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Friday, December 11, 2009

Not A Diet But a Lifestyle - I'm Not Saying What You Are Thinking

I say this, because although I remain firmly convinced after 12 years on this WOE that a diet lower in carbohydrates is much healthier than a diet high in carbohydrates, especially processed, refined carbohydrates, I loathe and detest counting carbohydrates, calories or whatever. I cannot conceive of weighing my food before eating it - things like that! It could be that it is pure laziness on my part (probably), or maybe it is impatience to eat when I am hungry and not wanting to bother with the mental math part - either way I can't seem to bring myself to do it. However, I have a pretty good idea of how many carbs are in the foods I am eating - give or take. I have a fairly high tolerance for carbohydrates and my weight is okay for a middle-aged woman (oh geesh, I just realized I'm probably a senior now at 52 and not middle-aged as such) who spends a lot of time cooking and baking, but I could stand to lose those few lbs and get to the weight I was when I was younger. If not to look better, but to at least be able to wear those clothes in my wardrobe that are gathering dust, and occasionally mold in this humid climate.

If any of you out there are like me, then you will like this approach as well. I mentioned it last year at about this time too, but did not follow through, thanks to having guests come stay in December and again in January. Then I forgot all about that exciting new idea of mine - Intermittent Fasting. Before you have a fit - remember you eat every single day! I like to have a window where I can eat two meals and a snack (or not). Usually this window of eating is earlier in the day and is about 5 or 6 hours long. The rest of the time - 18 to 19 hours, I don't eat. I get to have some tea with milk and Splenda, if I choose. If I am beside myself hungry, I'll have a teaspoon of peanut butter or cream cheese with my tea and that will settle me, until I eat again the next day. Sooo, I love how it makes me feel, how I don't have to think about food as much, how I have all this energy, and best of all how my stomach and waistline shrinks and I can feel my ribs really well again.

This is not an excuse to eat junk though. I still eat relatively low-carb, however, I won't count anything and I'm not against occasional splurges (a small potato or 3 tbsp of rice) or a banana here and there, for instance. However, if I wanted to, I could easily be in good ketosis, if I went very low-carb. For some people, this would be a big bonus in appetite suppression, as well as speedier weight loss. I don't do as well in deep ketosis. I don't drink enough and end up dehydrated - especially, during the night. I have to be drinking water through the night and I don't particularly want to do that. So, to make up for the fact that I don't get into deep ketosis, I have a day or two each week where my calories are really low at about 500 to 900 calories, and that keeps the weight coming off.

If you'd like to receive the free e-book about the IF way of life, written by a physical fitness trainer, Mike O'Donnell, click here: This book is very informative and should help you on your way.

If you're able to do Atkins or Protein Power or any of those structured diets with ease, then there is no point in doing intermittent fasting. However, my research tells me that people who do adopt this way of life are invariably also in control of their eating and reach their goal weight 9 times out of 10. They feel much happier and are much more in control of their eating. Grazing all day long is a recipe for eating too much and having too much insulin (fat storing hormone that lowers blood sugar) running around in the body, creating more opportunity for fat storage. Too much insulin means we're more susceptible to diseases that come with age, as a result of inflammation in the body. IF is a powerful way to decrease inflammation in the body. It is only now being discovered that inflammation is one of the main reasons for heart disease.

Hope this protocol proves to be the answer for some folks out there. It couldn't be easier - no counting, no worrying about food and calories endlessly, but plenty of freedom to enjoy food and experience true hunger before eating - plus all the benefits of low-carbing and yet some!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this really interesting post Jennifer! I was shocked by how good I felt on my first fasting period (and what a relief to not worry about packing lunch, doing dishes etc. at least for me). The only thing that seems counter-intuitive to me is that I have often read that regular high protein/fat intake is important on a low carb plan in order to keep cravings at bay. I also wonder about the effect on my metabolism -- I don't really want to train my body to need even less food! Is a metabolic slow-down more likely in your opinion if I go very low carb on my non-fasting days (time periods)? Thanks for any ideas you have! Love the blog and the recipes. The low-carb community is fortunate to have you! Sally

Jennifer said...

Great, Sally! I'm so glad you're reaping the benefits of IF so quickly! If your eating window is about 6 hours long, you can have 2 meals and a snack with your calories coming to about 1200 (typical calorie level for a woman trying to lose weight). I think it is goal weight x 10 to find one's calorie requirements.

Anyway, there is nothing wrong with low-carbing during your window - i.e. enough protein, veggies and fat to keep cravings at bay. You will know your body best. Also, if you have very low-carb non-fasting days, and keep your calories around 1200, you should not see any metabolism slow down. One way to check is to take your basal temperature morning and night and see if it starts to dip. If it dips significantly, then you know, you're needing to exercise and add a few more calories possibly.

To my understanding, the metabolism tends to slow down slightly when dieting, but it is only severe if one has protracted periods, as in weeks of very low-calorie dieting such as 800 or 900 calories a day. I never have that problem! LOL

Thank you for your kind words. It's so great to feel appreciated, and in turn I appreciate you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your feedback Jennifer! I'm going to try your temperature guidelines. Have you read Dr. Eades' part 2 on IF (he links to it from his blog, but it is on Tim Ferris's blog). Basically he suggests that IFing cuts the body's thermogenesis down enough that it is not great for weight loss (the amount of weight you would expect to lose based on the calorie reduction doesn't typically occurr. I was disappointed to read that as I thought it might be a good answer for me. I'm going to stick with it for a bit to get my own read, but I'd love to know your thoughts on the thermogenesis. Many thanks! Sally

Jennifer said...

Just between you and me, I think Dr. Eades was getting off track of his own diet plan, and basically wanted to discourage that from happening. He probably has a point, but I don't think it is quite that black and white.

If you go to:
which is a thread on that forum all about IF, you'll notice that the majority of the people lost their weight and reached goal or lost a ton of weight and are closer to goal.

No, I don't buy it in the face of so much success with IFing (I think someone commented on my previous post - see link - that she lost a ton of weight using IF). I think if one adds in some exercise such as walking, the metabolism should hum along just fine. However, I'm a great one for thinking one needs to mix things up sometimes, so using IF and combining it with non-IF weeks, should confuse the body enough to keep it losing.

I would do a lot more research on the internet before throwing in the towel. This has been a great tool for losing weight and the answer for many, many people. Anything that cuts down on insulin production (fat storing hormone) has got to be good - it cuts down on inflammation too. My energy soars on IF days, and I feel sluggish when day after day I can simply eat all day long.