I came across this article by BBC Horizon on alternate day calorie restriction in 2012. It triggered off my interest in weight loss again. After showing signs hypertension and borderline diabetes, I decided that it is time for me to do something for my health. Putting exercise aside first for this article, I am just going to talk about the diet and how it helped me to lose weight.
After watching the documentary, I went to search for more information on CRON and alternate day calorie restriction. In my personal opinion, CRON is too extreme. I wouldn’t be able to do it for life. Besides, there is a recent research paper showing that daily calorie restriction did not extend the lifespan of the lab monkeys.
On the other hand, alternate day calorie restriction or fasting sounds doable for me. Alternate day calorie restriction/fasting is also known as intermittent fasting. Fasting not only causes the body to go into repair mode, it also reduces the IGF-1 and prevents Alzheimer’s disease. Lowering the IGF-1 level reduces the risk of diabetes and cancer. So it is not just about losing weight. It is also about keeping the body and mind healthy.
I started the plan with alternate day calorie restriction. Limiting my Down Day (DD) to just 500 calories and my Up Day (UD) intake is not limited ie. eating as per normal. The picture on top of this article is a typical dinner I eat when I first started on alternate day calorie restriction. As the weeks passed, I slowly reduce the calories during DD while maintaining the UD intake. I was able to completely fast during DD after around 2 months from the start of the plan.
Fasting completely doesn’t mean I don’t eat or drink. During the DD, I drink plenty of water and unsweetened tea. The amount of fluids I drink during DD is more than my UD. This is because food I eat during UD contains water as well. So, if I am not eating, I need to drink more to replace the fluid I missed out.
I have 3 UDs and 4 DDs in a week. DDs are usually on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. If you notice, I have 2 DDs back to back on Mondays and Tuesdays. I plan it this way because I usually eat a lot on Sundays. After 2 DDs, I feel much better after that.
I lost 20.5kg (100kg to 79.5kg) from September to mid December 2012. I felt healthier, my clothes became too big for me. I had to reduce my pants’ size from a whopping 40 to 34. I have to buy new shirts as well.
I will continue in another post what difficulties I came across and the ups and downs of the diet.