Let’s Walk a Marathon – Intermittent Fasting and new series of Cook from Scratch

I hope that those of you who are now measuring your exericise in terms of marathons are doing well. I continue to walk every day and I am also helping my fat burning (she says hopefully) by eating a moderate amount of protein with each meal and also continuing to practice Intermittent Fasting which is something I began in 2013 after reading the Fast Diet book by Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer.

To be honest I am not an advocate for complete fasting over extended periods. Even under medical supervision I always feel that unless it is a method of eating that the body has developed over time, it can add more stress to the organs and our emotional response to food. Additionally those who embark on a fast unsupervised may have an underlying health problem that can cause serious issues. For very young people particularly teenagers this can be a very dangerous and complicated process that can result in not just physical damage but emotionally and mentally too. So first and foremost, do seek advice before contemplating any form of radical dieting.

Intermittent Fasting advocates claim that there are a number of health benefits outside of steady weight-loss. These include reversal of Type II diabetes.  Here is a summary.

  1. Blood levels of insulin drop which leads to more efficient fat burning
  2. Your body has downtime when it can initiate vital cellular repair.
  3. Blood levels of human growth hormone increase dramatically which also encourages fat burning.
  4. It is claimed that intermittent fasting increases your metabolic rate encouraging weight loss and reduction in fat in stubborn places such as the belly.
  5. Type II diabetes has responded well to intermittent fasting with a significant drop in fasting blood sugar levels and fasting insulin levels.
  6. Some research is indicating that intermittent fasting can benefit oxidative stress on cells and reduce inflammation.
  7. There are many studies into the benefits currently and new evidence is being published frequently and is worth keeping an eye open for.

For people who embark on Intermittent Fasting or IF – there are a number of programmes to choose from and because this is now the new dieting Buzz Word – or Words – I wanted to write about its application in this marathon challenge.

However, I am also keen to do so with not just the facts and figures gleaned from the various research I have undertaken in the last three years but with my own experience under my belt so to speak.

On the plane home from the UK in 2013 I read the Fast Diet which advocates the 5:2 approach where you eat sensibly but normally for five days a week. Then only 500 calories for a woman or 600 calories for a man for the other two days a week.

My willpower is pretty good when I make my mind up but certainly when I began this programme in the cold and wet months on our return to Madrid, eating a quarter of my calories two days in a row was not appealing, however I settled on Monday’s and Wednesdays for the next six weeks. It did help that there were plenty of fresh salad and vegetables available in Spain year round.

That was four years ago and in that time I have adapted the diet to suit my own circumstances. I only eat within an 8 hour window every day, seven days a week rather than the original five days on and two days off.  When combined with exercise I found that I was getting very tired on the off food days and then was hungrier on the on food days. I began to eat more.

As I mentioned earlier this year my weight began creeping on again last year and that was because my schedule of exercise and eating to a normal pattern was disrupted by a number of factors involved in our move back from Spain to Ireland. Once off track I found myself staying there and getting back into bad habits. The excuses that I thought I had packed away in a trunk in my brain’s attic started to make an appearance again.

For example.. jeez I am 63 years old… what can you expect!  Why deny myself some treats from time to time.. I am good the rest of the week!! 

I am sure you have your own set of go to reasons why you should not work at keeping your body healthy.

Anyway from my birthday in February this year when I turned 64 years old, I gave myself a damn good talking to. We invested in a new treadmill so that I could not use the wet weather as an excuse… I began some light weight training and I also went back to eating within an 8 hour window.

Thankfully that is now making a difference and I am happily back on the right track.

I still cook from scratch, have modified by carbohydrate intake so that I have wholegrains in smaller amounts at main meals and I don’t snack between meals. I exercise for the first time in the day around 10.30 and we have coffee and our Spanish Tostada at 11.30/12.00.(Recipe in the post tomorrow)

We eat our main meal around 2.00/2.30 which is always lean protein and lots of vegetables. For example.. Red cabbage and beetroot, green cabbage, cauliflower and carrots today with pork fillet.  David likes a raw salad and apart from celery, carrot, beetroot, lettuce, spring onions he also has half an avocado with his pork.

If we have been active in the garden then we might have a piece of wholegrain toast around 5pm with some tea or some fruit..I do my second session on the treadmill around 6.30pm .. a mile usually and then we have supper around 7.30pm. which is usually a sandwich for David and eggs on toast for me.  It varies of course.

That is not to say that there are not days when we might fit in an ice-cream or a scone and jam.. but within the 8 hours window.

If you are interested in reading the Fast Diet it is available in print, Kindle and audio: https://www.amazon.com/Fast-Diet-Intermittent-Fasting-Healthy/dp/1780721676

The new series of cook from scratch begins tomorrow and I will be starting with our Spanish mid-morning breakfast.

If you have an queries about this challenge or about your nutritional needs then please  contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

19 thoughts on “Let’s Walk a Marathon – Intermittent Fasting and new series of Cook from Scratch

  1. Thanks for sharing all this Sal. I’m having a hard time with 5 pounds that is a lot for me. I know my exercise has slacked, but my eating hasn’t changed, in fact I’m more strict but since the menodragons came around it’s near impossible to lose a pound. Those 5 live around my middle which used to be the smallest part of me. Even when I was exercising it basically held me at bay more than made me lose weight. I know the years of not being a big eater have become complacent probably lowering my metabolism. And working all day and night on my bum is not helping. I must get my act together so I’m loving your series. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know the feeling Debby but mine is more like 15lbs and it appears from nowhere!! It is frustrating when you get down to that persistent last few pounds but it may help to adopt this approach for a couple of weeks to see if it suits you and it helps by regulating some of the fat burning elements we have internally. Glad you are enjoying.. ♥♥

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the 8 hour window. I do feel at this point in my life that I have dieted and watched my weight for 40 years. Can’t I stop? On the other hand-what’s a few more years of effort? Btw- I have a Feb birthday and it seems I am 1 year younger than you. Onward!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Let’s Walk a Marathon – Intermittent Fasting and new series of Cook from Scratch | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

    • You are also considerably younger are running around a young family when not working and you need it.. I am actually eating more than you think as it all adds up and there are extras some days such as a glass of red wine etc.. The key is it is nutrient dense so my body is not being starved of those just the calories I will not use.. I never drop below 1500 per day.. and it is more like 1750.. you need what you are eating… enjoy.


  4. Hi Sally we have spoken about this before. I did the 5:2 diet for 4 years and I lost 15 lbs. Wasn’t that heavy just needed to lose weight for blood pressure. Initially I would get very low on the 2 diet days and eat like a hog on the non-diet days- and lost about 1lb a week. About 2 1/2 years in I stopped feeling so crushed on the diet days and soon after they didn’t bother me at all. However I noticed that after dropping to the target weight, and oscillating about 3lbs either way, the pounds slowly began to creep back on. So I kicked it up to 3 diet days…. Big mistake. It made no difference. Also I was eating much less on the non-diet days -just wasn’t that hungry.
    So after discussion with you I changed to the 8 hour plan… my weight is stabilising slowly. I think my body needs to still come out of the starvation mode it got itself into and I will probably take a few months to settle down. Equally my objective is not to lose a lot of weight (about 7lbs) but to keep my weight stable rather than have it slowly creeping back up.


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