Standing on the scale can be a horrific experience. The truth is many of us watch our weight rise as we spend more time at the keyboard. A sense of helplessness and guilt plagues us, and worst of all, having another chocolate doesn’t help.
Does it have to be this way?
I usually refrain talking publicly about my weight loss adventures, because it’s so personal. I think you know what I mean. Who wants to talk about something that makes them feel like a total loser? Or should I say gainer?
I was an athletic, skinny kid, the kind who could eat anything and did. Around twenty my body changed, and started storing weight. What a traitor!
At twenty-four I had my first baby. I gained fifty pounds, because estrogen loves me that way. I didn’t think I’d have any trouble losing it. Wrong. I never lost it. At twenty-six I had my second child. I didn’t gain as much, but my body never went back to its maiden form.
In my late thirties I adopted an eating/exercise program that involved severely limiting calorie-intake and walking for an hour a day. It felt great to see the pounds slide off. I looked younger and felt proud.
But the weight came back.
I didn’t give up walking, but I found the low calorie diet too difficult to sustain. In my forties I tried the Weight Watchers plan, which involved counting points assigned to certain foods, which mostly related to calories. I lost 25 pounds. I thought I had finally won the battle! I was eating healthy and losing weight.
But it came back.
Next I tried the South Beach diet, which is a high protein and fat, low carb regime, similar to the Aiken’s diet. It amazed me how quickly the first ten pounds dropped. In total I lost twenty pounds. I kept telling myself I loved it, but the low carb diet frayed my nerves and slowed me down.
And the weight came back.
Next I went to the L.A. Weight Loss Diet, a low calorie regime focused on eating well-balanced healthy foods in small quantities. This one was, to my mind, the most successful. I lost forty pounds and felt great, and I learned the most about good eating habits. The low calorie part got to me yet again.
And the weight came back, with a vengance.
I retired from my day job and started writing. Weight gain became even more of a problem. I exercise regularly, but it doesn’t keep it off. I try to eat right, but it doesn’t make much of a difference.
I told you weight-loss stories are boring. They start with hope, middle with hard work and determination and end with a predictable punch line: the weight came back.
This brings me to now.
My Latest Venture
I’m trying the IF lifestyle. They don’t call it a diet. IF stands for Intermittent Fasting, but I like to call it by the name of a popular book on the subject: Delay, Don’t Deny. Yes, I’m going to intermittently starve myself. Why?
It makes sense. Yes, I know the others did too, but listen to the science of it and tell me if it intrigues you. Please, excuse my over-simplification. I’m not a scientist.
Low Calorie Diets Don’t Work because: “The message of eighty years of research on obese animals is simple and unconditional … obesity does not come about because gluttony and sloth make it so; only a change in the regulation of the fat tissue makes a lean animal obese.” (Gary Taubes, Why we Get Fat, p. 103)
Insulin, the hormone that regulates blood glucose, is at the center of the weight gain drama, but the hormones ghrelin and leptin also factor in.
“In order to lose weight successfully, you need to figure out how to lower your insulin levels so that your body can access your stored fat efficiently.” (Kim Stephens, Delay, Don’t Deny, 15% on my Kindle)
The IF people believe that, “When your body becomes adapted to fasting …you become a fat burning machine during the fast.” and best of all, “Your metabolism does not slow …” as it does with low calorie diets. It allows your cells more time to get rid of waste and it allows your hormones to balance out. So goes the theory.
Intermittent Fasting can be done in many ways. The variations fall into two categories: ones with eating windows and ones that require the person to eat some days and not others. I’m trying the 8/16 eating window option.
What Does an 8/16 Lifestyle Look Like?
I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want for a set eight hours. Currently it’s 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. The rest of the time I’m fasting. I drink water and green tea.
I’ve been on this plan for just over a week. I haven’t killed my husband yet, though I admit to grand moments of hanger.
On the plus side, I’ve experienced: greater mental clarity, extra energy, body warmth. the bumps on the back of my arms are gone, and best of all I feel full after meals. I can’t remember the last time I felt full. That alone could lead to success. I hope.
On the negative side: I have had my hanger moments and the occasional headache, but they say that passes within the first two weeks. My weight has fluctuated up and down by three pounds.
Will it work for me? I’ll let you know.
Photo Sources: www.pixabay.com for photos, www.canva.com for creating the meme
Taubes, Gary. Why We Get Fat, Gary Taubes. First Anchor Books, 2010 (note he doesn’t talk about IF, but he does talk about insulin and how it effects our weight gain.
Stephens, Kim and Power, Kenneth. Delay, Don’t Deny,