Getting closer to the target

I have 60 lbs to lose to get to my goal weight. I have lost 50 lbs since I embarked on this journey. Sometimes life and lack of self control had me bobbing like a yoyo as I lost twenty, gained ten, lost fifteen, gained ten and so on with various other fluctuations in weight. As I write this I find myself weighing 235lbs. I started at 285lbs. I am only five foot six inches in height so 285 was morbidly obese. Various physical challenges both cardio and strength related kept me from exercising regularly.

Ironically, I didn’t gain any lasting success with weight loss until I was diagnosed with diabetes. It was then that I began eating low-carb and even though I struggled to exercise without pain, after some time noticed my weight ticking downwards. I got down to about 270 when I discovered the phenomenon known as IF (intermittent fasting) which involves eating in a short window each day.
Eating in a short window every day while fasting in a longer window saw my weight drop at a faster rate than low-carbing and it controlled my blood sugars without the use of meds.  Diabetes medication like metformin or insulin would have made fasting a risky proposition because of the danger of crashing blood sugar. Since I went off meds my sugars trended high and fasting wasn’t as scary. Here, I urge you to consult your doctor before going off meds or insulin. 
At first, I ate in a 4 to 5 hour window and fasted for 19 to 20 hours. This was effective but challenging to do while working, so I switched to an 8 hour window; I fast for 16 hours. This was more doable for me because during that 16 hours, sleep and work would eliminate a large chunk (I don’t get hungry while working, just thirsty). With the increased weight-loss IFing afforded some of my physical challenges improved and I was able to exercise properly. I got stronger and my endurance vastly improved. More weight dropped off.  My goal of 175 lbs doesn’t seem so out of reach.  I have a stocky physique so 175lbs at a height of five foot six inches is actually a healthy target for me to shoot for. I wish all of you success as you continue your own weight-loss journeys. I will keep you posted.

Intermittent Fasting Beast?

I’ve been IFing (i-effing) for over a month now. I cheated  a couple of days. But …. I was supposed to. One cheat day every week or two weeks is a great way to stave off binge eating and it can trick your metabolism. Some say the metabolism will readjust after a couple of weeks to the lower calorie load so you grab it by the throat and give it a good shake with a higher calorie consumption cheat day.

Am I now a certifiable Intermittent Fasting beast? After a month? Maybe not. But I am enjoying myself because I can see tangible results. I have dropped another  3 or 4 lbs. I am now 15lbs lighter after four weeks of eating in an 8 hour window. I fast for 16 hours. Most of that time is taken up by sleep and my job and I just use self-discipline for the rest. Eating in an 8 hour window not only rests the digestive system but also rests the liver. Also, it creates a caloric deficit by default which explains the weight-loss.

I am losing weight. But not just that. My blood sugars are close to the normal range without using meds or insulin. That is one mountain of awesomeness right there. I will keep you all posted on my progress.

Ian’s Log

So, as promised, I will log my progress on my I.F. (Intermittent Fasting) journey. It has been roughly 3 weeks since I jumped on the IF track. The first few days were difficult. Pampering my mouth and tummy with food and treats any time I wanted then squeezing all my eating into an 8 hour window instead of my waist-line was not a smooth transition at first.

But after a few days it got easier. Sleeping and working during my 16 hour fast was a great help. Some jaws drop when I say that working is an aid to not eating for me. I am blessed (cursed?) by a caloric-deficit assisting idiosyncrasy: I get thirsty but not hungry when doing anything physical. I don’t understand it either. However, when I am done I am usually famished. But instead of eating right away, I go to sleep for a few hours. Since I am not on meds for my type 2 diabetes (scary side effects), my blood sugar doesn’t slip into a coma-inducing abyss. Maybe for others that would be dangerous and here I implore you to consult a doctor before fasting without your medications.

I check my blood sugar before I sleep so don’t be too concerned for me. I am the lucky one (in this area anyway). Being able to work without eating and then sleeping without eating really makes that 16 hours feel much shorter. It’s a gift, I suppose. Or maybe I am broken. But on with my log.

I stop eating at 10 PM… or 11 PM… or 12 AM every night. I break the fast  at 2, 3, or 4 PM respectively. Sometimes I mix it up a bit fasting for 15 or 17 hours and eating in the corresponding shorter or longer window. So I am a little flexible with it; but it is close enough for the purposes of an I.F. experiment.

When I do eat, I pretty much eat whatever I want–excluding sugary or bready foods. I limit myself to 2 slices of bread or 1 hamburger bun a day (gotta have a hamburger sometimes). Occasionally I will eat 2 hamburgers but throw away one of the buns and dump all the yummy animal byproduct on one bun. The vegans are cringing here … sorry. Veggie burgers will traumatize me … unless ample bacon and cheese are on them.

I am a writer but I deliberately looked for a part-time job that provides exercise that I simply cannot shirk because –you know–I like money and … I could get fired. So I force myself to exercise 6 days a week.  Does that make me a type A personality? I don’t know. But it works for me.This exercise which occurs over a four hour period could be described as very short bursts of medium to high intensity bursts or intervals followed by alternating double to triple length rests. A version of HIIT (high intensity interval training) which seems to be a HIT for me.

So I have consistently stayed on track with my eating window of 8 hours–give or take an hour or two–and I just explained that I am consistent with exercise. Now for the effects.
My blood sugar used to swing up and down like a yoyo. 7 to 16 or18 was about my range. That is poor diabetes management  (which chomped away at my quality of life) leading to frequent urination, moodiness, pins and needles in my feet and hands, blurred version, and an overall feeling of crappiness–the usual diabetes demons.

Over the last 3 weeks my blood sugar range is about 5.7 to 10 — not phenomenally good but a grand improvement over a relatively short time, yeah? And without meds too.  Now for my weight. I started with a weight of 245 lbs 3 weeks ago. I tip the scale at 233 now for a weight-loss of 12lbs. Not bad at all–12lbs in 3 weeks. These results are an incentive to keep at it.

Foods I eat: steak, chicken, fish, sausages, eggs, cheese, salads and stir fry veggies. I can eat a field of spinach but I control myself.  Coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil or staples. I eat berries and apples occasionally. Bananas are a fruit I love but the starch spikes my blood sugar to the stratosphere. So, none for  me. I try to limit simple carbs like sugar, soda, bread and starches like potatoes to a bare minimum. But I do enjoy a few fries/chips or a baked potatoe once in a while. A slice of cake or pizza is also a given at least once a week. But, I have a cheat day in which I don’t count calories and I eat a bit more carbs than usual. I’ve had 2 of them in the last 3 weeks. An occasional cheat day keeps the binge day away. Binge days make you feel guilty, a scheduled cheat day makes you feel happy–very happy.

So there it is. I will keep y’all posted.

The IF Track
So I am back at Intermittent Fasting and having success. I decided that it’s time to start ‘logging while blogging‘ my latest effort at weight-loss and diabetes management with I.F. I have done this in the past and many followed my progress. If you click on Intermittent Fasting in the right column you can see for yourself that I did well.

I have been on the IF track for about a week and a half this time. I’ve lost 10 lbs and my blood sugars are more even without taking meds. I discovered that metformin, the drug I used for controlling blood sugar, caused my heart to skip 1 out of every 10 to 20 beats. I won’t take it. So I am more aggressive with managing my diabetes through diet and exercise.

My eating is done in an 8 hour window after fasting for 16 hours. I spend 3 to 4 hours at a part time job that is quite physical and provides almost daily exercise. Then I sleep 6 to 8 hours. So that accounts for 10 to 12 hours of the fast and the rest is up to self-discipline. So far so good.

In the 8 hour window I try not to snack between meals. This makes a caloric deficit all the more attainable; try cramming 3000 calories (roughly what I’d need to consume to maintain my weight) in to 2 to 3 meals without snacking between. You would have to consciously gorge yourself. So because I only end up eating between 1200 and 2200 calories a day in my window, a caloric deficit isn’t hard to maintain.

Sometimes without being aware I am doing it, I eat in a 7 hour window. Sometimes a 9 hour window. But in general, I have been rock steady with my routine. Losing 10 lbs in 10 days is not too shabby. And I feel better. I’m not as bloated. I am not constantly digesting food, so I have more energy.

It’s working. Beginning tomorrow I will keep a log with times of eating, what I eat, and my blood sugar readings.