Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fasting and Detox

I have noticed lately that my skin is not looking as good as it usually does. I have a pimple...haven't had one in ages and rarely get any at all since I have started intermittent fasting.

I have not been doing as well with my all day fasts that I usually do on Sundays because pottery is on a break for the summer and I find it harder to fast on Sundays when I am at home and doing things with my husband and friends. I really realize that my long fasts are a part of my schedule and help keep the scale in the right range and help me detox whatever it is that have caused my skin problems in the past.

I need to to a small adjustment to my schedule for summer just like I do when I am on vacation. I will now do my long fasts on Mondays at work rather than Sundays until pottery begins again. I think this will help clear up my skin, and keep me feeling good.

The beauty of intermittent fasting is that it is so flexible. You really can just asses how your schedule is working and adjust it to fit your lifestyle. In the fall when pottery begins again, I will switch back to Sundays. When I am on vacation I can move my eating window to evenings...all of these changes make it easy to keep on track with fasting unlike most diets that are really difficult to incorporate into our everyday lives.

Since I missed my fast on Sunday and it is now Tuesday, I am going to do my long fast today and into tomorrow, breaking my fast at dinner on Wednesday which will be a total of 36 hours. I am off work on Thursday and Friday because of our Canada Day holiday, so we have a fun weekend planned of camping. I look forward to enjoying a roasted marsh mellow over the fire on Wed night!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A book?

Thinking of writing a book on Intermittent fasting...what do you think?

Lifestyle Change

Lifestyle change is not as easy as it sounds. You can't just wake up tomorrow and decide to change your lifestyle.

"Today I am going to change how I eat, how active I am, what foods I like and the portions I eat...no problem." Uh, does anyone else see a potential issue here?

It is like trying on shoes...if you buy those really cute ones that make your calfs look fantastic but hurt like hell and make you bleed, what are the chances of you wearing those shoes every single day for the rest of your life? Chances are you will wear them on a hot date or to your high school reunion or that wedding where your ex will be and then they will sit in your closet for the rest of your life untouched.

Trying on lifestyles is the same thing. Keep trying pairs on until you come across that really cute pair that look amazing and are SO comfortable. Just wait, try one at a time, don't rush it for that wedding next week. Take your time and the right shoes will be found if you just keep trying them on one pair at a time.

Little by little, try new things, give them a chance, one at a time, until you incorporate it into your life because you really enjoy it. That is how a new lifestyle is born. You can't rush it in time for summer.

Question everything

Intermittent fasting opens our eyes to just how much we consume and how unnecessary it really is. It makes us feel better than we have ever felt and we start to question everything we have been taught. It makes us understand just how we have an obesity epidemic on our hands and frustrated that the answere is so simple yet so difficult at the same time because intermittent fasting is so different than what the diet and nutrition industries have been selling for so long. 

Keep questioning and keep discovering the truth and together with the rest of the IF community maybe we can start to make a difference and free people from obesity!

Friday, June 24, 2011

What is Starvation Mode?

We have been SO mislead and have completely misunderstood the science behind Starvation mode. When physical trainers or dieticians say it we automatically believe it because they are the "expert". But they are also just repeating what we have all somehow misunderstood and repeated to everyone we know who is on a diet. Lets take a real look at what Starvation Mode actually is.

Starvation mode as we know it is a myth. When we think of starvation mode, we think that when we skip a meal or go on a low calorie diet, our bodies go into "starvation mode" and start storing everything we eat as fat because it thinks it is starving, thus causing weight gain rather than weight loss. People in our society also have a very strange idea of what starving is. To them, starving can be as little as skipping a meal or even a snack. Actual starvation means cutting the total caloric intake to less than 50% of what the body requires per day for an extended period of time (meaning weeks and/or months). So skipping a meal or snack is nowhere near starvation. 

Also, starvation mode doesn't cause weight gain, not even close. Research shows that at no point does the body stop burning body fat during fasting or even during extreme starvation until the research subject hits a rate of approximately 5% body fat. So, if we have body fat to burn, our bodies will not gain weight, but continue to burn body fat for fuel.

What does happen in starvation mode is your metabolic rate drops (after several weeks or months of less than 50% of your recommended daily caloric intake). Which could explain why there may be a misunderstanding that the body would gain weight because we are told that a slow metabolism means weight gain. However, the slow metabolic rate associated with starvation mode is also misunderstood as outlined in the below quote from this article:

"Lyle McDonald explains it this way: 

In general, it's true that metabolic rate tends to drop more with more excessive caloric deficits… But here's the thing: in no study I've ever seen has the drop in metabolic rate been sufficient to completely offset the caloric deficit. That is to say that cutting your calories to less than 50% of what the body needs per day leads to a reduction in the metabolic rate of 10%. Starvation mode you say. Well, yes. But you still have a 40% daily deficit."

This means that you are still so far under the amount of calories that you should be eating that you will certainly continue to lose weight and not gain it as we would be led to believe.

Intermittent fasting is not a starvation diet. People who practice intermittent fasting generally eat near, if not above their daily required calorie intake and so are no where near starvation mode, something which as we understand it, doesn't exist anyway. Furthermore, studies show that intermittent fasting actually increases the metabolic rate, so that would put us well out of "starvation mode danger."

Intermittent Fasting & Health

I found this article online that was SO interesting and really backs up the results that I have experienced with intermittent fasting. I have experienced not only an improvement in my appearance and weight but also a noticeable improvement in my health and how I feel on the inside. Blood test results also show remarkable improvements in my cholesterol levels. My doctor is thrilled with my improved health and has encouraged me to continue with intermittent fasting. 
My favourite quote from this article is: "The big surprise in the whole process was how easy the whole thing was. We realized that intermittent fasting and dieting had opposing attributes and disadvantages. Diets are easy in the contemplation, difficult in the execution. IF is just the opposite – it’s difficult in the contemplation but easy in the execution." 
Please enjoy a snippet from this article by Tim Ferriss below and read the full article here.
"Before the work on intermittent fasting, the only real strategy for extending the lives of laboratory animals was caloric restriction (CR). If rats or mice or even primates had their calories restricted by 30-40 percent as compared to those fed ad libitum ["at pleasure" = as much as they want] they lived 20-30 percent longer. The CR animals not only live 30 percent or so longer, they don’t develop cancers, diabetes, heart disease, or obesity. And these animals have low blood sugar levels, low insulin levels, good insulin sensitivity, low blood pressure and are, in general, much healthier physically than their ad libitum fed counterparts. But not so psychologically.
As we saw in the Keys semi-starvation study, caloric restriction isn’t much fun for humans, and it apparently isn’t all that much fun for the animals undergoing it either. When rats live out their ratty lives calorically restricted in their cages, they seem to show signs of depression and irritability. Primates do as well. If primates don’t get enough cholesterol, they can actually become violent. But they do live longer. Even though CR has never been proven in humans, based on lab animal experience it does work. So, if you’re willing to put up with irritability, hostility and depression, it might be worth cutting your calories by 30 percent for the rest of your long, healthy miserable life.
But could there be a better way?

An enterprising scientist decided to try a little twist on the CR experiment. He divided the genetically-similar animals into two groups, fed one group all it wanted and measured the intake, then fed the other group all it wanted – except every other day instead of daily. When the intake of the group fed every other day was measured, it turned out that that group – the intermittently fasted group – ate just about double on the eat days, so that overall both groups consumed the same amount of food. Animals in the one group at X amount of food per day while the animals in the other group ate 2X amount of food every other day. So both groups ate the same number of calories but the commonality ended there.
The intermittently fasted group of animals despite consuming the same number of calories as the ad libitum fed group enjoyed all the health and longevity benefits of calorically restricted animals. In essence, they got their cake and ate it, too. They got all the benefits of CR plus some without the CR.
Intermittent fasting (IF) reduced oxidative stress, made the animals more resistant to acute stress in general, reduced blood pressure, reduced blood sugar, improved insulin sensitivity, reduced the incidence of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, and improved cognitive ability."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Intermittent Fasting for Health and Longevity

This is a great place to learn more about Intermittent fasting for health.

Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

I am so grateful for intermittent fasting. I have truly found the diet or actually the lifestyle that works for me. Fast 5 has helped me to keep myself losing weight even though I sometimes falter and eat too much or eat outside my window by an hour or so. Yesterday I ate about two hours outside of my eating window indulging in a craving for Doritos and later ice cream.

If I was on a diet, I would have felt guilty and probably continued to binge, deciding to just give up and forget it. I probably would have thought that I ruined my diet. With intermittent fasting, I don't worry, I just begin again tomorrow and know that one mistake or even 10 mistakes will not get me off track because I am not dieting...I am living an intermittent fasting lifestyle!

Today I began again with my lunch of salad with chicken, egg, spinach, broccoli cole slaw, avocado, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, feta and asian sesame dressing. I also had some huge, sweet blueberries and strawberries, some sharp white cheddar, pistachio nuts, and a slice of wheat free bread.

Of course I will also have my chocolate later today for a treat.

Tonight I have yoga and the sun is shining...what could be better?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Intermittent Fasting

Fasting is easier than you think. There are a lot of people I talk to who hear what I do and immediately say that they "could never do that."

When I was a kid, my mom said that I wouldn't eat chocolate pudding. She said that I wouldn't eat it because it "looked gross." I wouldn't try it because I judged it and thought I wouldn't like it even though I had never tried it and so couldn't possibly know if I liked it or not.

Of course once I actually tried chocolate pudding I LOVED it! It was nothing like I thought it would be.

I suggest you just try and see...you never know!

Monday, June 13, 2011


There are a lot of women in my office. Because of this, there is a lot of diet talk in our lunchroom. The women here are always trying this diet and that diet and cleanse after cleanse. The same result always happens. While they are doing the diet or cleanse, they pout at the lunch table, pushing their food around on their plates looking with wide eyes at the normal food on the table.

They whine and complain and cheat and feel guilty. The finish their diet after losing 5 Lbs and gaining back 10.

They are depriving themselves. This is true of all diets. There are rules that you must follow, you can eat this, but don't even think about touching that.

When are we all going to wake up and smell the billion dollar industry? Diets DON'T WORK!!!

We are all human. We all have lives that include celebrations which always include foods we LOVE. There is no way that anyone can stay on that diet that makes them pout at the lunch table and complain and long for other people's food. Failure is inevitable. And once we fail, we eat even more because of all that deprivation!

The only way to truly have freedom is to never deprive yourself.

A few years ago, after doing my own share of pouting at lunch tables, I decided never to deprive myself again...I gave up on diets...and I ballooned to 215 Lbs. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, how ever much I wanted and just gave up.

Diets had got the better of me and I was done suffering. But my true suffering was only beginning. I was so unhappy and felt so terrible that I didn't know what to do with myself. I felt hopeless.

Then I found intermittent fasting and my whole world changed. Intermittent Fasting allows me the freedom to enjoy the foods I love while teaching my body to love the foods that are good for me.

I have never felt as good as I feel today. Physically and emotionally. I feel like such a huge weight has been lifted off of me, and I don't just mean the 50 Lbs that I released forever.

I now have FREEDOM and I will never pout at the lunch table again!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Research and Common Sense

The below post is an old post of mine in response to lots of things that I regularly hear in the diet industry. Most of them don't make any sense to me when I use my common sense radar so I did a little research and found that my common sense radar is right on the money.

One that is particularly rampant is the "starvation mode" myth. This is almost always the first thing people say to me when I tell them about my lifestyle. They say, "But don't you go into starvation mode if you skip a meal?"

Starvation mode is used as fear mongering. Keep us eating and consuming and buying those diet books. Starvation mode is not what we think it is, not even close, and eating once a day certainly will not put you into starvation mode as you are still eating the right amount of calories in a day, you are just having them in one meal instead of that crazy recommendation of 6 (who has the time or will power for six meals a day?!).

Starvation mode does not mean the absence of food. It means cutting the total caloric intake to less than 50% of what the body requires for an extended period of time. 

This would mean that you would have to reduce your calories by 50% on an ongoing basis for months or years to truly go into what everyone calls "Starvation Mode." 

That means that a diet that requires you to cut back your recommended daily calories by 500 per day or a lifestyle like intermittent fasting where you combine long fasts with eating plenty of food and never count calories at all (although if I did, I am sure I eat more than my daily recommended amount) is in no way going to put you into starvation mode. And you certainly wouldn't go into starvation mode for just skipping a meal.

Check out this article for more science behind the myth.

Enjoy a revival of my old post "The School of Common Sense" below.

I come from the school of common sense. It is how I live my life. For me, if it doesn't sound plausible it probably isn't. I haven't listened to my common sense a lot in my weight loss journey, until now. I think that is because of repetition. Martin Berkhan said it best on his blog LeanGains:
Repetition. Repeat something often enough and it becomes the truth. If everyone is saying the same thing, it must be true. No need to look into it and think for yourself.
Here are some of my common sense observations:

If you fast you will lose muscle because your body will burn muscle first before fat (a statement that one of my readers got from a personal trainer).

COMMON SENSE: If our bodies store fat for the purpose of burning that fat when it is in need of energy, why would it then go and burn muscle instead? It doesn't make sense.

THINKING FOR MYSELF: Wikipedia has something to say about this here. LeanGains blog on myths debunked, myth number six also has something to say. And here.

If you fast you will go into starvation mode and gain weight rather than lose weight.

COMMON SENSE: If I skip a meal, I am not STARVING. I have been skipping meals for almost a year now and I have lost almost 50 LBS so common sense tells me that I never switch into "starvation mode".

THINKING FOR MYSELF: Again read what wikipedia has to say about this here.

Exercise is the key to weight loss.

COMMON SENSE: You need to have a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories to release 1 pound of fat. If I work out HARD for one hour I can burn about 400-500 calories. Common sense tells me that this might work, oh wait, that means I would have to work out HARD one hour per day EVERY, SINGLE, DAY and keep my calories in line perfectly, EVERY, SINGLE, DAY.

THINKING FOR MYSELF: Now lets be realistic here. We are all busy, we all have responsibilities. Working out that hard every day just won't work, not for me at least. And being perfect with my food intake in this society is also really hard. Check out this article on the subject and one of my previous posts on Diet vs. Exercise here.

You need to eat six meals a day if you want to keep your metabolism going.

COMMON SENSE: As we all know, in history, there wasn't always a grocery store on every corner stocked with any food we could ever want in one place. As early humans we had to wait to get food until we could catch it, grow it, find it or whatever. Why would our bodies be designed to need a constant stream of food if for most of history we have been without the grocery store?

THINKING FOR MYSELF: Check out this article from the New York Times. And the US National Library of Medicine here.

Fasting is not good for you health. You need to eat regularly to be healthy.

COMMON SENSE: Since I began intermittent fasting as a lifestyle I have seen positive effects in my health. My skin which usually had acne on my face and shoulders constantly is now perfectly clear ALL THE TIME. I rarely get sick, and when I do it passes easily. Compared to before when I got colds all the time that would put me in bed for a week or more. I feel better and have more energy than ever before. I could go on and on...

THINKING FOR MYSELF: The US National Library of Medicine has countless studies that suggest that fasting is not only safe, but good for you, better for you than eating regularly. Check them out hereherehere, and here. And search for more yourself, as there are more...

Bottom line is don't believe everything you hear just because it comes from a "professional trainer". They don't have all the answers, go and find the answers yourself and learn from experience. What works for one person may not work for you, so customize your weight loss journey to fit YOUR needs.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Just change your lifestyle, duh!

This weekend I was sharing my new lifestyle with a friend and explaining my journey with intermittent fasting. It really opened my eyes while I was talking just how far I have come.

You hear it all the time in relation to losing weight, "It has to be a lifestyle change." Everyone who has succeeded with weight loss (and by success I mean losing weight and keeping it off) preaches the lifestyle change. Since I have begun my journey with intermittent fasting I feel like I finally understand what they are all talking about.

Changing your lifestyle is the key. Problem is, this is not an easy key to find. 

Changing your lifestyle is EXTREMELY difficult. They don't really mention this in their diet books that they sell. It kind of comes off as "just change your lifestyle, easy, duh!" But there is nothing easy about it. 

We are who we are. Changing usually happens as a result of a trauma or a very difficult time in our lives that forces change upon us. Usually we are better for it and that is why almost anyone you ask who has suffered hardship in their lives will tell you that they wouldn't change the bad things that have happened to them because it made them who they are today. Usually stronger, wiser, happier people who appreciate the good things in life because they know how fragile they are.

So changing your physical appearance and your internal health is not going to just happen without there being some significant event that forces change. We have to "hit rock bottom" so to speak.

When I say something significant, I don't mean that it has to be significant to everyone else looking in, although it could be, but it could also be significant only to themselves. It may seem small to outsiders looking in, but to them it was THE thing that triggered change. We have to WANT it for OURSELVES. 

A good example of this is someone I know was a smoker, for almost their whole lives, smoking excessively. They tried everything you can try to quit smoking. Patch, gum, hypnosis, electronic gadgets and on and on and on...thousands of dollars and years of effort all ending in failure. One day something caused a click in the brain that made them decide they had had enough and now was the time to quit. They put down the cigarettes and never picked them up again, with no patch, no gum, no help of any kind, just the power of the mind.

Even though it is difficult, it really is a change in lifestyle that is needed. There really is no way around this. You can try to follow this diet and that diet for a while, but unless you change the way you live, you will continue to struggle. 

The good news is, if you are lucky enough to hit your bottom and are ready for change, it isn't hard to do once it starts happening. Because a true change in lifestyle happens because we start doing things differently because we WANT to and because we LIKE to. I don't eat salad everyday because I have to and I really wish I was having a burger...I eat salad because I actually WANT to and LIKE to! 

I think intermittent fasting has helped me achieve this. I am no doctor, I am only going on my own experience but, I noticed that before intermittent fasting, my body never told me what it wanted, all I knew was I was starving and I wanted to eat everything all the time.

Fasting has allowed my body the time to asses the foods I provide and send out signals about the foods it wants and the foods it doesn't want. 

When you hear about pregnant women who crave really weird things like dirt or drywall, it is called PICA. They don't know for sure why this happens but suspect that it may be because of an iron deficiency. But these cravings are strong, the body is telling them to eat dirt, and they want to eat it just like we would want to eat chocolate or donuts or anything else that we really CRAVE. This is similar to what has happened with me, my body is CRAVING the things it really wants, like nutrients and vitamins and healthy good for me foods that make my body feel good. It tells me what it wants and makes me CRAVE these things and I eat them because I really WANT to. 

Another good analogy I read in the book The Gabriel Method  (an excellent book which also talks a lot about how to make tiny changes that make a huge impact on your lifestyle). He uses the example of a baby crying for milk. If every time a baby cries for milk you give it Pepsi, the baby will continue to scream because what it really wants is milk. Even though the baby may get very fat and look completely well nourished and well fed, it will still scream like it is starving because what it really needs is MILK!

The Gabriel Method tells us that even though a person is obese and in no way starving, they actually are starving because they are starving NUTRITIONALLY. So the body will keep screaming for food because it is not getting what it needs. And because we live in a society of fast food and convenience stores, more often than not, what we have to offer the body is food with no nutrients.

This is why before intermittent fasting, even though I was extremely overweight, I always felt starving and wanted to eat everything all the time. My body knew it was missing something, it just didn't know what it was, or how to tell me, so it just kept telling me it was starving.

So, for people who are obese, it is something that they really don't have control over. It really is unfair how society has branded overweight/obese people as lazy with no will power and blamed it all on them like they have some control over the situation. 

The body is a powerful thing, capable of healing itself, creating a life, controlling our limbs, an immeasurably complex machine. If this powerful body feels like it is starving, starving for nutrients and the only way to get what it wants is to send a message that it is starving, we are going to eat, and eat and eat whether we like it or not. 

If you are overweight or obese, it isn't your fault no matter what anyone says, no matter how much guilt you feel, you are not to blame. If you still haven't had that one significant thing happen to you to make change possible, maybe this can help, maybe intermittent fasting can help your body finally understand what it is really screaming for. 

You can change, you can switch your own switch in your mind and take the first baby step towards a new lifestyle that you live because you WANT to and LIKE to.
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