Saturday, March 7, 2020

Retrospective #385: My 2nd and (Hopefully) Last 30-lb Challenge: Half-time Report

This report on full-day fasting is from early 2017. If you’ve had enough already,skip ahead or just read the conclusion and discussion.
This is my 2nd 30-lb Challenge since I started to experiment with full-day fasting after the Super Bowl. This one did not start off well. In the first four weeks, where my goal was to lose 7 pounds, I lost only 1. This period was plagued by a succession of missteps and generally reflected a lack of focus. I got off to a bad start and never got my head straight
Week 5: We had company Monday night, and I made dinner…and besides a big drink and 2nds of my roast pork, I had dessert: Gained 2 pounds. FBG Tuesday: 108. So, I followed the feast with a 3-consecutive day fast in which I lost 8 pounds. I also worked 4 to 6 hours in the garden in scorching heat on all 3 days, drank pickle brine and ice tea to keep hydrated, and felt great. In fact, I mentioned to my wife on the 3rd day that I felt really pumped! All my FBGs this week (besides Tuesday) were 70s and 80s. My 7-day average was 85mg/dl (4.7mmol/L), and I lost 4 pounds.
Week 6: I started the week still 4 pounds behind plan, and because we have theatre in NYC on Tuesday, I’ll fast (300 kcal/day) from Tuesday supper to Friday lunch. That’s a good thing about full-day fasting. You can mix and match. It makes no difference when you’re fat-adapted. Result: FBG average 82mg/dl – mostly 70s and 80s with 1 low 90s from a cheat at a pre-theatre restaurant. But…I gained 3 pounds for the week – 4 in the last 2 days. Either my body is resisting its weight loss, or I’m eating too many calories on my “feasting” days. Honestly, I think it’s mostly the latter.
Week 7: Now, starting the week 9 pounds behind plan and with theatre in NYC 2 times this week, I need to tweak my fasting plan again. Fundamentally, I am never hungry, so when I eat – either too much at supper or to snack before supper – it’s not from hunger. I need to recognize that and act accordingly. That’s my plan. But…as they say about war, “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” On Tuesday I had a 3-course dinner before the theatre. The cheese course, for dessert, had more calories and carbs (in accompaniments) than the appetizer and entrée combined. By next morning both my FBG and weight had risen. Thursday’s pre-theatre supper wasn’t much better. But, because I fasted M-W-F this week, I lost 4 pounds and my weight was down to 211. So, I gained 2 on my 9-pound deficit but, 7 weeks in, I am still 7 lbs behind plan. FBG aver. = 91.
Week 8: Halftime is looming and I need a 2nd consecutive week of losses to be in the best position to catch up in the 2nd half. My ultimate goal is to achieve my 2nd 30-pound challenge and reach my teenage weight of 187 pounds, half the man I was when I started Very Low Carb (in 2002 at 375 pounds). This week I plan to fast 3 consecutive days: M-T-W. Net result: DISASTER! I lost 5 pounds in the 3-consecutive day fast (and accomplished lots in the garden); then, naively ate pasta and 1/3 of my wife’s desert in a restaurant on Thursday, and snacked without discipline at receptions after an art gallery opening and a harpsichord concert on Saturday. Outcome: a shameful and embarrassing gain of 8 pounds in 3 days. FBG aver. = 99. It’s a head shaking setback, but it is what it is. And fasting isn’t the problem.
Conclusion: Halfway into my 2nd 16-week, 30-pound challenge (34 actually, since I started the 2nd 30-pound challenge after a 4-pound gain immediately after the first 30-pound challenge), I am only 2 pounds down and 13 pounds behind plan. This looks insurmountable BUT, the last 8 pounds gained is “water.” So, if I think of it that way, I have only a 5-pound deficit to overcome in the next (final) 8 weeks. That’s doable, if I can talk myself into it. Control. Discipline.
Discussion: Currently, I think I prefer a 3-day, weekday (Mon-Tue-Wed or Tue-Wed-Thu), 300kcal/day, fast. I think my wife does too. She is spared the trouble of cooking for me, and she can prepare foods that she prefers to eat. On one night last week she had a micro-waved baked half of a potato, stuffed with butter, sour cream and shredded cheese.
In any case she has accepted my full-day fasting. Perhaps it is because, for all my misadventures, she knows that I am losing weight and my blood sugar regulation and other health markers have greatly improved. Or maybe she just misses baked, stuffed potatoes. Anyway, the challenge continues for me, and the 4th quarter looms…

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