I started the fasting mimicking diet back in October. I did it once a month for 3 months, so this post is a bit overdue and that’s a good thing! Why? Because I am still experiencing these results almost two months after my last fast, and I can share my fasting mimicking diet results with hindsight. You will see, they are impressive!
Fasting Mimicking Diet Overview
The fasting mimicking diet is a 5-day fast that allows you to eat 40-50% your normal calorie intake. You still get the benefits of fasting without having to go completely without food. I have written many posts about the fasting mimicking diet as I was in the process of practicing it monthly. I also created various menu plans. If you would like to get inspired by the delicious recipes, read The Fasting Mimicking Diet: Benefit From Fasting Without Giving Up Food, and My DIY Fasting Mimicking Diet Plan.
Fasting Mimicking Diet Benefit
To recap quickly, here are some of the benefits you will experience from a monthly fasting mimicking diet:
- Weight loss: We are not talking about water loss here, we mean true fat loss. Even better, the focus is belly fat loss. Did you know that belly fat is a sign of insulin resistance? Decreasing belly fat improves your overall metabolic function.
- Cellular regeneration: Fasting gives your body a chance to heal itself. Digestion uses a lot of energy, when you fast, your body can use that energy to repair itself. The process is called autophagy. Learn more about fasting and autophagy.
- Decreased insulin levels: It is estimated that one in three Americans suffers from insulin resistance. Insulin resistance happens when your body start ignoring the signals sent by insulin. Body weight, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, genetics, and poor diet can all trigger insulin resistance. Your body needing to produce more and more insulin every time you eat can be another contributing factor to insulin resistance. The fact that the fasting mimicking diet and fasting in general decrease insulin levels has very positive effects. It resets your body in a way. You will find it reduces your cravings, your appetite and helps you feel more energetic.
- Gut health: It turns out that bad gut bacteria die off faster than good gut bacteria. That’s in part how fasting helps improve gut health.
- Cognitive function: Fasting gives the nervous system a break and improves cognitive function.
Fasting Mimicking Diet 3-Month Results
I am excited to share my fasting mimicking diet results with you! The fasting mimicking diet has allowed me to reach my health and weight goals without having to worry about what I eat when I eat and how much I eat most of the time. It has given me true food freedom!\
I mentioned weight loss as one of the benefits of the fasting mimicking diet already.
For me, weight loss has been one of the main benefits. I had been struggling to lose weight for years. After turning 40, the struggle was even worst. Just maintaining my weight required me to feel deprived most days. To lose weight, I had to feel hungry constantly and the weight loss was painfully slow. The fasting mimicking diet has allowed me to lose 10 lbs in 3 months! That’s an incredible weight loss considering the fact that I was depriving myself only during 5 days a month! The rest of the month, I enjoyed sweets, gluten-free bread, wine, chocolate and all the things that make a woman happy.
Let’s talk about how weight loss works when you practice the fasting mimicking diet:
- It resets your hormones and reduces your appetite. Long after your 5-day fast, you will notice that you feel satisfied sooner when you eat.
- It helps you understand true hunger. Most of us are not used to feeling hungry. Ever. During the fasting mimicking diet, you will experience true hunger, and you will realize that you can survive the feeling. It even goes away! Being more familiar with the sensation of hunger will help you feel less tempted to eat when you are not truly hungry.
- It reduces inflammation. Inflammation makes it hard to lose weight. By reducing inflammation, you will be able to achieve your weight loss goals.
The first time I did the fasting mimicking diet, I regained the 4 lbs I had lost pretty fast after going back to normal eating, however, the belly fat did not return and I started losing weight throughout the month thereafter. The same thing happened every month until I had lost 10 lbs after 3 months. That included the holiday season. I was scared to weigh myself after the holidays. I was pretty sure I had gained weight. Instead, I was surprised to discover that I had lost 2 more pounds!
The foods allowed on the fasting mimicking diet are all anti-inflammatory. On the fasting mimicking diet, you can only consume fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats. This nutrient-dense restricted calorie diet will make you feel renewed. After one morning, I wake up energized and feeling amazing.
One interesting aspect of the fasting mimicking diet for me is that it has allowed me to produce ketones even when I am no longer fasting. Moreover, I don’t restrict carbs, I don’t eat keto at all! The first time I did the fasting mimicking diet, it was hard! I felt hungry! The second time, it was much easier. The third time, I felt something shift during my fast. The hunger no longer had the same intensity. I wondered if I had become fat-adapted (which is another word to describe the process by which your body starts using ketones for energy).
To help answer this question, I decided to buy a ketone/blood sugar monitor. By the time I measured my ketones, I hadn’t completed a full 5-day fast for almost two months. I had been eating gluten-free bread, desserts, fruits, etc. Yet, before dinner (which is apparently when you should measure your ketones), my ketone level was 1.2 mmol/L. To give you a point of reference, anything above 0.5 mmol/L is considered being “in ketosis”.
I thought it was very interesting how fasting without eating keto could get you into ketosis. Nobody ever talks about that!
Health Benefits of Ketosis
Being in ketosis has many health benefits:
- Weight Loss: Your body is using fat for fuel so it now depleting your fat reserves.
- Improved cognitive function: The keto diet has been used for cognitive disorders for a reason. Your brain functions well on ketones.
- Better metabolic function: Reduced cholesterol, improved insulin function, lower blood pressure.
- Decreased cancer risk: Ketogenic diet may help treat cancer.
- Reduced Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
How to Make Fasting Easier
The first time you do the fasting mimicking diet will be difficult. Eating 800 calories a day for four days is hard! However, it is more accessible than doing a water fast. Here are a few tips I have learned from experience:
- Wait as long as possible before eating your first meal. The stretch of time will increase with practice. The third time I did the fasting mimicking diet, I could go until 3 pm without too much effort (I still had coffee in the morning). I would start consuming my 700 calories and feel pretty satisfied in the evening. The first time you do the fasting mimicking diet, you might not be able to last past lunch and that’s OK! Remember, with practice, your body will produce ketones and it will get easier.
- Let the hunger pass. At times, you will feel that you can’t go on any longer. When you feel this way, keep in mind that in less than one hour, you will not feel hungry anymore. I found that out times and times again. The more I feel it’s too hard, the quicker the feeling goes away.
- Coffee helps keep hunger at bay. If you drink coffee, use it to your advantage! Just limit yourself to two cups a day.
- Herbal teas are comforting and help reduce the feeling of hunger.
- Drink water and more water. When you feel hungry, you will often find that drinking a tall glass of water is all that’s needed to take the hunger away.
- Eat some low-calorie vegetables. If you feel too hungry to go on and it doesn’t seem to go away, eat cucumber or celery. Eat a big bowl of romaine lettuce. This will help fill up your stomach without using up too many of your calories.
Fasting Mimicking Diet Cheat Sheet
As a reminder, here’s your fasting mimicking diet cheat sheet:
If you would like to print out a pdf version of this fasting mimicking diet cheat sheet, click here.
The fasting mimicking diet has been instrumental in helping me achieve my weight loss goals. I am super excited about my fasting mimicking diet results and I will be experimenting with it further. If you have questions or would like to learn more about other aspects of the fast, comment below. I am always looking for writing inspiration!