Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fat-splosion: Thoughts on Fasting and Eating Fat

I get a lot of emails from readers who stumble upon my Fat Fast post, and ask me how it went, and what the results were.  It happens often enough that I thought I would revisit the Fat Fast for you, and give you a brief redux on my experience with fasting, and with this WOE, in general.  Take from it what you will.

Here goes: 

The Fat Fast (which is a term of art courtesy of Dr. Atkins himself, so don't give me flak, you fasting purists, because I know what you mean by fasting and that's not what we're talking about here) completely sucked.  I wouldn't do it again.  This is what I wrote at the time.  I stand by it.  I hate calorie restriction.  I'd rather not eat than count out macadamia nuts, one by one, and cry when I reach the daily dose, whose small handful I can consume in its entirety in 2.1 seconds flat.

If I was going to try fat fasting again, I would try it without calorie restriction for 24 hours, i.e., just eat 80% or more of my calories from fat, and the rest from protein, for 1 day.  I wouldn't count calories because counting calories blows and that is why I do low carb.  I would just eat macadamia nuts, guacamole, bacon, and other (healthy, organic) saturated fatty delights to satisfaction but not fullness, being aware, at all times, that I could have as much as I wanted (read: brain games).  I would make chocolate whipped cream with faux sugar and cocoa powder and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.  I would change the name from "Fat Fast" to "Fat-splosion" because then I wouldn't feel like I was depriving myself.

But that is not going to happen anytime soon.  Here's why:

For some reason, I have an easier time with a true fast - nothing but water - using the IF 24 on / 24 off method that I described and obsessed over here, here, here, here, and here back in June 2011.  I really felt that I had near-complete relief of my psoriasis symptoms after a week of intermittent fasting, and unbeknownst to me (at the time), I conceived a child after several months of apparent infertility.  There were other positive effects that I observed and recounted for your reading pleasure

However, both methods of fasting were difficult and required a level of dedication that was challenging - for me - to maintain and revisit.  That's the key.  As for me, I will admit that while I was able to do IF for a full week and had great results, it has been a full year and I have not done that same 24 on / 24 off IF since. 

Instead, these days, when I've over-indulged in the forbidden stuff (and this does happen regularly in this season of preschool birthday parties, graduations and weddings), I don't beat myself up about it. 

I do these three things:
  1. I eat well, meaning that I focus on eating lots of good, whole, primal, low carb stuff for lunch and dinner, laying off the dairy, legumes, and alcohol;
  2. I don't eat between dinner and lunch, fasting from 7 at night to noon the next day (about 17 hours without eating); and,
  3. I drink a ton of ice cold water that I often flavor with lemon, or I make and enjoy decaf iced tea, which I constantly sip.

I am no great low carb success, and no expert on fasting. 

I'm just a real girl who has lost 40 pounds by eating low carb, by making no excuses for my bad behavior, and by forgiving myself when I step out of line.  I try hard to make good choices 80% of the time, just as Mark Sisson advises. 

Despite more than a full year of difficult personal challenges, I have maintained my lowest weight - 196 - with little effort and only a few, temporary fluctuations upwards when I've been quite naughty or it is that time (you know... of the month).  I am getting to that place where life appears to be settled, and I am beginning to feel that I am ready to jump back on the horse, and attack the next 40 pounds like nobody's business. 

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