I’m not a fan of dieting. I blame my lack discipline for it. I’m the type of person who’ll eat a burger right before a dress fitting just to satisfy my hunger. So when I was asked to try ProLon (a 5-day meal plan diet that’s supposed to mimic the effects of fasting without skipping meals) I wasn’t so sure if I could do it. Because while you’re still allowed to eat, the servings are very tiny.
With this diet, weight loss is probably the most immediate and obvious result, but according to studies the benefits actually exceed this. ProLon, short for “pro-longevity” is meant to “exploit the ability of the body during periods of low calorie intake to enter a protected mode, remove damaged cells and tissues, and undergo self-repair.” It resets your system, which thereby translates into a reduction of inflammation, delay in aging and better resistance against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
I started the program with a weigh-in at BioBalance to check for my stats. At 5’1,” I weighed 105.5 pounds and everything was well within the normal range except for my percent body fat, which exceeded the average for my size (read: obese). Alarming but not exactly earth shattering. I do eat unhealthily.
After the weigh-in, I was given a large package containing every thing I was to ingest for the next 5 days (apart from water), separated into small-labeled boxes. I reviewed the day-to-day packs as if to mentally prepare myself. They contained mostly soup mixes for lunch and dinner and nut bars for breakfast. Clearly this is only a fraction of what I eat in a day.
This was my experience.
It’s not so bad
(food cal 1,105; fat from cal 640)
A nut bar for breakfast, soup with crackers, and olives for lunch, another nut bar for snacking and finally heavy soup and a desert bar for dinner. I can definitely do this! I started the diet on a Sunday. A day of rest, knowing I would just be home watching Netflix. Since I didn’t plan on doing much, I didn’t see myself getting too hungry. Everything was fine at first. Although breakfast wasn’t so filling, I wasn’t starving. I was, however, counting down the hours until I can have lunch, which was overall bland in taste, but left me satisfied at least. 2:30pm, I was beginning to feel lightheaded which dissipated after I ate the nut bar. Dinner was uneventful. I had my minestrone soup and dessert bar and called it a night. It was earlier than my usual bedtime, and I had no problem falling asleep right away.
Are headaches normal?
(food cal 675; fat from cal 340)
I woke up with a dull migraine. Since I’m allowed one cup of coffee (no sugar or milk), I had a sip of it thinking it would help. It didn’t. Only after I finished my breakfast nut bar did I start to feel better. I begin to move slowly throughout the day. Little food equals little energy. Lunch was soup with a pack of olives. I’ve also been drinking a glycerol solution (measured according to your weight) included in the pack that when mixed with water is supposed serve as an energy drink. I feel on and off lightheadedness. Dinner was an enjoyable bowl of vegetable quinoa soup with a dessert bar. I ended the night having a bit of energy. I slept midnight.
I feel weak
(food cal 710; fat from cal 260)
I woke up with no headache, but felt a little bit sleepy. I decided to still skip the coffee. I had the usual breakfast bar and went to work having low energy, which I think is normal for this diet. Then the migraine started. I tried to make it go away by gulping down water, which didn’t help. Neither did the glycerol drink. This dull headache will continue throughout the day. Finally I couldn’t stand it. I asked BioBalance if I could eat a banana and they gave their consent. I savored it bite by bite. Dinner was the usual but I felt sleepy earlier than normal.
I am grumpy
(food cal 675; fat from cal 340)
I woke up to a full on migraine that wouldn’t leave. I had the nut bar for breakfast like usual but still the pain wouldn’t go away. So around mid morning, feeling irritable, I decided to snack on my pack of olives in advance. Still not satisfied, I messaged BioBalance if I can have another banana sometime today and they said yes. I feel like giving up. This day was really challenging. I’m hungry and grumpy. I have a hard time concentrating at work but I try to power through because it seems silly to give up this late in the game.
(food cal 710; fat from cal 260)
I was bracing myself to have the worst day but possible but surprisingly it wasn’t so bad. I had a dull headache that I easily ignored. And at this point I’ve already gotten used to it. Although I still feel weak, I wasn’t dying like yesterday. I didn’t even need to ask for an extra banana like the past two days and could barely even finish my tomato soup lunch. By dinnertime I was so hungry though. I fell asleep dreaming about what I will be having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner tomorrow.
I was told to take it easy and to have either soup or light meals of rice or pasta with a small portion of meat or fish. But rules are meant to be broken, so I decided to have a large cup of coffee and fried chicken for breakfast. Lunch was Caesar salad and I had fresh steamed shrimp for dinner because I wasn’t so hungry. The diet might not have diminished my large appetite but it did massively shrink down my stomach capacity.
I wasn’t much of a believer coming into this diet. I mean, of course, you’ll lose weight and of course, your stomach capacity will shrink after not having much to eat for five days. But after the program, I couldn’t deny the results I got. Results that extended even way after I finished the program.
Let’s start with the immediate outcome. I gained .3 pounds of muscle (despite not exercising) and lost .6 pounds of fat. A week later—after going back to my old unhealthy eating habits—I gained 1.1 pounds more muscle, lost .6 pounds of fat and weighed 104.5 pounds. I am also no longer obese. Since my metabolism has drastically slowed down with age, losing these last few pounds have become extremely difficult for me but the program helped me drop some of it. I also have more energy during the day and no longer feel sluggish mid-afternoon. Another benefit I’ve observed is that my skin looks great! By great, I mean I look refreshed and that fine line forming between my brows has disappeared—no exaggeration.
While I didn’t achieve drastic results, I do feel healthier and lighter. So would I do it again? My answer is maybe in a year or two when I’ve completely forgotten the challenges I faced completing the program: weakened state, dull headaches, hunger, etc. I mean, it might not be for everyone and results do vary per individual.
Photography by Renzo Navarro
Art Direction by Mags Ocampo
PRO-LON 5-DAY FASTING MIMICKING DIET, P15,000. AVAILABLE AT BIOBALANCE WELLNESS INSTITUTE, LOWER GROUND LEVEL, EAST WING, SHANGRI-LA PLAZA, MANDALUYONG, 650-4858, 0917-521-4860, BIOBALANCEINSTITUTE.COM. FOLLOW THEM ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM.