Recently I had a very nasty stomach virus that lasted for nearly 3 weeks, with intense abdominal pain every time I ate. During this period, because the pain was so intense, I did a lot of fasting (or not eating), and eating very minimal.
I noticed during this period that I lost weight very quickly- it was most likely a mix of fat, muscle and water. This highlighted to me that fasting and very low calorie diets work effectively for weight loss (if you can endure it).
My energy level was significantly lower when I wasn't eating. Food is not the enemy, and eating is not cheating. When I ate natural, whole plant based foods, with some lean protein from plants and animals, I felt much better, and I was definitely more energised.
After a stint in hospital to rule out cancer, an ulcer or any other disease, I am now very grateful for my body, and being able to move daily, to choose healthy nourishing foods, and to be out in nature. Only when you have these things taken away from you (lying in a hospital bed), then you realise what you normally take for granted.
I am nearly 2 weeks post procedures (CAT scan, colonoscopy, endoscopy), and I have changed my diet for the long term. 100% whole foods, a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, no dairy, no gluten (especially wheat), no highly processed and packaged foods, low fat, moderate protein from whole food sources including legumes, beans and fish, (no protein powders and artificial sweeteners), and smaller servings.
There is also no alcohol (I have zero desire to drink anyway), no coffee (this one is by far the hardest, which I have broken a couple of times) and low sugar (only from fruit). The biggest change for me is no dairy, and I feel a lot less lethargic and bloated without it.
Could you do it, and stick to it? What if your life depended on it? The human body is amazingly resilient and sometimes it takes 10-20 years of poor habits (drinking, smoking, eating crap, obesity, not sleeping enough and no daily exercise) for something to show up, and when it does, how can you be so surprised?
Whole food IS medicine, you can significantly reduce symptoms and disease by eating a whole food (not supplements or packages foods), mostly plant based diet. Why wait until you are sick and nearly dead and relying on the pharmaceutical companies for your daily dose of drugs? Make the change now! I'm not saying it is easy in the Western world, with so many non-nutritional, well marketed and highly satiable snacks available, but it is definitely worth the effort for you long term longevity and health. If you don't have your health, you don't have anything. Be diligent and trust that in 2,4,6,8,12 months you will feel a huge change- and look so much better (another positive side effect).
Stop focusing on instant gratification, and start focusing on long term health, and the health of your children. Consult with a naturopath or allied health professional for support and to get you started. BE THE CHANGE.