Thirty days ago, I decided to make a change.
My goal was to develop healthy habits and make this a life-long lifestyle change. My spouse was all about the idea, and has been doing it with me. Knowing that this was going to be a long term process, I decided to break it down into phases, the first of which I just completed. This was helpful, since it allowed me to make several manageable changes at once, and then maintain them for a while.
– No more junk food. Candy, soda, junk food, cake, cookies, etc. GONE.
– Only drinking water, and black coffee. (I started with a little bit of sugar in the coffee, but cut that out around day 15 or so.)
– Walk every day. I have a route from my front door to our main road that is exactly 1 mile out, and 1 mile back. So I was walking 2 miles/day.
– Begin an exercise regimen of some kind. I started a 10 minutes/day home workout routine from Youtube.
– Weigh myself every morning first thing in the morning.
– Intermittent Fast on a 8/16 schedule, meaning no food before noon or after 8 pm.
As you can see, there was nothing too radical about any of this, but I started to notice change pretty quickly. The first few days were really tough. I was craving sugar and carbs really really badly. There were many times where I wanted to quit and give up. Then I got to one week. And I realized that I was on a roll, and that I couldn’t quit. The numbers on the scale started to go down. My clothing started to fit better. After a while, the momentum became almost self-sustaining, and not only did I not want to quit, I actually started to enjoy my new habits and my new life. I was sleeping better, my back didn’t hurt, I felt strong, and I started to regain some confidence.
All in all, I’ve lost 10 lbs as of this morning which is 30 days out, and gained a bit of muscle and strength to go with it.
I don’t know if anyone will take the time to read this, but if you’re out there and you’re on the fence about doing something similar, I am telling you to go for it. I did. I decided to research the hell out of weight loss and what’s happening lately and this is what I found.
Humans have about 30 trillion cells, they are tiny little biological machines but they don’t have brains, they just do what they are told to do. Hormones are the “messengers” that tell them what to do. Anabolic hormones tell the cells to store fat (lipogenesis) and grow. The main hormone here is insulin. Body builders, for example, inject insulin to bulk up…that’s dangerous but it works because that’s what insulin does.
Insulin is released by our pancreas when we eat food. Fats have a minimal insulin response, proteins and carbs with fiber have a moderate insulin response and processed carbs and sugars have a high insulin response. That is because we need insulin to “unlock” our cells so they can use glucose (the stuff carbs break down into) as fuel.
The more processed carbs and sugars you have the more insulin you will have, the more often you eat, the more insulin you will have. A lot of people in the USA (where I am) are constantly telling their bodies with the foods they are eating to store fat when they are trying to lose weight. Its difficult, I know, I did it for years and years.
What Happens when you Fast
What you are doing is you are not triggering an insulin response for extended periods of time when you fast. When you do that the ‘competing’ catabolic hormone (glucagon) becomes dominant and is telling the cells to burn fat (lipolysis). The reason its telling the cells to burn fat is you already used up all your glucose. If your body has glucose in its system it will use that first, so when its out those cells still need fuel. It then burns fat to get the other source of fuel for the cells, that is ketones, and the body gets that by burning fat. You are still getting the calories you need, its just from food you ate years ago. I know a person who was obese and lost 140 lbs going on 5 day fasts and wasn’t hungry after day 2, the reason is I he using fat. He had so much body fat he could of gone longer, he had plenty of fuel, just what was lost was 4200 calories a day without anything going into his mouth.
Really, that’s why we have fat. Its a battery for times when we do not have food but people are constantly signaling the cells that food is plentiful so its hard to lose weight. Not you, you are telling the body to burn fat.
Other health benefits are fasting increases metabolism, improves gut health, you might get some autophagy (recycling and replacing damaged cells) and increased growth hormone (if you work out, do it in a fasted state then eat to take advantage of that one). Also, you know, you cook less, clean up less and spend less on food. That part appeals to my laziness 😉
OK, just a couple more things and I will stop writing this book. An essential nutrient is one your body needs but cannot produce itself. Fats are an essential nutrient. There are about 20 amino acids (proteins) and 9 of them are essential. There are no essential carbs but we need fiber in carbs to feed the friendly bacteria in our gut.
Also, dramatic weight loss at first is pretty common, what is happening there is the “hydrate” in carbohydrate is one gram of carbs holds onto about 3 grams of water. As you are clearing out your glucose and glycogen (stored glucose) you are going to pee like a race horse. You are losing fat for sure, but that’s why the water weight is in there too.
This is an unpopular subject in the internet world because its all CICO (calories in – calories out) all the time, but this insulin approach works.
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