It is April 9, Palm Sunday, and this is my 40th day on the ADF regimen. As I write this I have been fasting for 38 hours, but I slept pretty well last night: I need less sleep when I am fasting. I felt cold all day yesterday, though, except for when I was outside helping the boys build a fire for the rest of the family to cook their lunch.
I weighed in at 282.6 lbs this morning, having lost three pounds in the past week, and over 30 lbs since March 1st. Perhaps next week I will crack under 280.
Either way. The loss was slower this week, but I’m not concerned about the variable speed of weight loss as long as the needle is going in the right direction. Two to four pounds a week would be ideal. I lifted weights this morning and hope to take a brisk walk/light jog later.
The dynamics of the alternate day approach have changed a lot since I first started. There hasn’t been any intestinal distress of any kind for a couple weeks now. I fart a lot less, too. When I was eating all the time I had a constant feeling of bloating and gas. And although I’m working out moderately almost every day, I haven’t felt any undue muscle soreness. So it seems like my body has pretty much adapted to eating every other day.
Then this morning I broke a 38 hour fast with a bowl of shredded wheat, whole milk, and a scoop of chocolate protein powder. In the 38 hours prior, I only felt hungry one time, at bedtime, while my wife was talking about the various kinds of food she’d sampled at a certain buffet (human feeding-trough) establishment in Myrtle Beach. Except for that brief moment when she was talking I hadn’t thought about food all day, even though I’d done strength training in the garage for about 40 minutes and walked a few miles this morning before I broke the fast. I wasn’t starving during all that time. I felt strong. Only one hunger pang in 38 hours — I could’ve kept going if I’d wanted. My energy was super-powered all day yesterday. I felt euphoric. In fact, it wasn’t until I ate two bowls of homemade beef stew for lunch today that it just disappeared entirely: now I’m slaggy and slouching and feel like I could just drool on someone. It’s counter-intuitive: eating — not fasting — makes me sleepy.
I started this eating plan on a bit of a whim and caught up with lots of reading and research later. If someone had told me at the outset that I’d love the way I feel on fast days, I’d never have believed it. I’m sitting here thinking, Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we fast, and it’s not a negative thought. I actually look forward to it.
I certainly didn’t eat too clean yesterday, throwing down last night on four IPAs, pasta, cake and ice cream. Many a carb was consumed, and most were of the simple sort. But I didn’t die in my sleep or anything so here I am.
Since starting this regimen, on my up/feed days I don’t seem to get really hungry until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Yesterday morning I went for a walk on the beach, came home and ate two cups of shredded wheat with a cup of whole milk, a banana, and a scoop of protein powder: all good, nutritious clean food. Around 4 PM I came home and ate like hell, but before that I wasn’t hungry and didn’t eat a thing. It’s like my stomach suddenly wakes up in the afternoon and I can really pack it away until 7 or 8 at night.
Oh well. In spite of all the sugar I spiked my insulin with last night, I feel great with fasting today. It’s 11 AM and I haven’t had a hunger pang or a drop in energy or anything of note. Maybe I’ll shoot for a 36-er if I’m not feeling hungry tonight, to make up for filling the tank with junk last night.
I bought some keto sticks two days ago because I was curious to know whether I ever get into ketosis on fast days. I tested my urine throughout the day from 10-7 or so, and the sticks showed a trace amount of ketones every time, with the last measurement being slightly stronger, but still “trace.” I’d be interested to know whether a 36 hour fast would show anything different.
Got the results from last week’s lab work today. All of my numbers are within normal limits, which surprises me because I was hard on my body in 2016. I watched TV, played video games and ate sugary salty fattening crap, and I drank a lot more than I should have. When I consider that since my last blood work I was mostly laid out on my back, feeling depressed and stuffing myself — and gaining thirty pounds in the process — it seems like there is only one way my numbers could now be this good. Alternate. Day. Fasting.
My risk indicators for heart disease are low. My blood glucose and triglycerides are low. The human body is really an amazing thing in its capacity to safeguard and heal itself. If the numbers look similar in six months I’ll hit the doctor up to reduce or eliminate my statin dosage.
In the month of March I lost 27.5 lbs. Basically I’m back to my “pre-sickness” weight, the body shape I had when I was still working a very physical job. When I went to the doctor with pneumonia and persistent asthma which wouldn’t respond to normal treatments in December of 2015, I weighed 284. I spent the first six months of 2016 in my bedroom, watching television, and the last six months weren’t much better. I packed on 28 pounds in 2016.
This morning I weighed in at 285.4 lbs, which means I lost another five pounds this past week. I did three 36-hour fasts in the past week, meaning I skipped the low-cal meal one typically eats on a down day with modified alternate day fasting. I’ve determined two things with certainty. The first is that drinking beer, eating ice cream or otherwise ingesting large amounts of carbohydrates on up (feast) days makes me lethargic on fast days — at least for about 16-20 hours after eating. (I think they make me feel hungry more often, too.) The second is that I have problems getting to sleep if I skip the low-cal evening meal, partly because I have more energy on fast days.
The good news is that if I wished to keep doing 36’s, these are both manageable problems. In the first case, I can limit eating and drinking carbs. In the second, I shouldn’t nap or relax too much on the fast day, so I’m tired when I finally hit the mattress.
That being said, maybe I should go back to consistently eating the 500-600 calorie meal. It does make sticking to the plan easier, and it banishes fatigue and sleeping trouble. I’m experimenting, here. I’ve been watching a lot of videos on YouTube with these body-builder meatheads who seem like they are pretty fond of their mirrors, but who nevertheless extol the glories of intermittent fasting: eating all their calories within a specified time window, say, six or eight hours a day. I might try doing that in the future if I get sick of ADF.
Another 35.4 lbs to go to hit my target weight of 250, and keeping weight off is the true test of any lifestyle change. But for now, I can congratulate myself on trying something new for a month and seeing good results.
It is 9 o’clock in the morning and I have been awake since 3:45. I woke up with a headache yesterday and it remained with me throughout my fast day, which made me feel unusually oppressed and tired — though not particularly hungry — and I took a brief nap in the afternoon which probably threw my sleep off. I drove my daughter to school this morning and went to get the lab work the doctor ordered a few days ago: complete blood count, lipid panel, comprehensive metabolic panel and (for the first time ever — Hello, Middle Age) a prostate-specific antigen. I wonder if fasting for 36 hours will have an effect on the numbers.
Anyway I got home around 8, lifted weights in the garage for a half-hour, snapped some selfies, ate some breakfast and here I sit. While I am waiting to hear how my recent eating changes may have affected my insides, I took these pictures to document how this first four weeks has affected me on the outside. The photos on the left were taken before I started alternate day fasting. The photos on the right were taken this morning. Considering it has only been 30 days and I haven’t been pounding myself with hours and hours of exercise, I think the changes are noticeable, even if subtle. I’ll be really pleased if I can get enough weight off to run again without joint or tendon problems.