Overall, this was a successful experiment for me (I love experimenting on myself). I realize that trying to find these kind of “hacks” can be a bit silly, but I think they have potential when you are already on solid footing with the basics. My health/fitness routine already has the essentials… nutrient-rich plant-based whole foods diet, regular exercise, lots of water consumption, a scheduled and adequate sleep schedule, minimal alcohol consumption, etc… so I think these hacks can keep me moving in the direction I want. Even if it doesn’t work out that way, at least I tried something new for myself. There is always value in that.