Tag Archives: diet

Intermittent Fasting

Carrying More Pounds Than I Have To

I’m at that age where I need to be careful about a lot of things I never used to give a second thought to. Well into my forties I had little to worry about with my weight. But since then I have found that left to itself, my stomach indulges in what used to be called middle aged spread. This bothers me mainly because my self image is someone who is thin. And indeed most of the rest of me is indeed thin. If my stomach expands it is all the more noticeable.

More seriously, having a high BMI increases the risk of a number of health conditions that I still don’t really believe should apply to me. Sadly they do. And on top of that carting extra kilograms around is unnecessary work, and I don’t have the energy to waste any more.

I found a pretty good solution in the form of intermittent fasting. I went for the 5/2 option. I choose to eat only 600 calories on Mondays and Fridays. This pretty much got my BMI back into the NHS’s approved range for my height and age, and I felt generally better too. So that was a good result. It wasn’t too difficult to implement either. I could get to mid afternoon on most fast days hardly noticing I was doing it. It was more difficult in the evening though, and I breached the 600 calory limit reasonably often. But overall it was working for me and I was keeping to it.

Then came the COVID lockdown, which required me to work in my kitchen a lot. This clearly was going to make it more difficult to fast. I have a reasonable level of willpower, but not enough to cope with a nearby fridge and larder for hours on end. So I just gave up for the duration of the pandemic. I could, after all, go back to my old habits when the crisis was over.

But now we are approaching the one year mark I am beginning to realise just how bad a state I have got into. I have put on 10Kg and my weight is categorised as obese by the NHS. I don’t look it, but I know I am. I have also found my energy and concentration levels plummeting. Included in this is a loss of willpower.

We tend to think of willpower as a personality trait. But in reality it is more like a muscle. You can strengthen it a bit with exercise, but you really need the energy behind it if you want to do anything with it. I am seriously doubting that I any longer have the ability to follow my intermittent fasting regime. So what to do?

I did a bit of inadvertent research over Christmas. Due to circumstances I found myself having to move a lot of stuff out of our shop in a very limited timescale. I managed this, and to my surprise I found that when I had finished rather than being exhausted – as I had expected – I was actually more energetic than I had been for many months. Thinking it over, I realised that the physical activity combined with the tight time schedule had greatly reduced my snacking. Was there something in this?

I realised that I had been doing a less formal version of intermittent fasting. Skipping a few meals and not snacking was quite close to what is often called 16/8 fasting – only eating in an 8 hour window. The prospect of going all day without food seemed too daunting. But basically just skipping breakfast until 12 seemed doable. (I have never eaten after 8:00pm, so that was all I needed to do to get to 16 hours.)

So I gave it a try. I found that it wasn’t too difficult. In fact it was easy to skip not only breakfast, but lunch as well. As I write this, I have got through a week only eating between 5:00pm and 8:00pm. This is a very extreme sounding 21/3 pattern. I have lost an astonishing 3Kg in 8 days. I obviously won’t keep up that rate of weight loss. I don’t think even hunger strikers would generally shed pounds at that rate. It isn’t remotely sensible to lose weight that quickly anyway, but I suspect that each successive kilogram will take longer to shift.

I am going to keep up my new regime for a while and see where it takes me. If it proves interesting, I’ll post my findings.

Detox – Are Biscuits The Answer?

detox

Reading Twitter first thing in the morning is not a great idea.  Your blood sugar level is low and you are quite likely to find it annoying.  For example this morning I was confronted with a set of tweets promoting detox products and programmes.  My response was to tweet that I had just investigated the detox properties of eating a biscuit.  I had eaten a biscuit and felt better, and so concluded that biscuits are valuable form of detox therapy.  (Note for American readers – in the UK a biscuit is the name for what you call a cookie.)  Continue reading

Men Who Made Us Fat Part 3- BBC2 12.7.12

men who made us fat

The previous programmes looked at how we have ended up so fat.  In the third part the subject was so called healthy foods.  Health foods have been around a long time, but they really took off in the nineties when a series of health scares over food eroded people’s confidence in the mainstream food industry.   There was salmonella in eggs.  Beef was afflicted with mad cow disease.  It wasn’t mentioned on the show, but I think I remember that there was something supposed to be wrong with caviar.  Mad sturgeon disease I think it was. Continue reading

Men Who Made Us Fat Part 2- BBC2 21.6.12

men who made us fat

This is the second part of a three part series, though frankly when I reviewed the first part I thought the first one had already covered enough to be getting on with and there wasn’t much more to add.  But this week they looked at advertising and product developments.  Now because we all see food adverts, fast food outlets and snack products all the time it is easy to ignore them.  What this programme did superbly was to analyse what is actually going on behind the scenes with these everyday experiences. Continue reading

Men Who Made Us Fat Part 1- BBC2 14.6.12

men who made us fat

This programme made the case that rising levels of obesity are linked to increased consumption of sugar.  It was presented as if this was a surprising proposal.  I am not sure how many people would not have heard this proposition before, it was certainly not particularly news to me.  It was presented in a polemical way rather than a balanced one.  It was also really slowly paced, which I actually quite liked because I was taking notes and tweeting about it,  but would have been annoying in the extreme if I had just been watching it.  But it was clearly presented and easy to follow.  So as a bit of television, it was fine. Continue reading