The great NBR fasting challenge: the results
A month ago, AUT Public Health Professor Grant Schofield visited NBR Towers for an interview about his new book, What the Fast? — which advocates skipping every meal but dinner on Monday and Tuesday, and going low-carb/healthy fat for the rest of the week (with some wriggle room for treats on Friday and Saturday).
It's partly about weight loss, and it's partly about the heightened mental alertness that comes with periodic fasting — which brings us closer to the fed/unfed cycle that people were geared for before modern times.
NBR Publisher Todd Scott — looking to trim-down after a lifestyle change saw him give up jogging and add a few kilos, was keen to walk the talk, and not just interview Prof Schofield but take on a fasting challenge as well.
Yours truly was army-volunteered to join in.
So how did we do?
Todd was 80.9kg on May 7. June 7, he weighed in at 76.7kg for a weight loss of 4.2kg.
I was 120kg on May 7 (who knew Doc Martins were so heavy?). On June 7, I was 112kg after shedding 8kg [Aug 7 update: 102.75kg]
Todd says he's pleased with his weight loss, especially given his exercise regime was walking the dogs rather than running.
He also feels sharper.
But the biggest difference was to his pharmacological regime.
Before May 7, the NBR publisher was on a daily does of 50-60mg of the anti-anxiety drug Escitalopram.
Now he's down to just 20mg. The cut-back was necessitated because the drug has to be taken with food, but the rise in ketones in his blood has compensated (a rise in ketones is the key element behind fasting and low-carb diets, driving your body to burn fat rather than glucose).
His doctor is really pleased. So is Prof Schofield, who says nutrition changes have front-line role to play in dealing with many issues which are usually addressed with drugs only.
RELATED VIDEO: Todd Scott's original interview with Prof Grant Schofield.
So what next?
Todd is going to keep on with his fasting regime. He's loving the mental benefits.
Me, I'm loving being able to tie my own shoes again.
I'll keep going, too. Mainly because while I'm off to a pretty good start, I'm still in no danger of fading away.
But also because while the first day lived up to Prof Scholfield's prophecy of being hard (and it was made worse by drinking four coffees on an empty stomach; protip: that's a one-way ticket to nausea).
Yet the next day was better. As the for weeks wore on, it was hard, but not that hard. As Prof Schofield also predicted, my metabolism didn't fall, and I didn't feel dull or fatigued during the day. My main thought was: why didn't I do this earlier?
It helped that I didn't have to live like a monk. I clung to Prof Schofield's food diary in What the Fast, in which he chugs two beers on a Friday and three on Saturday, and wolfs down a couple of hash browns, too. The AUT academic's tolerance for the odd treat makes things liveable.
So cheers to a lighter, healthier NBR publisher and journo, and we'll check in again in another month.
And in case you're wondering, we're still both amateurs compared to Prof Schofield, who when he re-visited NBR this week was on day three of an extended, experimental fast, skipping every meal.
Prof Grant Schofield recommends, with any diet, that you consult your doctor before embarking on a low-carb/healthy fat/fasting regime.