Though I’ve been fasting for a while, I wanted to try a soft dry fast.￼ It seems to be the latest craze, but it sounds plain crazy. Watch the video to see how my experience turned out. Please don’t try this until you’ve spoken with your doctor.
I Have Muscles and I’d Like to Meet Them Some Day
If my fat loss continues at its current rate, that would be around September 25th, 2019. Of course, we all know about plateaus. Evil little things that can go on for weeks and sap your motivation. Fortunately, I’m lifting weights. Over the last year I have found it helps to have another means of measuring your progress besides…
That Lying Piece of Floor Trash
It lies, and it judges you while it sits there doing nothing all day. Don’t believe it. Lift weights. Get stronger. Muscles burn calories after all. And that digital dissident can’t tell the difference. You could be losing fat but staying the same weight because you’re…
Which brings me back to the point of baby steps. When you don’t see movement on the scale, you can always add a pound or two to your weights. A five-pound increase in your squat means you are stronger than you were last week and that’s progress. It’s those baby steps that keep you motivated and lead to greater things. I get them from…
Fasting and Weight Training
Because cardio is the great lie. A few weeks into cardio, your body adapts, your calorie burn decreases, and you can only burn more by going faster or longer. Weight training continues to burn calories for days as the body repairs itself. There is no adaptation to lifting because you can always add weight and change up your routine. Cardio does nothing for your strength or appearance. Weight training makes your whole body stronger, lessens the chance of injury, and improves appearance. It increases balance and coordination and best of all, as you get stronger you feel better about yourself.
Where to Start
At the beginning. Every day men and women enter the gym with complex workouts they have seen on TV or read in a magazine. Most of these routines are a HUGE waste of time and those who follow them are setting themselves up for failure. Start with a strong core. There are five basic lifts that everyone should master before moving on to any accessory exercises. I recommend following the “bible” of basic strength training below for at least a year. This will teach you the best form for each exercise and help prevent future injuries from some of the really stupid stuff I see in the gym every day.
Every Journey Has A Beginning. Make yours today.
The Process sucks. I hate the process. The process can bite me. Two and a half days of fasting and no weight loss. Here is where I start second guessing myself.
Did I eat enough calories in my feeding window or is my body worried we’re starving, so it’s holding on to fat?
Did I eat too many calories in my feeding window and sabotage myself?
Am I retaining water?
Did I gain muscle mass?
Am I real, or just a figment of my own imagination?
Okay, so my brain sometimes strays but I find my way back. I guess the takeaway in all this is that you can’t really know what your body is doing. The biochemistry of the human body is incredibly complex. If scientists are still trying to figure it out, how can I expect to understand it? Which leaves me with just one option…
Trust the Process
It’s 8 A.M. I will not eat until 2 P.M., after I return from the gym While I’m at the gym, I will lift heavy objects in a fasted state. Lifting will make me feel better and then I will get to eat. Today is Friday and weight loss or no, it will be a good day.
Always Move Ahead
Fitness shouldn’t be measured solely in terms of weight lost. In fact, I am not losing weight, I am losing fat. I know because I am gaining muscle. In the four weeks since I started training in a fasted state, my bench press has gone from 205 to 220. The same has happened on squats, dead lifts, and all my other lifts. I am actually shocked at how good I feel while I’m working out. I really thought I would feel tired and lethargic, but it is actually quite the opposite. If anything, I sometimes feel euphoric.
Two Steps Forward
So far, I am down nine pounds over the last four weeks. That doesn’t sound impressive when previously I have lost as much as 20 pounds in one week, but I am trying to do it the right way this time. The goal is not to look a certain way, but to change my habits and change my life. The fasting helps tremendously. With kids, graduate school, and a stressful, full-time job, the last thing I want to do is count calories!
One Step Back
We all do it at some point or another. Weekends are my weakness. With my unrestricted weekend eating schedule, it can be a battle not to munch or reward myself with too much food. These last two weeks, I have gained three pounds each weekend and lost four pounds during the week. It’s still a loss, but it’s something I’d like to get under control. I could easily lose 2+ pounds per week without the extra calories. I guess we’ll see what happens this weekend…
…or more precisely, VERY hard come, easy go. Fed by carb-fueled consumption, my three-pound weight loss disappeared faster than a keg of pilsner at Octoberfest. Did I mention fat loss sucks? Two weeks to lose, two days to gain. Moving on…
You’d think I’d know by now how easy it is to lose those hard-earned gains. Fat is irrationally obdurate in breaking down. It is downright jovial when it comes to growth. Stupid fat. Well, life is hard and sometimes you munch too much, especially while sitting at the computer for hours trying to write a paper that doesn’t sound like it was written by a fourth grader. Too bad the kids stepped on the two brain cells I didn’t use up at work. Back on the wagon today and we’ll see what tomorrow brings…
Is it just human nature to never be satisfied? I lost a pound and a half yesterday. Today, for no reason I can think of, I lost another half a pound. Yea! Right? Well, no. I get out of the shower, catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and the first thing that pops in my head is the old kids’ rhyme “Fatty fatty two by four, can’t fit through the bathroom door.”
Fat loss sucks. Okay, so I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, but why? Because, fat loss sucks. You never gain weight in your handles first. Why the heck do you have to lose it there last? I went from square to roughly waffle cone shape overnight. It’s awesome. Pants are still tight, but now I have this wonderful bird chest. More weight loss, please. 😒
This is the year of getting things right… hopefully. Historically, my go-to means of losing weight have been fasting (up to seven days) and Atkins (less than 10 grams of carbs per day) for up to a month. With age, I’ve noticed such a low-carb diet has some negative side effects and less results than when I was young. Fasting works and has wonderful effects on skin, hair, eyesight, etc. The problem is, fasting is hard. It also isn’t a long term solution.
We all know the solution is working out and eating right but that isn’t always enough for weight loss, especially in our 40’s. Besides, what kind of exercise is best for each of us and how do we stick with it? How do we balance our diet? How many calories do we restrict? How do we fit it all in with kids, school, sports, college, volunteerism, ad infinitum? Well, the answer is a journey. No one can answer these questions for you. I used to love riding a bicycle but moving to the country made it impractical. I tried Crossfit, bootcamps, obstacle course racing, marathons, all of them made a difference, for a while. The problem was they took too much energy and eventually, I quit. I am now a firm believer in finding something that doesn’t feel like work. For me, that was buying some weights and starting small. I began working out twice a week and didn’t give myself a hard time for missing a day. I started seeing progress, and the more I did it, the more I enjoyed the results. I started feeling stronger, even though I was still overweight.
Success Breeds Success
So now I want to keep getting stronger. What do I do? I google. It turns out I need a minimum amount of protein. I need vitamins and I need to keep my diet fairly clean. Hmmm… now they’re getting personal. Ice Cream and I have a long-standing relationship. But, I want to be there for my kids when I’m older so I remind myself what’s important in life. Sir Arther Quiller-Couch’s advice was to “murder your darlings”, so here we go…
New Year, New Beginning
Sweets are my darling and it’s all or nothing. Experience has shown that a little leads to a lot so I called it quits January 1st. Now, let’s be honest, this wasn’t the first time. I have gone without sweets for a year before. My downfall was being too extreme and removing every tiny bit of sugar. That’s harder to do than most people would think. This year, I’m trying to find balance. As long as the food was meant to be a whole food and not candy or desert, it’s fair game. The occasional cafe mocha will not kill me. That takes care of my largest source of weight gain, now what about weight loss?
Fasting, or the F word
To most, fasting is a bad word full of all manner of terror. I won’t get into all the negatives here, suffice it to say, it’s baloney. Fasting is the ONLY way your body can enter autophagy, the condition in which your cells create membranes that seek out dead and diseased cells and destroy them. For me, fasting provides more energy, better skin, and clearer eyesight. The best part is, it is now proven that working out in a fasted state increases both testosterone and growth hormone, the two hormones that begin to decline in our 40’s. As a bonus, I find I feel stronger and better lifting weights after not eating for 22 hours. Crazy, huh?
How I Fast
There are a million ways to fast. I have found over the years that I only see the results I’m looking for (weight loss and energy) if I fast for close to 24 hours. My issue with previous fasting was how hungry I became at night, which often led to failure. This year, I found a solution that is working well. I begin my fast at the end of a work day after a small meal or large snack (usually around 4 P.M.). I am less hungry at night and so far, haven’t had any issues. In fact, I’ve found it easier to not have to think about food. In the morning, I am so busy I don’t have a problem. I take in lots of water and only start feeling munchy around 10:30 or 11 A.M. By then, I only have to put off eating for another hour or so and I can go to the gym excited about the meal I will have when I return.
So How’s it Working?
It’s been two weeks today and color me impressed. I’ve lost over seven pounds and gone up 10 lbs in my Bench Press and 15 lbs in my squats. I think more clearly and feel more energetic. I don’t expect the weight loss to keep the same pace but a slower, steadier loss is actually good for motivation. So, have I found a solution that will work for me long term? Let’s hope so. I started last year with the theme of health over beauty. I want to hike mountains in my 70’s, not be on the cover of a magazine. So far, that focus and balance have served me well.
|Monday||Fast morning, Gym 1-2pm, end fast|
|Tuesday||Eat until 4pm, begin fast|
|Wednesday||Gym 1-2pm, end fast|
|Thursday||Eat until 4pm, begin fast|
|Friday||Gym 1-2pm, end fast|
|Saturday||Eat all day|
|Sunday||Eat all day|
Foods I cut out because I can’t control quantities: all sugary food and drinks
Foods I limit in quantity: bad carbs (bread, chips, pasta)
Foods I enjoy: Meat, Rice, Quinoa, Couscous, lots of veggies, fruit, almond butter, popcorn with coconut oil
Treats: Homemade trail mixes, my weekly bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, and the occasional hot mocha!