Fasting Update

It’s been awhile since my last post!  When I last checked in, I had given up breakfast and then dinner in an effort to stabilize my insulin levels.  I started around Easter and now it’s early October so I’ve had time to test its effect on me.

Skipping breakfast definitely works for me!  It’s funny because I used to be so hypoglycemic in my 20’s that I would throw up if I skipped breakfast.  My health has really improved.  If I get hungry at breakfast time, I have heavy cream or coconut oil in my coffee, but that’s it.

The longer fasts (19+ hours) were a problem for me.  I’m still recovering from adrenal fatigue and started having frequent hot flashes and sleep disruption.  A shame, because it really did curb my appetite!

At one point I took a break from fasting and gained 8 pounds in one week.  Wow!

So I’m back to skipping breakfast but also recommitting to eating according to the Paleo diet and eating more “good” fats which also curbs my appetite.  I’ve started exercising cautiously again.  

I just started supplementing with CoQ10, so we’ll see if it helps with my muscular issues, energy and circulation.  Many people have commented that I seem more energetic, and last month I remodeled my small bathroom.  Lots more projects needed to do, but it’s nice that I finally have a little more energy than before.

I worked an extended night shift for 2 weeks and bounced back pretty quickly.  I really tried to practice good habits best as I could during that period.

Excited to recommit to Paleo again – just gluten free doesn’t seem to be quite enough for me.   I joined a local Paleo meetup group so I can make friends locally who share the same values.

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Leptin Regulation with 20+ Hour Fast

I’ve been doing the 16/8 (more like 17/7) intermittent fasting protocol daily but having some issues with calorie and carbohydrate regulation.  Last week, I actually fasted 21 hours on Friday and 20 hours on Sunday.  An interesting side effect was that my Leptin (appetite satiety hormone) was immediately regulated!  The effect lasted 4 days.  

I ate whatever I liked and tracked my carbs/calories.  I naturally dropped about 500 calories below maintenance and was at 150 net carbs or less.  

My conclusion is that, for most people, the 5:2 method of fasting will probably yield faster weight loss results (fasting for 20+ hours, 2 days per week and eating only 500-600 calories on fasting days).

Unfortunately on day 5, I had to eat breakfast and started getting hot flashes, insomnia, and body chills.  So I don’t think it’s a good idea yet for me to fast that long with my hypothyroid and adrenal issues.  Maybe I can occassionally do a longer fast as I acclimate to fasting.  It was amazing the immediate effect it had on lowering my appetite.

Probably I do need to reduce calories and carbs and  increase my protein.  I might not quite be running out of glycogen by 16 hours.  I started feeling really good at 18.  So my long-term goal is definitely to fast for longer periods, but for now I’ll continue to just skip breakfast and work on my macros and maybe a bit more exercise.  

Weight loss isn’t the only reason I’m fasting – eating less frequently also lowers my insulin and gives my body a longer window to repair oxidative damage. So I’m still seeing benefits from the 16/8 plan.

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Intermittent Fasting Progress

Continuing to do great with the 16/8 fasting plan after about 3 weeks.  Met with the endocrinologist today.   Just got my labs back and my thyroid is still fine from the Intermittent Fasting. Interestingly, my LDL cholesterol did increase when eating less eggs and more carbs!  My A1c has held steady at 6.1 but she’d like me to get it below 5.7.

I have maintained the one inch lost from my waist and the four pounds lost since starting the fast.  I did cheat and snack 3 different times when I felt a bit sick.  Overall, I think I’m adjusting well and plan to continue.

My circulation and metal concentration seem to be steadily improving.  I also started taking a different magnesium supplement called Natural Calm that seems to absorb better (2 teaspoons per day dissolved in water).  Now I can cut back on the daily Epsom Salt baths, since we’re currently experiencing a drought in California and I don’t want to waste water.

I need to continue to cut back on carbs, calories and processed food for real weight loss, and increase protein more.  Still adjusting to the fasting though.  Hopefully it will just seem totally normal soon and then I can increase my exercise more and incorporate dieting as well.  My main concern is watching for adrenal reactions – hot flashes, insomnia, low energy etc.  As long as I feel OK, I will keep it up!  It’s been pretty easy just to skip breakfast and have black coffee instead.  Yesterday I forgot to eat lunch until 30 minutes into my feeding window. I start work at 7 am and start eating at 11 am but after the 4th day I haven’t noticed any issues with thinking clearly or concentrating – if anything it’s improved.  

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Giving Intermittent Fasting a Try

I’ve shared in my blog posts that cutting Gluten 100% out of my diet and following a somewhat Paleo diet, moderate carb has provided huge health benefits for me.  

I’ve lost 20 pounds of weight permanently regardless of calorie/carb intake.  I haven’t had a cold or flu in over 2 years.  My anaphylaxis allergies (nuts, chocolate, citrus, sulfites) are gone as long as I take a regular probiotic most days. My colon cancer/polyps and intestinal inflammation are gone.  My GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) of 20 years is gone.

However. I still have at least 50 pounds to lose and I’d have to lose 80 for an “ideal” weight that I had at 18 years old.  Probably no longer realistic.  I was 5 pounds more than that at 27 years old so 75 pounds is probably the very most I could lose.  And that would depend on muscle – I can weigh an additional 10-15 pounds if I’m really muscular, as I’m naturally a mesomorph body type.  

In addition to weight I’m still having some pretty major health issues, mostly related to  Prediabetes:  magnesium and potassium deficiency, “sticky blood,” hyperinsulinism, abdominal obesity (just in front, the fat is gone from my waist), blurry vision, lightheadedness, swelling/edema in legs, chronic exhaustion, low respiratory capacity, varicose veins, etc.

I’ve been reading a lot online about Intermittent Fasting lately.  It purports to improve all my remaining issues, so I decided to give it a try after reading Dr. Jason Fung’s book, The Obesity Code.

Since I have thyroid issues (Hashimoto’s) and adrenal issues/low blood pressure and still some vitamin/mineral absorption issues, I wasn’t sure I could do it.  Recent experiments with both super low carb and carb cycling ended badly.

But it’s turned out to be AMAZING.  I am on day 6 now and feel great!

I chose the 16/8 IF version, sometimes referred to as The 8 Hour Diet or Lean Gains. 

I did just 2 days at first, delaying breakfast until I got hungry. Now I eat between 11 am to 7 pm.  The 3rd and 4th days I got very thirsty and started drinking coconut water during “feeding” periods to provide more electrolytes (an ongoing issue for me regardless of fasting). Also bathing in Epsom salt for magnesium.  I read online that cod liver oil and MCT oil (concentrated coconut) help too so I try to include them daily and they really did help.  I ONLY drink black coffee (up to 2 cups), herbal tea or water/mineral water when fasting.

Now my appetite is greatly reduced, similar to a moderate carb diet, but I can tolerate carbs already better than before.  I have more energy too.  I did have some insomnia last couple nights & took melatonin, but that is supposed to pass soon.  Day 6 I’m only a little bit thirsty.  My ADHD seems to have improved also; I can focus longer. I already lost 2 pounds and it came right off my belly. I’m pretty happy about that!

I’m due for a blood test in a week so perfect timing. I plan to keep this up all year if I can, both to lose weight and repair the extensive oxidative damage in my body.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress and results!

UPDATE:  Day 10 and feeling great!  Stomach getting flatter daily.  Down 3 lbs now!  I checked and I’m actually eating too many calories/carbs -although I’m losing anyway, I’ll try to rein it in a bit with less treats.  I feel like I can really stick with this!  Back to normal sleep patterns again now – the insomnia only lasted a few days.  Fasting seems to have a beneficial effect on my nerves and circulation so I hope I can stick with it!  My legs and feet are so much better in just 10 days.

UPDATE #2:  Wow!  Day 11, down another pound and I lost an inch off my waist!  I didn’t lose that inch previously when I lost 15 pounds. I feel like this is real fat loss.  Even more amazing since I tracked my food yesterday and was 1,066 calories over maintenance and ate 371 g carbs.  Normally I’d be really sick and bloated next day after eating that many carbs.   I’ll try to eat healthier today though.  I may try to extend my fasting window a little bit today since I really overdid it yesterday. 

UPDATE #3:  I think I’ve found the missing link for sure.  I’ve been able to continue the fasting for a few weeks now.  My circulation continues to improve, along with my mental cognition and focus, and I’m getting a little more energy.    It’s getting easier to stick to maintenance calories now and I’m eating about 150-250 g carbs.  I have kept off the four pounds of weight loss and the inch off my waist.  I’m sure as I adapt I will lose even more. I only cheated 3 times total so far when I felt a bit hungry & sick, so I went ahead and had a snack, but got right back on the program after that.  I’ve noticed that including enough fat/protein prevents this.  Overall, I’m doing much better than I expected with my history of thyroid & adrenal issues & hypoglycemia. I would like to lower my carbs a bit more as I progress, aiming for about 100 g daily. 

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Health Update

It’s been awhile since my last post!   No major health improvements since then, but my energy has increased just a little bit.  I’m still supplementing with B12, B6, magnesium, potassium probiotics, and vitamin D.  Still having issues with intestinal absorption so liquid vitamins or through the skin (Epsom salts, sunshine) seems to work best.  Cooking mostly from scratch now and still 100% gluten free.

I recently added B1 Thiamine and that seems to be helping my energy.  Maybe that was the last missing link.  Still not exactly perky but not constantly exhausted either.  Since my thyroid and anemia levels are ok now,  I’m going to start cautiously dieting again.  Nothing extreme though.

Continuing to work from home which is such a big help, and I’m starting to take on some additional responsibilities.

I’m still having nerve/numbness issues and I think I just need to cut refined sugar out of my diet entirely for awhile.  It causes such an inflammatory reaction.  Getting my liver enzymes checked at my next lab appointment, fingers crossed!  I was a little concerned when my feet turned bright yellow last year. Overall though, seeing slow improvement and my adrenal issues are also getting a little better.  

I’m going to have to give up on that one tooth though, and get it crowned in March.  I think this will be crown #14.    The dentist told me it was too decalcified to regenerate but I tried ALL the homeopathic stuff just in case.  But it’s actually crumbling between the 2 teeth now so I gotta give it up.  The bilateral tooth on the other side and the one above that will probably be sacrificed as well eventually.   Then hopefully things will improve.  My gums are much improved and my teeth are no longer transparent  so I know they are healthier.  I can tell my mouth is less acid because the acid used to eat through the dental cement but lately the crowns have stayed in place.  I travel with extra cement just in case though!

This originally started out as a blog on Minimalist philosophy, but then became all about my health drama.  I think I will resume writing some articles on Minimalism again as well, so forgive me for being a bit eclectic with my blog themes!   Now that I’m feeling slightly better and have figured out the majority of my health issues, I’m starting to take some interest in the outside world again.  Eventually I’ll do a redesign of the blog and make it more organized……someday!

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Body Composition Changes with Hormonal Improvement

I’ve noticed recently that, although I haven’t lost more weight, my body composition is changing.  I’ve continued my gluten free mostly Paleo diet, but stopped counting carbs after my hair started shedding again.

I’ve noticed that my upper abs are suddenly looking tighter and my waist is scooped in an hourglass shape with barely any fat on the sides.  I went down a half clothing size  also.  Front to back, I still have a lot of thickness from visceral fat but the sides look like I’m wearing a corset now.

Taking this as a really positive sign, especially since I’m peri-menopausal and the waist usually thickens at this stage.  Going in for lab tests this week to check anemia, etc as well as my A1c blood sugar test, so hopefully it will be good news.

I had an Udi’s gluten free bagel for breakfast and it was so good!!! First bagel in 2 years.  I toasted it in the oven & spread it with a little ghee.

My little toe is healing well and faster than usual.  My last fracture took 6 months to heal.  Still tender but the swelling is gone and the bruising is almost gone – blending in nicely now with the Reynaud’s discoloration, LOL.  I made the mistake of painting my toes a fashionable shade of olive green so the effect is unintentionally a bit necrotic – just in time for Halloween.

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Slow Progress

Ugh.  Two steps forward, one step back as usual.  I am slowly improving, and was walking very slowly for 30 minutes daily.  Then I broke my toe!

The majority of my issues are resolving but my teeth and bones (and vascular circulation) could still use some improvement.  Guess I still have osteopenia, because I dropped my iPad (corner down) on my little t0e and totally broke it.  At least the bone didn’t need to be set.  I feel like the impact wouldn’t have broken a normal person’s toe, though.  My Reynaud’s/peripheral vascular symptoms have improved but not disappeared yet.  Still getting some intermittent numbness or discoloration in extremities. So hopefully it will heal OK. 

Overall when I look back on the past two years I see SO MANY improvements in my quality of life overall.  I know you can’t just undo 15 years of poor health in 2 years.  But ugh!

Then yesterday my washing machine overflowed a bit and I had to move it to mop up.  I think I tore muscles in my arm.  I am so sick of having to act like an invalid when I want to work out like a normal person!!!!   But I do think my collagen level is improving, I’m seeing a big difference in my face, stomach and arms although I didn’t lose more weight.  

I cut down to 70 carbs for a week & my hair started shedding again!  So I stayed at 130 which felt great except no weight loss.  Gonna try for 100 carbs and work my way down slowly.  Baby steps….

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