Mrs. Becker, you live in Florida, but you often commute between the United States and Germany. What differences do you see between the two countries in terms of food and nutrition?
In Germany, it is much easier to get organic products or purely plant-based foods. In the supermarkets, the fresh food shines for you, there is a large selection. In the US, with the exception of big cities, there are almost only fast food chains around the corner and only packaged goods in supermarkets. People’s financial situation also has a much greater impact on what they eat.
Does this mean that many can not afford a healthy diet?
It’s a big problem in America, where you really have to be able to afford a healthy diet. I do not think that is the case in Germany. In the United States, on the other hand, a full refrigerator means wealth and luxury. Everything is kept double and triple, everything that is too much ends up in the trash. We need to get away from that. My wish is that we develop a normal, healthy relationship with nutrition and know: What does my body need and how much of it?
Being more concerned with a healthy lifestyle also gives you a good feeling. This psychological factor should not be underestimated.
Absolutely! You come out of the victim role and learn to take care of yourself. This is also part of the great benefit of false fasting, which is what my new book is all about.
What is contemptuous fasting at all, and why is it so fascinating to you?
The concept was developed by the American cell biologist Valter Longo, and we modified it for my “Five Days Only” program. False fasting means that you are fooling your body into thinking that you are not eating enough, even if you are eating something – with “only five days” for five days. For this misleading maneuver to succeed, certain criteria must be met. Foods should be low in calories, low in protein and low in carbohydrates. The cell does not recognize this particular composition as food – and the body goes into a state of fasting.
Can I eat something then?
That’s the beauty of this program: We work with real food and lots of recipes, not just soups or teas. You still have the positive effects, such as regulating blood sugar and blood pressure. It’s not so much about losing weight as it is about finding a new, healthier relationship with food. A starting point for a balanced diet.
For many, food is associated with very different, often unpleasant feelings.
Yes, for example with shame, because you can not lose weight. Or we say we “sin” when we indulge in something. Some have a true hate-love relationship with food. Others are judged: But she can walk, he can not control himself. People are quickly hit by a pigeon. We are all in the same boat and want the same thing: a healthy, unhindered relationship with food and nutrition.
What feedback do you get from your readers?
It’s not hard to pick up those who have already jumped on the bandwagon who have been doing my exercise programs for years. They are happy that I am now also dealing with nutrition. But there are many newcomers, including men, from whom I get positive messages. They say: I dare myself for five days, I can.
Have you ever made a classic fast yourself?
No, never. I know this from my mother, who used to fast again and again, e.g. strictly waterproof. There are people who are good at it and who may also need this tight structure. I never did, and I never thought I could. I think a lot of people feel that way. And I wrote the book for these people. People who want to do something for their metabolism, but who do not want to do a classic fasting diet.
And without the challenges of fasting as a bad mood and feeling hungry?
It’s not always easy, even with false fasting! Day three is not nice, at least not for me (laughs). And, of course, it’s a challenge when colleagues in the office bite into candy. A shift must be thrown in my head: I take care of myself and what I eat. I can do it. The goal is a normal relationship with food, a feeling of satiety.
What’s important to me: It’s not a diet – I would not write a diet book, I do not believe in dieting. I know from friends how quickly the pounds and desperation come back. For me, it’s about developing a healthy relationship with our body and our food again.
You have written many fitness guides, released Pilates and Yoga DVDs. Where does your fascination with health come from?
I have always been a person who moves – whether it is dance, jump, hop, pilates or yoga – I can quickly find my center through movement. For that I need movement: so I do not lose the nerve. When I started yoga over 30 years ago, many people thought I was changing religion (laughs). At the time, the motto “Sport is murder” still applied. Fortunately, much has changed since then, we know today that we need to do something for our mental and physical health. And how important exercise is to it.
Why is it so important for you to pass this on to others?
I believe that everyone can find their stuff – the healthy food they like, the exercise they enjoy. Not everyone has to practice yoga or pilates, there are so many forms of exercise that there is something for everyone. That’s my mission: I always learn – whether through Pilates or false fasting – I pass it on and learn again through feedback from my community. I want us to maintain our health so that when we grow old we are not reduced to watching, but can participate.