FAST: On to day 3

It’s still a few hours away, but day 2 is going okay.

I came home last night with back issues and was exhausted by the time we went to sleep.  I slept fairly well, and woke just a few minutes before my alarm went off.

Working from home for doctor appointments, but dialed in for a meeting at 9a. blood pressure was 123 over 70 and weight was 450. I pooped a lot first, so fasting yesterday mainly arrested further weight gain. I’m good with that. 1:30p blood level was 20 points lower than yesterday, at 114. Curiously, it was higher than yesterday at 4:30p, and the same at 7:30p. I didn’t walk around much today because I worked from home, but I tried to do some strength training with 5 gallon water jugs.

The chills of yesterday are gone. Took my morning drugs with a 2oz olive oil shot. Feeling pretty good. Stomach doesn’t feel Monday’s binge the way it did yesterday.  Mind feels fairly clear.  I’ve been peeing a lot today, which bodes well for a loss tomorrow. Flushing the inflammation offers immediate benefits.

50 hours in, and all’s well.

New Week, New Fast

Last week’s fast ended Saturday. Ending weight: 442.0. My blood sugars were under 100 for a lot of the time, and as low as the high 70s. I was very pleased. I note that after five days fasting, you’re kind of cleaned out–minimal inflammation, nothing in the digestive tract. Just eating will add things to the queue, so to speak, so gain the next few days is normal. The intestines can hold a crap-ton of waste, so to speak.

I ended the fast with marcona almonds, parmesan crisps, and a Quest bar. I suspect I’ll need to wean myself off of those; it spurs my appetite. I ended up polishing off the bag of almonds, and that night we went to a Korean restaurant for a late dinner, where I ate…well. No caffeine, but some of the items I picked had sugar and/or grains.

I felt sick the next morning. In hindsight, I should have anticipated that.  I ate mostly NSNG (quest bars aside) but I ate a lot.

Monday morning I was up to 449.  I dropped my wife off at her first class, and went to find breakfast. My first choice was closed, so I went to Chick Fil A. You can do substitutions there, so I often ask for a custom platter with extra bacon and eggs and no biscuit or gravy. I didn’t do that this time. I didn’t eat the gravy, but I did have the biscuit.

When I got to work, there was food in the breakroom: apple spice cake. I opted to have a couple of small slices. It was gooey and sugary and grainy. I added a third slice later in the day.

I tried to get things back under control, ate a bunch of fatty nuts and added coconut oil to a Shakeology (for fiber). I had some kimchi (for probiotics). but by day’s end I’d raided the candy bowl and bought pop tarts and red vines from the vending machine.  Worst of all, my blood sugar measurement was the highest by far I’ve recorded, in the 180s. It had been in the 130s earlier in the day, and I get worried when it’s that high. 180s was a smack to the head.

My last binge was bigger, but I felt lousy.  I had considered starting my next fast Sunday night; in hindsight, it would have been helpful.

I hit 451 this morning. Some gains are delayed by a day, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m also up tomorrow, but Monday night, still hurting from the vending machine run, I declared a new fast.

It’s 24 hours later. I considered getting a nice breakfast omelette and starting this morning instead, but I opted to stick to the head start I got last night. I resisted several temptations to eat something, anything. But the sore gut from yesterday helped remind me why I started the fast.

I started a full day ago. Blood sugars have steadily declined today; currently at 106.

Link: this is Dr. Fung on the stages of fasting, limited to the first week. I’ve always stopped at seven days or fewer. I can see why those who strictly follow a ketogenic diet would like fasting, because they can skip some of the early steps. The magic seems to happen in ketosis (step 4) and protein conservation (step 5), where the body is burning fat and recycling protein.  Autophagy is a beautiful thing here; among the protein recycled in autophagy is unneeded (loose) skin.  Whether it will eat ALL the loose skin is debateable, but I’ve seen some folks who have levels of loose skin that I could live with, compared to the low-hanging, easily infected, get-surgery-on-TV stuff. Yes, the ultimate state of my skin is a long way away, but i’m paying attention now. Fasting seems to be cleaning up after itself in ways the intense exercise did not.

Anyway. One day down. I hope not to stay above 450 for long.

FAST: Go for five?

Four days down.  I weighed 446.8 this morning. I had a bit of diarrhea last night, but not too bad. I had started using MCT oil to take with my morning medications (“take with food”) which may have contributed. I tried olive oil this morning; we’ll see if it makes a difference. So far, no real stomach upset. My blood glucose at 4:30 (the end of day 4) was 91. I neglected to grab my starting BG, but at 9pm on that first day I was at 111, and I was at 102 at the end of the first day. I’ve seen wild swings depending on time of day, but the last few days I’ve checked at 4:30p and 7:30p, and the afternoon blood sugars have been happily low – 80s, even into the 70s.

I don’t feel like I need food, but there are moments during fasts when I miss it. Eating is a sensory pleasure. But the health and appearance changes are worth the short-term sacrifices. And, for that matter, the money I’m saving by not dropping $10-$20 a meal a few times a day adds up.

The loose skin issue that has concerned me on previous weight loss efforts seems not to be happening this time. Dr. Fung asserts that at his clinic, he’s never had to refer a patient/client to a skin removal surgeon. He claims that fasting and the autophagy it enables helps the body fully heal, not just lose fat but leave skin behind. I’m only 60 pounds down, but I and my wife are noticing the way my skin and shape are changing.  I didn’t expect this when I started, but I’m thrilled.

I did have a good bit of avocado mayonnaise (all fat, 100 cals per serving) this evening, and checked the blood sugar about an hour later – no bump at all. It kept me from pillaging the vending machines and/or the admin’s candy bowls, at least.

I don’t know how far I’ll go with this fast. At least until tomorrow afternoon for five days. Possibly into Sunday. If I’m feeling ambitious, maybe into Tuesday morning. We shall see.

Fast: Day 3 down

I still have an issue with waking frequently, but I slept pretty well from midnight to 5am, when nature called. We ended up sleeping to almost 10am, the last hour fitful snuggling. Not complaining.

Down less than a pound from yesterday, but after a big drop, I wasn’t too surprised or disappointed. I was also much more hydrated yesterday. Even so, increasing my distance from 450 felt good and I got to update my weight goals in My Fitness Pal and my Garmin app. I set the next goal at 410, a 40 pound sprint to Stage 2.

Blood Glucose at 4:30p was 92. The insulin burndown must be pretty good this time around. It’s encouraging to have had so many readings under 100 this time around. Although I wasn’t perfect between fasts, my intake was much closer to NSNG/LCHF. My protein was likely high, but my carb mania was much reduced.

The chilliness and sluggishness of the first full day fasting on Tuesday is mostly gone. I have some coldness in my left hand, but that’s about it. I feel alert and my left knee is bothering me less.

If someone other than me reads this and is interested in fasting as a health aid (weight loss, blood sugar control), Dr. Jason Fung has a good introductory guide here. I’ve read his book The Obesity Code and his blog series on fasting at his clinic’s site, but his guide answered some questions I still had. I’ve been wondering how many days is safe to fast and had been sticking to seven days or fewer. In his article he says fasts over 14 days bring increased risk of refeeding syndrome – which can in severe cases be fatal. I’m doing this for my health, so I’d rather avoid that.  So far, the worst I’ve experienced is minor stomach upset and bathroom mess, and even that didn’t happen after my seven-day fast.

Fast: Slouching Toward Day 3

48 hours in. Blood sugar was 99, three points down from this time yesterday. My weight this morning was 449.6, a welcome but surprising 5 pound drop from yesterday.  I didn’t overhydrate, but I had about two liters for the day, with salt. The swelling in my legs was down quite a bit.

It was a rough night’s sleep; our smoke alarms triggered and stayed on until just before the fire department arrived. No fire, and no smoke, but we didn’t know how to disable them (they’re wired into the complex). Several friends told me this happened to them too, so I did some research. Pro tip: there’s a shelf life for smoke detectors, about 10 years. Ours were old before we moved in, possibly original to the building. Time for new ones. My wife was deeply rattled by the alarm, and already stressed out about her classes today, so we didn’t get to sleep until around 5am.

So, not a lot of sleep. Not that long ago, it would have meant an automatic caffeine run. My breakfast choices might be better these days, but soda would have been a temptation. But, fasting with a weight milestone under my belt motivated me to keep going. Once I got to work  I felt more awake. It’s donut/bagel hump day, and I smelled them as soon as I got out of the elevator, but I held firm.

Here’s to a less crazy day three.

Fast: One day down

First day has been relatively uneventful, except for a fitful night’s sleep. (I can’t use my Zeo until I get a replacement headband, so I can’t track true sleep quality; I’m stuck with the Garmin’s less-reliable movement based tracker. ) I had dropped a couple of pounds from yesterday, 454.6. I do hope to get under 450, but I’m not aiming for a goal weight. I’ve lost 20+ pounds on several fasts, but since the second fast brought me into the 450s, I haven’t fallen further.  I’d be thrilled to see the 430s, but I’m listening to my body. This is a long-haul experiment of months and years, not just days. I would like to go 5+ days. If I make it to 7 again I’ll see how I feel about going on, but as long as I’m unsupervised, 10 days is my limit.

My blood glucose was high at noon at 126, but at the 24 hour mark at 4:30p was down to 102, and 97 at 6:30p. Aside from my second fast, where I was pulling in the low 80s on day 6, I haven’t seen under 100 very often, so I was glad to see the last number.

I have felt some temptations to eat, but no real hunger. I have felt chilly, which is common when I fast. My wife says she can tell when I’ve been eating a lot of carbs because I’m a “big heat thing”. Fat burns slower and cooler, I guess.

So…keep on keepin’ on. One day down.

Starting a new fast

I caught something last week, either from my wife or from coworkers. Very low energy and brain fog; I slept a lot for five days. I intermittent fasted each day (16-18 hours) but ate plenty, mostly LCHF.

I was at 457 this morning.  I decided to start a new fast today. I could have continued from late last night, but I ate between 1p and 4pm. So I’m starting the clock at 4:30pm.  I intend to go at least three days, perhaps up to 7. I’d like to break under 450, which I haven’t done yet.

I remain pleased by the reduced inflammation and better function of my left knee. I’m limping a lot less these days. Still some pain and tightness in the hips and low back, but that’s not surprising. I hope it will reduce as the weight continues to come off. It feels like the body is reshaping.

One Day at a time

I binged hard yesterday. I drove myself to work, and had to stop for gas. I went inside, and went a bit nuts. mini donuts and other pastries, a big box of Hot Tamales candies, a trio of Monster energy cans (no calories, but lots of artificial sweeteners and high caffeine), two liters of PowerAde. All but one can of Monster was consumed by day’s end, and I topped it off with a trip to Arby’s and Randy’s Donuts on the way home. If there’s an upside, I ordered only two donuts at Randy’s, below my average, but I got a soda and cookie at Arby’s.  TL;DR: it was a sugar/carb heavy day, and I am still feeling it well into the next day.

I’d fasted for much of last week, with a 2 day and a three day fast. I broke the three day on Sunday with another large Arby’s meal loaded with carbs. I finished the day with better choices, but I felt very susceptible to carbs yesterday.  Today, it sounds more revolting than anything.

At my wife’s suggestion I went with a “kitchen sink” omelette at the cafeteria at work. All the meats, all the veggies, jack cheese, sour cream, avocado. So many fillings that the egg blanket can’t cover it all. It’s filling and hearty and it may well last me the entire day. That was my goal. If it does, I plan to continue the fast for 3+ days. Otherwise, I’ll start the clock after that meal.

Kitchen Sink Omelet
No sugars or grains. All the meats and veggies they have.

The scale impact of the past two days? Sunday I was 453. Monday, 452. Today? 461. I suspect part of that 9 pound gain came from a delayed reaction Sunday’s excesses, contributing to the extra inflammation yesterday.

Understanding the hormonal impact of insulin helps the gain make a lot more sense than the old calories in, calories out model. if you’re burning sugar, you’re storing fat, or at the very least not burning it.  I couldn’t possibly have had 35000 calories yesterday, but knowing that filling the fat cells also means adding water, the gains are disproportionate – as are the early losses when the fat clusters are huge.

I’m not happy about yesterday’s binges, but looking back to my previous one, it’s been  more than two weeks. Yes, I’d had some big eating days between, but mostly quest bars (low in net carbs) and healthier foods – none on pure sugary “carbage.” Unlike the earlier carb-fueled between-fasts gains, I’d gained much less the last two weeks, and my losses took me to new lows.

This is a long, long journey. I’m rebuilding a better body after decades of damage, following a new paradigm. There will be setbacks.  I’m striving to improve the setbacks – more time between binges, and shorter duration of binges. When I started, the binges lasted longer than the fasts. If I halt this binge at one meal plus one full day, that’s a big improvement – and a benchmark to improve on.

I’m changing my relationship with food. I know there’s an emotional attractiveness (for now) to the binge foods that has nothing to do with taste, but that there is fundamental, physiological craving that can be reduced as insulin levels come down. I’ve felt it during and just after the fasts where the compulsion to grab a donut or a soda plummets.

I doubt I’ll ever be 100% sugar and grain free for life, but I do believe they can one day become rare “special occasion” treats that don’t figure into my average week or month. I do feel better when they aren’t in my diet. Their hold is weakening. That gives me hope.

Refeeding

I just finished my third lengthy fast, this one six days.

My second fast lasted a full seven days. I lost 19 pounds, got down to 455, kept that weight for several days…and then I binged on a Friday, which led to bad eating most of the next week. After another binge the following Friday, I decided “no tomorrow; fast starts now.”

I started the new fast at 475, basically where I started the last time. And I ended at 455, basically where I ended last time.

I started measuring blood glucose and ketones during the last fast. I saw my blood sugars get below 100 a few times toward the end of the last one, but I never measured below 100 on this last fast. A few times in the low 100s, but averaging in the 110s.

I continue to read all I can about fasting. Ideally, fasting occurs while fat adapted. It’s harder when you’re not. Although at my current weight, the body is eager to shed excess. My three fasts have all begun immediately after eating a carb-heavy meal.  I don’t recommend it, but the alternative – kick the carbs BEFORE you “start” – hasn’t happened, and isn’t likely to happen. I’m doing the best I can.  My fasts have given me a few days of NSNG eating before the cravings return.

My plan is to start another fast Sunday night. I tend to eat better with my wife than I do at work, so if I can get through tomorrow  safely, I should enter the next fast in a better position than I started the last one.

I gained back everything I’d lost after fast 2; I want to see if I can push the needle past 455 on the next one. I’m going to continue limiting my fasts to 5-7 days. Five pounds to go and I’ll have a 10% loss.