Thursday, June 23, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
As a follow-up to yesterday's post, I will confirm that fasting on Day #4 was WAY more manageable than fasting on Day #2. I really didn't feel terribly hungry, and I definitely didn't have hunger pangs yesterday, the way that I did on Day #2. I felt completely fine. Also, I thought to check my blood glucose at the end of yesterday's fast, and confirmed that I had a perfect reading of 103. Not even close to hypoglycemic (which was one concern that I had).
Have I realized any benefits of IF yet? I would say yes.
- I haven't weighed myself (there is laundry on top of my scale, and I've been too busy to put it away). I feel slimmer, and I am wearing a fitted top today of a non-stretchy material, and I can see that it fits more loosely around my middle than it did when I wore the same top last week.
- I am deeply in ketosis.
- On Tuesday, while fasting, I felt like I had an abundance of energy, and felt the desire to exercise.
- I do have a feeling that it is easier now to avoid evening snacking. Even on the nights where I could eat as much as I wanted to after 6:30 p.m., I didn't. The fullness from my dinner really held me through and I did not want to eat.
- Dermatological improvement. I haven't changed anything about my scalp psoriasis treatment, but this week, I am less inflamed and flakey than I have been in recent weeks. There is a tangible difference. My skin seems to have cleared up all of a sudden. I had a zit on my chin that has lingered for weeks. I woke up today and it was gone. My skin texture has improved (smoother).
- However, on the downside, my BMs were very loose last night. For months, I have been very regular and comfortable. Now, I'm not sure what's going on - can it be attributed to the fast, could it have been what I ate (homemade thai red curry with chicken and peppers), or do I have a touch of something? I went this morning, and it was more solid. I feel fine, otherwise.
Honestly, I have to say that the dermatological improvements alone would make it worth it, even if I don't lose a lick of weight this week. I have read anecdotal evidence that IF helps to alleviate the symptoms of autoimmune disorders (that is what psoriasis is). My scalp psoriasis has been pretty uncomfortable the past few weeks (at its worst - imagine the sensation of your entire scalp burning and itching - like sunburn and chicken pox combined). Today, I have no flakes and a normal scalp. I'm still using my meds, but maybe over time I can ratchet them down a little. Stress can really cause a flare up, and life has been stressful recently. If IF works and could help clear up my psoriasis over time, that would be amazing.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
- Its early in the day yet, so I haven’t reached the same point I did on Tuesday, at about 3, when I thought I would poke someone’s eye out. I could still repeat Tuesday’s symptoms.
- I didn’t push myself to eat more food yesterday night at dinner, right before I began the fast at 6:30 p.m., as I had on Monday, prior to the first fast period. Notably, one article I read indicated that loading up on food prior to starting a fast is counterproductive because it causes hormonal imbalance and the body’s reaction is increased hunger.
- I am busier today, so I am not thinking about food, as I had been fixating on it on Tuesday.
- I am drinking unsweetened, decaf iced coffee today. It has a heavier taste, and the coffee itself is French vanilla flavored. I wonder if drinking flavored stuff tricks you into thinking you are getting calories, when you are really not.
- I am wearing a belted dress today, which is somewhat constricting. Maybe that helps decrease the desire to eat. I don’t know.
- Today, I am slightly asthmatic and getting a little wheezier as the day progresses. It is distracting, too.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
We went out for dinner at 6, ordered our food at 6:15, and started eating at exactly 6:30. It was very well timed. I ordered a veggie salad with blue cheese, plucked off the croutons, and dove in. It was great. I expected to feel immense satisfaction, like I was finally filling my belly with the sustinence it craved. There was no such sensation. I felt totally normal. Unexpectedly, I didn't feel desperate to fill my face as I ate and I wasn't hungrier than I would usually be at dinner time. I ate all of my salad (minus croutons), then finished my 10 wings and celery. I felt comfortably full, not stuffed. This feeling continued throughout the evening. I observed that, now that I could eat, I really didn't feel the need to. I had little interest in my usual late night snacking activities. At about 9, I grabbed some left over meat from the fridge to nosh on – not because I was hungry, but because it was in the fridge, I knew it, and thought I'd like some. I took a couple of bites, but wasn't interested in it. I still felt pretty full, and was sure I wouldn't feel well if I finished it. So, I threw the rest of it away.
I had a bacon and cheddar omelet at 7:30 this morning, with a cup of coffee (cream, too). It was good, it was filling. I am still full.
I'm not disappointed that I'm not hungrier during the eat period, just a little surprised. I thought that after yesterday, I would want to eat more throughout the day than usual. I don't. In fact, I am not interested in snacking at all.
My desire to eat has definitely decreased from the norm.
I plan on going forward with Day #4, and start my fasting at 6:30 tonight (I am going to stick with 6:30 to keep consistent 24 hour periods) and continue on through 6:30 tomorrow.
If I have any other observations about Day #3, I'll throw them out there. But, "eat day" is a pretty normal day for me, so I don't expect too much to happen.
I do feel a little different, GI-wise (my schedule is a little off), but I'll save comment on that for later.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
10:45 a.m. It is Day #2, my first fasting day. Hunger struck at 10:30 a.m. I realized, when the sensation hit me, that I can't recall ever feeling hungry before. I am acutely aware of how my chest, belly and abdomen feel. I am not queasy. Instead, I feel clenching in my lower abdomen, and as if there is an empty path stretching down the front of my torso. I feel tense. I want two things right now: food and a quick walk to stretch out. I will take the latter, and grab some more water.
11:00 a.m. I'm back. That didn't really do much, but it was somewhat distracting. I did some research on the topic of how to make intermittent fasting easier. See, Adam Steer's article, where he suggests that one of the biggest mistakes to make is to eat a huge meal before starting a fast to avoid "starving", because you may set off a cascading cycle of hormonal imbalance that causes you to feel "hormonal hunger" (as distinguished by true, physical hunger experienced due to need for nutrients/energy). So there is more to hunger than I thought?
Noon: Just took a brisk walk to the other side of the office to grab a fresh iced tea. Walking very quickly felt good. I have a lot of excess energy at the moment. I feel antsy. Unfortunately, I don't have walking shoes on, so I can't very well go outside and walk briskly during lunchtime, as I would return to the office with my feet completely destroyed (these boots are made for strolling). Next fast day, I'm definitely bringing my sneakers. Also, I think that drinking the unsweetened iced tea alleviates hunger better than drinking water. I noticed that I'm not as hungry as I was. Maybe the hunger is dissipating and it is not the iced tea having an effect? Or maybe flavor helps trick you into thinking that you're getting calories. I wonder what sugar free gum would do? Let's google that. Okay, results are mixed. I think that for my first try, I will avoid chewing gum.
12:12: Hunger feelings are gone. It is almost 18 hours without food. Is it the iced tea, or have I hit a point where your brain stops torturing you? Am I just super awesome? That may be the case. I am planning my next iced tea from my office keurig: it will be caffeine-free lemon. I have to be careful with caffeine, because it can make me jittery if I have more than 2 cups. Plus, the lemon is super strong, so it won't taste as diluted when I dispense the tea over ice.
1 p.m.: Okay. The lemon flavor sucks. It tastes like faux-lemon, even ice cold and diluted… I imagine that it tastes the way lemon Pledge smells. Sweet Jesus.
I was just going to write that I still didn't feel hungry, but suddenly, I got an uncomfortable abdominal cramp, and now I may be hungry again. Wait, I'm okay.
2:05 p.m.: Still okay. Just a little hunger, not too much discomfort. Still have a lot of excess energy. I am almost 20 hours in. This is not too awful.
Observation: I feel uncomfortable now, but not as shitty as I did on Saturday during the "Fat Fast". I was miserable and mean on Saturday, and got a little lightheaded. Today, no such issue. What's the difference? Today, no food, maybe the body realizes that it shouldn't give you too much heck because how can you accomplish the tracking, killing and eating of a beast if you feel horrible; Saturday, not enough food, but pretty regular grazing, maybe the body realizes that food is present but you're just not eating it, and you need a little push? So strange. Honestly, I had more to distract myself with on Saturday, by going to the gym, shopping, doing stuff, so that I didn't obsess about food the whole time – and I only did that for 7 hours. Today, I am constantly thinking about eating, and I have some abdominal discomfort, but no writheing headache, hair-trigger temper, or dizzy feelings – and I've been at this for 21 hours. How to account for this, I do not know. I know this – if I am not in ketosis by 6:30 p.m., I am going to jump in a lake. Honestly. (I'm out of ketosis again due to taking cold medicine with HCFS in it… no conscious cheating).
The fasting period started last night at the end of dinner. It was not easy for me, because I am, in particular, a late night snacker. So, relaxing on the couch, reading a book or watching TV, did not prove to be conducive to fasting. I kept thinking about grabbing a bite of cheese or roasted chicken, or nibbling on some almonds. So, I moved to the family room – a room with no late night snacking connotations – sipped a big glass of iced water and began to read Art Devaney's New Evolution Diet (well written, novel approach, and I will review in the future). I was fine until I woke up at 2:30 a.m., and for reasons unrelated to this fast, was unable to get back to sleep until about 4:30 a.m.
So, the beginning of Day #2 – a fasting day – started off at 6:30 a.m. I was a little sleep deprived, and definitely felt it. It has gotten better since then. I am not hungry. I have good energy. I am in a good mood. I am at work, and my brain seems to be functioning well. I am drinking water and unsweetened iced green tea. So far, I have no desire to eat. I actually still feel like some of last night's dinner is still kicking around inside of me.
Hopefully, being here at work will make fasting easier, since I am more distracted, there is less opportunity to eat anything (unless you bring it, or buy it during the window that the cafeteria is open), and all of the fresh, ice cold water I want is only 40 feet from my office.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Well, thanks to some thought provoking responses to my "Fat Fast" posts, I have started researching Intermittent Fasting ("IF"). I came across an article written by Dr. Mike Eades on his blog, promoting IF as a way to improve numerous aspects of your health (weight loss being the least of the positive results seen with IF). Studies seem to indicate, at least in rodents and primates, that IF also, among other things, increases longevity, improves insulin sensitivity, reduces blood pressure, and increases the amount of a substance called BDNF, which "protects against stress and toxic insults to the brain".
So, my interest is piqued, and I seem to be in an experimental mood. I've seen a lot of IF schedules out there. Dr. Eades' and his wife, MD Eades, tried out IF for a week, and recommended the following schedule:
- On Day 1 and odd # days: eat until 6 pm
- On Day 2 and even # days: fast until 6 pm
The benefit of this schedule is that, while you alternate eating and fasting for 24 periods, you are able to eat either breakfast and lunch OR dinner each day.
So, what the heck. I am going to give it a try. Today is Day#1, the eat day. I'll try it Monday through Friday, still eating low carb on eat days. Then, I will eat normally on Saturday and Sunday.
I'm going to give it a week. As with the "Fat Fast", I will give this a fighting chance, but if it proves to be completely horrible, I will consider bowing out early. If it proves to work out well, and improve my health, well, then maybe I will incorporate IF into my regular life.
Tonight, I'll make sure that I have a huge, early dinner with lots of meat!!
Sunday, June 12, 2011
- Guacamole and bacon is an amazing combination, but I'm not as crazy about macadamia nuts as I was.
- Fasting is not for me and I don't recommend it.
- Fat fasting works, at least in the short term.
- Borrowing some principles from Fat fasting may help achieve success on a low carb WOE...
(g) CONCLUSION: I'm not Fat fasting anymore. But I am going to: (1) increase my fat intake daily, and (2) be more careful with my carb intake.
- Following my fast attempt, I realized that I was had not been getting enough fat in my regular low-carb WOE because I was eating low and moderate fat proteins, and not supplementing with additional fat. So, instead of substiting fat for protein, I'm just going to add more fat to my dietary regimen by, for example, eating high-fat snacks (bacon, macadamia nuts, egg salad with mayo) between meals, and by adding fat to regular meals (supplementing lean protein with fatty condiments like guacamole and sauces made with cream, mayo, butter, sour cream, and eggs). I am definitely going to incorporate more avocado into my diet.
- I also recognized that I had started "slipping" with carbs. I was less diligent, and I knew better. I have started eating berries, and drinking alcohol, and when in restaurants, was not considering the carb content of sauces on top of/mixed in with allowable foods. So, instead of keeping my carb count below 30, I was probably somewhere in the 60-80 carbs/day range. I'm going to cut down on the carbs and focus on fat.
- I'm in charge, here. I knew about my carb slipping, and let it go because I was divided as to whether I wanted to "slow down" with low-carb and allow myself more freedom this summer, or "keep going" and actively work to get back into and stay in ketosis by being more vigilant with carbs. I realized that after Anna's surgery, treatment and hospitalization, I wanted to "treat" myself for having suffered alongside her, and supporting her as we beat her illness. I don't want to do that anymore. I needed to make the decision about my dietary path, either way. I have decided to keep going forward with low carb, responsibly and thoughtfully. No slipping. The idea of "slipping" is another way of saying that some aspect of this WOE is out of my control. This is an excuse. It is an illusion. I have absolute control over what I put into my body. I ackowledge that everything I do when it comes to eating is a conscious decision, completely within my power.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
- Meal 1: 3 slices bacon (70 cal/5g fat/0g carb/5g protein) + 4 tbsp guacamole (120cal/10g fat/2g carb/2g protein) + 1 pepper (8 cal/0g fat/1g carb/0g protein)
- Meal 2: 1 ounce macadamia nuts (200 cal/21 g fat/2g carb/2g protein)
- Meal 3: 3 slices bacon (70 cal/5g fat/0g carb/5g protein) + 4 tbsp guacamole (120cal/10g fat/2g carb/2g protein) + 1 pepper (8 cal/0g fat/1g carb/0g protein)
- Meal 4: 1 ounce macadamia nuts (200 cal/21 g fat/2g carb/2g protein)
- Meal 5: 3 slices bacon (70 cal/5g fat/0g carb/5g protein) + 4 tbsp guacamole (120cal/10g fat/2g carb/2g protein) + 1 pepper (8 cal/0g fat/1g carb/0g protein)
Friday, June 10, 2011
- Keeping the carbs below 40/day (usually in the 30/day range, but sometimes a little higher if I eat berries);
- Exercising about twice/week – 30 minutes cardio (usually elliptical), then resistance training with weight machines for about 15 minutes; and
- Evening mediation/weight loss visualization, using Jon Gabriel's free MP3 on his website, http://www.gabrielmethod.com./
- I know that I need to drink more water and cut down on stress.
- Also, I'm drinking about 2 cups caffeinated coffee per day – do you think that needs to be cut down/eliminated?
- Also - what about fasting? Does anyone know of a good low-carb fast that might do the trick?
- Should I up the exercise, or tweak what I'm doing?
- Any low-carb foods that should be avoided at this time (artificial sweeteners, nuts, cheese, etc.)?
I am really thinking about doing the Atkins Fat Fast.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
I have been thinking about ways to make this mega-meal more versatile, mix it up a little, and still keep it low carb. This could easily be accomplished in a couple of ways. Here are some ideas: use it as a philly cheese-like sandwich filling on ½ of a low-carb flax lavash or inside of a low carb tortilla (either option about 5 g net carbs – check the nutritional information), topped with cheese, mayo, tomato and avocado; use it as something of a "ragout" atop a pureed veggie – like mashed cauliflower, turnips, or roasted pureed yellow squash; use it as a filling inside of a roasted vegetable – like a big red pepper or a pre-cooked halved eggplant or acorn squash. And, if you find you have leftovers at the end of the week, wouldn't this make (1) a really good and funky pizza topping for your carb-eating loved ones, (2) a good pasta toss-in, or (3) a phenomenal filling for an empanada? You bet!
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Sunday, June 5, 2011
I started something new this week. I'm still doing low-carb... so never fear. However, I happened to be in Borders two weeks ago with my sister, and I picked up a bargain book, "The Gabriel Method", by Jon Gabriel. It was a $1 book. Essentially, it is about thinking yourself thin. The premise is that, for fat people, our brains/bodies want us to be fat. There are various reasons why this might be, and it all goes back to our prehistoric ancestors, who stored fat during times of famine/scarcity and cold temperatures. Today's human no longer has to worry about famine and cold so much. However, the same fat-storing reaction may be provoked by modern-day woes, like financial worries, working for a terrible boss, living through some trauma, etc. So, if you are a modern day fat human, your body is storing fat because you have unresolved issues. Jon Gabriel wants to help you get to the bottom of your unresolved issues, so that your brain stops telling your body to store fat. Included with this book is a free, downloadable MP3 that you can obtain from Jon Gabriel's website (if you have the password, which I do). This MP3 is a 10-minute visualization exercise that involves relaxation, soothing sounds, some hypnosis-type stuff, and positive reinforcement, designed to teach your brain that "it is okay to be thin... it is safe to be thin." Is it a little nutty? Sure. But for $1, it was worth the try. Check out his website, and let me know what you think. I am going to stick with it, and maybe the fat really will melt off my body like never before. In any event, it really helps me settle down to sleep :)