Fast ended

I ended around 7:30, at the end of day 7. Could I have gone longer? Probably. Should i? definitely. I did not end well.

A shipment of quest bars and epic bars arrived from amazon. I held off for a few hours, but in the end I rationalized my way into the boxes.

I’ve eaten heartily.

Tomorrow seems like a good day to start again.

Or tonight.

Fast, Day 7*

Adding the asterisk because, at the end of day 5, I was feeling nauseous and light headed, so I broke the fast with some macadamia nuts. Then I ate the whole bag of macadamia nuts. Then added 4 strips of bacon, an Epic lamb bar, four parmesan crisps, and some 5% fat yogurt. And a pint of kombucha.

Basically, I had a meal. Low in carbs, but lots of fat and a good chunk of protein.

I felt better, and worse. I didn’t put enough time between the handful of nuts and the rest of the food. I had some serious disaster pants by night’s end. I was pretty wiped the next day, and ended up fasting and sleeping all day Sunday.

What I wasn’t expecting: I weighed in this morning at 440.4. I was at 447.4 on Friday, and my fast was slowing down on the scale. I was expecting to gain, not drop seven pounds.

So, rather than treat Saturday’s meal as the end of the fast, I’m calling it a Fast, with meal(s).

Jimmy Moore described a “30 day fast” in which (I think) he had 3-4 meals interspersed. His last “21 day fast” I believe he had two total meals. Now, someone who does a 21-30 day water fast with no food whatsoever might take issue with someone claiming a 30 day fast in which they had a meal. But in practical terms, it’s not about bragging rights, it’s about listening to your body and giving it what it needs. If your body says “no, seriously, feed me” for one meal and then says “okay, I’m good to go for a few more days,” maybe it knows what it’s talking about. I feel like I’ve been rewarded for snarfing that bag of macadamia nuts. Feast, and Fast, and Feast, and Fast…

I met with my cardiologist this morning. My afib sounds improved, my heart rate is great, my blood pressure isn’t bad. But I’m not sweating and struggling to breathe after more than a few steps; for me, that’s serious progress. I mentioned what I’m doing, and he said it was fine as a jumpstart but at some point i’ll need to go with a lifestyle change. Honestly? This is the lifestyle change. Knowing that a few days of fasting can help balance me out after an indulgent meal is a game changer. Feast, then fast. my blood sugars are rewarding me for this past week, including the meal.

How long will I go? Well, in terms of water fasting, I might have one or more between now and Saturday. My parents come to town this weekend, so I know we’ll be eating at least once with them. But I don’t feel the need today to take an extended break from fasting. The scale gave me a big morale boost. Yes, I can fine-tune – I’ve eaten hearty after a long fast without getting diarrhea. I’ve got a drawer full of food here at work, and every time I open it I have a choice. So far, I’ve chosen to wait.

Now that’s a lifestyle change.

Friday evening update (end of day 4)

Had a real temptation earlier. Someone put large chewy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies on the break room table. They also left a tray of gulab jamon, a kind of meatball-sized tasty India honey donut of some sort.

I came close. In the end, I grabbed hot water for fasting tea, a bottle of cold water, and texted my wife to ride it out.

When I went back to refill my water bottle, the cookies were gone and the rest of the goodies weren’t tempting anymore.

I’ve had some close calls today. My desk has a good supply of high-cacao dark chocolates (which are fine during eating days) and Epic meat snacks, and almonds. It would be a small matter to have a handful of almonds, wait a bit, and then have whatever I want. I suspect if i’d done it, I’d have claimed one or more of those cookies for Spain. But for now, I’m still fasting, and day 5 is fast approaching.

This week’s fast, Day 4

Weighed 449 this morning. Can’t complain about that. Hoping to reach the 230s on this fast, depending how long it goes. 16 pounds down from Monday. Blood sugar at 12:30p was 92.

Slept decently, until around 6am. Been seeing things within the first few seconds of waking, in the dark, that quickly go away. Could be odd shadows, but still freaky.

Met with counselor. She was pleased to see progress, but still trying to wrap her head around the whole fasting thing. We’ve been working together over 10 years; she’s seen me attempt many diets, from protein-shake medical “fasts” to pure exercise to the Biggest Loser and Beach Body approach. She’s seen me get discouraged many times, or anxious about the other shoe dropping. I truly believe this time, I have the answer and the tools to move the needle more permanently.

I have the car today; that’s always a trigger for me. I have freedom to go anywhere on the way to/from work; when I’m craving any food or drink I have the means to get it. Yes, there’s the downstairs cafeteria and the vending machines, Postmates and UberEats will deliver from dozens of restaurants, and today’s a Pizza Webinar day. But the car provides a lot more options for instant gratification. On the way to work I got a call from my cardiologist’s office, reminding me of an appointment on Monday. It came at a good time. I’m currently on day 4; Monday morning would put me halfway through day 7, if i continue the fast.  I was on the fence, but this pushed me back into the Fasting Today box. My parents are coming to town at the end of next week, and they want to have lunch or dinner with us, so this fast will need to end by next Friday night or Saturday morning. But if I get that far that’s 11+ days. I’ve been wanting to fast beyond 7 days for a while now, and this may be a good opportunity. The weekdays are safer when I’m fasting; when I’m with the wife I have at least some check on my choices.

I intend to take it day by day – if at any point I feel that I need to stop, I will. I’m not committed to a certain stretch. I aspire to longer fasts, but health comes first. The guy on the Fasting Talk podcast last week (#7) who is healthwise a brother from another mother, has lost 100 pounds in 4 months through five-to-seven day fasts. If a longer one will benefit me, I’m sure my body will let me know. Going with the day to day check, or adjusting during the day if the need announces itself, will eventually lead to a >7 day fast. Will it happen this time? It could. Wanting to stretch it until my cardiologist appointment will give me nearly seven days.

This week’s fast, Day 3

I did a slightly better job getting to bed last night: 1am instead of 3am. The fitness band says I got a good chunk of deep sleep.

Woke to five fewer pounds, 453 (rounding up/down to the nearest pound.) Blood sugars up a bit from yesterday, just a couple of points. Energy levels have been good overall.

Just plowing on. I still have that empty feeling, but am not hungry. A bit of chilly hands, and a bit of muscle fatigue, but less than the last fast so far.

Now in Day 4. Taking it a day at a time.

This week’s fast, day 2

I’m closing in on the end of day 2 in the current fast. As I expected based on all the bathroom breaks, I lost about six pounds yesterday. My legs looked vastly better when I woke than they did yesterday, though they’ve swollen as the day goes on.

I had a pulmonologist appointment this morning, a six month follow up. By their records I was down 13 pounds (471 to 458), and aside from a slightly elevated blood pressure and lower body temperature, the numbers were good and my heart and lungs sounded fine. He did recommend a different BiPAP mask, but said he’ll see me in six months unless things change. Sounds good.

I’ve been doing bathroom runs throughout the day again, and drinking 3 fasting teas from Yogi. It does help – a bit of flavor, but still basically water. I don’t add anything.

I’m starting to feel the fatigue in the legs when I walk, but it’s not bad at the moment.  My overall stamina is pretty good. Curious it’s mostly in the legs.

Blood sugars have been good. 98 at 1pm, and 78 (wow!) at 8pm. Cravings have been low. Yesterday I was browsing gourmet snacks on Amazon. (I did buy Quest and Epic bars, but those are acceptable.) Today, I had the thought to do more browsing, but wasn’t that interested. Definite progress.

I’m into day 3 now, and feeling good. Not quite full mental clarity, but improving from a couple days ago. Energy mostly up. Can’t complain. Taking it a day at a time, but liking the momentum on this fast. The first two days really weren’t that bad.  Watch me jinx it…

Decent fast day #1

Yesterday was a holiday. I made some very carby food choices earlier in the day (big mac, shamrock shake, McD’s cherry pie, some donuts at my favorite local donut shop, artificially sweetened Monster Energy), and at dinner with friends last night I went with a soda, jambalaya I mostly ate the meat from, and a couple bites of cobbler.  I had determined to start a fast after the dinner.

Suffice to say I remain a work in progress on eating days. Progress, not perfection. I did talk myself down from more than the four donuts I got, and I had only one Monster. But the swelling in my legs and shortness of breath this morning don’t lie: I’m rocking the inflammation that comes with carby eating.

My weight’s held steady in the low 460s, but I really want to break below 440 pounds, and that’s going to mean focusing more on fasting. I do well on the fasts but let too many days go between fasting periods, which gives me time to get into sugar/grain carby situations.  (When I say carbs, I don’t mean vegetables. Those are fine, and encouraged. To me carbs means candy, donuts, sodas, bread and buns…basically, Aisle Three at seven-eleven.

Compared to a year ago, I’m eating really well more often than not. The NSNG way of eating (WOE) is quite satisfying, and that helps reduce cravings.

Speaking of NSNG, we went to Claremont to see Vinnie Tortorich perform his Big Fat Show. It was a fun time, and we picked up a signed hard copy of Anna Vocino’s EAT HAPPY, a terrific NSNG cookbook that is safe even for her long list of food sensitivities and allergies. We had the Kindle version and enjoyed several of her recipes, but it’s hard to use a kindle in the kitchen. The hardcover has nice slick pages and was built for resilience in the kitchen during cooking.

Last Friday, the latest episode of Fasting Talk with Jimmy Moore featured a guy with very similar stats as me: started around 480 pounds, prediabetic, a host of other maladies.  In four months or so on the IDM distance program, he’s lost 100 pounds and cleaned up an awful lot of his health issues. I need to listen to it again, but it sounds like he’s done mostly seven days on, seven days off fasting, and it’s served him very well. Sadly, he’s not on Facebook or I’d be friending the heck out of him. He’s doing what i want to be doing, and he’s not THAT far ahead of me.  Would love to get in touch with him for accountability, tips, etc. I mean, had I been able to get out the gate as well as he had, I’d be much further along. But, I’m happy I’ve made it as far as i have, and am determined to press on.  I like how I feel when I fast – not 100% yet, but each fast gets a little easier, and the blood sugar improvement is lovely.

When I start a fast after dinner, the next morning is pretty much normal; I routinely go 12-16 hours from meal to meal just because I’m not that hungry.  Around 2pm, I might start to feel a desire to eat, but it’s not too bad. The big challenge is temptations – based not in hunger but in emotion, impulse, habit, curiosity, or something else. Those can occur at any time, and there have been several of those today. Aside from a couple cups of Fasting Tea, I’ve stuck with water. The tea does help a bit – unlike other bagged teas, this stuff tastes like a tea and not barely-flavored paper. I’ve made numerous trips to the restroom – more solid than yesterday’s mudpiles. I anticipate a decent loss on the scale tomorrow from expelled water. I hope to see less swelling in the legs tomorrow.

Day 4 (448.4), fast v donuts (donuts win today)

I dropped another 1.4 pounds from yesterday. Could have been more if I’d awakened at a normal time, but I was up early, and on a mission. For gourmet donuts.

The seeds of this morning’s binge were planted a while ago, but. the harvest was planned yesterday.

When I heard that Blue Star Donuts, a Portland OR gourmet donut shop, had expanded into the Los Angeles area, I determined to try some. When I found one opening up not too far away from my daily commute, I plotted my opportunities. Today was the first day where I could plausibly take the car and leave early enough to guarantee I’d be there before they sold out. They don’t cook them onsite; I arrived early enough, depite the terrible traffic, to watch them set up and bring in their fresh-cooked items from a van. It’s in a nice spot, but it’s a tiny hole in a wall. Why pay extra for a kitchen when you can drive it in from somewhere else, where the cost per square foot is much lower?

Who gets up at 5am just to arrive before a 7am opening, for donuts? Someone who’s made donuts a priority over LCHF for a meal (and the 2-7 days of inflammation that follows). I knew i’d be eating today at a team dinner so I’d be breaking the fast sometime today. I could have broken it like I did this morning – bring some raw almonds and eat a handful an hour or so beforehand. That would have given me another 12 hours of high functioning fasting. But no; I had the car, and I was tempted, and I’d been waiting for weeks. Years, if you start from when I first heard of the place when it was only in Portland.

Obsessed? Oh, a tad.

I’d originally planned to get as many as six, but the prices were high enough to scale my expectations.

How were they? The apple fritter was excellent – one of the best I’ve ever had. A dense and chewy brioche, the apple and cinnamon distinct but not overly sweet. The blueberry was also very good – light and fluffy, with an intense glaze. I had two others: a cake donut that was heavier and not as good, and a brioche raspberry that was okay. None were worth the price premium on a regular basis ($4.50 for a fritter?), but worth the cost of one morning’s jaunt (price and lost sleep) for sating my curiosity.

It’s also a reminder, after a couple days of feeling pretty darn good, just how quickly a meal can make me feel sluggish and bloated. I stopped off at Del Taco for “second breakfast” to get some protein into the mix, but added a large cherry coke. I was well past the satiety point, but the donuts jump-started my appetite.

This was my largest deviation from the IDM diet to date.  We’re punished by our sins, not for them; I’m feeling the discomfort of a very carby meal. My blood sugars got into the 140s, perhaps higher, and took about 3 hours to drop into the 110s.

It took me another five hours to feel like eating again. I’m eating my bacon and eggs (4 each) and avocado mayonnaise. I definitely feel full from that meal.

My intent is to start a new fast as soon as the team dinner is done. Today has been, and will be, a feast. Not the wisest feast, but a feast all the same. I chose it, I own it, but I want to remind myself that it didn’t come close to tasting as good as I felt all day yesterday, walking around without getting out of breath and stretching with minimal pain. I expect a weight gain tomorrow – going from days without eating to a full stomach means a few days of digesting food

Fasting Day 3 (449.8)

My blood sugars have been high on this fast, possibly because of last Friday’s trip to the vending machine. My Saturday eating pre-fast was high in protein but low in carbs, but I was still gaining the next day before the scale started moving south again. I’ve heard it can take 3-7 days, depending on insulin resistance, to recover from even one carb-heavy meal. Seems to fit.

I dipped down to 449.8 this morning, the first time in a few months I’ve been under 450. My previous fasting low, 440.2, was back on October 24th.

I have a work dinner tomorrow so I’ll be breaking at the end of four full days, if I don’t end today. I would like to extend another day to get a little more time below 450.

Have felt really good today – the least inflammation in recent memory, walking around work without heavy breathing, slept okay, few muscle aches. It’s a nice feeling. I think I got so used to a stuffy nose and a wet cough that it’s odd when they’re missing. I’m not complaining.

Fasting Again

After my last seven day fast, I’ve been fluctuating in the low to mid 450s, which beats fluctuating in the high 470s. Mostly I’ve been intermittent and intermediate fasts since the 7 day fast ended, but I started one Saturday that I hope to take 5+ days.

I’ve done pretty well overall keeping sugar and grains out of the diet, though I had a small soda on the day I broke the 7 day, and last Friday I had some pizza with crust (as well as some without the crust) that led to the vending machine within an hour. I grabbed a pack of oreo-like cookies, a nestle crunch bar, a 2-cookie pack of Grandma’s oatmeal raisin, and a vending-size pack of cappuccino chip cookies. I inhaled all but the chocolate bar in a few minutes, ate the bar a few minutes later, and started feeling terrible almost immediately.  I grabbed the bacon and eggs I brought to work, mixed with guacamole, and ate those too, but that helped stop the eating.

I gained weight on Saturday and Sunday (459), and got hit with a migraine Sunday, so I slept a lot. Saturday we went to Rasselbock again where i ate sausage and sauerkraut and brussels sprouts, drank water, and considered it a safe meal. I started the fast around 3pm Saturday and so far, so good. I even skipped the Monday pizza.

The inflammation is back down from Friday, and I pooped a couple of times on the weekend. I reached a 2017 low weight this morning: 451.4. I did bring bacon and eggs again, just in case I feel a real need to eat this week, but don’t feel the need right now.

I had to reschedule my IDM session to Thursday because of a work meeting, so I could be on day five by then. I’d like to get down into the 440s, or lower. I am seeing and feeling the continuing body changes, and I’m encouraged. Fatty areas are lifting and firming and shrinking, not deflating.  When I lose weight and deflate, loose skin worries increase. When the skin gets more firm as it shrinks, my confidence in Dr. Fung’s claims (‘I’ve never had to refer someone for skin surgery’) increase.

My eating periods aren’t perfect by any means, but the overall attention to no sugars and no grains has been much improved since I started with IDM. They push “progress, not perfection,” so I’m not going to beat myself up. When I gave into the vending machine on Friday, I left it at one trip, had some good food, and fasted for 24 hours before the sausage and sauerkraut.

I’m sure – truly sure – that the more I fast, the more insulin I burn off, the easier it will become to resist the sugar- and carb-laden stuff.  And the more I eat LCHFMP/NSNG, the easier it will be to maintain between fasts, and have more eating days between fasts. I know I’m not much further along (scale wise) than I was back in August 2016 after a couple of fasts, but i have been consistently lower on the scale, dozens of pounds lower, for close to six months. That has been a great blessing.