Is a fast­ing diet for me?

New Zealand’s favourite well­be­ing ex­pert an­swers read­ers’ ques­tions about their health.

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What are your thoughts on in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing? It seems to be a huge craze in my work­place at the mo­ment. Thanks, Mike.

Hi Mike, sci­ence sug­gests that long-term calo­rie re­stric­tion has some ben­e­fits for health, par­tic­u­larly in terms of longevity – how­ever ob­vi­ously it’s in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult to ad­here to long-term.If you are go­ing to try it, you def­i­nitely want to en­sure you aren’t com­pro­mis­ing your nu­tri­tional sta­tus, as you’ll be lim­it­ing the nu­tri­ents your body needs to op­er­ate.

I’m also a big fan of high calo­rie foods such as av­o­cado, nuts, seeds, oily fish, etc, so I’m not a pro­po­nent of re­strict­ing th­ese foods.

The other thing to be cau­tious of when you con­sider long-term calo­rie re­stric­tion is the po­ten­tial degra­da­tion of your mus­cle mass. Safe weight loss is con­sid­ered around 500g-1kg per week, any­thing more in­creases your risk of los­ing pre­cious mus­cle mass, which we know is of crit­i­cal im­por­tance for our me­tab­o­lism, strength and en­ergy.

Pro­longed calo­rie re­stric­tion can most def­i­nitely lead to loss of mus­cle mass.

In my opin­ion, fo­cus­ing on a real-food way of eat­ing elim­i­nates the needs for in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing, how­ever, I know that this method can be ben­e­fi­cial for some peo­ple.

I would en­cour­age any­one to seek the guid­ance of a trained health pro­fes­sional when it comes to any sig­nif­i­cant di­etary changes such as this.

What is a per­sonal prac­tice you have for your health and well­ness? Thanks, Rachel.

Hi Rachel, it’s not a par­tic­u­larly ex­cit­ing one but I be­lieve it is one of the most ef­fec­tive things I do to look af­ter my mind­set. I have a morn­ing rit­ual that I don’t com­pro­mise.

That usu­ally in­volves a gen­tle walk in na­ture, tai chi, read­ing a book, med­i­ta­tion or sim­ply be­ing still and prac­tis­ing di­aphrag­matic breath­ing.

I also sched­ule my down­time Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­ Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered.

and pri­ori­tise it.

I know that I can­not best serve oth­ers and my mis­sion if I don’t en­sure my bat­tery is charged.

I know peo­ple think the word grat­i­tude gets overused but I am truly grate­ful for life it­self plus ev­ery­thing I have in my life – such as clean wa­ter and fresh air.

Sci­ence has shown that the hu­man ner­vous sys­tem can­not fo­cus on two things at once, so when we are grate­ful, we can­not be stressed.

I find if I al­low my­self this space in the morn­ing I start my day with a clear mind.

Lastly, an at­ti­tude of grat­i­tude can be very en­er­gis­ing – as is hav­ing a clear pur­pose.

Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional bio­chemist, best-sell­ing au­thor and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional. Check out Dr Libby’s book

to un­der­stand more about weight loss.

Photo: 123RF.COM

While some peo­ple swear by fast­ing di­ets, Dr Libby urges cau­tion.

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