A month ago, I told you about the books I was reading, mentioned my previous morbid obesity, type 2 diabetes, and tongue cancer.
What I didn’t mention is that while the majority of my family on my father’s side died in their 50s of complications of raging alcoholism (which I neatly sidestepped by deciding when I was a kid that I was never going to drink — and then sticking to that), just about everyone on my mother’s side of the family died of complications of food. Type 2 diabetes, obesity, stroke, heart attack.
And as well as I’d done with Paleo in getting my weight down, in getting my blood sugar under control, I could not get that last mile.
My fasting blood glucose was always in the 90s, my 2-hour postprandial (after meal) was always in the 120s. If I were being snarky, I’d say these were minimally exceptional.
Since I would NEVER be snarky, I’ll note that these are NOT good numbers. They’re borderline. You’re standing with your toes hanging over the cliff with these numbers, and if you sneeze wrong, you’re going to go over the edge.
So when Matt found Fung, and something we hadn’t tried, I was motivated.
I’ve never done things in half measures. When I decide to do something, I’m all in — so when I fail, it’s big and messy and sometimes expensive and always painful. And someone a little less o/b/s/e/s/s/i/v/e FOCUSED than me would learn that Moderation is Wisdom.
I can type those words, but when I look at them on the screen, all I can read is Moderation is Wimpy. Hey, we all have our bears to cross, and this is just the way I’m made.
So I have not been moderate. I have been both focused and driven.
Baseline, Matt, the Kid (who’s twenty, so he isn’t, but I can’t bring myself to call him the Man, or the Guy) have eaten one meal a day that contains less that 20 grams of carbs, moderate proteins, and high fat.
No snacks, no cheat days, no compromises. Not once.
The quality of our food has gone from the cheapest meats and veggies Wal-Mart sells to the expensive pastured chicken and beef, grass-fed butter, and fresh asparagus at Whole Foods because…
At maximum, we’re eating seven meals a week.
If you figure what you’re spending on food now, cut that down to one meal a day with no snacks or soft drinks, figure the prices for the best ketogenic whole food money can buy (and throw in my secret kicker — more on that in a sec), and go through the week on a MAXIMUM of seven meals, you can eat like kings.
Here’s the secret kicker. Originally we figured the meals would be the same size as the meals we usually ate. So we were going along on Wal-Mart Hamburger Salad with Lettuce and Mayo-Mustard-Paprika Sauce. And other “yep, still hamburger” meals. And I noticed that I wasn’t finishing my portions. I have been a big eater for a long time, so this was strange. One meal a day, and I wasn’t finishing the one meal I had.
Matt grilled us these gorgeous boneless pork chops, and made fresh asparagus for me, and salads for the kid and himself, because I’m the only one who would rather have asparagus than candy.
We got two chops apiece. Delicious, perfectly prepared. I ate about 80% of the asparagus, one of the chops, took two bites from the second, and I was done.
DONE. Not another bite of food was going into my mouth, because my stomach said, “STOP, dammit.”
And I stopped.
So the secret? You get less hungry eating this way, so you eat less, so you BUY less. (Why cook stuff the Stomach Boss won’t let you eat?) But you can afford to buy better.
And this isn’t just me. Both Matt and the Kid have had the same reaction.
But there’s more…
In the past month, along with the 23-hour fasts, I’ve also done several 48-hour fasts, and one 72-hour fast.
So subtract the six days in the last month that I didn’t eat at all (just had 8 oz. of black coffee in the morning, a cup of unsweetened green tea most days, and seltzer water or club soda as often as I wanted.)
When you figure that, I’ve actually averaged a bit over FIVE meals per week.
I haven’t been hungry.
During the fasting, I’ve occasionally felt a bit weak or wobbly, but it turns out that was my blood sugar dropping to places it hasn’t been in — well, probably decades. (Results will follow, but hang with me here).
I’ve had MORE energy than I’ve had in ages. Which is good, because right at the moment I’m neck deep and drowning in more work than I can believe (along with the accompanying stress).
Even if I weren’t dealing with medical problems that needed resolution, this “one meal a day most days and no meals a day some days” thing would have been a winning strategy for dealing with the ungodly amount of stress I’m under right now.
Not having to make time to eat has been one of the massive benefits of eating this way over the past month. I’m not even in sniffing distance of being caught up, but I’ve gotten a LOT more done than if I were wasting time with multiple meals and the sluggish after-meal doldrums that result from non-ketogenic meals.
So. The results.
I don’t own a scale. We haven’t had one since around 2010.
Frankly, I don’t care what I weigh as long as I’m healthy. The metrics that matter to me are my blood sugar (diabetes, kidney failure, amputation, and a laundry list of other ills too long to mention) and my waistline — because storing belly fat is indicative of feeding your next heart attack, and with my damn Energizer-Bunny personality, I figured I was PRIME for a heart attack.
Here’s where I started.
- Waistline: 42″ even (106.68 cm)
- Fasting blood glucose: in the 90s mg/dl
- 2-Hour post-prandial blood glucose: in the 120s mg/dl
Here’s where I am today.
- Waistline: 36.5″ DOWN 5.5″ (92.71 cm) DOWN 9.47 cm
- Fasting blood glucose past 7 days: In the 60s mg/dl (Lowest 62 mg/dl)
Average drop of 30 mg/dl in one month
- 2-Hour post-prandial blood glucose: 68-78 mg/dl
Average drop of 52 mg/dl
Even after Matt loss a hundred pounds and I lost at least 60 back in 2006 (and the weight stayed off), I could not get my blood glucose into a GOOD range, and I could not get the fat off my waistline. I had what folks call an apple shape.
The apple shape is already gone. I have no belly bulge. I don’t have that spiffy inward curve I once had, but I’ve discovered this month that that may be within reach again, too.
As a teenager and young woman, I was tubular. The boy I liked most in high school once told me that if I stood sideways and stuck out my tongue, I’d look like a zipper. (You never quite get over something like that.)
I’d love to have the 22″ waist I had when I was nineteen back, but after three kids, that’s not going to happen. Getting a waistline under thirty, though? Getting the fat out of my liver and off my abdomen, adding some muscle — oh, yeah.
Incidentally and slightly off topic, I’m now back to doing both guy pushups (no knees, just straight back, hands and toes) and squats again because the increase in energy has to go somewhere, and it might as well go into doing something useful. Building muscle is always useful.
Status right now? I haven’t eaten for a couple of days. I’m not hungry. I just wrote this really long post, and then I’m going to go get some coffee and get some real work done.
We have a birthday/Mother’s Day party we have to go to today where I’m going to have to deal with a bunch of food outside my eating zone. So, following Fung’s advice, I’ll enjoy the party, eat the goodies… and tomorrow I’ll fast again.
One month in, I’m seeing amazing results, I have not suffered, I have not been hungry, and I have made enormous inroads into regaining the health I want to maintain for the rest of my life. And… wait for it…
This is the easiest damn thing I’ve ever done.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I got these results from eating a ketogenic diet, and from daily intermittent fasting mixed with occasional multi-day fasting over a period of 30 days. I was taking no medication for any medical condition, so could do this without medical supervision.
If you’re taking ANY prescription medications, you’re going to have to consult with your doctor before trying something like this. Buy your doctor a copy of The Complete Guide to Fasting if you have to, and if you get resistance or the doctor things you’re insane or full of shit, take the copy back and find another doctor.
This is not an affiliate link: I’m recommending the book because it’s helping me. I will not make a dime if you buy the book.
Thank you for sending this out to your mailing list as I don’t normally read your blog on here.
I bought the book and devoured it in 2 days, then started doing 23/1, I decided to start with two days a week. IT WAS SO EASY! In fact, I started feeling better at work on the days I fast during the workday, so I went up to three days the next week, then all 5 days. I feel so much better during the workday it is amazing. No more falling asleep at my desk, no more 2 pm slump. I really noticed a difference today when our team leader took us out to lunch and I felt obligated to eat with them. Right back to 2 pm slump and feeling so tired I left an hour early.
I’m already down 6 pounds, but honestly I swear it should be more. There is already a noticable decrease in my belly fat.
Even crazier, it solved another issue that has been the bane of my existence for the last 15 years – excessive farting and belching. I couldn’t get rid of it no matter what I tried. I cut out all beans, legumes, dairy, veggies known to cause bloating/gas, still had it so bad multiple people – unprompted – told me I was the gassiest person that they had ever met.
Now, suddenly after just a 2 weeks of this eating schedule (23/1 on weekdays, normal eating on weekends), TOTALLY GONE.
I’m delighted. And congratulations. I’m getting ready to post my next report, and the news is still all good.
The good: The gas problem is still fixed
The bad: I have not lost a pound. Nothing. I still weigh literally exactly the same as I did at the start of May. Waistline is the same too. No change. Maybe I need to do a longer fast than 24 hours? But I have no way to make bone broth, and I know from experience that what Fung says in his book about canned broth is correct.
–>I had a stomach tumor about 6 years ago, and had a bad reaction to the surgery to remove it. Had periods where i had to fast and I was starving and hated it. But I was doing everything Fung says not to do: diet sodas, canned broth, basically everything he says not to do. I’m actually having an easier time fasting now that I know the tricks. Could I do a multi-day fast to maybe try to kick-start some weight loss without the broth? Or are there tips for people who don’t have access to a stove on where to get bone broth without all the additives?
I read your post about the multi-day fast while waiting in the doctor’s office last week. I have to be honest. i thought good for you, but fasting is just crazy talk.
I saw a new doctor, who looked over my meds list, and talked to me about my lifestyle and eating. Then she wrote Jason Fung’s name down on a sticky note and told me to look him up on the internet/youtube.
She did not mention fasting at all when she suggested not to eat after 7pm and have breakfast at 11am (16-8 fasting). After a week, i feel so much better already.
Between your post and the Doc, I feel The Universe picked me up and dropped me in the middle of a new path. Thank you for your part in my life changes.
Congratulations on your numbers, the changes are very impressive.
I began eating with a keto approach just under a month ago, partly with the hope to loose a few pounds, but also to feel less bloated and hungry so often. I figured that the foods I loved to eat most (pasta, rice, potatoes, bread) would be horrible to give up. But it hasn’t been nearly as bad as I thought. It is true that the cravings for those things go away and you feel more satisfied between meals than when you mostly subsisted on simple carbs. And the feeling of bloating has pretty much gone away. I can see this type of eating being very sustainable for me.
” I figured that the foods I loved to eat most (pasta, rice, potatoes, bread) would be horrible to give up. But it hasn’t been nearly as bad as I thought.”
Yeah. For me it was cookies. I never thought I wouldn’t miss cookies. But astonishingly, I don’t. I haven’t craved ANYTHING, and that is what tells me this is the right direction.
Well, that and the results.
Please note that push ups on your knees are called assisted push ups. There is no gender associated with what type of push up you do. No matter if you’re doing assisted or unassisted, you’re doing something, which is great. I’m proud of you.
I grew up a longish time ago, when guys did pushups on hands and toes, and girls did pushups on hands and knees. It was a different world, and at the age of 57, I still drag a fair amount of it with me.
Congratulations! Wow! What great results. I’m working on my fitness, too, and your story is an inspiration.
Good luck. And thanks. I’m glad I could show some encouraging results.
My library’s copy of this turned out to be discussion questions, not the actual text. They had his other book, though, so I read that one. It’s funny, because this is how I ate many years ago, and, being female, it was diagnosed as anorexia. Now that men are on board with it, it’s scientific. Sigh…
I don’t know if my body will let me go back to that way of eating, but I remember how good it felt. I felt light and strong and clean. However, I did get sick a *lot*. I was probably eating less than is recommended.
I’m amazed at how good I feel and how much energy I have.
Thanks for sharing your progress, Holly. Those are impressive number changes – well done.
One thing to keep in mind, once you stop losing weight, your need for additional calories will go up. Right now in between your meals you are consuming a lot of healthy saturated & monounsaturated fat — your own body fat. (It’s funny how mainstream doctors will say saturated fat is bad but weight loss is good. You have to consume saturated fat to lose weight!)
Does the book mention this? My guess would be that you could still keep eating one meal per day even once you’ve reached your ideal weight, because even a skinny person has enough energy stored in body fat to run an ultra-marathon.
Right now we’re “living off the hump” as Matt calls it. (He spent a bit of time in the desert, and uses the occasional camel metaphor).
As we burn off our fat stores, though, we’ll almost certainly experience an increase in appetite commensurate with our bodies’ needs.
I’m fine with eating until I’m full. I’m doing that now. I just fill up really quickly.
And considering the amount of fat in what we’re eating, I don’t think we’re going short on calories at all, even though I’m eating small portions (eating until my body yells STOP!).
At the point where it becomes an issue, we can certainly drop the multi-day fasts.
The two ten-day fasts per year will stay, because they’re not for elimination of body fat or for blood sugar control, but to enable autophagy — the body’s recycling of broken and damaged cells to rebuild new ones.
Cancer being an ongoing concern for me, I have a high and focused interest in having my body take out the trash.
I think I could “live off the hump” for a year or so…
I did really well on Atkins about 15 yrs ago – lost 20 lbs, felt great, and stuck with it for two or three years. Sadly, I then started dating again, and the bf was all about gourmet food…
Going to buy this book. I definitely need a change.
I read through it, mostly it just made me very happy that there were reasons behind all the problems I’d experienced with my blood sugar and weight loss that were due to the misinformation spread by agencies and doctors who should have known better.
The fact that something actually does work made me even happier.
Wow, Holly, this is very encouraging. I’ve been Intermittent Fasting (16 off, 8 on) for 3 weeks and find it is no chore at all. I think I’m ready for the 23 – 1. With the current lifestyle change, I’m not really hungry after that first meal. I just eat another meal toward the 8-hour mark – just in case I get hungry. Time to up my game and modify my lifestyle once more. Getting healthier and losing weight is great – but so is investing in one really high-quality meal a day.
I got Fung’s book from the library a month ago and really enjoyed it! I’ve been slowly trying to increase the amount of time I can fast each day and have made it to 16 hours max so far. With end of the school year, standardized testing, admin change and everything else (I work in an elementary school), I knew I’d push myself over the edge if I tried to do too much too soon. But as soon as school is out, I’m going to go hardcore and try to extend my fasts longer and implement more keto diet choices. I’m excited by this and surprised by some of the changes I’ve seen in my body since I started trying to fast three weeks ago. My family has a history of alcoholism and heart/diabetes issues too, and while I’m mid-30s, I really don’t want that to be my future. Too many adventures to be had! Thank you for recommending the book!
There’s no benefit in throwing yourself over the cliff. You can just walk down the hill at your own pace. So I say, good plan.
Thanks so much for sharing this, Holly. It’s inspiring to hear about your success with the fasting, and it’s great that your health is improving!
I’ve known about Dr. Fung for years and have all of his books on kindle and also audio versions. I listen frequently. In 2017, I had a business fail and went off the food deep end. I only got back on Keto & 1 meal a day again recently. I was so happy to see that you’ve been doing this. Those who I know who are have had marvelous results. I hope to soon be there again, too.
This is fantastic. I wish I could try this, but I have meds I take around the clock that must be eaten with food. 🙁
I was wondering: how does elimination go with this plan? I’ve heard of constipation associated with cheese and meats.
Fiber is usually a carb.
Congrats on finding a way that works for you. I need something like that.
I’ll be as delicate as I can here. When you eat less by volume, you eliminate less by volume. Everything works well. Just.. LESS.
Thank you so much for the update and the added details. My husband and I are both working on doing intermittent fasting and low carb. I do think I’ll think I’ll purchase that book. We are both borderline diabetic and obese, and in your age group. Please keep posting results. And congratulations on your success!
Way to go Holly! I have been half-assing a keto lifestyle. I need find my “focus and drive” and go all-in to see and feel changes like you have. Keep it up!
Congratulations! These are BIG numbers.
Curiously enough, we had just finished Fung’s book and started our own journey about 10 days ago. We’ve had only 3 days of one-meal a day and the rest eating within an eight-hour window.
I’m already down 2+ lbs. and have 1 1/2 inches at my waist.
Thanks for the update and I am thrilled for you! I could never get my hubby to even consider this, but I think this is totally something I could get on board with. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the great improvement in numbers! Hope you continue to keep us posted!
Very happy for you Holly! We eat organic foods as much as we can and my kids (7 and 4) know to avoid artificial colors, flavors and preservatives (not that they can always follow with it since schools do not watch for those). But, at home it’s all clean foods, a lot of fruits and veggies and water. Yes, I do have candy at the house for the kids, but it’s all organic too 🙂 No one feels cheated with the meals we eat, they all taste great and are packed with nutrients. I also want to mention that my kids are rarely ever sick.
Well done! Glad it’s working so well for you.
Now, it it would only cure Alzheimer’s…
Last month I made a change that has been working well for me. Five days a week, I do protein shakes and a salad kit for dinner. Over the weekend, I eat “normally.” But I’ve noticed that normally is less food than I used to eat normally (hence the quotations). Last week, I made a slight shift to more water and more vegetables. I cut coffee out sometime last year (never really cared for it) but I started a tea subscription this year and I’m enjoying the variety). I haven’t had a soft drink since December 30, 2017, and I don’t miss them.
Mr. L has expressed concern about my weight, and I finally decided I needed to do what I needed to do, and he’d have to figure out his own meals if that was going to happen (he won’t eat ANY of the stuff I’m eating — not yet, anyway). We go to breakfast together on Saturday and he cooks his steaks for us on Saturday nights (I make this concession for some togetherness).
You make a great point about being able to afford better quality food (which is more likely to have better nutrient content than lower quality food, thus it serves your body better) when you’re eating less of it.
I’m sure my plan and system will evolve as I go through this process, but I’m down 9 pounds since I started — about 3 pounds a week. At a healthy rate, it should take me four years to achieve my goal, but I am on my way.
I’m cheering you on. Different paths, hoping for the same excellent results.
Keto has always worked best for me, because I LIKE meat and veggies like asparagus and broccoli, and don’t give a damn about grains. (And am, frankly, happy to have them gone.)
So for me, keto is “easy”, and eating vegan (which we did for three years back in 1997-2000,) made me want to rob a McDonald’s. “Not the money. Give me all your hamburgers!”
I’m not certain our paths are so different — I’m not sure exactly where this will take me. We may be at different places on the same path. You’re definitely further along the path, and I am so happy for your success!