Sunday, May 24, 2015

OK, time to give ADF a real try.

I have done my best to stay focused on my goal despite the lack of progress. But there’s a limit to my patience and last week I messed up; I’m human. No, I didn’t eat sugar or grains or any of the other garbage carbs I’ve sworn off for the last two years.  But I haven’t fasted for the last week or so, and I have let myself overindulge in what are supposed to be occasional treats. Two or three Atkins bars in a week is one thing … two or three in a day is another. A handful of peanuts is one thing … a whole bag is another. After months of trying to change things up to try and get things moving again, I had had enough and I ate these things out of frustration – then I found myself back at 82 kilos (181 pounds) on Thursday.  I determined then and there that this ends now.

Hubby is always telling me I should be focusing on how far I’ve come and how much better off I am today than I was when I started, even if I never lose any more.  That’s true, of course and I am grateful to have lost the weight – but I’m not ready to throw in the towel. If I don’t find a way to get things moving again, I’m worried the stall will become a regain, and that’s simply not acceptable.

One thing I have been doing the last few weeks is reading heaps of different books and websites, listening to various podcasts and watching lots of video lectures by Dr Andreas Eenfeldt (DietDoctor.com) and Dr Jason Fung (a world-leading expert on intermittent fasting and LCHF, especially for treating people with type 2 diabetes). The more I learn the more I keep coming back to intermittent fasting as the way to go. Dr Fung’s video lectures on treating obesity and diabetes (or diabesity as he refers to it) are fascinating. Yes his series The Aetiology of Obesity is long (six parts), and each video is an hour to an hour and 20 minutes long, but they are well worth watching. He is a proponent of alternate day fasting or ADF. I have read many articles on how it doesn’t always work as well for women, especially those of childbearing age. Some say it can cause issues like those discussed in this article.

I contacted Dr Fung via his website about these concerns and happily he wrote me back. He said that he has perhaps 300 women in his Intensive Dietary Management (IDM) program and he’s noticed no significant difference between men and women in how they respond to intermittent fasting – he believes it works equally well in both. I’ve been very much impressed with his lectures and I think this guy knows what he’s talking about. You may recall I tried 4:3 fasting for a week and didn’t feel it worked any better than 5:2. Maybe I just didn’t give it long enough to decide. Maybe it was just a bad week, I don’t know. But I've decided I am going to try ADF.

I actually started already with a two day fast – hubby was concerned but I reassured him first of all, when I go in for colonoscopies they make me fast for two days, so clearly there’s no reason to be concerned if you don't eat for a day or two. In fact I found numerous references to a man who fasted for 382 days (1 year and 17 days) under medical supervision and went from 456 pounds to 180, losing over half his body weight. So a couple of days is nothing.

Secondly, I didn’t get hungry. After finding myself at 82.1kg (181 lb) Thursday, I fasted all day Friday and the next morning I was 80.2kg (176.81 lb). I had planned to start eating at lunchtime Saturday but I just wasn’t hungry! So I fasted Saturday as well. This morning I weighed in at 79.3 kg (174.83 lb) and more importantly, I feel great! I had some leftover soup that needed to get used so I assured hubby I would be eating today – I’ve had cabbage soup for brunch, and I’m having some Kielbasa soup tonight for dinner. I’ll even have a small no-sugar-added greek yogurt for dessert. Then Monday I’ll fast again and from there it’ll be alternate day fasting (ADF).

This time I’ll give it ample time to decide whether it works for me or not. One week just isn’t long enough to tell. Most programs allow eating up to 500 calories on a fasting day, but to me that’s not fasting, that’s just calorie reduction. Plus that's harder for me to do. Studies have shown benefits from fasting that you don’t get with calorie reduction. For example, people think fasting can lower their metabolism or lose muscle mass. My research shows that may happen with reduced calorie diets, but not with intermittent fasting. Dr Fung explained that if you eat less calories, the body thinks it needs to get used to less calories, so it starts conserving energy by reducing your metabolism. But if you eat nothing, your metabolism remains higher, you remain alert and have plenty of energy to hunt for food. He points out that our species would not have survived if a few days without food left us sluggish, lacking energy and losing muscle. Besides, I do much better eating nothing than eating less, it just works for me. I can eat none, but I can't eat just one. As I said, two days fasting was easy, I had no problem with it at all and I'm thrilled with the initial results.

We all have to do what feels right for us. Some may not think fasting is a good thing but people have practiced it for centuries – most religions emphasise fasting during certain periods. Research shows it’s not only healthy, it can extend your life expectancy. I’m not going to go into all the rationale here – I have done far too much reading and sat through too many video lectures to summarise it all for you here.  Do your own research if you’re interested. Start with DietDoctor.com and Dr Fung’s site, watch this video in particular, starting at 50:50 if you want to learn more about the benefits of Intermittent Fasting.

So that's my plan for the coming weeks. I’ll keep you updated on my progress. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Why do Dietitians refuse to budge?!

We were watching a New Zealand weight loss show called Downsize Me and I wanted to know more about it so I did a quick Google search. I found this article: Controversy over TV3’s hit show Downsize Me.

According to this article, the New Zealand Dietetic Association currently have several complaints pending with the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

Nikki Talacek has been working as a dietitian for 7 years. One of her beefs with the show is their repeated claims that an increased sugar intake can cause Type 2 diabetes. She claims, "This in itself is incorrect. One of the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes is obesity, which is caused by excess calories in the diet ... credible scientific research concludes, the total amount of sugar consumed by an individual is not independently associated with the development of Type 2 diabetes."

Seriously? So all the new scientific evidence to the contrary, and the experience of many of us who have proven it in our own lives be dammed? Calories in calories out ... they still stand by that? 100 calories of sugar is treated the same in the body as 100 calories of meat? Insulin plays no factor? It boggles the mind really.

It's bad enough that she believes this but to actually file complaints with those who dare speak the truth!? Heaven forbid people learn the truth and be able to actually control and even reverse their diabetes!  Better they remain sick the rest of their lives I guess.

The other complaint was the unrealistically large drops they have each week might discourage the average dieter who feels a failure if they can't keep up. OK that one I get ... Biggest Loser does the same thing. In the case of Biggest Loser it's because their 'weeks' are actually 2-3 weeks long. I don't know about this New Zealand show as this is the first time I've ever seen it, but I would agree that some might find it discouraging if they can't match those big drops.  Having said that, in the beginning of my weight loss, just like many with a large amount to lose, I did see big drops week after week for a while. I'd love for that to continue, but it is what it is.

Anyway, I ran 5k yesterday, and I'm off to start my 2nd big walk for today. I just had to vent after reading that crap.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Ran 8k Today!

At least that's one good thing I can post about. My last couple of runs were 5k each but today I went 8k for the first time. I feel great! I actually felt like I could have run longer but didn’t want to overdo it and when I stopped after the cool down I was glad I had as my legs were really feeling it! They still are.

Weight-wise I don't have much good to report, unfortunately. I am starting to think it's going to take me 5 months to get through the 70s just like it did the 80s.  I just keep hovering between 77 and 79 kilos (about 170 to 175 lbs) for the last couple of months. I have been changing things up, including my intermittent fasting schedule, and I think I'm just going to have to tighten things up even further. I just can't bear the thought of not reaching goal!  People tell me I have come so far and to appreciate what I have achieved ... and I do, don't get me wrong.  But my goal is not unreasonable.  It's 68 kilos or 150 pounds ... still overweight for my height. Surely this is not out of reach!  So I will persevere my friends. I just feel like I haven't much interesting to post about while the weight stays stubbornly the same. But then I guess that's part of the journey, isn't it. That's real and honest and I'm hardly the only one who struggles with the last 20 pounds, am I?

The countdown to my trip home is truly under way. Three months will likely go by  fast! Hope you all are having a great weekend.

Friday, April 24, 2015

My vision improved -- is this an NSV?


I had an eye appointment yesterday and while my close-up or reading prescription has slightly worsened since my last exam a year and a half ago, my long distance vision has actually improved! I didn’t know that was even possible. He said it’s rare, but it can happen. In fact, my right eye, which is the weakest, had improved more than the left. He noted that I’d previously mentioned having an older brother with diabetes, and I said the fact that I’d been told I was pre-diabetic was a motivating factor in my weight loss to date. He said it’s quite possible that being pre-diabetic was already having some effect on my vision, so the improvement could be from having lost weight. Who knew!? Would that count as an NSV? I don’t know but I’ll happily take any health improvement at my age!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ran 7K again today!

Since I ran 7K for the first time on the 31st of March, I've been running 5-6K two to three times per week. I tried for 7K again the day I got the knee pain and had to stop at 6. Then this past week I had some sudden knee pain and occasional twinges but this time in the left knee. What the heck? I was just sitting at my desk at work and the pain came suddenly when I stood up.

That was maybe three days ago and nothing since, so I got up this morning and hit the treadmill and after a five minute warm-up I ran just over 7K. I kinda felt like I could go for 8 but I don't want to push my luck. Maybe later this week I'll try for 8, we'll see. I must say I felt tired afterwards. Like I sat down to watch a movie after lunch and could easily have closed my eyes and had a nap. But I felt good and still do. Let's see how we go in the coming week.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The time I hoped to reach goal by is fast approaching!

I can't believe it ... it's coming up so fast. When I started this diet August 19, 2013 I had hoped to reach goal by the time I fly home to see friends and family I haven't seen in eight years. Well we've bought our tickets today! The countdown begins. In less than four months we will be flying back to the US and I'm so excited! But will I be at goal? Only time will tell.

I went for the PT consult and the program is still way too expensive, especially with the trip home so near. I discussed the four "free" training sessions and it turns out it was more like one, just half an hour, and if you signed up you got another free one plus a free nutrition session and something else I can't recall now. I ended up not doing it -- I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. I really feel the Callanetics are reducing my saddlebags, which is very encouraging. And these longer runs will become more frequent, or at least I hope so.

I went for another 7k run attemp on Tuesday and it was going really well ... I was feeling great and knew I was going to make it! Then just before I reached 6k I felt a twinge in my right knee. For a second I grabbed the handles thinking I might go down, then I let go and kept on. It didn't happen again, at least not like that, but I did feel a few more twinges. I hung in there till I hit 6k and then went into my cool-down walk. Bummer! I do have bad knees but they only bother me when I try squats and lunges ... never when I run, at least not till now. So I was worried a bit. Some research online indicated it could be a sign I need new running shoes, so I may have to get some. They are over a year old, so it's worth a try.

This is the monthly gain week and I have had an increased appetite so I don't hold out much hope for a drop this weekend. I have not felt well the last couple of days so I took a break from fasting but will go back to strict Phase 1 and 5:2 IF next week. I'll check in again soon.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Small drop this weekend, and free PT sessions

I did hit a new low this weekend - it's been a couple of weeks since my last record low of 77.1 kg. As reported previously I'd been bouncing between about 77.4 and 78.2 since then, so last week I did a 4:3 fast, which meant fasting for three non-consecutive days. I just wanted to give it a try, though I have read that it's not necessarily any more effective than a 5:2 fast.

I did drop this weekend but only to 77.0 kg which is a new low but only by 100g.  That brings me to 169.76 lb, so I'm still just dipping into the 160s and I really want to get a bit further entrenched. I'm not sure 4:3 necessarily helped much in that regard, though one week may not be long enough to truly evaluate how well it works. Still, I am thinking I'll either return to 5:2, or stay with 4:3 but eat something on fast days. On most IF programs, women can have up to 500 calories on a fast day and men 600 calories. I tend not to eat anything at all. It's easier for me to have nothing than to have a little. I'm a volume eater, I like to feel like I've had a meal when I eat. So if I do go that route, I think rather than spreading it out over two or three small meals, I'd save it for an evening meal. Anyway, I haven't really decided yet, we'll see how I go tomorrow.

I got in two 5k runs over the Easter weekend - I really wanted to try for 7k again but didn't have enough time due to holiday plans, but this week I'm going to give it a try again. On the two 5k runs I did, I knew I could have made the full hour again if I'd had the time and really didn't want to stop short but that's the way it goes.

I got a call last week from Vision Personal Training - you may recall I met with them in July last year and their program sounded like something I'd very much like to try, but the costs were prohibitive. Well they are under new management and are getting back to people who enquired but didn't join to offer four free training sessions. I agreed to stop in and meet with them this Wednesday, and then if it sounds good I'll schedule the four sessions after that. Why not? Even if it's still out of my price range, it can't hurt to take the four free sessions even if just to get some new exercise ideas to try. Anyway, I'll be sure and let you know how it goes Wednesday.

Daylight savings time ended here so it's brighter when I wake up now, but will soon start getting dark when I leave work. But now that I have my treadmill I need never miss a run again. I'll check in again soon. Hope you all had a lovely Easter.