I had heard of great feedback and cellular benefits about the Five-Day “Fasting Mimicking Diet” and wanted to give it a go. I’m NOT promoting anyone try it or telling anyone how to do it, but rather sharing how my system responded from the protocol I set up. For the benefits and background of this strategy, the history and science of the protocol is at creator Dr. Valter Longo’s website: prolonfmd.com/fasting-mimicking-diet/.
There is a boxed diet that is available for purchase at the link above and I have no affiliation with the service or website, but I’m simply giving credit to the source. Inspiring the protocol I executed below, I used discussion from the podcast on the topic from this source by Dr. Pompa: Cellular Healing TV Episode #217 “Achieving Longevity Through Prevention” with Dr. Joel Kahn
A note about me: I’m 43, a Wife and Mom of 4, formerly 225lbs and now working as a Personal Trainer and Coach; I’m also a competitive bodybuilder in the Bikini division with the NPC (National Physique Committee).
I’ve been food aware and tracking my calories or macros for the past eight+ years, so the topics of cutting calories, dieting, food tracking, whole foods, and wellness are very parallel to what I already do and implement for myself and my clients on a daily basis. I have long-term experience with intermittent fasting and wanted to challenge myself with this next step of this five-day protocol. Fasting is upper level and I say this to urge that I am not a beginner in this venture!
The protocol I executed was my final design based on the research and information I heard from the above. This post is an overview of what I did and how my system responded.
If you’re reading this and considering the concept, please do your own research, learn your body, and make the call if and when fasting is a fit for you. I assume no liability and can make no suggestions or can give specific guidance to anyone on these topics.
The Overview of What I Did:
-Total Days: Five
-Dates of the Fast: Monday, April 21-Friday, April 27, 2018
-Day One Calories and Macros: 1100 calories with a macronutrient goal split of 15% protein (from plant sources), 60% fat, 25% carbohydrates (plant based); Macro goals were: 41 grams of protein; 73 grams of fat; 69 grams of carbohydrates
-Days Two thru Five Calories and Macros: 800 calories with a macronutrient goal split of 15% protein, 60% fat, 25% carbohydrates; plant based; Macro goals were: 30 grams of protein; 53 grams of fat; 50 grams of carbohydrate
-Hydration: 200-250+ ounces of water, black coffee, black tea; this is a normal day for me
-Sleep: 7 to 8 hours a night; sleeping from 9:30PM to 4:30A most days <or as late as 6:30 AM on Day 4!>; Scoring 88-91-91-93-89-86% for my nightly sleep scores on my Oura Ring for the week
-PROTEINS: No meats, powders, eggs, or bars were used; All proteins were trace from the plants and fats.
-FATS: Grass-Fed Butter; organic walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts; avocado; Organic Kalamata Greek olives; I only used the butter on Day 1 and the olives on Days 2-3.
-CARBOHYDRATES: 100% cacao powder; organic cauliflower, broccoli, onion, mushrooms, green beans, red leaf lettuce, some tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, and salsa; I only used a small serving of oats one time on a very low-energy evening (Day 3), which was the only starch I ate for the week.
-NOTE: I started living grain-free in October of 2016, away from American wheat, corn, rice, potatoes, beans, and oats. I also no longer use protein bars or shakes on a regular basis. From that time frame, my body has greatly become fat adapted and operates on low-to-little amounts of starch or sugars.
When I was formerly living a high sugar, fruit, dairy, grain, and starch diet, I was a “sugar burner” and needed to eat carb-based foods every few hours. Therefore, this protocol and nutritional schematic would have been very challenging for me to follow in my former lifestyle.
The above five-day layout I used is very close to how I already eat on a routine basis. I do now eat red meat, fish, and some oats, fruit, dairy and potatoes, but those were not used in the five-day protocol above. I intentionally wanted to fast from some of the foods I was eating frequently, as I was in question as to if it they were setting me back physically for my physique and wellness goals.
Additionally, to keep proteins low per the protocol, no sources of meat would fit into the macro layout for the day. Why? I used nuts as my fats and plants as my main carbohydrate source and they each carry protein with them as well, so the meats took a break…..and I didn’t mind that! <I survived!!>
-Monday, Day One 133.7; I was trending prior to this in the 130-131 range; I had some off-usual foods on Sunday and my weight spiked!
-Tuesday, Day Two: 129.9
-Wednesday, Day Three: 128.9 <the lowest for the week>
-Thursday, Day Four: 130.6 <My period arrived this day….likely the why of the weight spike in the AM and energy lull the evening before>
-Friday, Day Five: 129.5
-Saturday, 1st Day Post Fasting: 129.7; I suspect by Monday or Tuesday, the effects of the fast and the settled female hormones will kick in and I’ll be at 127-128!
Actual Macros- <Lower calories, but still adequate fiber….Plant Life!>
-Monday, Day One: 42 grams of protein; 84 grams of carbohydrate; 36 grams of fiber; 75 grams of fat; 1179 of 1100 goal calories
-Tuesday, Day Two: 33 grams of protein; 58 grams of carbohydrate; 27 grams of fiber; 56 grams of fat; 868 of 800 goal calories
-Wednesday, Day Three: 45 grams of protein; 109 grams of carbohydrate; 38 grams of fiber; 57 grams of fat; 1129 of 800 goal calories; I was VERY hungry and lower energy by the evening and so I added extra vegetables and some oats for some starch. I got my period the next day. My body talked and I listened and it makes sense now why the body cues changed. Hormones are powerful!
-Thursday, Day Four: 38 grams of protein; 71 grams of carbohydrate; 34 grams of fiber; 54 grams of fat; 922 of 800 goal calories
-Friday, Day Five: 43 grams of protein; 107 grams of carbohydrate; 42 grams of fiber; 55 grams of fat; 1095 of 800 goal calories; I was simply ready to eat more food!! Also, I had planned fasted cardio Saturday AM and wanted a bit of fuel to power that, so I added more vegetables.
-Saturday, 1st Day Post Fasting: 57/100 grams of protein; 125/95 grams of carbohydrate; 37 grams of fiber; 88/78 grams of fat; 1524 of 1482 goal calories; <Still eating for the day as I write this and trending on a bit of intuitive eating, too!)
Per the protocol, there is no exact post-fasting target to hit, but I’m 12 weeks out to the NPC Masters Nationals in July in contest prep, so I kept it close to my daily goals as planned. It’s not supposed to be a “cheat day” or a day to play catch up with junk food, as the body can trend towards being insulin sensitive at this point.
I started my day with avocado and macadamia nuts as I had been <check out my coffee-avocado-macadamia shake below!>. I had sardines and vegetables for lunch and added some Italian Organic-Wheat homemade Sourdough Bread to my afternoon, with some simple sugars, too <chocolate chips!>. I wasn’t wanting to blow the benefits of what I just did in the protocol, so I kept the foods pretty close to what I had been eating and did some higher carbs for a bit of a muscle-cell refeed.
I’m a personal trainer and body builder AND Mom of 4, so I don’t really get inactive as they want you to do. I had too much energy to sit still. I kept moving, but I did pull the intensity down quite a bit!
-Monday, Day One: Whole-body weight training fasted in the AM; Deep cleaned the home; 18,807 steps
-Tuesday, Day Two: Whole-body weight training and Cardio Steady State Step Mill 25 Minutes, fasted in the AM; Personal trained clients; 8,914 steps
-Wednesday, Day Three: 75-minute Hot Yoga; 10 minutes in the sauna; 9,034 steps; Very depleted by the end of day!
-Thursday, Day Four: Personal trained clients; Walked outdoors 3x; My body wanted quite and nature! 12,183 steps
-Friday, Day Five: 13 minutes in the sauna; Personal trained clients; 60-minute Hot Yoga; 8,468 steps
-Saturday, 1st Day Post Fasting: 13 minutes in the sauna; Cardio Steady State Step Mill 25 Minutes; Steps in process….
-Monday, Day One: Energy was very high and hunger was at bay; Mental clarity was very sharp; I got TONS of work and cleaning in!
-Tuesday, Day Two: Tons of energy and strength during my AM training and cardio; very mentally sharp; slept well
-Wednesday, Day Three: Low resting heart rate at night, 50 BPM; Super high energy and mindset in the AM; Happy and upbeat; By end of day, I was drained and probably pushed my expenditure too high in partner with the depletion setting in; Added extra foods
-Thursday, Day Four: Energy was high, excellent mental clarity in the AM; chose to do less training and spent more time walking and in nature and the sun; I was noticing slower ability to speak and retrieve vocabulary as I was doing a video for clients!; My period arrived that evening, making sense of the weight spike and lower energy from yesterday; This also speaks to why my body wanted to be in nature!
-Friday, Day Five: Tons of energy and strength in Yoga; Hunger was very minimal; Excellent sleep!
-Saturday, 1st Day Post Fasting: Low resting heart rate at night, 48 BPM; Great energy and hunger at bay!
This was not easy by any means, but I was really able to connect with my body and learn my eating patterns (when they were no longer there!). This tested me, but I like a plan and structure and I know the benefits of the process when repeated ongoing over time, as the body will allow. I do plan to do this every four weeks with my husband and I really enjoyed NOT eating meat.
I plan to keep less meat in my diet from this time on and go for more fish and plants as my protein, all from the sources above. I honestly just feel better and who really knows what is in our meats anymore <I digress…..>
Some other great realizations I had in the process:
-I enjoyed eating less often…that meant fewer meals to prepare and then I had more time in my day!
-I was able to truly identify emotional triggered hunger over real hunger. I realized I get “hungry” in the afternoon when I work at the computer, likely from EMF impact and from stress, vs. it being REAL hunger. I have work to do here!
-Food started to really taste better. My taste buds sharpened!
-I got fuller faster and on less food. I was eating slower because I knew I had less to eat….and needed to enjoy it <800-1100ish calories goes fast!>
-I came to understand that my hunger cues can easily get skewed. Eating slower and less often has helped me to realize I was full and needed to stop eating OR that I wasn’t hungry and didn’t need to be eating. Was I bored or stressed or upset? This was probably my favorite part!
-As I said, I’ve been evolving this lifestyle for years and have stepped away from the Standard American Diet, so this was quite doable for me. I’m also fat adapted and have practiced Intermittent Fasting for a few years, several days a week. So I have the ability to use dietary and stored body fat for fuel and to go for long periods of time without eating. I’m also able to weight train and do cardio fasted.
That said, for someone looking to consider this protocol, please evaluate your current lifestyle. Intermittent Fasting was a wonderful stepping stone into this for me!
I’m happy to answer your questions, but cannot guide you on a fasting protocol. Fasting, IN MY OPINION, is where it’s at for health, longevity, wellness, optimal metabolic functioning, and for keeping body fat low for an ideal body composition for my goals. It also saves time and money and is tried and tested by science, dating back thousands of years before us. I’m sold!
Thanks for reading this overview. Happy learning and trying on your body!
To Your Wellness,