Good day, everyone!
As the title suggests, yes, I’m still doing the alternate day fasting. I’m heading into my third week.
I’m currently fasting on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. I have figured out those are the best days for me to fast. I routinely have clinics on Mondays/Wednesdays and I have found that if I’m fasting on one of these days, I lose patience with patients more easily and I’m on my feet all day so I’m burning calories and feel more hungry. In addition, we have a lot of food days and I didn’t want to miss out on those days with my doctor and mid-level.
My feeding days are, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Again, these days work best for me. Fridays and Saturdays are the days that Kevin and I go out to dinner and again, I didn’t want to miss these “dates.”
I’m only fasting three days of the week because I’ve been reading (I’ve done A LOT of reading up on this topic) that if you fast for too long, your body goes into starvation mode and instead of releasing your fat reserves for energy, it holds on to your fat because it doesn’t know when it’s getting it’s next fuel. I don’t want that to happen because if I’m going to put myself through this, I want to maximize the benefits.
So far, so good. It’s been a struggle, I won’t lie, but mainly with my Ghrelin hormone, i.e., your hunger hormone. This hormone kicks in when your body is used to eating, breakfast, lunch and dinner times. I have to keep busy and drink lots of water when that hormone rears its ugly head. But it’s manageable and not too uncomfortable, more annoying than anything else.
There have been two occasions, around 6 in the evening, where I feel like my stomach starts turning inside out and is eating itself. It’s terribly uncomfortable and borderline painful. When those times occurred, I cried uncle and ate a spoonful of peanut butter which helped calmed it down enough I could handle it. Yes, I broke my fast, but I worked hard to keep my calories under 500 calories during those times. This is not ideal and I felt like I failed when I gave in and ate just a bit, but I honestly couldn’t think of anything else, the feeling was THAT powerful. So, though not ideal, you have to do what is best for your body and at that time, I felt like I needed to do that. However, I’m going to try very hard NOT to let that happen again.
After the second time of this happening, I looked up what I could do to avoid that feeling in the future. The information I’ve found said to eat a lot of protein before your next fasting period. So, this past Wednesday night, I ate dinner, as usual, and then, before I went to bed, I heated up some frozen cauliflower, broccoli and carrots in the microwave and ate that whole bag, (well, nearly all of it) and a can of tuna and when I fasted on Thursday, I felt no hunger pangs, at all. In fact, that day was the most comfortable I’ve felt fasting. It was a breeze.
Yes. My body is getting used to these fasting periods, but I really think eating the vegetables and tuna really helped get me through the 36 hours of fasting. Because that’s what it ends up being, 36 hours of fasting. For example, tomorrow is a fasting day. So, I will eat breakfast, lunch and dinner today, won’t eat anything at all tomorrow and will break my fast at breakfast on Monday. That is roughly 36 hours of not eating anything.
I worried at first that I would want to binge eat on my feeding days after coming off a fast but so far, I haven’t experienced that. Yes, I’m hungry, but not ravenous. And I can feel my stomach has shrunk so when I do eat, I’m not gorging myself. I’m also more focused on making sure I’m eating good foods as opposed to junk food. Yes, I still eat the occasional slice of bread or sugary snack, but I’m not going overboard and quite honestly, I’m not really craving junk food that much; I find that I’m craving more good foods and they are tasting better as well.
I’m so lazy that I didn’t take my body measurements when I started this and I certainly haven’t weighed myself because I stress too much about numbers when I do that, but instead I’m focusing more on how my clothes fit. I have noticed that my scrub tops are fitting looser. I don’t have to tug on them quite as much to give myself breathing room, though they are not hanging off of me I definitely think they are looser.
I think the biggest indicator for me will be when it comes time to do my health screening with work again in the summer, when they take my blood pressure and weigh me. I’m hoping my weight drastically shows a difference, but other than that, I’m not interested in weighing myself.
Speaking of vitals, I have noticed a DRASTIC change in my resting heart rate since fasting. My resting heart rate would typically run in the high 70’s but I’ve been noticing that my Garmin is charting low 60’s now. Granted, I don’t know how accurate my Garmin tracking is, but in the three years I’ve been wearing my Garmin, my resting heart rate has NEVER been that low.
I haven’t noticed any changes in my energy levels so far. I don’t feel like I’m more tired than I was before though I do feel like my mental clarity is a bit better; I don’t feel as sluggish as I used to. And I feel like the quality of sleep I’m getting is a bit better, too, but it’s still early days.
My next plan is to start making it a goal to get 10,000 steps per day. I typically average about 7/8,000 steps on a clinic day so reaching 10,000 on those days won’t be too hard but when I’m not in clinic and sitting all day doing computer work and answering phones, I only get about 4,000 steps. I need to get back in the habit of getting right back on the treadmill when I get off work instead of changing into comfy sweats and sitting down to veg on YouTube videos. Everything I’ve been reading about fasting cautioned you about not really attempting any “hardcore” (not that I’m ever a hardcore fitness geek) exercise program right after fasting but to give yourself a few weeks to adjust to the changes before starting anything outside your normal day-to-day stuff and I feel like I’m ready to incorporate more physical activity now. So I will dust off my treadmill and start walking again.
I also plan on trying Keto coffee to see if that helps suppress my appetite on fasting days. Keto coffee is coffee, coconut oil and butter blended together. I bought coconut oil and butter last night and I just bought a foam frother on Amazon to take to work and use. I’m excited to see if the Keto coffee hype lives up to the name.
I was talking to my brother-in-law about fasting on Thanksgiving and he let me borrow his “Complete Guide to Fasting” book. I haven’t read it yet, I feel like I’ve gotten so much information about fasting from YouTube, but he says he’s done five-day water fasts before. I don’t think I’ll ever get that hardcore about fasting, but then again, I never though I would be doing what I’m doing now, so you never know.
I also downloaded an app on my phone, it’s called “My Net Diary” just to keep track of what I’m eating on my feeding days. Though I have no intention of counting calories, this has been interesting to see and it does motivate me to keep my calories under my “ideal” calorie intake in order to reach my ideal weight goal. It has become a game, of sorts, to keep my caloric intake within range. I’m hoping this, along with fasting three days a week, will accelerate my weight loss goals.
I’ll check in with you all again in a few months on my fasting journey and let you know how it’s going.
Overall, I’m very happy and excited to fast. I feel better, I will hopefully, eventually, catch sight of my chin again someday and I hope all of the research I’ve read is correct and I’m preventing Alzheimers and extending my life expectancy by fasting.