Friday, January 18, 2013

Intermittent Fasting, Awareness, and personal tools

Just a little insight from someone who has been IF'ing for about 14 months straight.  Fasting is not a magic bullet to weight loss. It is a tool, and all tools have a learning curve.  In order to us IF properly we must master it first.  How do we do this: Awareness.

The first thing you realize when fasting is how hungry you become when you're not fasting. You will have urges to eat double your calories in Snicker bars.  Careful you don't follow the urge. In truth, your stomach is going to fill up faster, and you will feel more satisfied at a smaller meal. That is unless the meal is liquid or sugar, or even worse liquid sugar (careful again, alcohol is not that different than liquid sugar).

You want to make sure that the first thing you eat after fasting is nutritionally complete.  Think meat and potatoes, or a bowl of hearty soup plus some veggies.  Make sure you eat a good amount 700-900 calories.  Now, here is where awareness comes in.  Wait a few minutes before dessert.  Enter your calories in Livestrong, read a book, play guitar, watch a documentary etc... Now have your desert, or glass of wine.  Watch your portion.  Try to keep your calorie intake half of your daily average. Mine is 2400, so I try to keep it under 1200 coming off a fast.  This usually equals dinner and 2 glasses of wine (6oz).

Tools are a very important role in learning about who you are and what you are doing at all times.  Though I agree Lance Armstrong is kind of a douche, his site Livestrong has an app called MYPLATE. Use it to track your calories and macros (protein, fat, carbs and yes sugar).  Every time you take a bite of something or a drink that isn't tea, water or black coffee, track it.  Do not cut corners, don't fool yourself about portions. When in doubt overestimate, because statistically we underestimate how much we think we eat. You will quickly learn where the problem lies.  There is an icon you can click that will show you your daily calorie intake in a pie chart.  After tracking mine for 30 days I saw that Red Wine was taking up a quarter of my daily calories.  Holy shit, am I an alcoholic (functionally maybe). 3 glasses of the Red a day (hey I'm a big guy), adds up to 450 Calories. On the weekend if you tag a couple Beers on to that were talking 800 calories.  Nutritionally poor calories, and to boot, calories that wreak havoc with sleep cycles.

Awareness is taking full responsibility for our actions at all time. Do not lie to yourself, it leads down a dark path. Light the torch of awareness and you will forever know thyself.

Also use the tools.  For weight loss we have Intermittent Fasting.  Control your calories, and carb/sugar intake using Livestrong.  Step on the scale a few times a week, and input your weight in the Livestrong app you now possess. It will make a nice graph to watch your progression. Mostly like who you are and enjoy awareness.  It will free you up to get on with more important things in life!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy 2013

Wow, I cannot believe I have been Intermittent Fasting for over a year now.  Cannot think of a time when I have stuck to an eating habit for over a year.  Yes, I was a vegetarian for 8 years, but that was easy and different in comparison.

I have decided I need to make some tweaks.  For one, I'm not a big fan of low carb/paleo per se, however I definitely would like to consume as little wheat and sugar as possible. This has been a goal of mine for a while, but it never really sticks. I think instead of practicing zero tolerance for these foods, I can consciously avoid them, but keep a cheat day every week to eat pies and ice cream and pizza!

Next up, eating breakfast sometimes.  On days following a 24 hr fast I see no problem in eating a nice breakfast.  I think it helps me psychologically recover from some of the ill effects of fasting.  Usually I practice a Leangains 16/8 window post 24hr fast.  I had some trouble in the fall this year with sugar binging.  I think chronically being in a fasted state the brain's lack of glucose starts to wreak havoc with willpower. I think upping eating frequency (but not necessarily calories) helps on the day after.

Alcohol, specifically red wine is my main vice.  I have to work this year to reduce consumption. Not only are there a ton of useless calories in wine, BUT it also interferes with sleep, which throws metabolism out of whack, so... 2 glasses a day?

Lastly, a little bit of calorie restriction may be necessary.  Not 40% reduction, but maybe 10-15%.  Will have to work on that.