Note: This “Retrospective” was originally written in early 2017 and reports of an alternate-day fasting experiment I undertook then with the goal of losing 20 pounds in 2 months. As you will see, it was quite remarkable. Read on to see how.
“As you read this, I will be 4 weeks into my 2-month, 20-pound challenge, but I write this after only 1 week “in.” If you don’t know what prompted me to do this, read Retrospective #368 to learn my motivation and other particulars.
The short report: IN THE 1ST WEEK I LOST 11 POUNDS AND LOWERED MY FBG AVERAGE BY 19 POINTS TO 100MG/DL. If you’re overweight (as I am) and prediabetic or a 30-year diagnosed type 2 (as I am), even though theoretically my type 2 diabetes is “in remission,” and that outcome doesn’t pique your interest, you may as well stop reading.
The “challenge” is to stay on my current eating pattern 5 days a week and to fast on the other two. My current eating pattern is coffee with pure stevia powder and a slug of 36% full whipping cream in the morning. Then, only if I am hungry during the day, to eat either a light lunch (smoked herring in brine), a “big” lunch (a small can of brisling sardines in EVOO), or a snack (H-B egg). My main meal (supper) is a stove-top preparation of cod with vegetables or a veal stew. Alternatively, I occasionally make tripe in salsa roja or veal kidney with mushrooms, onions and Marsala.
This week I had cod with tomatoes, green olives and red pepper flakes Sunday and Monday. Then, I bought 2 pounds of tripe and made 4 suppers: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I fasted on Tuesday and Thursday. On fasting days, besides morning coffee, I had 1 red wine spritzer at “happy” hour; on “feasting” days I had 2 red wine spritzers.
Next week (M, W) I will do different cod preparations (fennel and/or celery in chicken broth). I’ll also make a romaine salad with mushrooms, hazel nut pieces and shaved Pecorino Romano, with my homemade vinaigrette dressing.
During the last week I ate a light lunch (2 H-B eggs) the day after the 1st fast day and a snack (1 H-B egg) after the 2nd fast day. Saturday, I had a small can of pork liver pâté for lunch. There was no other need or occasion to have “lunch” or to snack during the day or after supper all week. Saturday night, after attending a jazz concert, I went “off plan” and stopped at a restaurant on the way home (in February in New York) and had 2 stingers in front of a roaring fire.
And that’s all there was to it, folks. Eleven pounds (okay, half or more of that was water), but the pounds just dropped off after each full day of fasting. My body maintained a high metabolic rate (translation: I felt great and had lots of energy and no hunger or cravings). It did this by transitioning from obtaining energy from the food I ate (S, M, W, F, S) to obtaining energy from breaking down and burning body fat on Tuesday and Thursday.
My perennial goal is to maintain my FBG average below 100mg/dl (and maintain it low and steady during the day). I hope thus to reduce my A1c from the current 5.8% to 5.5% or lower, perhaps as low as 5.0%.
My interim weight goal for this 2-month challenge is to get down to 228 (BMI=32). That’s still considered “obese” in the BMI chart. So, I can’t derive too much satisfaction from the first week. I have to persist and be satisfied with a slower pace going forward, spurred on each week by the 2 days each week of my modified form of full-day fasting.
I know that this is entirely reasonable because several years ago I lost 100 pounds in a year (without full-day fasting) by strictly adhering to a Very Low Carb program (30g/d). But the fasting part is not difficult since you don’t experience hunger or cravings. As I read in a tweet this week from @SBakerMD, “Beat cravings and you win.” He’s right, of course. That’s the beauty of a Very Low Carb diet. By the way, Dr. Baker eats an all-meat (grass-fed) diet (“zero carb”).
So, that’s the 1st week’s progress report. I’ll write another next week (2 weeks “in”). I expect progress to slow a lot, but I am hopeful that my FBG average will drop below 100 and that the weight loss will continue apace.I fully expect to continue to have a stepped-up metabolism, to feel great and have lots of energy…and no hunger, including on fasting days. Because my body is already “fat adapted,” that is burning fat (body or dietary) at its primary fuel. That is why I’m not hungry ever, and why I feel pumped even (especially?) when I’m full-day fasting.