Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fat Fast is Canceled: A Critique

FASTING SUCKS!  That is my new motto.  The problem with the Fat Fast I tried yesterday, is that there simply aren't enough calories to sustain you comfortably, calmly and peacefully (sorry, husband and family) for one day (especially if you plan on exercising - which is a bad idea on a Fast day).  Who the #*&$ can survive on 1000 calories per day???  Not this woman, that's for freaking sure. 
 
1. Here's what happened yesterday:
 
I was up at 8 and went right to the gym.  I did my usual workout, but increased the weights a little bit on the resistance machines, so that by the end of my reps I could "feel the burn" on the targeted muscles.  I drank water before and during my exercise, but did not eat.  Felt absolutely fine.  Then, I went to the store to buy my food for the fast.
 
I ate my first 200 calorie meal for the first time that day at about 11, which is pretty late for me.  I did the bacon/guacamole/pepper combo and was surprised that it was so delicious.  It didn't take long for me to feel hungry - maybe 30 minutes.  I longed for food, but knew I had to ration my 200 calorie meals to last me the whole day.  So I waited.  I ate my next meal (macadamia nuts) at 1, then bacon/guacamole/pepper at 3, then macadamia nuts at 5. 
 
By 5, I was lightheaded, really hungry, and just about as bitchy as I've ever been.  I had been obsessing about food ALL DAY, nothing could distract me, and physically, I felt like absolute crap.  I was already 800 calories in, and only had one more mini meal left to sustain me until breakfast the next day (15 hours away).  I was starting to panic.  At that exact moment, my husband said something completely innocuous, which infuriated the evil she-beast lurking just below the surface.  "HURZYGURBYLURG!" I yelled (I'm not actually sure what I said, but it was probably incomprehensible).  I looked at hub's shocked, completely clueless face, apologized for being said evil she-beast, and said, "it's not me, its this &$!*ing fast".  Backing away slowly from the insane woman, my sainted spouse reminded me that I didn't really need to fast, and suggested I gnaw on some protein stat, and just be more consistent about seriously sticking to induction food.  He is a brave man.  My food-starved brain saw the merit in this argument, allowed him to escape, and fell on a [cooked] chicken breast like a mad beast.  Within about 5 minutes, I felt waaaay better.  Then I was hungry again within about 20 minutes.  Then, I ate dinner with my family - roasted turkey breast with roasted cauliflower and mixed peppers. 
 
2. Thoughts:
 
(a) I made some mistakes.  Common sense dictates that, when you are fasting, you should probably not overtax yourself, nor go too long without eating.  Well, apparently, I ignore common sense when convenient, because I made these two mistakes.  First, I used up a lot of energy by exercising that morning, actually increasing the difficulty of my resistance routine because I felt so good and strong (it was the MORNING of boundless energy... we already know the day went downhill from there).  Second, I didn't eat until about 11 am because I didn't get to the store until late morning to pick up my Fast foods because I am bad with preparation sometimes.  This was a very bad idea.  Because, by the time I ate, my body was so desperate for food, 200 calories just could not satisfy - no way no how.  I sabotaged myself by my late start.  
 
(b) 1000 calories is not enough.  I'm not kidding here.  It is not enough food - and it hurt.  Good God, by 5 pm, I felt absolutely shriveled inside, physically and mentally.  1000 calories is insufficient sustinence for me (and probably for you), especially when 75-90% of that comes from fat.  And, let's be honest, we're on a low-carb WOE because WE HATE COUNTING FREAKING CALORIES and because WE HATE BEING HUNGRY, and we'll forego bread, pasta and sugar as long as we can have as much of the rest of the food pyramid as we freaking want.  I love meat.  Yesterday, I ached for some tasty meat.  (Stop laughing, twits!)  I felt miserable until I had a big hunking piece of meat. 
 
(c) But, a fast is a fast.  Really, I should have anticipated that I'd feel awful.  I signed myself up for a freaking FAST, not a cruise, because I wanted something specific - to jumpstart my metabolism, throw me back into ketosis, and lose a bunch of weight.  Did I think it would feel good?  Did I think at all?  Nope.  I just jumped in the pool of pain.
 
(d) And... well, it kind of worked.  I'm not recommending the Fast.  But it did work.  I swear - I woke up with ketosis breath this morning.  After hitting the bathroom, I weighed myself.  I'm was down to 209, which is 1.5 pounds less than the same time yesterday morning.  Since then, I've eaten and drunk loads of water, so I won't weigh myself again today, but I made another, more impressive, um, deposit in the bathroom, which would probably have dropped my weight down another pound, at least. 
 
(e) Caveats.  If I was willing to stick with this any further (and I'm not), I can see how I could lose at least 1 or 2 pounds per day.  However, this Fast makes you psychotic about food.  I can also see that, had I continued and managed to accomplish the completion of this Fast, I would have definitely binged afterwards.  On allowed foods, of course.  But who knows how much weight would have come back?  Also, there is no way of determining whether a successful fast results in a loss of fat, or a loss of lean body mass.
 
(f) Lessons learned:
  • 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.   
 
 

3 comments:

  1. A fast is a prolonged time period where you do not eat at all. You were practicing calorie restriction, which has completely different effects on the body and brain. Fasting would actually be consuming nothing other than pure water for 17 hours or more. It would be interesting to see how your body reacts to a real fast and do a comparison. I fast frequently and feel fine in every way, even on days when I work out in the morning. You def want to be in ketosis before you start though!
    For example, you could finish eating dinner by 7pm and then not eat again until 12pm the following day. I highly recommend trying a real fast!

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  2. Good for you pulling the plug when you realized it wasn't worth it.

    I do agree with Kristin above talking about a real fast though. I've come across so much Intermittent Fasting stuff reading through so many different low carb or paleo blogs that I've kinda incorporated it without thinking. Eating low carb has shown me that I don't need food every 4 hours, in fact I can go a good 10 between meals, and lately I rarely have more than 2 meals a day. One day I woke up, wasn't hungry and just didn't eat until just before work, turned out I had "fasted" unintentionally for 20 hours. I wasn't even hungry when I ate, but working at the pool makes me hungry, nauseated and brain foggy if I don't have food in my stomach. One of these days when I'm brave enough I think I'll do a full day, but not yet. In any case, if you're done with fasting and don't want to try it, that's great too. Do what works for you, that's the entire point of this WOE (especially once you've lost all the weight you wanted), right?

    Just a note on the berries though, according to Protein Power they are allowed within limits like you've already set for yourself. I have no idea about Atkins. And if you are worried about being naughty with other sugary foods, berries are far superior. Maybe think of them as desert?

    Lastly, way to rule the diet! It's your say, not the food's say. Keep up the good work.

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  3. Thanks for the comments, ladies! "Fat fast" is a term of art from DANDR. It was hopeless. I think that eating at 11 and then scantily after that made things worse than if I had not eaten at all. Based on your comments, I'd have to say that, from Friday at 7 pm through Saturday at 11 am (when I ate my bacon and guacamole), I had successfully done a traditional fast. And, as I recounted in the post, Saturday morning was the "morning of boundless energy". I did feel phenomenal... until I started the fat fast. I will have to do some research into the benefits of intermittent fasting.

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