Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Retrospective #319: New Year’s Resolve: Lose Weight and Keep It Off

As anyone who has ever tried it knows, losing weight and keeping it off is difficult. But when my doctor suggested I try Atkins Induction in 2002, I lost 60 pounds in 40 weeks. A few years later, I re-gained 12. Then, by browsing the web, I found Dr. Richard K. Bernstein’s diet. I had by then been a diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic for 18 years, so I did Bernstein and lost 100 pounds in 50 weeks. Eventually I lost another 20 or so (170 total); then, in the ensuing years, I re-gained almost 70. Today, after 18 years, I’m down again, more than 150 pounds, but it’s a yo-yo.
From the beginning my efforts have been challenged by “compliance issues” and always somewhat confounded by culture, tradition, and habits. They all die hard. Because I’m married, for years I tried to maintain an eating pattern compatible with a “family” lifestyle, that is, a Way of Eating (WOE) consisting of 3 small meals a day. We always eat breakfast together, eat separate lunches (she says she married me for better or worse but not for lunch), and a small supper together. Our meals are spaced +/-5 hours apart, leaving a 14-hour fast after supper. My snack, if I eat one, is before supper. It could be celery with anchovy paste or sliced radishes with salt and butter, and 2 glasses of wine.
A few years ago, with renewed resolve, I decided to deal with the “compliance issue” and began to lose weight again. However, after losing about 20 pounds, my weight loss stalled. We went to Florida for the winter, and some old habits began to kick in. So, I decided a more radical approach was required to kick start my weight loss again. Then, on New Year’s Day, Andreas Eenfeldt, M.D., "The Diet Doctor," came to my rescue. As part of a bonus for being an email subscriber (not a “member”), I was entitled to watch two videos. The 2nd one did the trick for me.
In his 2016 New Year’s podcast Andreas advised a 5-step approach to weight loss, and I have adopted it. It is probably no longer on his website, so I’ll summarize it here succinctly, as I have interpreted it:
1.  Follow strictly a low carb diet.
2.  Eat ONLY when hungry. 
3.  Sleep 8 hours a night.
4.  Weigh yourself daily.
5.  Exercise (“No! Just kidding,” LOL); Andreas says: Intermittent Fasting
The two, alternate forms of Intermittent Fasting (IF) that The Diet Doctor “prescribes” are:
    a. 5:2, in which you eat “normally” for 5 days a week, and then no more than 500 calories a day on the 2 fasting days. I don’t really consider that fasting; to me, 500kcal is a meal, but it may make the idea more palatable to some.
    b. 16:8, in which you fast for 16 hours, and then eat all your food within an 8-hour window. I can do that easily. In fact, I can do better. I am never hungry in the morning. I am usually up and working or reading for 3 hours before we eat breakfast together, and I’m still not hungry then. So, I’ve started to skip breakfast. I make a cup of coffee when I rise, and I save some to take my pills at the table with my wife. Then, I eat a late lunch, my first solid food for the day, and then, later, our usual small supper, sometimes with a snack and wine before, in deference to culture, I think.
Lunch, since I’m not hungry, is very small: 1 or 2 hardboiled eggs. Alternatively, sometimes I’ll eat a can of kippered herring in brine, or, if I’ve been working hard in the yard, my old standby, a can of Brisling sardines, for the protein, in water or olive oil. (Good for Omega 3s – I also supplement with 1 gram of fish oil twice a day.)
Supper is just a small serving of protein and a low-carb vegetable roasted in olive oil or tossed in butter, or a salad tossed in my homemade vinaigrette dressing.
More recently (I originally wrote this in 2016), from time to time I also do Extended Fasts (EFs), for 2, 3 or even 5 days. They’re easier than you might think; when you eat Very Low Carb, you are essentially in ketosis. In other words, you’re “fat adapted” and burning body fat for part of every day, so you can fast without hunger while you “eat” body fat.

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