Anyone want (or need) to lose a few pounds?
At the end of January, I asked Tony Bear to be my guinea pig for a weight-loss experiment.
See, as an ACC college football official, Tony frequently appears on national television, mostly during fall weekends. The rest of the year, he watches dozens of recorded games to analyze how to be a better official.
Over and over—slow-motion, rewind, slow-motion—Tony watches himself move through a play.
You don’t need to tell Tony twice—the camera adds 10 pounds.
More than once I heard him murmur, “Ugh, I need to lose weight!” I also noticed him just saying no to his beloved chips and salsa. Coming home from work with the lunch I packed, uneaten. Drinking one beer instead of two.
So when I told him one of my newspaper readers mentioned something intriguing, an extremely simple way to lose weight, he didn’t even ask for an explanation. “Yes! Pick me. Can we start tomorrow?”
And now, a little over two months into this secret program, Tony’s down 20 pounds.
“Can I tell my readers you no longer look like a sausage, pinched in the middle?” I asked.
He answered my question with a look I believe could be best described as “stinkeye,” but I’m serious. He is looking super svelte these days. Why, yesterday at 6 am, as I flipped my pillow to the cool side during a hot flash, I caught a glimpse of him before he left for work. He was cinching in his belt so his britches would stay up.
“Wow, honey,” I cooed, “you look really great.”
So, do you want to know how the pounds disappeared?
Right after New Years, Cindy McKee, one of my newspaper readers, left a comment on the blog, specifically on the Breaking (Up with) Bread post. She wanted to thank me for the post and let me know the book I recommended, Eat Bacon; Don’t Jog (EBDJ), now has a waiting list at the Kanawha County Library. I got a kick out of that.
Then she mentioned a term I’ve heard a few times in the past few years: Intermittent Fasting. Curious, I wrote her back asking for more information. She recommended I check out Dr. Jason Fung, a physician specializing in nephrology. “He’s the guru of intermittent fasting,” she said.
I watched some of Fung’s YouTube videos and instantly understood the premise. I showed Tony a couple of the videos. That’s when he said he wanted to try intermittent fasting. The next day.
“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” -Marie Antoinette
Fasting as a way of life has mostly been forgotten. These days, most people find the thought intimidating, horrifying. Surely it’s akin to starving. Actually, it’s not. Starvation is the involuntary absence of food. Fasting is voluntary. You can end your fast any time you want. Just open your mouth and insert food.
The truth is, you have experience with fasting already. You fast every night while you’re sleeping. Sometimes you’re asked to fast for blood work or surgery. Maybe you slept late last week and had to skip breakfast as a result. Many people skip eating when they’re ill. Did the world end when you skipped a meal or two? I didn’t think so.
In addition, Fung reminds naysayers,
“Fasting for spiritual purposes is widely practiced, and remains part of virtually every major religion in the world.”
Jesus fasted for 40 days. And in the New Testament book of Matthew, Jesus says, “When you fast…” not if you fast.
And while you might try fasting for the sake of slimming down, weight loss is just one of the benefits of fasting. According to Fung:
Fasting is also practiced “… to improve concentration, extend life, prevent Alzheimers, prevent insulin resistance, and even reverse the entire aging process.”
Many people experience some of these benefits when they eat the EBDJ-way—low carbohydrate-high fat. I know I did. I wasn’t looking to lose weight, but pounds dropped off. I didn’t expect my concentration and energy levels to improve, but boy, did they.
As simple as I find eating the EBDJ-way, intermittent fasting is easier.
Most diets demand you pay attention to WHAT you eat. You have to count calories. Or points. You scan the nutritional info on food packages for fat grams and sugar. You measure your portions.
Eating the EBDJ-way is no exception. You become passionate about how many carbs this or that food contains. And many ketogenic eaters become downright obsessed with the ratio of fat to protein in their food.
With intermittent fasting, only one thing matters: When you eat.
Intermittent fasters have two settings: fasting and feeding. When you eat, you’re feeding. When you’re not consuming food, you’re fasting. It’s that simple.
The cool thing about fasting is you get to set the rules. Do you want your fast to be 12-hours, 16-hours, or way longer? Once you hit the 12 or 14-hour mark of fasting, your body begins to burn its own fat for fuel. This is my favorite part of fasting!!
On most days, Tony goes more than 12 or 16 hours without eating. This is because Tony chooses to be an OMAD-faster.
OMAD means one meal a day.
OMAD may sound really intense but Tony loves this way of life. He’s not hungry at breakfast or most of the morning. And since he owns and operates a small business, he often doesn’t have time to eat lunch. So his eating “window” begins when he sits down to supper. And usually ends an hour later. Because he’s full.
Since I am not so robust an individual,
I fast for 16 hours and eat for 8.
Like Tony I am not hungry for breakfast. Just give me coffee. Two cups with heavy whipping cream and xylitol please. Typically I get the tummy-rumbles around 11 am or noon. Ding! That’s when my eating “window” opens. And it closes, right after I finish dessert. Yep, we eat dessert.
As with LCHF, each day we aim to eat plenty of proteins and healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, and a serving or two of nuts and seeds. We also do our best to drink a lot of water.
But wait, there’s more.
Our cholesterol levels are like the Wicked Witch of the West when she encountered water. They’re all, “I’m melting….”
Tony had blood work done three weeks after starting the intermittent fasting experiment. His HDL, the good cholesterol, dropped by one point to 77. But get this, his LDL decreased by 31 points. His trigycerides stayed the same at 49.
As for me, since starting to apply intermittent fasting, my LDL is down by 13 points and my HDL is up by 15. My triglycerides stayed about the same, too, hovering around 60.
Please know, this post barely skimmed the topic of intermittent fasting. You really should read how Fung is using intermittent fasting to help his patients decrease or eliminate their dependence on diabetes medications. Some even inside of a single month. His results are amazing. Click this link for a whole slew of Dr. Fung blogposts and videos.
Thanks, Cindy McKee, for introducing us to intermittent fasting. You singlehandedly changed our health for the better.
Now it’s your turn, friend. Are you ready to give intermittent fasting a try? A 12-hour fast, OMAD, or maybe even 48 hours? Fung says once you get to the 48th hour, you pretty much cease to be hungry. You should see if he’s right.
Update: Yikes, folks! I forgot to mention Dr. Fung’s book, The Complete Guide to Fasting. I read it at the beginning of our journey and highly recommend it. This is an affiliate link, by the way.
But wait, there’s more! To read “What to Expect IF you try Intermittent Fasting,” click here.
And if you want to read Cindy McKee’s personal account, you can find it here.
Mary Felton says
This is so interesting! I can’t wait to learn more about this! Thanks for sharing!
Check out the links, Mary, and then let me know if you have questions. It’s been a pretty simple process for us. Tony is super pleased.
Linda Burklin says
I’ve been fasting regularly for about a year now. It’s life changing–and I’m down 90 pounds! (And OFF all my diabetes and blood pressure meds.) For the first time in my adult life I have hope that I can achieve a healthy weight without gaining it back.
This is amazing, Linda! Those results are stunning! Tony, too, has noticed that his blood pressure numbers are starting to improve. That’s the only med he’s on. I hope he can go off it t some point.
Thanks so much for sharing!! Oh, and let us know if you have any special tips!!
Terry Gannett says
I’ve done some reading lately on this, and viewed several lectures on YouTube. For about a month I’ve had an eating window of 10 hours, and fasting for 14. I’m not obsessing about what the scale says, but trying it in order to sleep better & feel better. Am liking the results. Have also lowered my carb intake but not eliminated them.
That sounds about like what I’m doing, Terry. I like the results too:)
Cindy McKee says
Wow! What a great post! I’m so happy that you and Tony Bear have had such positive results. Your story on low carb eating got me started on my weight loss quest. After losing several pounds by changing to LCHF, I read about Intermittent Fasting (IF). When I combined the two methods, the pounds dropped off. I naturally don’t have an appetite in the morning, so I held off my breakfast until 1 – 2 p.m. Then I ate my fill of mostly healthy foods. I found that I soon evolved into a 22/23 hour fast with a 2/1 hour feeding window which equates to One Meal A Day (OMAD).
After several months, I reached what I always thought would be my goal weight. Then I decided to go 5 pounds lower. That was easy, so I decided to go 5 pounds lower. I am now at the weight that I was in my mid-20s (before children), and I feel great. I’ll be 60 in June, and I never dreamed I’d be wearing size 4/6 pants. I’ve tried many weight loss methods, supplements, exercise, etc. over the years and IF is the easiest ever and the only one that has worked long-term for me. It has been a lifestyle change that I will continue to maintain my goal weight. I’m still following a daily fast but not quite as strict. If I gain a pound or two, I know exactly what to do!
Please give IF a try. It doesn’t cost a thing and will save you a lot of money on food and, hopefully, on doctor’s bills. There is some cost involved, however, because you will need to buy a new wardrobe. 😉
Diane’s post has some great advice and references to help you to be successful. In addition, there are some supportive Facebook groups. Intermittent Fasting for Women (or Men), Delay, Don’t Deny: Intermittent Fasting Support and The Dr. Jason Fung Fan Club – Fasting Support are some that I’ve used. Another helpful aid is an app called VORA that I used to track my fasts and weight daily. It helped give me the will to delay my feeding window and to resist cheating after the window closed. Check it out!
Thanks, Diane, so much for spreading the word. You have a gift for explaining things in a motivating way! I would love to see West Virginians take charge of their health and for IF to spread throughout West Virginia and beyond!
Cindy!!! This is so great! Thanks for sharing your IF journey with us. I should’ve asked you to do a guest post! I might still:)
Cindy McKee says
😊 I just wish that this way of living would catch on. Who doesn’t want to feel better, look better and be healthier inside and out? 🙂
I agree, Cindy. People are asking for more info, so I’m thinking a part two on fasting is in the cards:)
Diane Tarantini says
Thanks so much for visiting my blog!
If you are reading this post, how would you like some tips on how to slim down? I have developed a document to help people give the lower carb-higher fat (and intermittenf fasting) way of eating a try. As of January 2019, I am sharing this tool with folks who subscribe to my e-newsletter. Once you subscribe, send me a quick email (You can use the “Connect” tab in the top tool bar.) asking me to send you my document, “How to Lighten Up… the Wordy Girl Way.”