Health Life

Taking the long way

I have gained weight before, but it was hormonal. When Josh and I first got married I went on birth control and it most definitely did not agree with me. I have almost always eaten pretty healthy and that had not changed, plus I was still running and I gained a good twenty pounds.

After getting off birth control and running distance for a few months the weight melted away and stayed away for years. I ran and waited tables and I was fit.

Then I went back to school. The stress and time constraints made exercise a bit harder, but I kept it up. Inspite of that I gained 8-10 pounds in school. Then I started working at a studio right away. I was running 3-5 miles 3x a week and still gaining weight. After 4 years at a desk I was 20 pounds bigger and not very happy about it.

I had already learned the lessons of calorie in calorie out not working, but I decided that all I needed to do was run more. I started running 5x a week again, but my weight would not budge. Would NOT budge. I ask my doctor about it and she said (after testing my thyroid, which was normal) that my 25 miles a week wasn’t going to cut it because I was just sitting too much.

I was learning to program more and spending a ton of time on the computer. I knew that 2+ hours of exercise a day was not sustainable and started to fret that I was going to be living like this until menopause at which time I would grow to be a house.

I had mostly cut grains out of my diet since Josh and I had done GAPS, but I decided to try a completely paleo plan and that’s when I did the Whole30. I lost around 10 pounds doing the Whole30 and continued eating paleo, but didn’t lose any additional weight. I kept drinking to the weekends and that also seemed to help keep the weight off.

Then enter last Fall 2013. I made two major changes. Josh and I adopted Zeke and I started doing a 5 day – 2 day intermittent fast every week. The weight finally decided to start consistently dropping.

I stopped running. I don’t think it was working for me anymore. Having a dog has really helped me because I walk him every single day. Weekend or not for at least 40 min. I think that consistency in exercise has helped quite a bit. I would prioritize other things over exercise for myself, but I would feel like a complete ass if I did that to a little dog.

So a bit about intermittent fasting… I saw a PBS special on it with Dr. Michael Mosley. I only caught the end, but it seemed very promising. I have read a bit about calorie restriction and prolonged longevity, but this seemed like something I could actually do.

I looked up what 5/2 week looked like and why it worked. It’s pretty simple for the days that you fast if you are a woman you consume 500 calories and if you are a man you get 600 calories. I’m not a calorie counter. I don’t have the patience, so I decided that I would have my normal 2 eggs in the morning and skip eating the rest of the day until dinner. I usually have whatever I want for dinner. You would think I would binge, but I don’t. I usually do Monday and Wednesday, but if something in my social schedule conflicts I just switch the day.

Fasting has other benefits too. Longevity which I mentioned before. It helps protect you from age related illness, such as cancer. It turns on your repair genes. Even short term fasting does that, which is kind of amazing.

I know everyone worries about being hungry and not having the brain power on the fasting days. I feel like that hasn’t been an issue for me after week 2, but I would adjust the plan to meet your needs if that is the case for you. Some people don’t eat breakfast or dinner and eat a large lunch.

If I feel super hungry I make sure I’m hydrated. Water usually cuts any craving for me. In the winter I drank a lot of herbal tea, since it’s a little hotter I’m drinking more iced tea and spa water.

Once you get to your goal weight you’re supposed to switch to fasting only one day a week. I’m not quite there yet, but I will be soon.

So, anyone else done this? Tempted to try it?

images via: 1 | 2

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  • Reply
    July 2, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    I keep saying to myself I'll intermittent fast consistently (how's that for ironic) – but I haven't gotten there, yet. Maybe I'll schedule it in my phone. I will say that drinking 3 liters of H20 these past 4 weeks has peeled a good 5 lbs off – maybe more. Thank you for putting this out! One more reason to love lil' Zeke.

  • Reply
    Desi McKinnon
    July 2, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    It's ok. I'm still working on remaining consistent with my 3 liters.

    There are a million reasons to love lil' Zeke.

  • Reply
    July 2, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    I've only recently heard of this fasting diet, and I am considering trying it. It sounds like something that would be fairly easy to accomplish on busy work days but be very difficult on slow days because I'm definitely a boredom eater. But I've recently added a really hard spin class to my weekly exercise and it would be great to see faster (or measurable) weight loss.

  • Reply
    July 3, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    first of all, congratulations on finding something that has finally worked for you. as for the fasting~ i have never heard of this, and will look into it. my concern (for myself) is that i get SO hungry (& so many ramifications if i do not eat when the hunger comes… i've been tested several times, and all is "normal"). i love the idea of consistency in exercise, and more specifically, giving it a whole new meaning/purpose in terms of getting dog out! that is an area that is majorly lacking at this point. also, the weeknight (every night) drinking is not helping matters. need to make some big changes, because the added weight is not going to go anywhere (clearly) through healthy eating alone.

  • Reply
    July 14, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    I heard about something similar on NPR a few months back. It intrigued me at the time and even more so now that it is working for you. I can relate to adding pounds despite exercising and healthy eating and it is so frustrating. I've been chalking it up to age after having tests done (normal, like you), and whether it is age or not, I want to lose a few pounds. I'm a bit nervous because as Torrie mentioned, I get HUNGRY when I fast and tend to binge afterward. However, the mental and physical benefits to this approach make me want to try!

  • Reply
    August 26, 2014 at 6:58 AM

    Thanks for this post, I'm struggling with this too-. Actually going to the doc in a few days to get tests done myself. The fasting appeals to me because I tend towards extremes…but when I'm working (chasing preschoolers) I get REALLY hungry. But as you said I can imagine you do adjust to it. Keep us updated, I love these type of posts!

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