Why I started alternate day fasting

All my life, my weight has cycled up and down by 10kg, usually in a single year. Whenever I get above a certain threshold weight, unlike it appears most people, I start feeling quite serious negative side effects to my health that spurs me to start exercising more to lose the weight. I really do find it quite astonishing that people can be 20, 30, 40kg overweight, and not die. Once in my life when I was 30 years old, I was 15kg overweight, the most overweight that I’ve ever been. One day I was lying down on the sofa, and I suddenly started feeling chest pains radiating throughout my upper torso. It felt like electricity was flowing through my body and lasted for seemingly forever, but in reality probably only 30 seconds. While it was happening, though, it didn’t feel like it was going to stop, and the experience scared me to death. In retrospect, it was a blessing because it made me realize instantly that I needed to get back into better shape or I was likely to fall seriously ill.

This incident was what spurred me for the first time in my life to seriously make an effort to lose weight, and on my first attempt, over the course of many months, I actually managed to lose 15kg. Unfortunately, this was also the beginning of my seemingly neverending cycle of gaining and losing weight. Now, though, I always started the process of losing weight when I got 10kg overweight.

My main method of losing weight has always been bicycling; many, many hours and kilometers of cycling. If I cycle about 300km a week and watch what I eat, I can consistently lose 2kg a month. However, if I only cycle 200km a week and eat normally, I won’t lose any weight. And if I cycle 200km a week and eat more than I should, which would happen fairly regularly as I love food, I would gain weight. It takes me at least 15 hours of cycling a week to get up to 300km. Obviously, this is a huge investment in time and energy that I’ve come to realize as I’ve gotten older is not practical for me to continue into retirement.

Given that I genuinely feel unhealthy when I’m overweight, I started investigating other options to maintain my weight, and one idea proffered by a friend was the 5:2 fast diet, which he had been following for the past three years with apparently good results. I had seen the BBC video by Michael Mosley regarding this method a few years back. Basically, you eat five days a week and fast for two. It had piqued my interest, not just the weight management aspect of it, but also its claims to improve health, but I had never seriously entertained trying it myself. Given my present interest in finding an alternative way to maintain my weight, though, and my friend’s recommendation, I rewatched the video and started researching in earnest the various ways of fasting to lose weight.

During this research phase, I discovered from reading various forums that although many people were having great success, many people were also having problems losing weight using the 5:2 fast diet. Some other methods mentioned were 4:3 (4 days feeding and 3 days fasting) and alternate day fasting. Several people had commented that they had had good results with these alternate methods. After about a month of reading everything I could find on the Internet regarding fasting, I finally decided to try alternate day fasting. I figured that if I found it too hard, I could always switch to one of the easier methods, but logically it seemed that it would be the fastest results producer.

So basically, I started alternate day fasting with the intention of losing weight. Having spent a month researching fasting, though, I suppose I was hoping that it would also improve my overall health, but I didn’t go in with any concrete expectations. The results, however, have been unexpected and amazing.




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