#TFMsuccess Story: The Power of Intermittent Fasting
By Jason Fung, MD
A Lifetime Impact
I never imagined, in my lifetime I will ever read a book that will profoundly impact my mind-set, and empower me to take charge of my own health. Still remember the date – Nov. 17, 2019 (exactly a year ago) when I first read Dr. Jason Fung’s book, ‘The Diabetes Code- Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally’. I was at the local library looking for books on time restricted eating (TRE), fasting, prediabetes, diabetes etc., after my sister shared her experience of TRE and improvement in her health. I was browsing through the library’s computer catalog and the cover of Dr. Jason Fung’s book caught my attention. Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally! Is that even possible? Isn’t Diabetes a chronic progressive disease? I borrowed the book, and as I was reading ‘The Quick Start Guide’ part of the book, I began to realize that I am reading an extraordinary book. The language and message in the book are so simple yet so profoundly effective. What an incredibly simple and zero-cost solution, hiding in plain sight, to prevent and reverse type 2 diabetes! One can change the course of this terrible disease by simply incorporating fasting and low-carbohydrate, healthy fat (LCHF) diet! My daily life and health have been transformed ever since. Thank you so very much Dr. Jason Fung. The information in your book is lifesaving. I bought both of your books ‘The Diabetes Code’, and ‘The Complete Guide to Fasting’; and continue to draw loads of healthful information every time I read them.
With my A1C steadily in the pre-diabetic range (5.8%), waist size (32+”), estimated average glucose 120 mg/dl, and BMI 21, I knew the dreadful type 2 diabetes is eventually going to catch up with me. “It runs in your family”, health experts advised. What else can I do anyway? I do not live a sedentary life. I am an avid gardener, take morning walks on most days, enjoy my work, and try to sleep better. Except for dairy and occasional eggs my diet was mostly plant based, and I ate very little fat (ghee, butter, oil etc.) as I grew up hearing that eating fat leads to heart disease. A decade ago, I also eliminated most fast foods, table sugar, sugary beverages etc., from my diet hoping to keep diabetes at bay. Primarily a vegetarian my diet consisted of staple grains (wheat-chapatis, oats, quinoa, barley, brown rice), lentils, legumes, beans, vegetables, fruits, seed cooking oils, dairy (yogurt & cheese), peanuts etc. I was beginning to believe, there is nothing further I can do except let the disease take its course!
I was super motivated after reading Dr. Fung’s book and decided to incorporate daily TRE, LCHF diet and 24 hours fasting twice a week to improve my A1C. Culturally I was very familiar with fasting (as a spiritual and religious practice), but was not aware of its therapeutic healing power. So, I was excited to experience firsthand the metabolic health improvement power of fasting!
My annual physical check-up and blood lab test were due in early April so for the next four months I diligently followed 16:8 TRE x 5 day/week, 24 hrs. fasting x 2 day/week, and LCHF diet (eliminated all grains, fruits, and industrial seed oils, incorporated healthy fat like avocado, olives, eggs, but kept eating lentils, beans, dairy as they were my primary source of protein). I also added HIIT into my exercise (alternating 20 seconds sprinting + 2 minutes walking over 3 miles course) and became more mindful of my sleep quality and stress level. However due to COVID-19 I postponed my visit to the doctor but kept up with TRE, fasting and LCHF regimen for three additional months. I was beginning to see improvement. I lost 20 lbs. and shed 3” off my waist. Finally, after 7 months on TRE, fasting and LCHF diet, I went to see my doctor and had my blood lab test done on July 1, 2020. I was looking forward to seeing my lab results but when I got them, I was in for a big shock! Not only did my A1C remain the same (5.8%), my estimated average glucose did not change either (120/mg/dl). I was disappointed. My doctor was sympathetic… To paraphrase her, ‘Sushma remember diabetes runs in your family’.
A Little Help From My Friends
But my trust in Dr. Jason Fung’s, ‘The Fasting Method’ and LCHF diet was not shaken. In fact, I resolved to learn more about ‘The Fasting Method’, and that is when I decided to contact Carolann McCann, one of Dr. Fung’s expert fasting coach. We had virtual meetings. Carolann was extremely kind and patiently heard my story. She then guided me to tweak my TRE to 18:6 x 4 day/week, 24 hours fasting x 3 days a week, and modify my LCHF diet for three weeks to see if it helps improve my metabolic health. She suggested eliminating certain additional foods from my diet i.e. dairy, lentils, beans, nightshade vegetables, peanuts etc., and include magnesium supplement for better sleep. Surprisingly after eliminating all these high-carbohydrate staple foods I was so used to of eating all my life, I did not feel deprived or restricted. I was primarily a vegetarian and remain a vegetarian. I started enjoying organic whole foods like low carb-vegetables (Asparagus, Arugula, Brussels- sprouts, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collard greens, Cucumber, Kale, Mushrooms, Spinach, Zucchini etc.), natural healthy high fat foods which I ate to my heart’s content and satiety (Avocado, Olives, Olive/Coconut oil), nuts (Walnuts/Almonds and Almond milk), seeds (Pumpkin, Chia, Flaxseed meal, Sesame) and eggs daily (no longer fearful of eating eggs). And yes, drank plenty of water, coffee and was mindful of electrolytes balance on fasting days. Not only I kept up with the fasting and dietary changes for three weeks as per Carolann suggestion, I extended the regimen up to three months. Why? I wanted to have another lipid panel test done to see any improvement in my A1C. Also, I voluntarily incorporated 1 x 72 hour prolonged fasting once a month. Thanks to Dr. Fung and Megan Ramos’s prolonged fasting tips, I felt fantastic and full of energy even during 72 hrs. fasting. Then finally after three months I had my blood lab test done again on Oct. 15, 2020. And this time I was ecstatic when I saw my blood lab results. My A1C has improved tremendously. It is now 4.6%, and my estimated average glucose is 85 mg/dl. My triglyceride is 52/mg/dl and HDL 78 mg/dl. Big improvement! Also, in all I shed 26+ lbs. and my waist size reduced by 4+ inches. I am no longer a prediabetic. The key to my success is unwavering trust in Dr. Fung’s ‘The Fasting Method’, and LCHF diet.
I am now on metabolic health maintenance mode that includes no snacking in between two meals a day, 18:6 TRE x 6 day, one full 24 hrs. fasting a week, LCHF diet, daily supplements, HIIT, less stress and restful sleep (I sleep like a log now for 8+ hours ). From time to time I will also incorporate occasional 72 hrs. fasting if I see my waist size increasing.
In just one short year, I have gained and learned a whole lot about intermittent and prolonged fasting, LCHF diet, healthy lifestyle, and numerous other healthful information posted on Dr. Fung and his team’s website www.thefastingmethod.com. I am eternally grateful to Dr. Jason Fung, Megan Ramos, Carolann McCann and the entire ‘The Fasting Method’ team for the wonderful job they are doing saving lives and sufferings around the world. The whole world is suffering from this terrible disease and hopefully ‘The Fasting Method’ and LCHF together become mainstream and more and more people incorporate simple fasting for their lifelong health.