TWO-DAY FAST – CARYN
I'd been feeling quite out of sorts – tired all the time, sore bones, achy feet in the morning, out-of-control weight gain and generally not feeling myself. A large part of this is related to menopause: I've been fighting the idea of going on HRT for several years (for my own personal reasons) and I was paying the price.
I'd read a couple of articles about intermittent fasting and decided to put myself forward as a guinea pig – I had nothing to lose. First, I had to make sure that I didn't have to feed anyone for the next two days, so I chose my week carefully. My fiancé was in Mossel Bay, and I packed my daughter and son off for two days – I wanted my best shot at this.
I woke up ready to crack this. How hard could it be? I just had to get through two days without eating. For most of the morning I was fine; I distracted myself with work and made sure I filled up on black rooibos. By lunchtime my tummy was rumbling badly and I was starting to feel a bit dizzy, so I decided to take a brisk walk, thinking it would keep my mind off my hunger pangs. I've never been a fan of junk food, but my nostrils picked up every whiff of KFC, Wimpy and fast-food chip joint along the way – my saliva glands were on full alert and playing havoc with my mind.
I managed to avoid temptation and got through the rest of the day okay-ish, but on the way home I was starting to feel very light-headed and my eyesight was getting a bit fuzzy. I stopped in at a friend who happened to be making hamburgers – and ended up breaking the fast by front-end loading several hamburger patties, washed down with more than a few glasses of rosé.
The following day I decided to do a 24-hour fast – from 7pm the night before, then nothing the whole day until 7pm that night. It turned out to be so easy! It really is 90% psychological – I knew I could do one whole day with no issues and very few side effects, and the results were astounding. I felt great the whole day and when it came to eating my evening meal I didn't want to eat much – just what I needed.
For the past three months I've been fasting religiously. I do two-day stints of 24-hour intervals every month, and I've stopped eating breakfast. I eat only a small lunch: a lot of vegetables with maybe a pork chop or a piece of chicken breast, and I drink a lot of water and black rooibos tea.
Dinner is pretty much the same. I'm also more active: every day I do some sort of exercise for 20 minutes at least, and I've never been so strong – mentally and physically. My joint pain has completely gone, I'm not exhausted by 4pm (in fact, I'm wide awake and focused) and I have lost at least 8kg.
This experience has been such an eye-opener. You have to find what works for you as an individual, and this definitely works for me. I have never felt better.
‘By lunchtime my tummy was rumbling badly and I was starting to feel a bit dizzy, so I decided to take a brisk walk, thinking it would keep my mind off my hunger pangs.’