Georgina’s Real Story
Safe fasting, done under the guidance of a health professional, is something I use a lot in my patients. As I have said many times, fasting does not mean zero food or calories, it usually means <500-800 calories in a 24 hour period.
When I first met Georgina she was a 19 year old woman who was overweight ~95kg and she had polycystic ovarian syndrome. This disorder is often associated with insulin resistance and being overweight and part of the treatment is healthy weight loss.
We discussed the options and what the likely barriers to her progress were. For her, she was busy studying and working and didn’t want to spend time cooking or preparing food. So we agreed on an alternative day intermittent fasting program using “nutrislim low sugar” meal replacement shakes. This basically meant she alternated between one day eating food she cooking and prepared but still healthy like whole food vegetables, nuts, legumes, eggs and some meats. Then on the other day she didn’t need to spend any time preparing food as she would have 2-3 maximum meal replacement shakes with water which equals about 450 calories and because they are so high in protein and vitamins and minerals but very low in sugar they kept her feeling full all day. Then she rotated; one day whole healthy foods and the other day the shakes.
This really suited her busy lifestyle and she found it really easy to do. “I love how I don’t need to cook every alternate day” she told me. The major two challenges she faced are the same that most people do, which I have covered above. These being that for the first week she did feel some hunger on the <500 calorie “fasting” days, but that settled once the body reset itself. Remember it is protein and fibre that make you feel full, so make sure your <500 calories are high in protein and fibre, which can be via whole food sources like vegetables, legumes etc or the high protein, low sugar meal replacement shakes, or a combo of the two. The second challenge was the limited range of flavours in the meal replacement shakes, so that was easily fixed by alternating additions like frozen berries or a banana.
She lost about 15kg within 2-3 months, and decided to continue this program for another 3 months, losing a total of 30kg which meant her polycystic ovarian syndrome also improved.
The other benefit to this is it gave her time to learn how to cook and prepare healthy food on the alternate days without the constant pressure. So ongoing she got more efficient at preparing food and had more food and less shakes. Eventually she settled on having 1-2 days a week of shakes and this works for her up until the last time I saw her.