Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Retrospective #368: My 2-Month, 20-Pound Challenge

At the beginning of February 2017, I was in a unique situation. It was of my own making, and it was an opportunity to take sole responsibility for my actions. There were no confounding factors (“excuses”) or impediments to my success (or failure). It was a good test of my intentions and my integrity in taking responsibility for whichever outcome.
The circumstance: I was “home alone” for 2 months. After driving my wife to Florida after Christmas, I flew to Bogotá, Colombia, for 3 weeks to study Spanish. While there I got help translating my 16-page “Folleto” on the cause of Type 2 Diabetes and how to treat it as a dietary disease. I then flew to Aruba to join my wife at our time share for our 25th wedding anniversary, then home to New York for the winter. A week in the hot sun was more than enough for me.
So, to fulfill a commitment I had previously made to Megan Ramos (part of my “integrity test”), the Intensive Dietary Management Program Director and Clinical Educator in Jason Fung’s office in Toronto, and a Facebook friend, I decided to fast for 2 days a week. I selected Tuesdays and Thursdays. On those days I will only take a 16-oz coffee in the morning with stevia and full ounce of heavy cream; then, at night, 1 wine spritzer. Nothing else until the next day. I know this will not be difficult for me because I am not hungry. I am already sufficiently keto-adapted for my body to switch easily from whatever I eat (very-low-carb) to fat-burning to maintain energy balance and a high metabolic rate.
So, I am now cooking for myself. This is something, guys, that will teach you how much you under appreciate that your spouse cooks for you every day, as mine does. Thus, on the remaining 5 days, I will cook supper twice, each time preparing food for 2 days. On the 5th day – once a week – I will go out to dinner. That day may vary each week.
On non-fasting days, I will take the same coffee in the morning. Then, if I feel a “need” to eat something before supper, I have some cans (“tins”) in the pantry: 1) Brisling sardines in EVOO and 2) kippered herring in brine, both of which I love. The sardines, due to the fat (EVOO), are a meal in themselves. The herring, in brine, is more like a snack, but plenty since I will not be hungry. I will use them as a light or late lunch, should I decide to eat something. I will also keep on hand a few hard-boiled eggs from a local farmer if I feel the need for them, sort of like a security blanket.
Then for supper, my main dish will mostly be stove-top preparations of various cod recipes I have, or a veal stew. The cod is wild caught in the North Atlantic and flash-frozen at sea. My recipes incorporate vegetables like onions, celery, cauliflower and fennel. I cook in coconut oil, butter or olive oil and add garlic, green olives, red pepper flakes, sometimes petite cubed canned tomatoes and always lots of salt and fresh ground black pepper.  As an alternate meal, I will sometimes make a veal kidney dish or “tripa en salsa roja,” a Spanish preparation called “callos.”
The veal is from another local farmer. For the stew, I use bacon, mushrooms, and onions and brown the veal cubes in coconut oil before baking. For the kidney dish, I add mushrooms, onions and Marsala wine.  With each of these supper meals, I will drink 2 red-wine spritzers. My house wine is a Spanish Rioja called El Coto.
Just to be clear about this: On my 5 non-fasting days each week, I will take only morning coffee, an occasional “big” lunch (a 3.75 oz. can of sardines + EVOO) or a “light” lunch ( a 3.5 oz can of kippered herring in brine) and the occasional hard-boiled egg or two. Then, supper with 2 wine spritzers. The nutrient breakdown is this:
Fasting days: Calories: 225kcal; Fat: 11g; Pro: 1g; Carbs: 4.75g; Alcohol: 15g
Non-fasting: Calories: 1000-1200kcal; Fat: 45-70g; Pro: 45-85g; Carbs: 15-30g; Alcohol: 30g 
I originally wrote this on Super Bowl Sunday 2017 at 248 pounds (FBG: 104mg/dl). I started the next morning. This “manifesto” was first published on February 19, 2017, three years ago today.
Result (spoiler alert): I lost 31 pounds in 10 weeks, fasting 2 days a week and cooking for myself. My FBG average dropped from 119mg/dl before to 81mg/dl (10-week average). A1c went from 5.8% to 5.3%. Lipid Panel: Total Cholesterol: 201mg/dl; HDL: 74mg/dl; LDL: 114mg/dl; Triglycerides: 67mg/dl. My weight today (3 years later) is 225lbs, plus 8 lbs. in 3 years. I still fast from time to time, sometimes alternate day, sometimes consecutive day. It’s easy when you’re not hungry.

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