Using Fasting as Preventative Medicine

Day Four

So, I have to say that day four has been a bit of a breeze which I seem to remember this from last time. My body feels like it has kicked into ketogenesis much earlier and things have been very even with no great surges of hunger.  Last time by day five I felt very hungry, but I’m writing this on the morning of day five about to go into my clinic and my system feels very steady. I’ve measured my blood pressure and heart rate variability and my blood pressure continues to be a problem but my heart rate variability has moved into the parasympathetic which is the rest and restore part of the autonomic nervous system. I’ve maintained my 2 kg weight loss and have going from 88 centimetres to 86 centimetres with my abdominal circumference (aka belly!).


Now why does all this matter and why am I and the team putting energy into a daily blog on this? At the heart of Integrative Medicine lies the potential for preventative medicine so that we can stay well longer into later life. This might sound like an obvious thing to aim for but we all need a wake up call to make changes in our life because we’re hardwired as humans to enjoy being comfortable. Eating regularly and freely is part of the comfort that many of us in the West experience. Not everyone has that freedom and I’m very aware of food banks and people living in relative poverty. It’s also not just about food being available but the kind of food that is available.


So back to my waist circumference – I would say I look okay generally in my size 12 to 14 clothes, but over my lifetime size 12 – 14 is changing and clothes are often being made bigger and that’s because we’re all shifting our ‘normal’ ranges. The British Heart Foundation is clear on its website that having an abdominal circumference between 80 and 88 cms puts you at risk of future cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. I’m someone who looks relatively healthy but who has an abnormal liver profile an at risk abdominal circumference and my blood pressure has generally moved into stage 1 or slightly elevated blood pressure. I’ve set myself the task of trying to use lifestyle approaches and this might not be possible but there are tried and tested conventional approaches out there for me to benefit from which I am grateful for.


What I am learning on this five day fast, is just the reality of some of these daily measures that I ignore. Along with abdominal circumference I can also look at my body mass index (BMI). There are some really helpful websites out there like NHS England and the British Heart Foundations so do use them and you can key in really easy statistics that you can work out with a tape measure, your height and your weight. Again, with my body mass index I am still in the overweight category but when I set out on this journey of fasting for health 18 months ago, I had hit 71 kg which was pushing me into the obese range. It’s likely that many of you may be sitting quite comfortably with similar readings to my own and therefore putting yourself at risk of illness in later life. Working on these things sooner rather than later is important as we see the figures for chronic illness spiral out of control.


I hope I’m not sounding too much like a headmistress! I’m working through this bit by bit and it isn’t easy and has taken me time to accept what is happening. And yes I did have an oatcake before going to bed last night again. For me that long fast from soup at six going right through to seven the next morning is tough and you have to make it work for yourself within reason. Noticing the benefits of the fast really helps and I notice that I woke with the sun rise again this morning as if my circadian rhythm is back in balance. I’m feeling energetic today with my heart rate variability in the parasympathetic energetic state rather than a sympathetic adrenaline-driven energy. I do feel more joyful!


Today I wanted to share a special herb and you may notice that each day we’ve taken you to the Herbal Reality website with such wonderful resources about each of the individual herbs we have highlighted – thank you to the website developers who’ve taken such love and care in developing that information. The NHS is something of a contradiction at the moment having banned all homoeopathic and herbal products in 2018, this particular herb is often recommended by mainstream teams who are seeing increasing numbers of people with fatty liver but aren’t allowed to prescribe it anymore. Fatty liver is not not always alcohol induced as fructose (fruit sugars) can also overwhelm the liver also. Milk Thistle or Silybum marianum (also sometimes called Mary Thistle) is known for its liver protective qualities. The leaves have splashes of white hence milk thistle – here is a link to learn more and good luck to any of you embarking on lifestyle change.

Milk Thistle – Herbal Reality

For those who want support in their lifestyle change we have a wonderful team of doctors and pharmacists trained in integrative and lifestyle approaches who can support you. Here’s the link to our team and their areas of expertise.

WELLBEING – NCIM – National Centre for Integrative Medicine


Dr Elizabeth Thompson