Down 39lbs in 8 Weeks (Photos)

This is the 57th day I have been alternate day fasting, so yesterday marked my eighth week on the plan. This morning I weighed 274 pounds, down from a 312 starting weight, which means I’ve lost around 39 lbs since March 1st. (If I hadn’t been eating more during the week of Easter, I would probably have shed forty pounds by now.)

But I’m not in a rush. I haven’t made any big changes since my last update except that I’ve been experimenting with longer fasts in the past couple weeks by not eating any calories on most of my down (fast) days. However, I may switch this up going forward because I’ve been noticing some fatigue and weakness in the evenings of my down days: symptoms I didn’t notice as much when I was eating the low-cal meal on the fast days. Other than on fast day evenings when I don’t eat at all, the early symptoms I experienced in the first month are gone — even feeling cold on fast days, and occasional nausea and the like. Seems like my body has adjusted.

Still, sometime in May I’d like to try a longer fast, just to see how my body handles it — maybe a 60 or 72-hr abstention. I still have a long way to go. Here’s some photos to document current progress:

8 Weeks Front8 Weeks Side





Day 44 – My Body Should Serve Me, Not the Other Way Around

It just occurred to me that I keep titling these posts with which day of alternate day fasting I’m on, but I never set out with any specific goal or time period to do this. Instead I had a goal weight target in mind: 250 lbs. There are some people who’ve been eating this way for years, but I’m not sure I could do it forever. I like fasting and I think incorporating it into my life is sustainable, but I’m not sure about ADF in particular.

Today is a feed day after a 39-hour fast. I walked five miles this morning, plus I went with the church’s youth group to walk in a pine forest last night in the dark — I’d say we went about three miles. Eight miles is a good amount of walking on an empty stomach when you’re a fatbody like me. So after I showered this morning my stomach was woke.

I really overate when we went for pizza two nights ago, and did I ever regret it: I was hungry a lot yesterday. There’s no shame in making mistakes as long as you learn from them, I tell my kids. Because some people don’t. Today I’m going to focus on putting good, nutritious food in this body so my stomach and head will fall into proper alignment with my will tomorrow.

ADF Day 22 – A Mental Giant

Socrates, Plato and Aristotle all fasted regularly for the purpose of fostering mental sharpness. During yesterday’s fast I felt very focused and alert as I did research, went for a drive, washed the cars, and whatever else I did. Once I get into ketosis my face flushes and my hands get cold and I feel like a nervous electric energy in my core. It’s hard to describe. It’s like the feeling when you’ve had too much caffeine, but with less edge. Whatever the explanation, it makes me feel like I have heightened acuity up top.

I went for a walk/jog around 5:30 PM yesterday, just two miles. The tendinitis in my right heel is still nagging, so if I’m going to keep walking I guess I’d better stop being in a rush and just walk. It’s hard to do that though, after running off and on for almost my entire adult life.

I had a huge salad — about 500 cals’ worth — around 7 PM and felt overfull afterwards. Tomorrow I may have to make a smaller salad. I’m thinking about breaking up the salad routine with “breakfast for dinner” once in a while on the fast days: four large eggs cooked in butter only have 270 calories and provide a nice dose of protein and fat. If I was hungry after eating four eggs I could always have a salad. Or I could mix them, but I’m not sure whether I’d put the eggs in the salad or the salad in the eggs.

Anyway I weigh myself again on Friday, two days from now. I ordered a smart scale yesterday so I can start keeping better track of my weight from week to week on my phone. We have one of those old scales with a needle from like my grandparent’s day. It basically gets the job done but I think it’s just guesstimating.

It’s almost 1:30 in the afternoon here on my feed day and I just finished lunch — so I’m full — and I still have almost 2000 calories in the budget for the rest of the evening. If a person isn’t drinking soda or gulping down ice cream and cake I don’t understand how he could binge on an alternate day fasting regimen. You’d have to want to overeat.

Alternate Day Fasting Day 13

I enjoyed my up day yesterday. I didn’t go wild with the feasting and had a nice, stable Sunday. I ate fairly clean. I was up early, though, and Daylight Savings Time also robbed me of an hour, which means I didn’t get much sleep. So I napped in the afternoon. For too long, as it were.

So today has been a whopper of a fast day. I slept maybe five hours last night. It’s grey and raining and cold outside. Cloudy weather has always given me the blues and made me feel sleepy; I want to eat when I have the blues and feel sleepy. I’m also still feeling the cold more on the down days; I want to eat whenever I feel cold. I didn’t have any specific cravings or thoughts of food today except for dreaming of a cup of cream-of-crab soup, which is a hot, super-fattening calorie-dense comfort food from the Delmarva peninsula where I used to live.

I’ve noticed I’m more thirsty on fast days than I am on up days. I suppose that has something to do with getting water from food on days when I’m eating.

So today wasn’t easy, but I stayed busy and made an effort to deflect negative thoughts whenever they assailed me. I made it through and I can eat my low-cal meal anytime after now because last I ate was 23 hours ago. Which brings me to one more interesting thing: my stomach seems to holler right around the 24-hour mark. It’s growling right now. Maybe I’ll wait a while longer just to spite it.

ADF Day 12

Yesterday was the easiest fast day so far. In fact, it was amazing. I got hungry at 11 AM, 3:30 PM, and 6:30 PM (right before I ate), but I noticed that the discomfort only lasted 5-10 minutes before passing. It seems the rumors are true that the fast day becomes a lot easier within 7-10 days. I spent the day reading and writing three essays; my energy and mental focus throughout the day were excellent. I wasn’t sluggish and I barely thought about food.

Today is a feed day. I’m not going to bother tracking my calories anymore on feed days, because after a few days of inputting everything into MyFitnessPal I realize I won’t break my “maintenance” calories on the up day unless I really pig out, and I mean eating carbs and sugar and cakes and pies and ice cream and craft beer and red meat all day from dawn to dusk. If I get to a point where I’m not losing weight, I’ll start tracking the up-day calories again.

Conflict of action and inertia

Three o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, July 13, 2014. We went to church this morning despite the fact that I’m not feeling well lately. The pastor spoke a corrective message about not sitting on your ass your whole life pretending everything’s fine. Not quite those words but that was the basic gist of things.

I am sick and tired. I haven’t done anything very productive today. Or yesterday. I washed some dishes to try and help out. Things have been a little crazy at work since July 4th. Couple of managers — off-kilter females — trying to make trouble and cussing me out and whatnot.

I was too tired to call anyone this week. I do not have friends. It’s natural that I treat people the way I have been treating God: flippantly.

I am sin sick and weary. I will go mow the grass.

The Tyranny of the Righteous

I have two aunts on my late father’s side. One lives in Syracuse New York and once dabbled in Christianity of the Presbyterian sort. The other lives in Washington state and is a Southern-Gospel listenin’, Bible smackin’, crew-cut wearin’ Baptist hippie type who I think shelters herself in the biggest quasi-religious Jesus bubble of all time. She “unfriended” me on Facebook after reading a statement by an acquaintance of mine who happens to be an atheist. This was his comment: “Maybe humanity doesn’t need saving. Maybe it needs to be wiped out so we can start over and build something that doesn’t suck.”

I laughed because God once expressed a similar sentiment. I “liked” the comment, which is a way of giving a thumbs-up to an item someone posts on Facebook. I don’t agree with his viewpoint, but every so often in the less inspired moments it makes sense that mankind is unsalvageable. My aunt made the first comment in the thread: “God could have, but He sent Christ my Savior, His only Begotten Son to die for humanity instead.”

She wrote these words, my acquaintance pointed out that God actually DID destroy humanity and start over, and in the face of a challenge my aunt chose to simply ignore what he said and subsequently unfriended me, her blood kin and a fellow believer. And I was left wondering how anyone can say she believes in a God who works miracles — who walks on water and moves mountains — but is unable or unwilling to give her Divine strength to love or show any kind of grace or care or affection for the members of her own family. I mean seriously, what the hell is up with that?

My one and only childhood memory of my Aunt is that she and her brood were supposed to meet my family and my Grandfather (her dad) for lunch somewhere and she stood us up. No phone call. Just empty seats at a table in the restaurant. Maybe she went to church to dance around and shout herself silly and thump a Bible. I don’t think I’ve ever met her: she knows me and is as close to my world as Pluto. So since she doesn’t know me and doesn’t WANT to know me, it’s no big loss really that she cut off our one and only tie ever.

Anyway, the unfriending of Steve Hobbs occurred sometime in the past 24 hours and it jogged thoughts I’ve had lately about a dynamic I will call the Tyranny of the Righteous. The Tyranny of the Righteous is what Jesus Christ had to buck up against for his entire time on earth: it was His primary adversary. It was like an infection in the minds and spirits of everyone — especially His disciples.

Put simply, the Tyranny of the Righteous is the opinion of religious people concerning what you should be doing with your life, how your talents and abilities should be used, and a formulaic, static approach to understanding “how God works” and the final destination of His purposes. (Some folks believe they can figure that out.)

The Tyranny of the Righteous is what made children seem like a waste of time to the disciples. It’s what made the populace try to force Jesus to be king of Israel. It’s why the religious leaders could not accept the words or work of Jesus. It’s why the two men on the road to Emmaus were so sad and disappointed in Christ because, they said, “we had hoped.” It’s why, after all the blood and tears of the crucifixion and the wonder and shock of the resurrection, the last question the disciples could muster before Jesus ascended was about their perception of what He should be doing concerning the little earthly kingdom of poor lonely Israel. Everyone had hopes and expectations that Jesus would be a certain way and work towards obvious ends but over and over He let them down. It wasn’t until after He was physically gone that anyone got a clue.

I’ve encountered it myself from Jessica and from friends and folks from church. People think, “You’re a teacher, Steve. You should be teaching a Bible study.” And the underlying sentiment is that if I don’t teach a Bible study I am somehow missing the purpose of God for my life. But this short-sightedness precludes the fact that I have been a good teacher elsewhere, for work. I’ve been paid for teaching. I have had university professors tell me that I should do whatever is necessary to become a teacher at the collegiate level. Perhaps teaching is supposed to be my career. Or perhaps the purpose of God is that my gift for transmitting ideas and emotions will reach a broader audience through my writing: after all, writing is and has always been my preferred vehicle for communicating.

Here’s the deal: there’s only one form of work I’ve ever done that hasn’t felt like work. That’s the process of writing. It’s not that I’m following a dollar, or even a dream. True, I think it would be nice if I could support my family doing something I love. But the primary reason I write isn’t because I think I’ll ever be able to quit my day job; it’s the pure joy of creation, of conjuring up characters and settings and making them think and move and breathe. It’s magic. Pure magic.