Food, Getting into Shape

Alternate Day Fasting: Two-Week Update

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.

Getting into Shape

Re-Thinking My Fasting Journey

In case you were not aware, I watch a lot of YouTube videos.

The sort of videos I watch vary: from Drag Queens, Disney vlogs, family vlogs, reading/writing vlogs and anything else that captures my interest.

Like this video:

I’m not an athletic person. I don’t like to participate in sports, though I was a pretty good volleyball player in high school. I tried out for track one year but my heart started a weird flutter thing and it scared me enough to stop that nonsense.

I worked out two years straight in my early 40’s – I got up at 4:30 AM, went to the gym and worked out on the weights and treadmill; I was in the best shape of my life in that time period. But I burned out and have never gone back to the gym since.

I have spurts where I religiously use my treadmill at home, but those spurts only last a few months, again, I get burned out.

I think I’m ready to start one of those spurts again.

But walking … I’ve always enjoyed walking. It’s calming, takes very little effort from me and it leaves me free to focus on my thoughts, think through things, and just fade away from my every day life for a bit.

And I enjoy hiking. Kevin and I have gone to the Rockies a few times and really enjoyed the hiking trails. I would like to go back someday but I want to be in better shape so we can hike longer and more often.

So this video really caught my attention. It was interesting and inspiring and I really respect what these women endured – it’s not for the faint of heart. You have to be willing to be uncomfortable, hungry and physically taxed.

But think of the experience! The feeling of isolation, peace and appreciation for God’s gift to man (the Earth, in case that was unclear).

I wonder, if my life had been a bit different, if I hadn’t met Kevin when I did, hadn’t gotten married, had kids, until later in life, if I would have had the courage to do something like this. I have nieces/nephews who are quite adventurous and have participated in hikes and backpacked across lands, stayed in hostels and just LIVED. And I admire their strength and courage to even try those types of things.

I would like to think I would have done the same thing when I was their age, but I don’t think I would have. I was (am) fiercely independent but I don’t think I had the courage to do something like this. Maybe with friends and only with friends who knew what they were doing. I was very nervous about the unknown back then. I remember being very nervous any time we left the city, like if we left the city, we were venturing into alien country and in that alien country there would be no food, water, Wal-Mart. *laugh* I used to get so wound up and uptight whenever we traveled and I know it wasn’t fun for Kevin to put up with my neuroses.

But quite honestly, since working in the medical field, I’ve lost that nervousness when it comes to people and dealing with the unknown. Because every every day is a new adventure and you never know what patients will throw at you on a given day, I’ve learned to roll with the punches and I’m much more relaxed about things. I know this because the last few trips we’ve made, and there have been hiccups, (translation: it didn’t go exactly as I wanted it to go), I’ve just shrugged and been like, “Okay. But did we die?”

I think this video has pushed me over the edge of my hesitation to get back into shape. I’ve gotten back to the point where I’m winded if I vacuum the house. Yikes. I’ve also been watching videos about intermittent fasting and this video also inspired me to try that again.

I did intermittent daily fasting for about six weeks and I felt great, though I had a lot of heartburn. I’m not sure why that occurred but it was so uncomfortable that I stopped.

But watching the video where the girl intermittently fasted every other day has intrigued me and I think I will try that. Honestly, fasting is not hard for me. I could care less about food as a whole and if it wasn’t for the heart burn, I would have continued the daily fasting routine. (In hindsight, I think my electrolytes were off. I will definitely be more mindful of that this go around).

I think I will try something different this go around. I’m going to try fasting on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, (because those are the most realistic days for my schedule), and try and keep my calories between my TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and my BMR (basal metabolic rate) number. After using this calculator, I figure I need to keep my calories on eating days around 1800 calories per day and if I am so ravenous on my fasting days, eat about 500 calories to take the edge off, at least in the beginning. It looks like I need to keep my calorie intake around 2100 calories per day once I start walking again, and 2400 calories when I fully get back into my walking routine.

But then again, after doing a bit of research about intermittent fasting, is counting calories really the best way to go?

So .. maybe counting calories isn’t the way to go. I tell you what, I’m going to start this process and just wing it because I have no idea at this point what will and won’t work for me. But I’m ready to try and figure it out.

Of course, this is the absolute worst time to start something like this, right before the holidays and all the holiday goodies, so I need to stay realistic and allow myself to cheat here and there because if I don’t, then I’ll obsess about it and be more likely to stop all together.

Now I need to download a calorie counter app – there are only a MILLION of them. I want something that all I have to do is plug in the food and it automatically calculates the number. I don’t want to think about it too much, I just want to know.

I also need to take pictures to document my progress and no, I won’t be posting them, don’t even think about it. *laughs*

I’m not fat, per se, but my BMI is considered obese. (Though to be perfectly fair, I feel like the BMI standards are a bit unrealistic nowadays but maybe that’s just me trying to justify my BMI).

I’m tired of feeling puffy. I’m tired of looking puffy in pictures. It’s time to take control of my body and I can certainly make better choices about what I put in my mouth. (*insert dirty joke here*)

I hope this post inspires you in some way. If you want to look and feel good, the only person who can make that happen is YOU.

Time to practice what I preach – starting next week – because let’s be real – Thursday is Thanksgiving!