Why I Fast: Intermittent Fasting Does NOT Equal Starvation!

 

AboveSix years ago (March 2016), I was 80 pounds heavier (196 pounds) than I am now. In May 2016, things got real. I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, and I needed to lose weight for health reasons. I went back to Weight Watchers, and throughout the rest of 2016 and 2017, I lost about 67 pounds and got down to 127-130, but then I stalled out (Sound familiar?).I started gaining again. A familiar arc... Between 2017 and 2019, my weight jumped from 127 to 155, and then I read about IF. A game changer.

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AboveIn spring 2019. Before IF. About 35 pounds heavier (About 150 pounds). I had lost a lot of weight in 2017, but I could not keep it off. I was always hungry, it seemed, and my weight was ticking upward -- again. In late 2019, I read an article about IF and decided to give losing weight one more shot. I started on January 2, 2020, just before the pandemic.

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AboveAfter IF. 2022. At goal (115-117 pounds). I also lost the red hair, LOL. I have maintained 115-119 for 1.5 years, a feat I have never accomplished before. IF WORKS!!!

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(I posted a slightly different version the following on my Facebook timeline and on the Intermittent Fasting Group to which I belong. The above photos chronicle my weight loss journey.)

 

Intermittent fasting does not equal starvation.

It just means that I have a shorter daily eating window. In other words, my fasting window is much longer than my eating window.

But I eat well during my 6-8 hour eating window.

 If I didn’t, I would never be able to stick to IF. Now that I’m on maintenance, I have upped my calories somewhat, but I view IF as a lifelong program. I rather like it, though; I never go to bed on a full stomach, so I rarely experience acid reflux, a formerly chronic condition. Only when I drink too much decaf late at night do I experience minor stomach issues.

I know it sounds counterintuitive, but I no longer experience fall-off-the-cliff hunger like I used to. My hunger cues are more moderate, and I fill up faster and with less food.

Caveat: it took about a year of IF for this benefit – appetite correction – to kick in.

IF does not work overnight or quickly. It took me about 10-11 months to lose about 40 pounds – moreover, I Iost less weight in the beginning than I did in the last 6 months of weight loss. It was as if my body were adjusting to IF. Unfortunately, this phenomenon can be frustrating for those embarking on the IF journey for the first time, and some folks give up far too soon, but it’s well worth sticking to the plan and tweaking it for personal preference. After all, one size does not fit all.

There is solid scientific evidence that IF aids in the regulation of both sugar and insulin levels, which, when out of whack, can contribute to both obesity and Type 2 diabetes (1 and 2). As they age, most people, even those fortunate skinny people, tend to gain weight, especially around the mid-section, and/or develop Type 2 diabetes. Just look around: how many slender middle-aged and elderly people do you see?

Our modern diet of junk food doesn’t help, especially when the average eating window for most Americans is about 14-16 hours a day. With such a long eating window, the body has little time to clear toxins and regulate insulin and sugar.

I wonder if IF mimics some of the recent diet drugs (3) now on the market? I don’t know.

I’m always reluctant to recommend diet pills because of their possible side effects, but if it turns out that these new drugs are effective long term and helps people to lose weight and keep it off, I’m all for them, especially when all else has failed.

But I believe that one should try IF before taking diet drugs – it’s free, no prescription necessary.

Happy fasting!

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1.  Fung, Jason. The Obesity Code 

2.  Fung, Jason. The Diabetes Code 

3. YaleMedicine.org 





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