Day One: The Food Obsession. The moment food is restricted, however much you are a willing participant in it (because I wanted to do this – I asked to do it!), it becomes all you can think about. I have spent more time today thinking about and talking about food than I have in a long time. I get a breakfast of tea (spearmint/lemon), and L-Bar (nut based trail mix kind of a thing) and an Algol tablet. For lunch I get a tomato soup (not horrible), some olives (revolting but I’m too scared not to eat them), some kale crackers that stayed in my teeth for the rest of the day and an NR-3 capsule. For an afternoon snack, there’s another bar to join the kale in my teeth and more tea, and dinner is a minestrone soup which I really liked, a choco-crisp L-Bar and another NR-3 capsule. I’m drinking loads of fizzy water which helps and I dunked a bit of fresh mint in hot water before bed. I wasn’t exactly hungry, more just a bit empty.
Day Two: The Carb Flu Fear. Friends who have done similar diets have warned me about carb flu – a state of feeling dreadful, headachy and weak and I wake with a mild headache. You are allowed on the ProLon diet to sneak in a black coffee or tea if you feel headachy, and I have one and it immediately disappears and I feel positively spritely. For the rest of the day though, I’m slow and definitely low energy – not hungry exactly, but the empty feeling persists. I have one meeting in London, push out two blog posts and retire to the sofa for the rest of the day. I’m trying to space out my food to eat as late as possible so all the evening TV food ads don’t leave me dribbling. However, I’m surprised that I don’t feel terrible – just a bit below par. The L-drink, a mix of plant derived glycerol and water, despite looking like a LOT of liquid disappears very fast! My biggest disappointment of the day is a double dose of olives.
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Day Three: Jealous of A Snail. I feel almost super-charged for the entire morning of day three – but come the afternoon, it’s a different story. I don’t feel ill – far from it – and weirdly, I don’t feel hungry exactly – just very chilled out and relaxed so I give up working at about 3pm and spend the rest of day basically lounging about playing games on my phone. It’s the day of least food so when it’s soup time in the evening, I’m so grateful and even more so when I discover that I can have those kale crackers I was so dismissive of on day one! I become hugely aware of food being such a presence – I notice pub roast signs that I’d never clocked before, every ad on TV seems to be about food and I over-hear conversations that are all food related. I’m starting to realise that a lot of my eating is completely mindless – being unaware means that I never check myself at all because it segues so un-noticably into every aspect of my day. Passing coffee shops on my dog walk, the food stall at the station, the chocolate shop and the pasty stand at the other end of the train ride. Food is everywhere. No wonder as a nation we’re over-eating. I watch a BBC programme about crash dieting expecting a negative piece of broadcasting, but they’re all for it which feels like a morale boost. Before I go to bed, I spot a snail in the garden tucking into the mint that I’m growing and feel jealous.
Day Four: I Hate You Soup. I spend the entire day thinking about chicken, samphire and broad beans and decide that on Monday morning when I wake up, that’s what I’m having. I’m talking myself out of cheating with a tiny bowl of beans – bizarrely, I haven’t once craved anything sweet. Mr BBB arrived back from the US with Reese’s Pieces and I tell him to hide them til Monday but I’m not particularly interested in them. I spent the morning doing a savage wardrobe clear-out before having the quinoa soup – re-christened I Hate You soup – and then catch up on The Bridge on iPlayer while lying on my bed. By the time the evening comes I’m literally obsessed with chicken and broad beans but haven’t cheated the diet (or, more importantly, myself!). I think I’d best describe the feeling as lethargic. There hasn’t been any tummy rumbling at all throughout the whole week which makes me feel confident that the nutrition provided is doing its job. I’m sleeping very soundly indeed and probably getting more sleep than usual and I’ve also noticed that my skin feels very soft, which is likely to be all the water and the L-drink that I’m taking in. If I do this again, I won’t wait, as I have been doing, til mid-morning to start the L-drink – I’ll have it as soon as I wake up. I’m so happy to be on the home-run with my final day tomorrow but also thinking more about the health benefits and wishing I’d had the blood tests. Prolonged fasting is thought to promote healthy stem cell growth by getting rid of old cells and healing damaged ones so they don’t degenerate and cause diseases. I can see why ProLon has proved so popular in the US.
Day Five: The Beans Got Me. In keeping with the other days, bar day one, I feel quite low energy today but get on with walking the dog and jobs round the house before having an afternoon slump. I can tell that my stomach is significantly flatter and overall I feel lighter. The tops of my legs look suspiciously smaller, too. I haven’t used scales for years so the trouser test will be the big test – they’ve been far too snug and it will be easy to tell whether they fit better. I’m going to give it til transition day before I do that. I have minestone soup for lunch which I really like and would have on any normal day, while dinner, thankfully not I Hate You Soup, is tomato, which I also really like. I cheat very slightly by adding a small handful of cooked broad beans because they’ve been on my mind again all day. I know they’re low sugar, very low carb and keep my fingers crossed that it’s ok. I discover that the L Drink is somewhat laxative which explains a lot!
Upshot: The ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet isn’t a breeze although everyone’s experience will be different. Having low energy for five days isn’t really a big deal – no different to having a cold but without the sniffles – but I’d advise planning those days really carefully. You need to stay busy but not socially so unless it’s cinema trips or similar and activities need to be low energy because you won’t have much to spare. I loved not having to think about what to cook – everything you need is in a box and it’s a release from the kitchen. I also loved the sense of wellbeing I had (although not the emptiness) and that I’d done something good for my body. I maintained my dog walks but was glad for Netflix over the course of the days and also I’m thrilled that I’ve sorted out both my beauty room and my wardrobe. All round it’s been achievements everywhere! I’ve had space to think about my attitude to food – I’ve Googled low carb about 100 times and made a list of better foods to focus on rather than just any old things to satisfy immediate hunger. I guess you could say that ProLon has taught me food mindfulness on top of everything else, so while tough, I’ve had nothing but benefits from this. And the trouser test? On day six, transition day, I slipped right back into them and comfortably so. The loss seems most apparent on my stomach and thighs and I can swear that my bum looks leaner too. I’m delighted by this – work hard, earn hard. NB: Day three post ProLon The weight loss has carried on, mainly I think because I’m just not as hungry – I have eaten small and been happy with that. My jeans are loose on my legs and my stomach is infinitely flatter. I don’t need scales to tell me this program has completely worked. You can find ProLon HERE.
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