A few days ago I opened up my RSS reader and saw a post by Eric S. Raymond titled Stop whining and get the job done. I like to be motivated, so I clicked to read more. To my surprise, his post was not about something tech related but weight loss. After reading his post and hearing what he is doing to drop some extra body mass I wanted to share my story.
I'm not a doctor, and all the information that follows is my experience in losing weight. Do your research to learn what will work best for you and your condition.
Don't listen to some random nerd on the internet.
Here was when I did the slow carb diet. I lost ten pounds (4.5 kg) in about a month. The problem was that I hated it, a lot. Once I stopped the diet, I gained all the weight back plus a few extra pounds in the next month. Not sustainable but this might have been due to my lack of understanding.
Also, this was a diet and stop mentality which I don't recommend because it's a temporary fix for a long-running issue. Changing the way we eat in small steps as a lifestyle update is a much more sustainable approach.
Here I learned about intermittent fasting and many of the health benefits it can have on the body. I remembered that when I was in high school, I never ate breakfast and was intermittent fasting without even knowing. There was no weight gain back then either, and I would eat whatever junk sounded tasty.
After getting into the grove of intermittent fasting, I lost about two pounds or nine-tenths of a kilogram in a month. Nothing impressive but I was still eating whatever tickled my fancy and not counting calories or macros. The fasting also improved my mental clarity in the morning while I was not eating.
The style I was using at the time is known as the 'Lean Gains' method. This protocol is where you stop eating after dinner (no snacks or caloric drinks) and then not eat again for sixteen hours. Luckily eight of those hours you can be asleep and the first few hours are after dinner.
This month is where I ended after a hard push for fat loss. I counted calories and ate at a caloric deficit. Thanks to intermittent fasting it was much easier since I could eat two big meals instead of three or more small meals. The love of eating is strong with me, and when I eat, I want to eat big.
After about a two-and-a-half months, my weight dropped down twenty pounds or nine kilograms. At that point, my body stopped losing more weight, and I stayed between 170-172 lbs until recently. From my experiences, the only reason I could keep the fat from coming back was intermittent fasting.
I was still at 170 pounds, eating whatever I wanted and shifted to a six-hour eating window instead of eight. This change in fasting time was to help keep me from eating snacks around two o'clock in the afternoon. Another thing I started to dabble in was ketosis. Eating a high-fat diet was interesting and seemed to keep me full longer. Eating in this way even comes without the midday crash that normally happens on a standard diet.
At this time I was 156 pounds (about 70.7kg), had more muscle mass, and ate a customized keto diet 90% of the time. Using a ketogenic diet has helped me out a ton.
At The Time Of Writing
I limit carbs too much less than I ate on the "Standard American Diet" (SAD) and learned what works for me. My lunches are mostly protein with some veggies, and I eat as much of that as I can stick in my stomach. Eating a lunch like this keeps me full till dinner with the wife, and I rarely crave snacks midday. It is still low carb just closer to paleo than keto these days.
At the time I post this I weigh between 150 and 152 pounds on any given day. I don't count calories and don't eat a strict Keto diet anymore. My meals tend to be lower in carbs than before I did keto, but that is because I seem to have lost my appetite for refined carbs (and I'm ok with that).
Intermittent Fasting: The (Not So) Secret Weapon
Intermittent fasting allows my body to use its fat storage as energy during the fasting period. Fasting does work on SAD as you read earlier, but the difference when eating a low carb diet is how fast we use up the extra carbs in our body after our last meal. There is a lot of science out there that I want everyone to read up on and see if this approach is for them. Even without fasting a low carb style diet shows vast improvements over our current standard of eating.
Not eating for 16 hours every day (this includes the time we are asleep) helps the body maintain the current weight without the need for counting calories or logging every piece of food that enters our mouth. Restricting the times when we eat allows our bodies plenty of time to deplete any stored up carbohydrates from the previous day.
I believe this is keeping me under 152 pounds (68.9kg) even though I am not eating strict keto any more. Only time will tell if this is the trend or something else, but as far as my experience shows me not eating most of the day is the most significant catalyst in maintaining a healthy weight.
I'll never ditch intermittent fasting with a low card eating style.