Many may not appreciate the concept of fasting to lose weight, but not long ago I am intrigued when people say that fasting can be a great exercise to take control of your weight. Curious enough, I made the decision to try it out.
Here is my story, of how I am using fasting to lose weight, take control of my calorie intake and appreciate food.
I came from a time that I weigh more than 200 pounds. And with a height of no more than 5 feet 6 inches, I was not happy with how I look. I was having a hard time breathing, my girlfriend told me I was snoring like anything and it made me guilty when I eat too much but seem I cannot stop or tell myself to reduce my calorie intake.
I read so many articles that would say that you need to do this, not that. Eat this, not that. I found it so hard because with all the things "I have to do," I froze.
What I hated about most diets I find online is that it kind of dictates what you should eat. How can I stop from eating all those junk food and suddenly turn into vegetables and fruits? I knew it required a transition but most of the stuff you find online is like "do it or stay fat" kind of thing. Later I realized it takes a lot of practice, patience and consistency to get that eating style that will help you lose weight.
Finally, after reading and pondering I kept it simple:
The weight training was nothing serious, some basic stuff you find online. As long as I got to work out every muscle group per week; I’m good.
This is touchy because I found it hard to change my eating habits in an instant. I tried six small meals a day and three moderate meals a day. The tricky part is to control the amount of food at every meal. I eat with people often and it feels awkward for me just eating this amount and there is a lot of food.
Even though I succeeded at times, cravings kick in, emotional stress triggers eating, guilt and depression makes me go back to eating.
Then I discovered fasting to lose weight...
I saw the concept of fasting from Rusty Moore's site. He has an article about fasting to lose weight. It is interesting that you can fast for a 24-hour period once or twice a week without losing muscle and still lose fat.
Think about it: if you eliminate a day or two worth of calories in a week, wouldn't it make calorie reduction a lot easier?
But the problem was...
...not eating for 24 hours??? Am I nuts? I cannot go on without eating for the next two hours and now not eat for 24 hours?
Instead of dwelling into such setback, I started reading more articles about fasting to lose weight and actually it makes sense: the best thing to lose weight is to burn more than you take in. Limiting the amount taken in means more chances that I burn fat more.
Desperate to find a way to lose weight and still not feel guilty of what I eat, I set a deadline of one month to try it out (although honestly, I thought I would not last a week.)
I did more research about intermittent fasting to get me motivated. Focusing on the positive benefits, the first week I decided to do this experiment and to fast only once.
My last meal before the "big day" was at around 7pm. So it means I will take my following meal the following day at 7pm. Okay I admit, I ate a little more than I should have because of my mind anticipating that I will not be having any food for the next 24 hours created fear.
The big day came and during the fast, many articles suggest hunger suppressants like green tea or black coffee without anything in it still counts as zero calories.
Lunch time came, and I had to say no just for one day. It seems almost impossible not to come to the pantry and see officemates eating and inviting you to eat. However, I said this time, I will be firm and say no, just one day.
This technique is useful when you fasting to lose weight: drink lots of water, and get busy to rid your mind off food.
It was almost 7pm, and I was breaking down. I want to eat, and doubted if fasting to lose weight is even possible. After that I thought to myself, hey, if this doesn't work for a month, then maybe I should find other ways, like surgical procedures or all the other stuff you find online.
Finally, 7pm came and I can eat. I was thinking of eating so much; maybe because it's my "lazy excuse" of coping up for lack of calories.
I fasted again that same week one more day, and it was the same thoughts running through my head. I made it through the week and how many pounds lost?
It gave me enough motivation to try again the next week. This time based on the intermittent fasting guide, I tried to eat small meals after the fast to avoid stomach pain from overeating. Specifically, it said 800 calories, but I tried to eat as little as I can. No pressure.
In a month, I lost 10 pounds. I made it! So it became a point that I fast at least once a week and be sensible when it comes to eating.
After reaching the weight I am comfortable with, I use short-term fasting to maintain my weight. It also serves as an exercise to limit my calorie intake. If you are used to eating a lot more than you should, this is a great option for you.
- Experiencing hunger is okay; it allows the body to do its thing. Too many calories in a day give our body stress. Not using such calories ends up as fat. Think short term fasting as a way of the body to recover from the stress and use the fat as a source of energy.
- Learning to say no to so much calorie intake is a great way to appreciate food. You need not to be guilty during times when a friend invites you out or there are special occasions in your life.
Time your fasting days when there isn't a lot going on or when you are busy at work.
- Stay consistent. As long as it is built in the principle of eating less than you burn makes weight loss possible. Short term fasting makes it easy to control calories by not taking in anything in the first place.
- Before you make the conclusion that a diet method doesn't work, like fasting to lose weight, allow yourself time before you say no. It might work for you, maybe it won't. If you do not stay consistent and follow whatever diet program you choose, you won't actually know if it's good for you.
- Short term fasting makes you appreciate the quality of food. Because I learned to control the amount of calories through time, it makes my food choices based on the quality of food.
- It makes you flexible. Made a "bad" decision at in a day? Maybe you had too much food because there was a lot happening. Fasting makes you flexible. I fast 2-3 times a week now regularly, nothing too crazy about the amount of food in the "normal days," just sensible eating.
Fasting to lose weight can be a great exercise to take control of your calorie intake. If losing weight means more calories burned than calories taken in, short term fasting can be a considerable way to burn fat as calories (because while in hunger our bodies use up fat as energy and to stay alive) Learning to take control of calorie intake through fasting makes you appreciate food when it matters.
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