duly reported, if a bit late (and an experiment)

Last week: I got strength training in four days out of seven, water in six days out of seven, garden harvest in two days out of seven (though we did eat our own produce almost every day--straight from the fridge), vitamins six days, 3 proper meals (well, I did my best) seven days, fun exercise 5 days, bedtime routine 6 days. Overall, not so bad. We spent the long weekend at Tim's parents' place, keeping Tim's little sister company, and I always find it difficult to maintain healthy habits while away from home. I made a concerted effort to reduce sugar while increasing fruits, vegetables, and protein, and I think I definitely improved on the status quo. There was homemade hummus, pears, bowls and bowls of berries, peanuts, cucumbers, borscht, roast chicken, raw pumpkin seeds, cherries, tanniny black tea, pesto, wholegrain bread, butter lettuce, Liberte yogurt . . .

However, it is time for a new list, an update on perspective, another BBC video. (After blogging for four years and posting one or two videos the entire time, I realize that three out of the last twelve posts end with some youtube gem. Odd.)

But allow me to digress. Tim enjoys keeping up with the cutting edge of research on ageing, and has been talking for a couple of months about the large body of evidence supporting the benefits of intermittent fasting. As someone recovered from an eating disorder, who has fought long and hard to be able to eat regularly, I was suspicious. I said to Tim, Isn't this what they used to call a starve-and-binge cycle? Apparently not.

Intermittent fasting can be practiced on a wide variety of schedules, ranging from daily 18-hour fasts (you fit all of your meals into a 6-hour period), to bi-monthly (that's once every two months) four-day fasts. The benefits for general health seem pretty considerable, but the point of it all is to allow your body  "time off" from metabolizing food, halting the compulsion to constantly produce new cells, giving it time to repair itself, and thus slowing down bodily decay. The anti-ageing effects of keeping mice's metabolisms out of overdrive by keeping the mice on a very low-calorie diet have been well-documented for decades, but intermittent fasting takes a different approach. Far from being the newest manifestation of glorified anorexia (like some diets I could mention), intermittent fasting is not necessarily associated with caloric restriction, as this article explains. Nor does this kind of fasting involve avoiding food for as long as possible, only to overeat later. Recommended calorie intake remains recommended calorie intake.

After watching Michael Mosely's take on it last night (while finishing the first sock! but more on that later), I was very intrigued. Thus, and by now probably not surprisingly, my goals for the upcoming week include an experiment. Like Mosely, I am most attracted to the five-two schedule, and have decided that this week on Saturday and Wednesday (two of the days I'll be spending at work), I will eat a small meal at breakfast and abstain from food the rest of the day. Sunday, Monday, etc., I will eat normally, whenever I feel hungry. I'll blog my observations both "fast" days, and if things go well, I may try another several weeks.

As for other goals, I would like to continue with strength training, water, vitamins, a bedtime routine--and add a daily walk.