I have always been a healthy eater but after having my daughter, I started to gain a few pounds. I was also eating high carb foods and not working out. I decided to read up on fasting and gave it a shot. I can tell that fasting helped me lose a little weight. I am now on a healthy eating plan and I plan to keep it that way.
If you have been struggling to get in shape for months, you may have given up on the notion of ever getting healthy and losing weight. You may have scoured the Internet and tried diets that supposedly work, but they’re not the right fit for you. And you may feel like you’ve tried everything with no results. That’s exactly what happened to Jennifer, a mom from Colorado, who was desperate to get healthy.
I am a physician in internal medicine with an interest in the power of fasting for health.
I wanted to share a great success story from our IDM program that emphasizes the value of having a supportive community. Jennifer, like many others, believed she had tried every diet imaginable and had failed miserably. However, the majority of individuals have never experienced fasting, which may make all the difference.
I doubt there is a weight-loss strategy or diet book that I haven’t tried or read as a lifelong dieter. I’ve tried Weight Watchers, Diet Center, Diet Workshop, the Scarsdale Diet, Fit for Life, NutraSystem, Jenny Craig, the Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet, South Beach, Whole 30…, and none of them have worked for me. Dr. Atkins was the most successful diet I attempted when I first found him in 2000, but after a few years, even it stopped working. I couldn’t figure out how I could be eating less than 20 grams of carbohydrates each day and yet gain weight. Despondent and desperate, I decided to undergo weight-loss surgery in 2007 — a vertical sleeve gastrectomy that removed two-thirds of my stomach. I dropped 70 pounds (32 kg) in my first year after surgery due to my inability to consume large amounts of food in one sitting. I strictly followed the dietary recommendations of the bariatric physician. 150 grams of protein per day, mostly from artificially sweetened protein shakes and bars, healthy grains, 6 small meals per day, and limitless “sugar-free” drinks and sweets such as Crystal Light, jello, popsicles, and pudding. My weight began to creep back up once I acclimated to my new smaller stomach. It may not seem like much, but five pounds (2 kg) a year adds up to 50 pounds (23 kg) over ten years, and regaining it was humiliating.
For the first time, I realized why I was gaining weight while eating so little, and why I was always fighting strong carb cravings.
Never giving up on my eternal quest for a weight-loss solution, I found and listened to the audio books of Dr. Fung’s The Obesity Code and The Complete Guide to Fasting in the summer 2017. I was amazed. Everything Dr. Fung said, and the research he cited, resonated and made perfect sense to me. I already knew that the root cause of my obesity was insulin resistance, secondary to PCOS; but for the first time, I understood why I was eating so little and still gaining, and why I was constantly battling irresistible cravings for carbohydrates. It wasn’t high sugar, it was high insulin. Under that lens, I was able to identify contributing factors I’d never previously considered. It turned out that my biggest issues were 1) overly-liberal use of artificial sweeteners, 2) eating way too many times during the day, and 3) eating very late into the night. All of these things kept my insulin high, which made me crave sugar and carbs, and also made me very good at fat storage.
Even after knowing about the science, it took me a long time to make the decision to begin fasting. I was terrified at the prospect of spending a whole day without eating. But, ultimately, I overcame my concerns and began experimenting with 16:8 intermittent fasting and a keto diet. My weight leveled out for the first time in years. Although this was an improvement, I was still not shedding weight. I was also not a fan of the ketogenic diet. I was fairly burnt up on keto after years of fruitless attempts to make Atkins work for me.
It was clear where I was going by the time I turned 50 in November of last year. I weighed at least 60 pounds (27 kg) more than I should have. My A1c was 5.9, and my fasting blood glucose was regularly above 120 mg/dl (6.7 mmol/L). I knew I was heading straight towards a type 2 diabetes diagnosis based on my family history. Something has to be done. In early November 2018, I scheduled an appointment with an IDM counselor and met my online coach, Nadia Brito Pateguana. She persuaded me that, because of my metabolic resistance, I would have to commit to lengthier fasts in order to really lose weight. A 36-hour fast seemed as implausible as going to the moon when she initially proposed it. But I was taken aback the first time I tried it. Yes, it was difficult, but after I completed it, I felt fantastic. Empowered. I put myself to the test, and I succeeded! And, even stranger, I lost weight!
I decided to attempt three 40-hour fasts in one week after successfully completing a couple 36-hour fasts. For me, that timetable has been the “magic bullet.” I eat two meals in a 6-8-hour timeframe on my eating days. By 8 p.m., I’ve finished all of my meals. I’ve also given up artificial sweeteners and learnt to appreciate my coffee without them. In six months, I’ve dropped thirty pounds (14 kg) by eating anything I want (within limits) during my eating windows and even skipping holidays and vacations.
Aside from the weight reduction, I’ve seen significant improvements in my health. My A1c has dropped to 5.3 at the time of my latest check. My cholesterol level has decreased. My PCOS symptoms have almost vanished. My chronic hip and knee pain has been relieved as a result of the decrease in systemic inflammation, enabling me to become more athletically active. Running or biking when on a prolonged fast is now one of my favorite things to do. Fasting enhances the effects of exercise and boosts performance.
The actual advantages of fasting, however, go well beyond weight loss or better blood work. It’s impossible for me to express how freeing it feels to be able to eat the things I love without feeling guilty or afraid.
The actual advantages of fasting, however, go well beyond weight loss or better blood work. It’s impossible for me to express how freeing it feels to be able to eat the things I love without feeling guilty or afraid. Fasting has helped me get rid of the negative self-talk that had been plaguing me. I’m no longer sad or worried. My mind is free to concentrate on other things instead of constantly negotiating what I “should” and “shouldn’t” be eating, allowing me to be more perceptive and creative.
Only Dr. Fung, Megan, Nadia, and IDM deserve credit for gently steering me in the correct direction. Over the past six months, my IDM coaching sessions have continued. At least twice a month, I check in with Nadia. She’s fantastic at keeping me motivated, adjusting things to keep me on track, and explaining the science behind what I’m going through.
Alternate-day fasting works, and despite the fact that it first seemed scary and tough, it is the simplest thing I’ve ever done to regain control of my food, reduce weight, and improve my physical and emotional health — even simpler than weight-loss surgery. My weight reduction has not been linear, but it has been on a decreasing trend. The greatest thing about fasting is that it is completely long-term sustainable. This is how I shall eat for the rest of my life. I’ve never wondered when I’ll be “done” or considered going back to my old habits. Why would I do that? I have no want or need to return to a way of life that makes me feel old, depressed, and in pain.
At age 26, Jennifer struggled with an eating disorder. At that time, she was a size 14, had severe acne and a high triglyceride level. When she was 18, her mother gave her a book to read called, “The Fast Diet” which was by Dr. Jason Fung, a registered dietician. After reading the book, she decided to give fasting a try. She started her fast on January 1, 2011. She fasted for 36 hours, then ate only one meal. She continued to fast for the next 96 days, and lost a total of 102 pounds. Jennifer lost a total of 102 pounds.. Read more about intermittent fasting success stories 2020 and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of intermittent fasting does Jennifer Aniston do?
Intermittent fasting is a type of diet that involves periods of fasting and non-fasting. It can be done in different ways, such as skipping breakfast or dinner one day a week, or eating all your meals within an 8 hour window.
Who is the expert on intermittent fasting?
I am the expert on intermittent fasting.
Can fasting get rid of Lipedema?
There is no evidence that fasting can get rid of Lipedema.
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