2015 – Improved focus on a healthy body!

January 13, 2015
Prawn, Avocado, Watercress, Red Onion, Capers, Salad

During 2014 I spent a lot of time focusing on getting my mind and spirit in the right place but I dropped the ‘body’ ball. I gained way too much weight and was not feeling good at all. Towards the end of 2014, in an effort to lose some weight and improve my fitness, I started to increase my activity by walking most days. Sadly, due to getting very painful Plantar Fasciitis in my left foot (now also mildly in my right foot) I had to ease off on the walking in order to rest my feet but more on that in a post coming up soon!

Meanwhile, I have been reading and researching in order to find the right nutrition and eating lifestyle that I would like to adopt for a healthier and slimmer me. In the journey to losing weight 80% is due to what you eat and only 20% is how much you move. You can literally change your life by what you put in your mouth.

One thing ‘the tennis player’ and I have just started is The Fast Diet where you fast twice a week and eat as usual on the other five days. This doesn’t mean two days of no food or liquid at all. It means two days of 500 calories for me (female) and 600 calories for him (male). We have chosen Monday’s and Thursday’s as our fast days. We have breakfast and we have dinner and in between we drink tea or coffee and lots of water.  Hubby will reduce to fasting one day/week soon as he is doing it for the health benefits more so than any need to lose weight.  I on the other hand have oodles of weight to lose and will be sticking to fasting two days/week for the long-term.  If you read the book, you will see that there is flexibility as to what times of day you eat your allotted calories.  It’s a matter of trial and error and doing what best works for you.

I first became aware of The Fast Diet by reading this post written by Nikki of Styling You. Nikki and I have the same thyroid condition and compromised immune system. Reading about what is working for her greatly interests me as it is highly likely it could also work for me. I ordered the book and read it cover to cover. I also watched the ‘East, Fast, Live Longer’ documentary featuring Dr Michael Mosley, the author (along with Mimi Spencer) of’ ‘The Fast Diet’ book.

Why did I choose to fast twice a week? Because the science behind it and the benefits from doing it all made sense to me. You give your body a break from the regular process of metabolizing food and time to do the repair work it was designed to do. We weren’t designed to eat as regularly as we do these days. The 5:2 regime not only helps with losing weight but it also brings with it a wide range of health benefits. Studies of intermittent fasting show that not only do people see improvements in blood pressure and their cholesterol levels, but also in their insulin sensitivity. Studies show that intermittent fasting could help people reduce their risk of developing diabetes, dementia and cancer. One of the medical experts that Dr Michael Mosley interviewed said: ‘There is nothing else you can do to your body that is as powerful as fasting.”

Poached Eggs Breakfast

My ‘Fast Day’ breakfast – Two poached eggs, 1 slice of wholegrain toast (which will have to change when I go paleo). The shape of the eggs is because I suck at poaching eggs the traditional way and so we poach in ‘egg pods’ (see image below}

Egg Pods

Egg Pods – a flexible silicone cooking tool for poaching eggs

Prawn, Avocado, Watercress, Red Onion, Capers, Salad

My fast day dinner: ‘Prawn, Watercress & Avocado Salad” – Prawns (100g), 1/2 Avocado sliced, Red Onion (1/4 chopped), Capers (1 tblsp) Watercress (28g) and White Wine Vinegar (1 cap full)

Prawn Avocado and Watercress Salad

The photographs above (with the exception of the Egg Pods show what I’ve eaten for breakfast and dinner for my first four fast days.  Both of these meals are chosen from the examples provided in ‘The Fast Diet’ book (dinner is from the men’s example dinners and so is altered somewhat to reduce calories).
Both these meals are absolutely delicious!!  Yum, Yum!!  Combined, they amount to around 500 calories.
  In between breakfast and dinner, I drink lots of water and have a couple of coffees. 

Some days have been easier than others.  It’s important to keep busy!  I think I will become more used to it as time goes by but so far I am surprised by how much easier it is than I thought it would be.  Amazingly, I have not had any hungry tummy rumbles!  I am already feeling better for doing this and have already lost some weight, however I am aware that this would not be for everyone. 

Importantly, as a perimenopausal woman with an *ahem* rather heavy monthly flow, I have made the decision that I will not fast during menstruation weeks as I need every bit of sustenance possible during that time.  It’s important to be sensible!

I’m no medical expert but after reading the book and watching the documentary, I made the decision that this was something that I believed in and wanted to try. It won’t be for everyone and I’m sure there will people who don’t agree with the concept. However, the good thing is that I am responsible for me, I make the choices for me, and this is one choice for me that I think is a good one!

So we fast on two days and eat ‘normally’ on the other five days. For the five ‘normal’ eating days, my husband is happy to continue on the healthy foods we eat now. Myself – well I know that I need to change my diet to reduce the amount of processed foods.  I have a compromised immune system. I’ve had gut and reflux issues. I’m going through a rough time with perimenopause. I’m a middle-aged woman with a very sluggish metabolism! I need to really nourish my body and not put anything bad or unnecessary into it.

I’ve become very interested in The Paleo Way and will soon be taking steps to transition to the paleo way of eating. I may not eat 100% the paleo way but I’ll certainly try my best to eat as Paleo as I feel comfortable to.  As the chief cook and bottle washer in this household, this means my family will end up eating a lot of paleo foods.  However, they are free to choose to eat whatever they like outside what I feed them!

I’ve been interested in what Pete Evans has been putting out there about the paleo way of eating. He has copped quite a bit of flak in the media. They like to make him out to be a bit crazy and obsessive and they say that the paleo way is an unhealthy fad diet. Personally, I don’t agree but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Meanwhile, I have liked Chef Pete Evans Facebook page and have been watching his TV series ‘The Paleo Way’ which has been airing on the weekends. See episodes HERE. I bought Pete’s recipe book ‘Family Food’ for a friend for Christmas and it looked so good I’m going to have to buy it for myself. And finally, I have joined his TRIBE by signing up to his The Paleo Way 10 week Activation Program which kicks off on 18 January. I will keep you posted as I ease myself into this way of eating.

Here is a description of The Paleo Way in Pete Evans’ own words:

Ok here we go, what is the Paleo Way (not diet!) ….

An abundance of fibrous organic NATURAL vegetables, either raw, cooked and we also promote some fermented veg for good gut health.

Moderate amounts of well sourced protein from land or sea animals that have had a NATURAL diet. (no animals should be raised in horrific conditions or fed an unnatural diet that makes them and us eventually sick.)

Quality fats from NATURAL dietary sources such as avocados, olives, nuts and seeds, and from animals from land and sea that have had a NATURAL diet. (this is what our bodies and brains need to thrive.)

We also celebrate herbs and spices to enhance not only the flavour of food but for their medicine properties too.

And lastly, the promotion of drinking the most NATURAL water you can find.

As for my ‘activity’, well it’s not been great!  I’m working on getting my Plantar Fasciitis (PF) healed before I can resume my favourite activity of walking (out in nature is much more favourable to me than on a treadmill!). There will be a post soon on PF.  Meanwhile, I’ve done the occasional walk (gorgeous beach walks lately – much easier for me on the hard sand up near the water!  Soft sand = PF pain!) and I swim in my pool. I plan to start back doing some activities on my Wii Fit and also some exercises with my 3kg hand weights.  I’m looking forward to soon being given heaps of exercise tips by Luke Hines, a personal trainer and member of Pete Evan’s The Paleo Way team!

I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

Ciao for now,

Min-Signature

[NOTE:  I have not been paid to promote any of the aforementioned people, books or programs – I am just sharing my own humble opinions and thoughts.  I also have no medical background and have no formal nutritional training.]

This post is linked up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT and  Maxabella Loves, Life, Love & Hiccups, Sonia Styling, A Life Less Frantic and J. F. Gibson for the Weekend Rewind.

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18 Comments

  • Reply Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life January 13, 2015 at 8:28 am

    Yum! Your fast day Prawn, Watercress & Avocado Salad dinner looks delicious. Thank you for sharing. Good luck with your Fast Diet.

    • Reply Min January 13, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      Thanks Ingrid – I can hands down guarantee that the Prawn, Watercress & Avocado Salad is divinely scrumptious! 🙂 x

  • Reply Michelle@myslowlivingadventure January 13, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Hi Min, I had plantar fasciitis for almost 2 years and as a runner, it nearly killed me! I think the average time frame people have it for is much shorter than that. For me it was weight loss which helped the most. Taking the load off the overloaded fascia. I also discovered that my Ileo tibial band was stupidly tight and contributing to the problem. For a lot of people it’s the calf so whenever I saw people for treatment that’s what they focussed on and it didn’t help me. I tried so many things…but in the end it disappeared quite quickly with weight loss. Good luck with your change in eating. It looks delicious!

    • Reply Min January 13, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Michelle – I think I got PF for a number of reasons – my age, being overweight, sudden increase in activity! I’m seeing a podiatrist this week (have had to wait ages for an appt!) so hope to get an action plan in place. Meanwhile I bought myself a pair of Birkenstocks which have made an enormous difference and my pain is less now. I’ve got a blog post coming up next week on PF. I wanted to wait until I had seen the podiatrist before I wrote about it. I’m quite excited about my new eating regime. I seem to crave clean eating these days. I find it really delicious and I feel much better for eating that way 🙂

  • Reply Bec @ HoP January 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    I tried the Fast Diet. It was very successful for a few weeks but unfortunately I have very little self restraint! Lite n Easy is currently working very well for me. I have friends who do the 5:2 diet very successfully on a long term basis though. #TeamIBOT

    • Reply Min January 13, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      It wouldn’t be for everyone Bec but so far seems to be working ok for me! Combined with my transition to eating less processed foods by following the Paleo Way (coming soon!) – I’m hopeful for better health and a slimmer me 😉

  • Reply Deb @ inner compass designs January 13, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Good luck. I am also working on getting my eating under control this year. Of 5:2 and pales I think I would feel more comfortable with fasting here and there rather than cutting out whole food categories like legumes or grains. Xx

    • Reply Min January 14, 2015 at 7:47 am

      Thanks Deb! Everyone needs to find what works best for them and they feel good about. I personally feel that I need to get rid of grains due to issues I have as a result of them. Giving up dairy will be a little harder and so I may keep aspects of that 😉

  • Reply Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages January 13, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    I’d be interested to see how this goes. I see the theory being the Fast, but not sure I could do it.

    • Reply Min January 14, 2015 at 7:48 am

      I’ll be interested to see how it goes too Malinda! lol Yes I completely understand it wouldn’t be for everyone. Though some days have been easier than others, I seem to be ok with brekky and dinner and liquids between. I feel so much better for it! 🙂

  • Reply Tegan January 14, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    I think I could physically do the fast diet, but mentally it wouldn’t be good for me. I have a disordered eating history and I have to be careful that I don’t get obsessive with reducing calories. I hope that it’s successful for you and that you the PF starts to disappear with your weight loss.

    • Reply Min January 15, 2015 at 8:41 am

      Yes – sounds like it might be best you not try the fast diet Tegan! I on the other hand would never get obsessive with reducing calories but rather when I might get my next bit of calories! 😉

  • Reply Sonia Life Love Hiccups January 15, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Those fast day meals look pretty darn good! I am keen to give this fast diet a go too xx

    • Reply Min January 16, 2015 at 9:30 am

      Both meals are delicious Sonia! Good luck if you give it a go. It is worth it in my opinion. It is more a battle with the mind than the tummy in the early days. Best thing is to keep busy and distract the mind. I’m becoming more used to it now and actually look forward to my fast days because I feel so good! 🙂

  • Reply Sarah Poppy January 17, 2015 at 8:28 am

    Your prawn salad looks delicious. I am interested to follow how you go with the 5:2 diet. I don’t think I could function properly on 500 calories a day. I am more focused on sticking to 1200 calories each day and drinking 2-3 litres of water and that seems to work for me.

    • Reply Min January 18, 2015 at 8:43 am

      Hi Sarah – the prawn salad IS delicious! 🙂 I focus on sticking to 1200 calories each day too. It is only on two days/week that I reduce calories intake to 500. Sticking to 1200 calories and exercising at a level I am comfortable with does not work for me anymore as it did in my younger days. My metabolism has come to a standstill. This is why I need to try other ways to get my metabolism moving again so that I can shift some weight! 😉

  • Reply Nikki @ Styling You February 16, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Hi Min, I’m playing very late catch up – love your choice of meals for a fast day! And good luck with the challenge.
    Nikki

    • Reply Min February 17, 2015 at 7:43 am

      Hi Nikki – thank you and so glad you approve of my meal choices! 🙂

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