I’ve lost 15 pounds. My clothes are fitting better, and I’m getting into clothing I haven’t worn for 4 years. The most important part: I have broken my insulin resistance. My 90 day goal was to break my insulin resistance and lose a little weight. I have accomplished that. I accomplished the most with the fasting, simply because I have so much difficulty sticking to any exercise regimen. Now that our air has been full of smoke from nearby wildfires for more than 2 weeks, it has been really difficult to get any exercise.
For those of you who may be new to this blog, you might want to know that I started 10 years ago as someone who was hungry and ate constantly. I broke that doing the Adkins back in 2003-2004 when I lost 50 lbs and kept it off for about 3 years. I learned the secret to staving off cravings with protein and fat. I gained it all back, starting at 185, a lot do with night shifts and problems regulating sleep. Nothing was on a steady schedule for me—sleeping, eating, working, anything, and that takes its toll after a while. I learned to cook (really cook, not just slop processed foods together) in 2005, and I went on a cooking and baking binge. Then when my current partner came along in 2009 with an ice cream fetish, I put on 30 pounds in about a year.
In 2010 I cleaned up our diet. I started purchasing only organic foods, stopped buying ice cream and started making our own with a little Cuisinart ice cream freezer. Using organic ingredients and either Stevia or a natural product called Whey Low, things started looking up. I lost my cravings and felt immensely better, but I lost no weight. I added a lot of resistance and walking exercise in 2011 and drastically lowered my blood pressure, even got off the blood pressure meds, but still no weight loss. In 2012 I drastically changed our diet. By November I was still overweight and getting depressed.
The wake-up call
When I experienced a sudden onset of joint inflammation in my knees late last year (after a holiday binge) I decided it was time to do something permanent in terms of diet and weight loss.
The last 90-days
After continued research, I finally decided to do the much touted intermittent fasting along with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). If you’re not familiar with the concept, you can read up on it here. I will tell you that I believe in it. I will tell you that I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that had I stuck with the HIIT, at least 3 days a week, I would be considerably lighter right now. You can break your insulin resistance with intermittent fasting alone, but the two combined, IF with HIIT, would have resulted in some serious weight loss.
I started both right away. My appetite dropped drastically in 48 hours, and it was nearly nil in 72. After years of experiencing just a nagging “I want something,” to suddenly experience a drop in blood sugar that signaled actual hunger was quite an adjustment. I’m not talking about hypoglycemia; my blood sugar has been more normal during this 90-day period than it has been for years, once I started eating right. That’s how real hunger works—your body expends all the caloric energy, your blood sugar drops, and your brain signals you that it’s time to replenish by making you feel hungry. I’m not sure I’ve actually experienced that before as an adult. Our Standard American Diet (SAD) doesn’t really allow us to, plus the convention of eating three meals a day (or worse, grazing all day long. Has anybody really lost weight that way?) At first I hardly wanted to eat at all, but after I started getting cold all the time, when I’m usually the most warm-blooded person in any room, I knew I was going too far. My long-suffering partner made a few gentle comments after he’d gone like 3 evenings with no dinner other than his buttered, cheesy popcorn. He doesn’t need to lose weight (he lost 30 pounds when I cleaned up our diet, and even then he wasn’t overweight). So I had to get back on track. I started with a morning (well, usually around noon) protein smoothie, a midday snack, and a good evening meal. My blood sugar was so low before the smoothie for the first couple of weeks that I couldn’t exercise before eating. But the HIIT went by the wayside. I started it up three different times, but always quit in about 4 days. I am one of the least disciplined people I know. They say when you see results that it motivates you to keep doing it. I immediately saw the benefit, but it still did nothing for my drastic lack of discipline.
My 90-day goal was to break my insulin resistance and lose some weight. I have accomplished that. I guess I shouldn’t berate myself so much about my discipline when I did manage to keep doing the IF every day, but that didn’t really require anything of me. I wasn’t hungry, so I didn’t eat. Pretty easy. I have more energy. I sleep better. My inflammation is almost completely gone. I have periodic flare-ups for a day or so, but I probably will continue to until I stop eating inflammatory foods.
My final word (in the 90 Day challenge) on processed wheat flour
I called it the UnDiet because, at first, I didn’t change what I ate, just how I ate. I have talked about my love-hate relationship with processed wheat flour. I love to cook and bake. Since I wasn’t doing any sweets or sugar, I allowed myself to continue to bake bread, focaccia, and pizza. I don’t do that every day. We typically have pizza once a week. I bake bread maybe once a week, and we’ve had the focaccia twice in the last 6 months. But in my continued research, doctors and scientists are beginning to realize that inflammation, especially chronic inflammation in the body, is the root cause, or at the very least drastically accelerates the cause, of many catastrophic diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and some cancers. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go into my old age fearing those. I want to experiment with other flours. I don’t necessarily mean making non-gluten items, I just mean finding good ingredients that are less inflammatory, yet allow me to bake. Sugar is completely off the list. I cannot in all good conscience eat processed sugar. The bottom line is, the more I leave off eating inflammatory foods, the less inflammation I will have to deal with. This is why I feel 45 even though I’m nearing 60. That’s a shocker! Even though I’ve talked about being “almost 60” for the last year (I’m actually not even 59 quite yet), it still shakes me up a little when I see it in print. Not because I fear 60, but simply because I don’t feel 60.
Graphic courtesy of Africa and FreeDigitalPhotos.com