Another Fast Day. It’s been going well, getting back into it, although I do get hungry at about 11am. A cup of tea (the British cure for everything) usually does the trick in sorting that out, but the things that pop into my head as ideal right now are foods, not tea.

Sometimes, fasting days are a effortless, sometimes they are excruciating but mostly they are somewhere in between. Today seems to be a bit of a drag, especially as I have a late meeting I have to minute this evening and I may not be able to concentrate without food in my system. I’m going to try anyway, though.

[categories fast day]

Today’s Food Day was also quite difficult. I was surprised to note that the Food Day morning I wasn’t hungry and went through the morning without being hungry at all (compared to how I felt when I wasn’t fasting-fooding, that’s great. I used to be like the very hungry caterpillar and hence gained rather a lot of extra poundage). So not being hungry seemed like a good time not to eat – except at midday a chocolate and cherry cake appeared (a colleague’s birthday) so I had that, enjoyed it enormously, but within 20 minutes felt like a stone had been dropped on me. My stomach was cramping, I felt decidely unwell and realised that eating a slice of cake after a day of fasting was perhaps not the most sensible thing to have done.

So I went and bought a sandwich – some sensible food with protein in it and felt marginally better. I later got really hungry and had some caramel chocolate and felt wonderful again (in case you think the moral of the story was to lay off the sugar),

Next time cake is offered for me to break my fast with, I think I’d better make sure to have something ‘vernünftig ‘ (sensible) to eat first or immediately after.

We had Fish Pie for dinner (incredibly rich and creamy, definitely not a diet food) and I loved every creamy delicious mouthful. TSC is an exceedingly good cook.

I had a Food Day yesterday and ate reasonably generously. I’m definitely hungrier than normal though. I started to get an appetite quite quickly after eating and even before The Sous Chef. In the past, he would be the one scrabbling around for something to eat while I’d be a million miles from feeling hungry. Typically I stuggle to keep up with his eating. Why am I suddenly the very hungry caterpillar? That my appetite has ratcheted up seems to explain the weight gain recently. I’m hungrier more often and for more food.

During my revision time I started off eating to appetite. Then I started to eat above appetite. I was eating for the pleasure of it and since I was not fasting (and not aiming to lose weight) I ate the foods I liked and did so even when not hungry. Inevitably, my weight crept upwards but I continued to indulge my appetite. I got about 10lbs heavier but then the exam came and went. I decided to get back to ADF again. Except now it was harder. It’s as if my expected food amount was now set at a higher level than it had been before I’d even started the fasting. I got hungrier much sooner and I wanted more. I am going to have to retrain my appetite.

After the exam I did a week of Fast5 type eating but at the weekend I let go due to a dinner party and a long walk with mushrooming involved (and a risotto dinner of our finds). I gained an inordinate amount of weight as a result of that dinner party. I overate by a LOT and unfortunately not out of greed but out of politeness. The baked potato was rather undercooked but I forced it down anyway, on top of beef casserole. I dutifully finished my plate (piled up by someone else) and felt uncomfortably stuffed (I hate feeling stuffed). Then we realised the time and TSC and I had to say hurried goodbyes and run to the train station (about 2 miles away) on overfilled bellies. This is DO NOT recommend. I felt nauseous, my stomach bloated horribly, I lay in bed with my over-stretched belly full of undercooked potato.

My weight went up again and undid what I’d lost doing Fast 5. Depressing but hey. Moving on.

Today is a Fast Day and so far so good, really. I had some tummy grumbles at about noon (again, much earlier than I used to get) but cups of tea have kept me going. Strangely, I don’t feel very much fatter than before. The only thing that stands out is that I have a poochy tummy right now. This is the first thing to go when I lose weight (I’m a pear shape, after all) so I look forward to having a waist and flat stomach again soon, but in terms of my most despised areas, I see no different. That’s a shame because you need some sort of reward for when things get tough. If I have fat thighs no matter what, what’s the point?

Also, I’ll be doing a big cycle ride soon and so whatever I do now is sort of pointless. Come February, I’ll be burning up thousands of calories a day for a year, anyway. I won’t be able to fast then nor will I be tracking my weight or calories in any way, so really this is a very very very short term endeavour (until end of January).

Part of me wonders whether to bother with fasting at all before we go but then again, the less weight I carry with me to start the trip, the easier it’ll be. Plus the poochy tummy is a bit of a bother and thirdly, I need reminding that I can do this if I want to. I’m not a control freak in other areas of my life, but I don’t like the feeling of having a weight I have no power to manipulate if I want to. I don’t like being fatter (I don’t mean that in a self-insulting way, but ‘fuller-bodied’ seems like such a euphemism) and not having the power to change that.

so I’m continuing with ADF primarily for weight reasons now, since I know I’ll have to give it up while away next year but can resume it (for health reasons) thereafter.

I’ve been off the fasting again, as I couldn’t concentrate on my revision on my down days. Since my exam results are more important to me than feeling bloated or the circumference of my behind, I felt I’d give up fasting for now. Plus I was curious what my body would do with unlimited eating. Would it find a new set point?

Well, it turns out it does. I stayed pretty stable at 151lbs for quite a while and now, I’ve been sneaking upwards again (I’m 153lbs today). I don’t want to be that big, so now I’m going back to ADF again. Today is a down day and I started the day off absolutely famished. My stomach was rumbling before 10am even and I thought: how am I going to manage this?!

But, as the day went on, I got less hungry. Whatever hormones it is that blocks the appetite that are fasting-triggered, well I got those and thankful for ‘em, too. It’s been easy Fast day so far and tomorrow I can have a Food Day and have what I like.

I tried 24 hour fasting but decided it’s just not for me. For one thing, it’s too easy to overeat, as I can squeeze in a dinner (typically the largest meal of the day) on every single day. I also found that I still got bloated, which a typical 36 hour fast can sort out in one go. The bloating bothered me and so did the complete lack of any weightloss. That makes me think 24 hour fasting is good idea for maintaining (but not losing) weight. This is something to keep in mind for later. It might be the way to go when we’re doing our massive cycle trip next year.

So, I’m back to my old alternate day schedule, which means no food today and I’m sticking just to tea and water. I’m a little bit afraid that I’ll get those low days, where I feel unable to do anything, feel cold and just want to curl up and die. I had a few of those (which seemed to be an electrolyte imbalance) so I think having a small bite of something before bed should be ok, so long as it’s not meal-sized. That should also stop me obsessing about food at bedtime (it’s rare but has kept me awake in the past). I don’t want to do something that entails suffering because that’s what makes it unsustainable for the long term. I need to tweak this so it works for me.Otherwise, instead of my enormous thighs being the source of my dissatisfaction, it’ll be the rigid eating pattern that makes me miserable. That’s not a good deal.

Today has been the second fast day and it’s been pretty ok. I’ve had a few moments of  ‘damn, I wish I could eat something right now’ but overall it’s been pretty easy. It helps that I’m at home all day and not doing anything more strenuous than a bit of housework this morning.

Actually, the fact that I decided to wax a door, polish the dining table and chairs and sweep/mop the floor means I’m getting that energy boost that fasting gives me. It seems a little early for that to happen but maybe it’s because I was alrady 24 hour fasting previously. Euphoria should happen soon.

I’m back from France and we cycled for 7 out fo the 8 days and ate heartily. I realised once again that I simply cannot keep up with TSC in his eating. He eats so MUCH and so frequently!

anyway, I still ate heartily and getting back was surprised that I gained very little (0.4lbs in fact) despite the very frequent inout of calories (and it’s not the cycling that was burning it off. We had pretty easy days mostly).

So now I’m onto 24 hour fasting. It’s easy as long as I have something to drink when I feel hungry and review whether I’m still hungry 10 minutes after drinking something (generally not). We made a curry again last night and this morning I’ve gained weight DESPITE the fasting. I also have a bit of a tummy even after a fast day. This does not seem to be working as well as the alternate day fasting. Not even close, in fact. I lost a fraction after France and one week later I’m up a smidge again. I’d say it doesn;t work. Not in reducing bloat, not in losing weight and doesn’t produce euphoria. I’ve not got back on my bike since France so it might be the complete and total lack of exercise (I’m stuck at home working on my uni stuff until next week, after that it’s back to work and commuting by bike again).

I’m depressed about my body situation.

I’ve been doing the 24 hour fasting and it does seem to be working. I don’t have any of the bloating and I don’t fell sluggish. My weight is dropping quite drastically but I’m guessing the 153 I was at the start was going to be temporary anyway, after a hefty weekend of eating out.

One thing I’m really pleased to notice is that it’s easier than alternate day fasting. I no longer go to bed hungry. I can always have dinner if I want to, just the time of dinner varies but I still get to have prolonged periods of fasting.

Here are some of the things I prefer to ADF:

On my eating days, I stop eating at 7.30 pm and if I have a late lunch (something I always prefer) than I don’t even want dinner, mostly. If I do want to taste that dinner, I can take just a tiny amount, as I am not ravenous. I’m also not a ‘failure’ for wanting to have a taste of what TSC is having.

On my fast days I know I can eat later that evening. I know I won’t go to bed hungry and I don’t go into the foetal position for lack of electrolytes either.I also feel I can have a small or lighter dinner because I’m not preparing myself for an all day fast tomorrow. This reduces how much I eat on my eating days AND reduces the anxiety about it.

The disadvantage is that I could still potentially overeat. I could have massive dinners every day and am really only skipping breakfast and lunch every other day. So far I’ve not been doing that, if anything, my dinner’s have been lighter than usual. I don’t know whether that’s because I’m less worried about fasting the following day or whether I overate so much last week that my body has decreased my appetite to get me back to my set point (and thenshould I fall to below that set point, my appetite will increase again and I’ll be chowing down enormous dinners every night and wondering why my fasting isn’t helping me lose weight).

I’m still just testing this out. I’d like to get back to the 142 pounds I was before but I (surprisingly) still feel pretty much okay with my body. It’s not perfect, I have all the same flaws as before but I just seem to be a little bit less hard on myself. As long as I properly dress what I have, who cares. It’s not like I earn a living from thin thighs. I’d just rather be happy and feel good.

I’m trying out 24 hour fasting with 7.30pm as the switch over. That means today I’m not eating anything until 7.30 tonight.  I don’t know whether that would lead to me losing any weight but I’m hoping it’ll sort out the bloating and generally ‘ugh-ness’ I feel when I eat ‘normally’.

I don’t see how I can ever go back to eating three meals every day without feeling like crap. I don’t know whether the fasting periods do something somewhere with hormones that improves how I feel or whether it’s something in the types of food I’m eating (as in a food intolerance that is worsened by repeated exposure to the culprit) or what. I really don’t want to be intolerant to a food because I love variety and novelty in my foods. I don’t want to avoid anything unless I know for certain I don’t like it and even then I keep retrying it, just in case my palate has changed (olives worked, red wine worked, anchovies worked,  eggs are a work in progress, same with ale).

I’ve stepped on the scales and I am back to where I started both in weight and in inches and that bothers me a lot less than I expected. I’m not overweight so I’ve only gone from ‘normal weight’ to ‘normal weight’ but it’s still shocking how quickly I can gain weight compared to how slowly I can lose it. I gained in three weeks what I lost in three months. I know people who have the reverse of that (can’t gain weight no matter how hard they try).  Of course all weightlosers hate these people, but I realise trying to gain and not being rewarded for work put in there is just as frustrating (although with less social disapproval for the current body).

I’m hoping that switching to 24 hour fasting will mean I can do it while we’re cycle-touring in France. It’s hilly where we’re going and I’m not sure 36 hour fasting is that wise if we need to cover 50 miles the next day. Plus, part of  France is enjoying the food so I don’t want to feel like I’m missing out.

Yesterday I ate breakfast and lunch (actually that’s not quite true. I had two apricots, two slices of bread and a yoghurt during the day) and then had an early dinner of Gobi ka Salan (a new curry recipe made with peanuts and sesame seeds. (Pretty yummy, actually) and a rhubarb crumble (next door’s rhubarb) with custard so today I’m fasting until 7.30 tonight when I switch over to eating again.

I’m not sure how well this new system is  going to work cos I could potentially eat quite a lot. Have dinner every day, for example,  but so far I’ve lost a little weight, although I might have done anyway. My highest weight of 153lbs was almost certainly due to attending two birthday parties and spending a weekend at TSC’s family’s place (where the skinnies are always eating) and when you go above your body’s preferred set-point, it sheds pounds with apparent ease. I’m only losing pounds my body wanted rid of anyway. I reckon my set point is about 146 pounds. Anything above that I can lose easily. If I’m below that, I gain easily. 140 seems to be my absolute zero. It’d take a famine for me to fall below that.

Anyway, after France I’ll be trying out the 24 hour fasting for real, for now I’m just practising.

I’ve not been fasting at all in the last few weeks. I think I last fasted middle of last month, so about three weeks ago. I also have not weighed myself and just completely took a break from all that.

I ate according to appetite except for the last week, where I ate even when not hungry (we were away and had three course meals two days in a row – rich food at that).

The result has been considerable physical discomfort for me but I couldn’t go back to fasting as soon as I wanted to because we were going away (TSC’s parents’ 70th birthday bash). When I say physical discomfort, I mean being horrendously bloated (it felt like my stomach was stretching and going to burst. I was the human Hindenburg and deflating wasn’t that pleasant for all concerned, either). I could not relax my abdominal muscles, trying to do so made my belly hurt, like I was overstretching something. I guess that means I was holding my tummy in a lot so I’ll probably have a six pack by the end of the week (kidding – if only!)

We are back home again and although we’re off to France for some cycle touring from Friday, I’m alternate day fasting this week because frankly, I can’t stand NOT to anymore.  I’m going to try 24/24 fasting to see whether I prefer that, although alternate days worked for me, too. It’s just that with 24/24 I don’t have to go to bed hungry or be so ‘nesh’.

I don’t think I can possibly convey to you guys just how awful I felt while not fasting and yet somehow, I didn’t want to have a fast day and then, when I did want to fast, it was just inconvenient. While we were away at the 70th birthday weekend events I noticed my brown trousers (the ones I CANNOT wear without a belt) fitted perfectly. Not snug but no belt was necessary.

Crap. That means I’ve grown a bigger behind again. Three months of weightloss gone in two weeks. I must never underestimate my body’s propensity to gain weight. It does it at the drop of a hat, without me needing to stuff myself.  Thin people out there who think fat people must just stuff their faces all day to get to that size have no idea. It just has to be certain bodies prefer to store fat (or can do it better) than others. TSC eats far far more than I do and even with similar activity levels he gains weight with extraordinary difficulty (and loses it very quickly). His body does not like to store fat. His whole family is like that with the exception of his mother (who isn’t overweight just not skinny-looking like the rest). God it’s so unfair and while I am not overweight myself, I very much sympathise with people who are.

So tomorrow is a food day and I’ll weigh myself to assess the damage. I dread finding out how much I’ve gained. It took me three months to get from 150lbs to 142lbs. If I’m above my starting weight, I might just cry (not really but it’d be a kick in the teeth and going away next week is going to be ruined if all I can think about is what an enemy food is (it shouldn’t have to be like that. Why can’t I just eat when I’m hungry like TSC does and stay the same??!)

I seem to have fallen off the wagon lately. I’m deliberately not weighing myself until August to make sure I don’t obsess about weight because, frankly, that’s just a really sad thing to do. My body is healthy whether I’m 64kg or 67kg.  Those three kilos do not mean anything except  a measure of how heavy my body is at a given time. I really want to let go of worrying about that sort of stuff but at the same time I’m afraid my body weight will get out of control. I don’t know why I feel I have to control it apart from the vanity aspect of it. It irks me that I worry about it.

The result of not weighing myself has somehow disrupted my fasting schedule, too. Last week I decided I was just not going to fast. Not at all. I don’t know why I decided that, I can find no reason for it but I decided anyway. No weighing and no fasting but also no reason. A holiday from it? a resetting? I don’t know. I really don’t.

This week, though, I planned to get back into it. I planned to go back to fasting every other day like I used to. I’ve even had days where I’ve just not been hungry at all and yet, then I’ve eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don’t know why. I’ve truly not been hungry and yet thought: “mmmh, some beans on toast would be lovely. Yes, I’ll have some with you” when TSC was making himself some for dinner. Even though I wasn’t hungry, wasn’t tempted by them, could easily have skipped it and yet I had some.

I can’t figure out why I’ve completely stopped even when I know it would be easy. It’s not that foods have tempted me. It’s not that I’ve had to stare down a doughnut or resist a yoghurt, so why am I eating anyway??!

I’m looking to other life-events to give me a clue but I’m not entirely convinced, either.

It is true that I am stressed out with my current course. I got a major piece of work back the other day and my mark was lower than I’d like. It was disheartening (and also galling because I was being marked down because I had pinned my findings onto a chapter in our textbook because I thought we had to link our research to the course materials. Turns out not, I had skewed my research too much and was marked down for it. This was galling because at the time of writing my report I was quietly crapping myself that I hadn’t been linking my research to the course materials very much and so tried to shoehorn the themes of the chapter into my work. That was wrong it turns out and it makes me want to bite into my mousemat with frustration.

But I cannot dwell on that assignment too much (even though it means an end to hope of getting a 1:1 for my degree)  as I have my next assignment to do and I am. Lost. At. Sea. I have not felt this adrift in my study materials since the beginning of the course and I don’t know where to start. I’m studying the material but nothing seems to stick. I am concerned about studying the material and getting the essay finished in time but I hadn’t realised how much until my body starts displaying all the regular symptoms of distress.

  • Cold sore the size of texas?  check
  • anxiety dreams?  –  check
  • nightmares, sometimes loudly vocal ?  – check (thank goodness I don’t sleep alone)
  • night sweats? (not an article of clothing)  – check
  • tearfulness not attributable to PMS?  – check
  • excessive baking* activity? – check
*(biscottes, almond cookies, swedish christmas cookies, raspberry ripple cake, cupcakes, sourdough, rye rolls, cinnamon nutella cake, bagels,)

so maybe it’s the anxiety I have surrounding my assignment, the disappointment of the previous one, the fact that I’m not at work every day anymore (I’m off until September as my contract is for only 44 weeks of the year).

Even today, I woke up without feeling in the slightest bit hungry and yet I had a bowl of muesli for breakfast. I don’t know why but I just thought: don’t fast today. It would have beeneasy to so why did I just decide not to??!

Don’t get me wrong, my non-fasting days have not been uncontrollable binges  of the sort that lead bulimics to purge (I’ve never been there). I don’t find myself shovelling crap in and not being able to stop. My eating days have been just regular meals. A small breakfast, a bit of lunch, a dinner, some fruit and yet that despite not being very hungry AND wanting to fast.

Maybe I’ll fast tomorrow, or go for the remaineder of the day. One bowl of muesli is kinda like a JUDDD style system and it hasn’t made me hungry (weirdly, normally carbs set me off).

*sigh* I don’t know why I can’t seem to want to fast. Maybe today will get me back on track

What is alternate day fasting?

Alternate day, also called intermittent fasting is simple: you eat whatever, however and whenever you like one day and abstain from all food the next day and follow that with another day of unlimited eating. You just keep alternating these days. There are variations on this but all involve some form of prolonged period (usually at least 15 hours) without food. Okay, so it sounds a bit nuts, but this way of eating has been associated with significant health benefits including insulin regulation, improved cholesterol, asthma symptoms, calming inflammatory responses and is implicated with longevity in studies on other mammals (a human study is in the works but of course we have many years yet before we'll know whether the human participants live to 100 or not). Typically about one week into this most people get a bit of a high, a euphoric effect and some see weight-loss. It might seem counter-intuitive, but contrary to expectations, you do not want to shovel all and any food down your throat on the Food Days. You tend to eat quite normally. This way of eating suits me very well. It won't suit everyone.
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