Stories of Men

Have you tried fasting? This is how it changed my body

Have you tried fasting? This is how it changed my body

Fasting seems to be mentioned everywhere these days. Podcasts, books, YouTube videos, you name it.

I’ve heard it described as a miracle tool for weight loss, a fantastic way to improve your fitness and focus, there are even claims that it could reduce the likelihood of getting serious diseases such as diabetes and cancer, among many others.

But is it all just a fad like so many other “miracle diets” that have come before?

I mean, who could forget the national obsession that happened with the Atkins diet? People left and right were preaching about the benefits of eating a high-fat diet and were avoiding fruit like the plague just because it contained a little sugar.

Of course, it turned out that having high-levels of cholesterol on a daily basis actually wasn’t all that good for your health.

Then there was the Special K diet. Ridiculous. Literally a diet where you were supposed to eat Special K for two out of every three meals. Hardly a sophisticated eating plan and, surprise, surprise, not a particularly nutritious one either. It turns out that the stunning women used to advertise it to us didn’t eat it at all. Like all these sports people who promote sugary drinks.

Nevertheless, as someone who loves to find out about new things, as you can see in this article I wrote, I decided to give fasting a try for myself in 2017. Let me fill you in on how it went.

I started with enthusiasm. I set myself the target of stopping eating at 8pm each night before taking a 16-hour break from food that would take me until noon the next day.

I woke up in the morning at about 7.30am, and, initially, I felt fine. But as the morning progressed the hunger pangs began to appear.

When it got past 10am, I started to obsess over the timing of my next meal. I had it all prepared in my head: protein-rich falafel balls, wholewheat pitta bread served with a fresh salad including onions, red peppers and crisp lettuce. I was visually salivating at the prospect.

When it got to 11.15am, I started actually preparing the meal. I chopped up the salad and heated up the oven. I had all the food set out on a plate in front of me by 11.45am. I stared at it greedily in between taking constant glances at the clock.

11.46, 11.47, 11.48… each minute that ticked by felt as if it would last for an eternity.

When 12pm finally came, I joyfully wolfed down my food.

The food tasted so good that I was tempted to make myself another serving, but I didn’t want to undo all the work that I’d just put in!

Part of my joy also came from the fact that I’d stuck to my target.

I’d completed my first 16-hour fast and now I knew that fasting was something that I was capable of. I actually had some self discipline with food – who’d have thunk it.. Fasting is something that I’ve found myself doing regularly since.

For another fascinating story about the benefits of going to extreme lengths to complete your goals, listen to this story from Mark.

But back to fasting. Apart from giving me a sense of achievement, fasting has also genuinely benefited my lifestyle. It’s allowed me to sleep better at night and it’s helped me think more clearly during the day.

As with anything, the more often you do it, the more easily it becomes a part of your routine and, after a while, it just becomes strange not to do it. We’ve all heard this before and it’s so true: “Motivation gets you started and habit keeps you going”.

If you find it difficult, this is where a mate can keep you accountable. I was doing it with a mate when I first got started and we would send each other a message once we’d finished at 12pm.

But what are the benefits to fasting beyond the obvious weight loss? Well, I generally find that when I eat first thing in the morning, I often feel sluggish. Does this happen for you too? But now having a regular “eating window”, where I only eat between 10:30/10:45am-8pm, keeps me incredibly focused and energised.

As someone who owns his own business, I don’t have the luxury of a boss telling me what to do and when, so it’s really important for me to be self-motivated. Fasting has helped me to sustain that.

Add that to the other reported benefits, such as improved digestive function, the increased ability of cells to repair themselves, improved heart health and so on, and there are good reasons for me to continue fasting.

⚠️ So should you fast too? Well, I think that depends on your personal circumstances and goals.

If you have an eating disorder, it wouldn’t normally be recommended. So take what I say with a pinch of salt because I’m no qualified nutritionist! ⚠️ I’m just providing my own experience.

But if you are interested in giving it a try but you also find the whole idea of not eating for extended periods a little daunting, well don’t feel that you have to jump in at the deep-end the way that I did.

It’s worth saying that I’ve never been particularly known for my restraint and moderation, this applies to both fasting and to Lindt Lindor chocolate and Kettle crisps, the salt and vinegar flavour 🙂 (we all have our vices…)

Maybe start reducing your eating window slowly. You already have your 8-hour fast while you’re asleep. Why not set the goal to not eat anything at all for 2 hours before you go to bed? There, straightaway, you’ve got yourself to a 10-hour fast.

Then reduce the eating window to 3 hours before bed, then 4. You see where this is going?

Before you know it, you may just find that you’ve gained some control over your eating habits that you never realised you could possess.

For a powerful story on how important it is to have a healthy relationship with food give this episode a listen.

As for me, I’ll certainly be starting my next fast soon. My next goal is to reduce my body fat to 12%. Stay posted to hear the results 😉

By the way, you’ll have to trust me on the results. There’ll be no shirtless photos. No chance.



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Laura is the mix engineer for the Stories of Men podcast. She has a BA in Music from Nottingham University and an Advanced Diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering from Abbey Road Institute. Alongside working for Our Voices she is a freelance sound designer and technician. Her highlights include sound design for JK Rowling audiobook ‘The Christmas Pig’, and sound effects editing on The Outlaws, on the BBC.

For the Stories of Men podcast, Laura is typically provided with a Voice Over and interview. She then cleans the dialogue, integrates the podcast intro and outros, chooses the music that will add to the storytelling and pacing of the episode, then bring all the elements together in the mix, followed by mastering and then delivering the final edit.

Experience in Industry: 3


Favourite Food: Potatoes

Favourite Sport: Wild swimming

Favourite Show: Anything Marvel

Favourite Movie: Anything Marvel

Favourite City: London

Hobby: Music

Favourite Book: Northern Lights


I’m the community manager at Stories of Men. I spend most of my time focusing on the implementation of our marketing strategy, achieving goals and KPIs, and the rest of the time listening to the amazing stories of our guests. What I love most about working for Stories of men is the impact it has on peoples’ lives. It requires a lot of courage to tell your story out loud so I make sure these stories are heard by as many people as possible.

I was born and raised in Pakistan and I’ve been living in Hungary for over two years now. I have a Master’s degree in Marketing and I live for mastering the art of digital marketing.

Industry experience: 3 Years


Favourite Food: Biryani – introduced by the Mughal rulers in the Indian subcontinent; this dish is an absolute delight. Also, can never say no to a good burger – extra cheese!

Favourite Sport: Cricket – I grew up playing and watching cricket with friends and family.

Favourite Show: Stranger Things – I love how an odd group of friends fight against challenges bigger than themselves.

Favourite Movie: Harry Potter – The only movie I can watch over and over again!

Favourite City: Prague – Absolutely love the Baroque and Gothic vibe of this city.

Hobby: Netflix, Travelling, and Eating- I want to try different cuisines from every country once in my lifetime!

Favourite Book: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – A fast-paced thriller that keeps you hooked from the first page to the last.


I run Fascinate Productions, the production company behind the Stories of Men podcast. I’ve had a wide variety of roles in media, from underwater videography, to live televised sporting events around the world. But since listening to my first audiobook in 2016, I’ve been all about audio and jumped in with two feet. Podcasts are enabling the world to democratise its most valuable information. They’re about spreading messages, and sharing ideas, and it’s my mission to help those holding the knowledge, to distribute it far and wide.

When Alex approached us with the idea of making a short stories podcast, with a big social impact, he got our attention. As the producer of the show, I’ve heard his guests’ highest highs, their lowest lows, and the moments of change that made them who they are – it’s been a privilege helping to craft their most intimate experiences into stories for you to enjoy.

 Experience in Industry: 5 years


Favourite Food: Ice cream. It’s just the greatest culinary invention.

Favourite Sport: Rugby. I played from the age of 5 until 26 when a dislocated shoulder put me out of action. Still like to watch now though.

Favourite Show: The 100 – I love those ‘what if humans nearly got wiped out?’ type shows.

Favourite Movie: Gladiator

Favourite City: London. As a country boy from Yorkshire, I never thought I’d enjoy living here.

Hobby: Listening to podcasts while on long walks with my dog Alfie.

Favourite Book: I love to read anything business/startup related… One of the most recent great ones was Good Strategy/Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt



Richard Willan is the CEO of Fascinate productions, a podcast production and promotion company. Before starting Fascinate, he worked an audio engineer, mastering tracks for artists on major and independent labels.

He is an executive producer for ‘Stories of Men’ where he assists with production, creative direction of the show, and marketing strategy.  





Favourite Food: I love Indian food – My favourite dish is a Dansak. It’s a rich combination of hot, sweet and sour flavours, made from lamb and lentils.

Favourite Sport: I enjoy watching combat sports like MMA – Isreal Adesanya is my favourite fighter at the moment, due to his Tae Kwon Do base and speed. 

Favourite Show: Succession – an American satirical drama. The character development is incredible, and the writing is top notch. 

Favourite Movie: True Lies. I find it amazing that someone who can’t act (Arni) has so many great films.

Favourite City: London, because it is a melting pot of culture and the music scene is amazing. 

Hobby: Making music, going to gym and eating out. 

Favourite Book:  The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I love the world she created, and the incremental path the characters take into darkness. It’s amazing.


I am responsible for writing blog articles for the Stories of Men podcast. I have the privilege of listening to fascinating stories on the topics and issues regarding men that are of greatest relevance to our society today. Once I’ve done this, I create articles that provide an overview and description of the conversations in order to help spread them to the widest possible audience. My job is to make these articles as engaging as the conversations themselves.

As an English teacher who has worked with students from all over the world for over 10 years, I have got used to successfully communicating with those from different backgrounds and cultures. This has helped me to appreciate the value of connection across borders and boundaries. It has also helped me to appreciate that we are all able to learn from each other’s experiences.



Favourite Food: Chocolate. It’s an indulgence, I know, but it tastes so good. I particularly enjoy dark chocolate for its richness and smoothness. 

Favourite Sport: Football.Unfortunately, my local team (Nottingham Forest) is not in that top league but I hope that one day it will be.

Favourite Show: The Wire. 

Favourite Movie: The Godfather. 

Favourite City: Reykjavik. I had the pleasure of spending two weeks there a number of years ago and I loved the place for its beauty, culture and calmness. It’s rare that you can be in a capital city and experience genuine space and peace and quiet. There’s also a black sand beach to walk along, although, due to the cold, I wouldn’t recommend bathing in the sea!

Hobby: Watching films. I love films, foreign films, classic films, contemporary films, just all good films.

Favourite Book: “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer. 

I’m the Editor of Stories of men. I craft compelling narratives from the stories of our fantastic guests, editing their interviews and scripting the episodes. I’m a freelance journalist and audio producer from Northern Ireland, currently based in California. I cover social issues, health and gender – with reporting in The Guardian, Vice, NPR, Cosmopolitan and many others. My focus is shining a light on the communities and initiatives that improve people’s lives. I have a background in the nonprofit space, having worked in communications for a mental health charity, as well as an education start-up. I mentor young female writers and sit on the board of an NGO that empowers women in global supply chains. 

Favourite Food:  In a word, sandwiches. The possibilities are endless.

Favourite Sport: Show jumping. When I was little I wanted to be a professional horse-rider, and I still get a kick out of watching the pros in action.

Favourite Show: Fleabag: the writing and acting create a thrilling kind of intimacy I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Favourite Movie: Victoria is an incredible German thriller that’s all shot in one take – it’s a real trip. Plus it’s beautifully soundtracked by Nils Frahm.

Favourite City: Very hard to choose, but it’s got to be Barcelona. The food, the pace of life, the winding streets – there’s nowhere else like it. 

Hobby: exploring city streets on my bike – preferably while listening (safely!) to a podcast – is when I’m at my happiest. 

Favourite Book: Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other is a stunning, utterly unique portrait of womanhood, race, ageing and the principles we choose to live 

I am the host of Stories of Men. I help to find men that have a powerful voice to share and then I speak to them and help to tease the stories out of them that will have a positive impact on the listener. 

While running Swoosh English, an online English school from 2013 – 2021, I had the opportunity to meet men from all walks of life and many of these guys had incredible stories. This inspired me to start ‘Stories of Men’ because I wanted to give these men a platform to share their stories with the world.

I love the detail that people go into and how people craft stories in different ways. My dream and vision for the future would be countless people messaging to tell us how a particular episode has changed their lives!


Favourite Food: Avocados – an incredibly delicious fruit that can be used in so many dishes. My favourite is guacamole with nachos!

Favourite Sport: Boxing and football (couldn’t choose one!)

Favourite Show: 2 comedy series: Alan Partridge and The Office (UK version). I just love English humour!

Favourite Movie: Shawshank Redemption: An unbelievable journey full of twists and turns.

Favourite City:  New York – Living there for a year in 2008 changed my life. It made me believe that anything in life was possible if you want something badly enough.

Hobby: Football, boxing, reading, learning Spanish, travelling and watching fascinating conversations on Youtube.

Favourite Book: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – a book about an incredible journey.