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Day 10…..still going!

It was a mixed day.  I didn’t sleep well last night and this morning I woke up not feeling great.  I also go the feeling that my body is starting to want some food.  My arms are weak when I’m doing my makeup, I’m a bit tired and I’m getting some weird sensations in my chest – it’s like my oesophagus/trachea goes into spasm.  It makes swallowing and breathing quite uncomfortable at times.

I got a craving today for lemony hummus.  Ooooh I can’t wait to make my own hummus!  I also can’t wait to crunch into some cucumber and make my own chia seed porridge.  Or some hot, vegetable broth or tomato soup.  Yum, yum yum.

I tried to find some information about fasting and women menstruating.  Sometimes I wish there was more consistent information on the web!  There are some reports of menstrual disturbances doing intermittent fasting.  But there seems little info on longer fast, the effects on menstruation and are you able to do a water fast while you’re menstruating.  I think it comes down to being sensible.  No two woman’s periods are the same so we all ‘suffer’ differently.  I have recognised in the past is that a couple of days before I get very tired.  I’m due in a few days (a full moon too!) so curious to see how it all goes.  I want to make 14 days.  I’d love to have the energy that a lot of people report.  I think for my first water fast, I’ve done quite well so far.  People at work think I’m bonkers and can’t believe that I’ve still be able to work (I have an active job) and STILL be standing, able to function and be ok!  Maybe I’ll make 21?  Who knows??

Day 9 – emotional rollercoaster

Today I was a human hose pipe.  Maybe it’s part of the process?  My body is ridding itself of toxins so perhaps it is also starting to release the emotional/mental toxins too?  I know these can be just as bas as physical toxins.  Anyway, tonight I am tired.  But it’s not a physical tiredness, it’s an emotional one.  I feel a bit drained.

It was also a day of some revelations.  I’m not as busy at work as I would like to be and I have been blaming everything and everyone else, except me.  Today, I remembered that the outer environment is a reflection of the inner environment.  So it’s nobody’s fault that things aren’t working, except mine.  It was good to recognise this and I talked to my boss and we’ve nutted out a plan to get me (and my head) back in the game.  I had another revelation that I don’t miss food.  I only miss it in the social context.  I’m really starting to get used to just not having it and being totally fine.  I’m curious to see what happens when I start eating food again.

Day 8 – uphill

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Today was a very mixed day.  Day 8 so far.  Woohoo!  Celebration!  Bring on 14!  I’m starting to get more energy too, which is nice to feel.  I decided to celebrate how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved so far that I ‘treated’ myself to a black coffee (which I normally have).  I didn’t enjoy it.  At all.  What is the world coming to???  First, Trump is president of the USA and I don’t enjoy coffee??!!  Super surprised by that.  Also, it’s blood freezing where I live and I really wanted a hot cup of miso.  So I did.  Yes, technically not on the water fasting protocol so bit of an oopsie.

What did happen today was that it was the first time I’ve been out with friends who were eating and drinking.  There they were, chowing down sweet potato and paprika chip, drinking wine and beer.  And there I was, sipping on my sparkling water.  It was REALLY hard and it made me a bit upset too.  Not because they were eating, but because I couldn’t join in and eat some yummy food.  Ok, I could’ve broken my fast and eaten the chips.  But to me, weighing up the short term misery I felt while they were eating Vs the hours of self-depreciating and self-hating talk that would follow – it just wasn’t worth it.  Now this was a really test for me.  I have always been “oh a little bit won’t hurt” or totally into the instant gratification and worry about the consequences later.  So this was a new thought process and experience for me.  Which is super cool!  After all, this whole shebang is a new experience!  But what I took away from it was how much I emphasis I have put on eating and food and being social, participating etc.  It’s only on reflection that I realise that because I was a little bit surly while they were eating and a bit afterwards.  It just hit home to me that SO much socialising revolves around food.  Have we got our priorities wrong?  Should it be friends first and food secondary?  How many people spends aaaaaaaages trying to find the ‘right’ restaurant to go to?  Instead of being make the most of being with the people we care about, we seem to make our social life and our life in general revolved around food.  Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Day 7 complete

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Day 7 done and dusted!  Onwards to Day 10 and see how I’m feeling then.  Maybe I’ll get to 14 days?  That’d be great but it depends on these wretched leg cramps!  I finally got some potassium capsules so I hope they work/help.

The increased mental clarity, the not tripping up over my words and the increased of smell have been quite noticeable.  I kind of caved a bit today and I made a pod coffee at work.  I had a few sips and then chucked it down the drain.  I could taste the plastic and got a weird almost plasticly coating in my mouth.

I SOOOOO wanted food today coz I was bloody freezing.  I have definitely been feeling the cold recently (not surprising as my body isn’t generating any heat by digesting food) and just wanted a nice, hearty meal to warm me up.  Instead, I had a bath with magnesium flakes and a cup of lemongrass and ginger tea.  I felt like I was in heaven!   I truly gave thanks for my life and felt really content.  It’s the small things, right?

Day 6 – what a day!

So this morning I woke up and felt a lot trimmer.  I jumped on the scales and did a double take….7.2kgs gone in 6 days!?  Holy moly!  It would be so easy to make this fast about losing weight, so I must be careful to not fall into that trap.

I still have leg cramps so I’ve ordered some potassium tablets, which I hope do the trick as they have in the past!  I definitely have a clearer head and my vision seems sharper.  I feel I can see things more clearly and colours seem brighter.  I still don’t have the massive energy that everyone talks about but hopefully I’ll get there.  My sleep has been a bit disjointed past couple of nights with noisy neighbours and leg cramps.

I got my blood test results today.  I posted them on that Stats page.  But for convenience here’s the link to the Stats & Progress page https://bacon2broccoli.com/stats-progress/.  Some interesting things in there.  I was honestly surprised that my biochemistry wasn’t more out of whack!  Considering how much sugar I used to eat, it was comforting to see my diabetes risk (although high normal) was still ok.  My inflammation marker (C-reactive Protein) was off the chart!  I had no idea my body was in such a state of inflammation.  That could explain the crazy weight loss.  What is interesting that my B12 levels were low-normal, especially when I think about the amount of meat I used to eat.  Folate was low as well, probably because of my previous shitty diet.  I was comforted that my liver function, overall, is pretty good.  Just one slightly elevated marker.  My luteinising hormone was low as well.  I’m also happy that my thyroid seems to be functioning ok!  I have always worried that my thyroid was under-active.  Phew!

The test lab have recommended that I do the blood test about in 8-12 weeks time, which seems like a good idea.   But I’m going to be another test after I finish fasting because that would be amazing to see!  SUPER curious to see the difference a vegetarian/vegan diet makes, if any.

 

Day 5

Holy moly!  5 days without food!  I never expected I’d be doing something like this, let alone make it to 5 days!?  Crazy.

Today was an interesting day.  I had a hungry tummy most of the day and I was feeling super average this morning.  Tired, dizzy, bit sweaty – almost like I was going to faint.  My legs were still cramping so I decided to have a mug of miso soup.  Again, the verdict was out whether miso or vegetable broth ‘breaks’ your water fast.  So I decided for the sake of my sanity and my body to have some.  Oh it was unbelievably good!  I also had some different types of herbal teas so I’m hoping that today’s “indulgences” haven’t tripped me up to much.  That being said, this whole process is trying to reconnect me to my body and my ways of eating.  If over the coming days my body sends me signals that enough is enough, then I will start re-feeding.  I’d love to get to 14 days, but we’ll see how I’m going at 7.

I didn’t experience the Day 5 euphoria that a lot of people report.  Or the increased energy.  Or the clear head.  Or the no-hunger-pangs.  Instead, I spent most of the bloody day tired. I wonder if that’s just a sign how toxic and overloaded my body is?  I was at a market today with a couple of friends and the smells from the food were severely tempting.  I have noticed that my sense of smell has increased.  I think my hunger is emotional/mental hunger.  I’m very curious what my relationship with food is going to be like when I stop fasting.  I’ve never had a good relationship with food and I really want to change that.  I’m hoping this whole process will do just that.

My legs are still cramping so I’ve been adding some mineral drops to my water, which has helped.  You can get them in the UK via the link below (also available in Australia and New Zealand): http://www.return2health.net/minerals/concentrated-trace-minerals/concentrated-mineral-drops/#back-of-bottle

I also had some different types of herbal teas so I’m hoping that today’s “indulgences” haven’t tripped me up to much.  That being said, this whole process is trying to reconnect me to my body and my ways of eating.  If over the coming days my body sends me signals that enough is enough, then I will start re-feeding.  I’d love to get to 14 days, but we’ll see how I’m going at 7.

Day 4 and IBS

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  Literally a pain in the arse.  I have been labelled (and labelled myself) with this condition for 7 years now.  A few things along the way have helped but it’s always lingered.  To demonstrate what a pain it is, here is a list of foods I can’t eat without getting excruciating stomach pain/bloating/wind/nausea/diarrhea/tired/grumpy:

Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, leeks, onions, garlic, brussel sprouts, apples, pears, watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew, papaya, paw paw, almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts,  beetroot, cabbage, fish, gluten products, eggs to some extent and dairy products.  I know there are more but these are the ones that I often encounter.  Sure is going to make eating vego/vegan a lot more challenging!

Some of you might think there’s nothing wrong with not being able to eat many of the foods above.  I’m not fussed about not being able to eat brussel sprouts but as to the rest…. I actually used to really enjoy broccoli, cauliflower, kale, beetroot etc.  Being sensitive to onions and garlic is also quite challenging, especially when eating out.  Plus I LOVE garlic and onions.

Having scoured the internet for the impact of fasting on IBS, the verdict was mixed.  Some people resolved their IBS doing 10-21 days fasts.  For other, fasting made it worse especially when they started eating again.  To be fair, it did sound like some of the IBS sufferers who came off fasting went right back into eating ‘normal’ food and didn’t have a re-feeding plan.  But who knows???!!!  It seems I’m never really going to get a straight answer on anything to do with fasting!  All I can do is add my own experience.  I’m really hoping my IBS resolves after doing the fast or very soon after!

I cannot wait to start eating food again either.  The emotional hunger demons kicked in full force today.  My goodness I could’ve eaten a whole bakery and then moved onto the Cadbury factory.  Somehow I managed to hold it together and not cave to the little voice screaming at me to get some chocolate.  I did treat myself to some sparkling water with a little lemon in it and, believe it or not, that was bliss!   I am incredibly surprised how well I’ve gone.  I never thought that I’d be able to go nearly 5 days without eating.  I think it’s easier to do a fast than to do a very low calorie diet (1000 cals or less).  I know, I’ve done them and the hunger pangs I’ve gotten on those have been a hell of a lot worse than those with fasting.  Kinda crazy, hey?

Day 3!!

Day 3 of my fast and I’m surprised how easy it has been so far.  I woke up this morning and for the first time in at least 15 years I actually felt awake and refreshed.  This feeling only lasted for about an hour but it was really nice to feel that again.  I did cave and have a black coffee today.  Oh man, it made me so happy for about 15-20 minutes.  Then the brain fog descended and I felt like I was wandering around in a haze for the rest of the day.   I also fluctuated between feeling very tired and feeling energised throughout the day.  And the hunger pangs started this afternoon, which I’m thinking may have been due in part to the coffee.  Coffee in the past has made me feel weak and shaky (probably messing with my blood sugar levels) so lesson learned and no more coffee until the fast is over.

Today I decided to look at what happens to our physiology when we go into the fasting state.  There are so many different ideas about it and whatever angle you look at, you find research to back that opinion.  I believe that humans are all individual and while we all have similar physiology, it is my opinion that we all have our little physiological/biochemical quirks and thus respond differently. So here’s the basics of what happens when we are in a fasting state:

*Phase One (roughly 6-24 hours after eating):

  1.  When food is not longer being consumed (therefore no glucose), insulin levels start to fall.
  2. The body breaks down glycogen that is stored in the liver and converts this to glucose.

*Phase Two (24hours – 2 days of fasting): 

  1. As glycogen stores deplete, the body starts to make ‘new’ sugar (a process called gluconeogenesis) from sources such as lactate and amino acids (from muscles).
  2. The brain and body continue to rely on glucose as an energy source.
  3. The body starts to synthesise fat.

*Phase Three (2-3 days of fasting):

  1. Low insulin levels cause the body to simulate ‘lipolysis’ which is the breakdown of fat to form fatty acids.
  2. Fat is broken down into glycerol and and three fatty-acid chains (lipolysis).
  3. Glycerol is used in gluconeogenesis (‘new’ sugar production).  The fatty acid chains are used for energy and also in the formation of ketones, which the brain uses as energy.

*Phase Four (approximately 5 days + of fasting)

  1. Could be called the ‘protein conservation’ phase.
  2. Growth hormone increases thus helps preserve lean muscle tissue.
  3. The body gets its energy from the fatty acids and ketones.
  4. Increased noradrenalin levels help prevent decrease in metabolic rate.

*From Dr Mark Korson http://fodsupport.org/documents/ThePhysiologyofFastingandFODs.pdf

*From https://intensivedietarymanagement.com/fasting-physiology-part-ii/

Obviously, there is a lot more complicated physiology behind fasting and I am by no means an expert.  If in doubt, do the research yourself.  But what blew me away when reading about the physiology of fasting was the countless sources that said fasting DOES NOT decrease metabolic rate.  In fact, in some instances it has been shown to increase it.  Huh????  Haven’t we been told that low calorie and fasting decrease metabolic rate and that’s why you whack the weight on after doing things like this?  Now I’m curious where the myth of a slowed metabolism comes from.  I will keep you posted on this as I find out more information.

Of course, there is a difference between starvation and fasting.  Starvation occurs when fasting is taken too far and the body no longer has the fat reserves to produce energy.  This is when the body starts to break down other tissue to survive i.e. muscle.  So be sensible about fasting people and listen to what your body is telling you.  Make sure you have a support crew around you if embarking on a fast that lasts a few days.  Also make sure you’re in contact with a couple of health practitioners to help guide you through it so you stay safe.

The prep and plan

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Geez, that looks like a lot of blood to take myself.  But it really wasn’t.  A couple of finger pricks and my blood tests are off to the lab.  I am very curious what the results will be as it has been a while since I had a blood test.

My initial plan was to do a fasting prep for 3 days, then do a water fast for at least 5 days and then start to introduce foods back in via juices and smoothies.  However, it seems the Universe wanted to speed up the process and I ended up with a tummy bug.  So today is actually Day 2 of fasting!

Although food is the last thing my tummy wants at the moment, it hasn’t stopped my mind going absolutely ballistic. Examples: “Food just looks so good!”  “What if you pass out from no food?”  “What if you can’t do it?”  “Really, what if you REALLY can’t do it?”  “How are you going to survive?”  “What will everyone think of me?”  “You’re f***ing nuts doing this!”  There is also a very small part of me that whispers “what if you CAN do it and it works for you?”

What is really helping me, now and in the last week when I knew I was starting this endeavour, is being in a state of curiosity.  If I start thinking about the food I’m choosing not to eat, I freak out.  But if I say to myself “let’s just see how this goes”, I find the emotional charge is taken out.

I survived Day 2 of my fasting.  Yes, I have a ripper of a headache (possibly sugar and caffeine withdrawals) and I’m super tired.  But I managed it AND a very busy day at work.  I’m drinking loads of water and am having to odd herbal tea.  I may start adding some lemon or cucumber or mint or all 3 to my water, just to switch it up a bit.  But you know the bonus to fasting that I realised tonight as I flopped into bed?  I can sleep in for an extra half an hour as I don’t have to worry about food prep!?  Frickin’ yay!!  Maybe fasting isn’t so bad……

 

Where it all began…..

I have always struggled with my weight.  I remember first becoming conscious of my stocky but strong body when I was 10 years old.  I loved ballet.  Yet something happened when I was 10 years old and I realised I was never going to be a ballerina.  So I decided my body was better equipped to be a swimmer.  Even as a competitive swimmer and butterflier, I was extremely unimpressed by how my body looked – my shoulders were too big, my tummy popped out, my legs were too chunky, my legs were too wobbly, my arms weren’t toned enough, my abs always seemed to be hibernating.  I had zero appreciation for the amazing feats my body did and the thousands of kilometres it swam during my 13 years of training.  Instead, I put my body through the vicious cycle of self-loathing – not eating, purging, binging, the vicious self talk and of course, dieting.  SO many bloody diets!  You name it, I’ve been on it.  I have tried it all.  Atkins, South Beach, Zone, Ultralite, Herbalife, Isagenix, Weight Watchers, Ketogenic, low FODMAP, Cohen, HCG, low carbs, low fat, shake diets, blood type diet blah blah blah blah blah.  I have lost weight only to find it again…. with interest.  Too bad the banks don’t offer the amount of ‘interest’ I have gained every time I’ve tried a diet!   Eventually my body cracked the shits with me and I developed chronic fatigue syndrome.  Goodbye aspirations of being an Olympic swimmer.

Over the past few years, I have been working with some wonderful people (Belinda Morris www.wimwib.com, Adrienne Gulliver www.adriennegulliver.com, Demartini crew https://drdemartini.com) to change my thought patterns and mental chatter regarding my weight, my body and my approach to life.  Trying to the change the pattern of hating my body is definitely not easy and realising how I have made my success in life conditional on how much I weigh, is very hard to admit and even harder to break.  It is amazing when you stop and look around at the TV, advertisements, movies, magazines, billboards and all things social media how much we  tie being skinny/young/beautiful to being successful.  It makes me so thankful that I was the last generation to grow up without a mobile phone, or Facebook, or Instagram or anything like that.  I’d probably be in a psychiatric ward by now if I was bombarded with all that as a teenager.  No joke.

So where does Bacon2Broccoli come in?  I am a carnivore.  I have been known to sit down to a 1kg steak and still have room for dessert.  I have been known to sneak down to the fridge at night and eat the left-over BBQed steak.  I have been known to finish off other people’s steak because you can’t let steak go to waste!  I have always had a resistance to vegetarianism and even more resistance to trying a vegan lifestyle.  It wasn’t until I listened to a podcast by scientist Ray Cronise (http://www.richroll.com/podcast/ray-cronise/) that it hit me.  I needed to do something different.  His research and his application of knowledge makes complete sense to me from a biochemical and physiological perspective.  And this guy knows his stuff.  There’s a growing body of research that is starting to show that calorie restriction, vegetarian and vegan diets prolong longevity.  Google Scholar shoots back bout 4000 results.  Perhaps there is something in this?  The T-Rex part of me was very reluctant to admit this.  Believe me.

In my own search for information, I found that a vast majority of research in this field has been conducted on men.  No surprises here.  Having worked on pharmaceutical trials, men are much easier to study – mainly due to less fluctuations in hormone levels.  But where does this leave women?  This intrigued me.  There are plenty of men who have become huge advocates for certain ways of eating or even making/selling their own diets.  But how applicable is their experience to women?  Is what they are advocating safe for women?  Would we get the same results?

These questions are a driving force behind Bacon2Broccoli.  Apart from giving my Dad a heart attack (not really!), I wanted to explore vegetarianism, veganism, fasting and the effects of these on my body.  Bacon2Broccoli is not just about weight loss.  It is a documented experiment and I am the experiment.  Sorry it’s not the “gold standard randomised double-blind clinical trial”, but it’s a start.  I will be monitoring my blood pressure , my cholesterol, my glucose, my hormone levels, my iron, B12 and vitamin D levels, my RBC, WBC, liver and kidney function and inflammation markers.  I want to see what this way of living does to my biochemistry but above all, I don’t want to repeat my past mistakes.  It’s time for a change, a lifestyle overhaul and Bacon2Broccoli is the platform to share my story.

Let the fun begin!