The Highs and Lows of the Fasting Mimicking Diet

Day 4 and I felt my body steady overnight without hunger. Having the breakfast bar is so good for someone like me who likes to eat breakfast and I have also had two small cups of filtered coffee which I love. Filtered coffee gives you less caffeine than espresso so I generally stick with that. Another tip is to keep caffeinated drinks to a minimum because they will trigger an adrenaline response which can tip you into hunger. Day 4 is one of the easier days of the fast, because once ketogenesis is activated you can go for many hours without hunger. I have stuck to the structure of my week, so Wednesdays are my day off and I have kept busy without food. I have been meditating, singing with my jazz vocal lesson, doing housework, resting and cold water swimming with friends. In the evening, I cook something for my husband who has had a long day in General Practice and light a fire which I love – another thing you can do that doesn’t involve eating! 


Day 5 

Overnight I am fine! I have a strange experience in the night of feeling close to my inner voice like I can really hear my inner guide. This has happened each time I fast – like a spiritual practice of letting go and surrendering and softening into the experience of hunger and feeling closer to oneself. In the morning, I answer emails, do my clinic and feel focused and clear which is the wonderful upside of ketosis. Then after my lunchtime soup and kale crackers I start to feel really hungry, my body really calls to me and I feel weak. I keep drinking the glycerol drink and finish my kale crackers and carry on with my work but then at 6pm I am not feeling great at all. So, confession time! I stare at the last packet of soup and cannot face it – it just won’t be enough for this deep sense of hunger. So I make my husband and I a low carbohydrate mushroom and cauliflower soup. I know this is cheating but I feel better and am able to head out to my Thursday night choir and then early to bed. Tomorrow to my great relief I can start to eat again. In The Longevity Diet, Professor Longo talks about the five day fast starting from Sunday evening to Friday evening which I think would be a lot easier for next time! 


So overall, apart from my cheat I stuck well to the fast. I’ve lost 1.5kg which tends to be my maximum. I guess the body kicks in to survivor mode. Donald Gordon, Head of ProLon® and his team support people through this process and he offered me lots of support which I appreciated. He also suggested maybe reviewing more of an individual hormone profile for my next fast. 


Here are some reflections of the fast: 

* structure your week to have enough distractions but not too many 

* focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t eat 

* don’t over exercise or drink too many caffeinated drinks 

* use meditation, breathing to help with parasympathetic, sympathetic balance and next time I am aiming to measure my Heart Rate Variability which is a measure of autonomic function 

* there are unexpected benefits like the spiritual element of feeling clearer and more connected to my self 


Day 6 is called the transition day. I have more energy and my blood pressure is 116/64. I find myself running up the escalators in London giving a talk to doctors in training about Integrative medicine and visiting friends! Today working on the allotment, I have even more energy and can dig and clear three beds. This is unusual for me, and I have lived with a lot of fatigue in my life. Could this be the enhanced metabolic flexibility talked about? I have been reviewing some of the emerging research and we will put any free text studies on the membership site but here is a link to an interesting study comparing the Mediterranean Diet and the Fasting Mimicking Diet: 

Fasting mimicking diet cycles versus a Mediterranean diet and cardiometabolic risk in overweight and obese hypertensive subjects: a randomized clinical trial | npj Metabolic Health and Disease (nature.com)


I need to find space in my dairy for the next five day fast and I will aim to do two low calorie days per week to keep the weight off and keep my aim of 64kg and a normal BMI and cholesterol in sight.   


Dr Elizabeth Thompson