By Jennifer Popplewell •
Updated: 05 Nov 2023 • 18:56
Research on the beach
In modern times the average person eats around three times per day. Breakfast, dinner and tea. Many social activities are centred around the act of consuming food, and in the age of over consumption, naturally, many of us overindulge.
In Spain, 25 per cent of adults are currently obese, with the UK slightly topping that figure at 29 per cent. Currently topping the world with its overbearing weight is the USA, pause for shock, and its 39 percent obesity rate.
Euro Weekly News spoke to ten people of both genders, with ages ranging from 18 to 70 years old and living in different European countries. We asked them all the same question, are you happy with your weight? Seven out of ten of the people replied that they were not.
Laura Gruber, aged 32 from Germany explained that she has been dissatisfied with her weight since attending university. “I remember just ordering takeaways most nights, that’s when the weight started to pile on”, she recalled. Marriane Bernard, a French woman, aged 45 mirrored this by admitting to EWN that “I know I overeat, and drink too much wine. In the moment I think ‘oh I need to live my life’, but then when I see my body I regret it and it’s a cycle like that”. Irish native Keith Curran, aged 55 told Euro Weekly News that he has “lost hope of ever feeling healthy or happy with his body again”.
A study conducted by the Mental Health Foundation in the UK reported that over a third of participants were unhappy with their body, but even more shocking and upsetting were the results that 19 per cent actually felt ‘disgusted’ by themselves.
Modern times have seen more and more unhealthy food being introduced into society, and busy humans in 2023 often opt for the cheapest and most convenient option. Many diet attempts fail because the basis of them does not fit into real life. We came back to Miss Gruber who told us, “somehow my days centre around eating, it’s like an addiction where my body just wants to get fatter”. One may find that last statement dramatic, but there is a reason that such a large percentage of people do not like how they look yet simultaneously are incapable of changing their eating habits.
Renowned health expert Jesse Meester from the Netherlands, explained to Euro Weekly News that “high carbs and sugar in commonly consumed foods give the human body a spike in energy where it runs off glucose for a few hours, and when that runs out, instead of burning fat, the body craves more glucose in the form of carbohydrates, therefore never managing to burn any fat storage.” He gave the example, “let’s put it this way, why would a highly obese person EVER be hungry? They have enough fat stores to last a very long time. The average overweight person is used to being in this ‘fed state’ and has very little practice in the ‘fasted state’ which is the state in which the body burns fat. Therefore they are continually burning glucose rather than fat, and always feel hungry”.
A new trend (but an age old practice) that has been popping up on social media and health circles around the Western world recently, is fasting. Specifically, Intermittent Fasting. According to the best-selling book ‘Intermittent Fasting’ written by Jesse Meester, ‘The word Intermittent is defined as ‘occurring in regular intervals’. The word fasting is an act in which one refrains from a certain activity for a specific period of time. Simply put, Intermittent Fasting is refraining from food for a certain time period.’
In the book, that some have referred to as their ‘health saviour’, Jesse outlines each part of the Intermittent Fasting process, all the way from why to start, how to start, what and when to eat, to affirmations for keeping one motivated throughout the process. This book and many other medical sources state that Intermittent Fasting has countless benefits to the mind and body, included in those are: easily losing fat, hormone balances, improved memory and concentration, emotional stability and anti-aging, just to name a few.
Jesse explains that by putting your body into the ‘fasting state’ daily, more fat is burned and the body can focus on healing rather than constantly digesting. He also claims that ‘not eating is easier than restrictive eating’, saying that by fasting completely but then allowing freedom with food for a set amount of hours, it is easier to stick to Intermittent Fasting than a standard, restrictive diet where you can eat all day but never what you want.
One of the many who were attracted by the idea of these benefits and have bought Jesse’s book is 31 year old Victoria Wright from England. Euro Weekly News spoke to Victoria, who told us that she was planning to embark on this Intermittent Fasting journey and use this book as her personal guide. She explained that, “I have felt rubbish with my body for a while now, I’m not huge but I know I could do with losing a bit of weight. I also feel tired a lot, and my hair is brittle, so I’m like ok, let’s try this”.
In the book Jesse outlines the different methods of Intermittent Fasting, Victoria told EWN that she has opted for Mr Meesters personal choice of the ‘Fast 5 Diet’, in which you eat for five hours a day and fast for nineteen.
Miss Wright planned to keep a diary of her first week fasting, agreeing to share these details with Euro Weekly News in order to help anybody considering this method in knowing what to expect.
Last meal eaten at 9pm last night, woke up and thought about breakfast before remembering I can’t eat until 5pm. Seems weird and scary but let’s go
9am. Had a black coffee with coconut oil because Jesse says that eating fat encourages more fat to burn
5pm. FINALLY ate! Was starving
9pm. Not actually hungry but ate a little bit
11.30pm. Hungry. Hard to get to sleep
Woke up feeling normal, had coffee and went about my day
1pm. SO SO SO HUNGRY
2pm. Slight headache, making sure to drink a lot of water as stated in the book, Jesse says sparkling water helps hunger
2.10pm. Sparkling water does help
5pm. FOOD FINALLY!
9pm. Not hungry but remembering last night’s hunger so forced myself to cook a meal. Couldn’t finish though
11.45pm. Oh no here’s the hunger. Again quite hard to sleep
Woke up and hunger had gone, craving my new coffee mix
11.30am. HUNGER. A bit irritable and again this headache. Drank sparkling water
1pm. WEIRD taste in my mouth. Jesse warned about this. Brushed teeth
5pm. Craving healthier food it seems? Ate loads
9pm. Not hungry, re reading the book and it says to have smaller lunches with bigger dinners. Will try this tomorrow
HUNGRY but slept ok
Oh wow, really vivid dream! Woke up feeling more energetic today and focused somehow. Yay for coffee too!
11.30am. Actually feeling quite good today. Miss having breakfast with my colleagues but I feel more in the zone at work. Not feeling much hunger. Still weird taste in mouth though. Toothbrush time
5pm. Had pretty much forgotten about food until my alarm went off to eat. Smaller portion
9pm. Ok today I’m hungry, smaller portions at lunch helps. Lovely dinner. Appreciating food more somehow
10pm. Fell asleep easily tonight
The dreams! Crazy. Woke up craving my coffee and seem to have forgotten the days when I actually ate breakfast even though it’s only been 5 days
11.30am Ok maybe it’s like a placebo effect but I actually feel fantastic. Loads of energy, is my hair shinier? Maybe. Anyway today is a good day
5pm. Amazing lunch
9pm. STEAK then organic ice cream. Enjoy not having to restrict
Another great sleep
Really vivid dreams again
1pm. Feeling fine but THAT AWFUL TASTE IN MY MOUTH EW
3pm. A bit of a headache, did I peak too soon?
5pm. Not actually that hungry but want to get rid of this headache so ate. Headache gone
9pm. Mum’s birthday meal, ate pizza and cake without even worrying because my jeans are already a bit looser and my stomach looks pretty flat!
Fell asleep fast but felt a bit sick (maybe that was all the cake though)
Do other people fasting experience these wild dreams!? Jesse doesn’t mention it in his book but googled it and YES they do
8am. Washed my hair and recently loads has been falling out but a lot less seemed to today. Skin also looks better
9am. Me and this coconut oil coffee have developed a very special relationship
5pm. I really haven’t felt hungry these past couple of days, but I want to eat. Considering starting the gym cos like…I’m a cute healthy gal now? Yes
9pm. Went to the gym! Bought a fab pink two piece work out set for the occasion. Now starving so ate 2 chicken burgers and organic chocolate ice cream for dessert
11pm. Laid in bed thinking about how happy and proud of myself I feel. Defo sticking to this for now.
Victoria’s first week of fasting seemingly ends on a happy note as she vows to stick to the plan. However, Jesse and other experts have urged that this is not a ‘quick fix’ and rather a ‘lifestyle change’, noting that most benefits will be felt with months and even years of practice. Victoria mentions some of the negative side effects in her diary, including headaches, difficulty sleeping and a strange taste in her mouth. Medical studies have also warned participants of Intermittent Fasting that they run the risk of malnutrition if they do not eat sufficient calories and nutrients during the feeding window. It is also cautioned that it is possible to become dehydrated and water intake should be at least doubled to make up for the lost water content in food. Doctors have stated that young teens and pregnant women should not try this method.
After researching Intermittent Fasting, it is clear that this method is less of a diet and more of a lifestyle, available to try for those who feel negative about their body and health or that they are unwillingly addicted to eating. Like most things in life, it does not come without risks, and those considering it are advised to do their own research as well as consulting with their doctor if they have any sort of health issues.
As Jesse Meester quotes in his book, Lao Tzu stated that “If you correct your mind, the rest will fall into place”. It is always interesting to learn about new ways to improve our health, and if nutrition and weight loss actually starts with the mind, that might just be the secret answer that some of us are looking for.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
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Jennifer is a proud northerner from Sheffield, England, who is currently living in Spain. She loves swimming in rivers, talking to the stars and eating luxurious chocolate.
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