Why I started intermittent fasting

There are times in life when you have to understand that you will have to disobey. And know how to question not only our beliefs, but also what we are told, sometimes for years. There are times when our instincts scream in our ears that there is danger, when ourguts, our bowels,tell us that we are on the wrong track, and that the truth is elsewhere,as it was written on Mulder*'s poster.

I suffer

It has been years since I lost my Olympic form, twelve years to be precise. More than a decade to consult specialists who diagnose everything and its opposite, such as chronic fatigue, depression, generalized inflammation, fibromyalgia. I ride between twenty and forty percent of my true possibilities, I feel it well, but I don't know why. I have experienced difficult times, painful events, but I am sure of them, not to the point of giving myself this slack, this impression of dragging balls on a daily basis. And even if a raclette or a slice of lemon pie makes me happy from time to time, nothing that justifies this weight gain as sudden as it is massive, nor these equally inexplicable weight variations.

It hurts

I was stuffed with medicines and sent to "psys". This past year, I was being followed by a psychiatrist AND psychologist, in addition to a dietician – I had already known for some time that my health concerns could come from my intestines, and/or my food. I have devoured many scientific articles on fatigue, and its logical consequence, sadness and depression. Because at some point yes, physical form still rubs off on the mind, even when like me we love life. Especially, by the way, when you love life. No longer being able to follow my hip-hop dance classes, being already punctured at 6pm, no longer being sure of being able to carry out a job, to honor an appointment… By force, it kills your morale. And reputation. 

I'm tired of it

My disease unknown, but yet well there,this bad physical condition, I ended up at one point accepting it, by "doing with it". It's crazy, this ability of the human being to endure and adapt – even when you shouldn't. Sometimes I got angry, I got back into order of battle: go to the doctor, analyses and trials of treatments, personal research for days and nights, week after week. 

The hardest thing is to be badly damned, and that no one believes you. "It's in the head…" I was told. Yes well, whether it's in my head or in my ass, we don't care, it's there! I really suffer, and I am the only one to suffer the consequences, why not believe me when you say you love me? Under the pretext that another, because he graduated, decreed that I had nothing (or that it was vague, or incurable), it must be believed him (or she), and not me? 

I want to understand

These strange diseases are also discussed in the documentary series Afflicted currently broadcast on Netflix. Unfortunately, it is not well talked about. In this article,which analyzes precisely the way in which we discuss these chronic diseases that are difficult to understand and diagnose, and these patients who all seem in the end to be mentally ill or hypochondriac, we explain that cases of "mysterious" diseases that do not have an accurate diagnosis are much more common than we think. Today's science and medicine are very advanced, but despite everything, the human body and brain are machines so sophisticated that we are still a long way from understanding everything.

And it gets worse

And then, recently, I was diagnosed with diabetes, which I don't know yet if it's type 1 or type 2, and at what stage of advancement. What made me scream first was that I had been seeing my fasting blood sugar rise for years, without having an answer on what I should do, apart from "lose weight" and "eat less sugars". The thing is, if I knew how to lose the weight I gained, I would have already done it, besides I never did anything to take it. You know someone who one day stood up and said to himself: "Hey, I'm going to gain twenty kilos, I'm sure my life is going to be much nicer afterwards!". In the society in which we live ?…And who wants to lug around the equivalent of two packs of water on their backs from morning to night ?…

As for sugar, I do not even know what a candy, a pastry or a soda is, besides I do not have the "sweet beak". And I know very well where these dirty little hidden sugars are, thank you very much. On the other hand, I ate fruit… and slow, organic and complete sugars. And I was doing my three meals a day, as light as possible, since I have to lose weight. The problem is that even having reduced my lunch to a single dish, I am forced to go to bed afterwards, for 30 minutes when I am lucky, otherwise it will take me two hours in the dark and silence to recover from headaches and nausea that only pass while sleeping.

I spend more time lying down than standing. I lose at least six hours of life a day, with this. For twelve years. Do the math… I did it: I could have done a lot of nice things with these 26000 hours… more than 3 years of awake life… OK, I still have a life, ok, I learned to manage my moments of weakness and to "deal with", and still enjoy every day that is offered to me. But it's like being in a wheelchair: you can do a lot of things, but if you could walk again, it would be nice…

This diabetes can explain all my symptoms, at least a large part of them. And then it is out of the question to let things get worse. In my blind battle, I have at least identified a real problem, medically noted: my pancreas is suffering. Well I'm going to pamper him. I don't know how yet, but believe me, I'll look. 

An intuition

By the time the doctor gave his diagnosis, I immediately understood that it was committing me to a descent to the worst and worse. First of all, medicines, to force the pancreas to produce more insulin to store this sugar, which wanders in my blood without authorization, in my fat cells. So weight gain, even more, and increased diabetes. Then I'll move on to insulin injections, which are still cool inventions to allow you to postpone the inevitable outcome of this incurable chronic disease: death. With before, gangrene, amputations, and/or loss of my sight. 

So I wanted to ask questions – that's my kind.

"Why is my pancreas sick?".

Radio silence.

"Can diabetes be cured?"

"No, it's incurable, but you can slow down its progress."

"But if I manage to lose all my excess weight, what would happen?"

"Your diabetes could be reversed."

I translate: no more symptoms… We no longer have diabetes, but we are diabetic anyway… 

All right.


I came out of the office and the clinic with the strong intuition that I could heal,and the firm intention to finally listen to my body and my convictions. No more medications, and while waiting for the next tests, I will do what my body tells me to do.

fast. Put him to rest, to help him repair himself.

And eat. But only what makes me feel good, and I have known this well since those years, when I see what knocks me out and gives me the sheaf, or not. I am convinced that I have to run away from carbohydrates, even "the good ones", and that fruits are not for me. On the other hand vegetables and proteins, it feels good. And I'm very attracted to avocados and almonds, duck and chicken, salmon and sardines, spinach and green beans. It's terrible when you want to be vegan, out of conviction, but sometimes each fight is so huge that it has to be fought one after the other. 

And then, no more calorie counting: just eating to my hunger, what I want to eat.

There are only fools

"Madness is to always do the same thing and expect a different result." Albert Einstein

"I've read about intermittent fasting to cure diabetes…"

"I strongly advise against it."

Well, too bad, man, because I'm going to do it anyway. You and your friends, heirs of Hippocrates – who, however, proclaimed as long as two millennia ago: 'Let your food be your only medicine' – have not helped me at all for twelve years, and I am no longer convinced of your ability to do so.

Certainly, modern medicine is incredible, all these transplants and tri-therapies, these operations that make you see or allow you to walk again.

But we are still in a society where we quickly pass you a pill as soon as we diagnose something. Without trying to find out why we have this thing, in fact.

And where money reigns everywhere, for everything.

And where we have moved away from the foundations of life, and ancestral knowledge…

And I'm not the only one to go into rebellion: In the UK, tens of thousands of British patients with type 2 diabetes are at open war with official nutritional advice – little fat, little sugar, a lot of starchy (carbohydrates). These recommendations, they say, have only accelerated the progression of their disease. They therefore turn massively to low-carb or "low-carb" diets.

So it's been ten days since I started. After reading and seeing tons of articles, books and videos, whether they are lectures or testimonials. Without any fear. And it's probably because I feel, confusedly, that this is the right path. That of healing, not that of decline under medication.

I combine a water fast for twenty hours – yes, this is obviously what my body prefers – and a meal in the evening, generous but still quite ketogenic, that is to say rich in "good fat" and low in carbohydrates – without being strict either. This is pretty much the Atkins diet (the 2.0, since 2011), or "Low Carb" depending on the day.

And I feel like I'm being reborn, at least experiencing an energy that I haven't felt for ages, a solid and well-anchored physical form, without a drop in diet in the day.

My body wants to get back to dancing and running, and my brain is alert and focused. As I write to you, it has been nineteen hours since I ate anything. And my stomach, and my belly so painful before, are calm and silent. And I know that my liver has enough energy to distribute, but that there, my body cleanses itself, repairs itself and will draw in my fat cells, full of useless lipids and especially waste. I will enjoy getting into the kitchen in an hour, for the one and only time of the day. My fridge is full, but I have no desire to go and take something to snack. In ten days, my body seems to have taken the fold, without any hunger, or so little, and so little for a long time. As if he were already ready. And I've already dropped four kilos on the side of the path.

I am determined

I will continue as long as I feel that this is the right way to go. And I already feel that I am ready to go further, and to do a total fast, for twelve to fifteen days ideally, the time to give my body all the time and the means to clean and repair itself. I am convinced that in my case, what could make me sick at the time was the saturation of my body of poor quality food, prepared dishes, sandwiches and sauces, and then small nights, bringues and tobacco, and emotional shocks, stress and burnout too. And that at one point he lost his power, his strength. I had never thought, before listening to what he has been telling me for quite some time, to give him the time and the means to eliminate all this… I have never taken the time to empty the accumulated stocks, nor to heal the wounds created. 

I can't wait to see what my next blood tests will be like in a month's time and my first interview with an endocrinologist. But I am determined: I will no longer give in to fear, fear of not listening to scientists, fear of disappointing, fear of harming my body, while I see what it aspires to. 

* In the "X-Files" series, of course!

I'll let you Google all this, but here's a video to watch before I yell at me that I'm crazy and that I'm going to end up deficient in any 🙂


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Sophie Barbarella

Writer and Public Speaker

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