B2R Office Wellbeing: 6:1 fasting madness

As part of our pledge to look at the whole picture with our support for small business owners, freelancers and emerging designers; we have teamed up with the fast-growth health and wellbeing organisation, Back To Roots.

Lead by chiropractic clinician, Luke Davies, the B2R team will be translating the latest scientific research and clinical white papers into helpful guides, nutrition hacks and fresh ideas to help those of us who spend most of our working lives at a desk, live a healthy lifestyle. Although the majority of these articles will be delivered by healthcare professionals, PixelHaze Academy founder, Elwyn Davies (who is also a Director at Back To Roots) has reluctantly agreed to be the 'guinea pig’ for a number of these concepts as he strives to find the right balance. He will be reporting back on these projects, hoping to provide an everyday perspective.

His struggles started this morning.

That was tough…

Calorie counting is not a new concept for me. For the past 15+ years I have struggled to keep my weight to a consistent level and have been weighing in at 1-2 stones heavier than my ‘optimum’. To give a little context, I was brought up on a working farm in Mid Wales, with 5 square meals a day, clocking in at around 3500 calories every 24 hours. As you can probably guess, my background activity was very high so I could get away with eating what I wanted without gaining weight. I was lean, wiry and probably the strongest I had ever been. That gradually changed when I went to University and subsequently launched my first business. Physical activity dropped significantly thanks to increased time in an office/studio working environment and even though I dropped to 3 meals per day, it wasn’t enough. I was still in a calorie surplus and so began a series of boom and bust diets, exercise routines and fads.

Since working with Luke and the B2R team, things have improved and it has really helped to get a professional insight into my weekly routine. I am much closer to my target weight and am fitter than I have been in years, however, there is still more work to do before I can get back to my target.

Today I was coaxed into trying something a little different by the B2R team. Alas, I have reluctantly signed up as a guinea pig to the The 5:2 diet. Well, kind of…

Also known as The Fast Diet, the 5:2 diet is currently trending as the most popular intermittent fasting diet (an eating pattern that involves fasting two days each week and eating ’normally for the remaining week). It has been made popular by British journalist Michael Mosley and Luke has been hankering to give it a go since attending his lecture at last weekend’s conference. This would have been a good week to have kept a low profile at B2R HQ! After realising that each of my reservations all boiled down to the somewhat weak argument, “but I don’t want to do it”, I reluctantly agreed to restrict my calorie intake to around 600 for one day a week. This would be each Wednesday as it is by far the easiest day to introduce the adjustment. Michael Mosley’s diet is based around 2 days per week, however I cannot realistically find a second day that works for me without affecting my ability to deliver a full day’s work. I love food and sitting in an office that is adjacent to my mum’s cafe is my equivalent of mild torture, yes I am that hopeless!

The recommendation was to go aggressive from day one as opposed to ‘phasing’ calories out on fasting day each week. Today, this was the toughest part as even with careful selection of what I choose for my mini-meals, I couldn't stop thinking about food. Heck, even my shampoo smelt like it would taste amazing and it took an act of willpower not to give it a try. Thankfully I resisted the urge.

It’s not all bad though. Results show that people who can adapt to fasting are far more likely to stick to the routine over a longer timeframe than those who opt for the ‘boom and bust’ diets. The other benefit is the fact that I will not need to worry about what I can eat for the remainder of the week, within reason. Working with Back To Roots, I now have a pretty good weekly routine in place when it comes to nutrition and my background activity has increased significantly this year.

I’m pretty grumpy right now and am contemplating an early night so I don’t have to think about food until breakfast time. It should get easier.. shouldn’t it? I have agreed to give it a go for 4 weeks so that’s one down already. Hey, another bit of good news!

I’ll report back in a few weeks to let you know if I have the stomach for it.

How the day panned out (I can’t resist crumby food related puns):

Breakfast: Protein Shake (with skimmed milk)

Lunch: Fibre One Popcorn Bar - 84 calories

Dinner: Yesterday’s Bolognese (with lean mince and a packet of Barenaked Konjac Spaghetti and Broccoli) - 280 calories

Evening Snack: Rocket Lolly (Ice lolly) - 46 calories, 2x Jacobs Cream Crackers (dry, very dry) - 75 calories

Total: 694 calories

Target for next Wednesday: 600 calories

Average daily calories when not fasting: 2,200