I readily admit this is a new subject for us. After the year 2020 why not open up other areas of our life and introduce new topics? For us, 2020 was chugging along peacefully when it came to a screeching halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe some of you had already given up on your all too familiar 2020 New Years Resolutions but we still had hope for weight loss success. COVID changed all of that motivation. All of a sudden we were both working from home, getting in each other’s way, planning out ways to leave town only to be thwarted by stay-at-home restrictions, and interrupting our days for a 2:00 p.m. governor’s press conference about the pandemic which quickly turned into “Wine with DeWine.” Mike DeWine is our Ohio Governor and he has the perfect name for pandemic self-care. Google it, a lot of swag came out of this moment. But before I talk about 2020 too much, I should tell you how our intermittent fasting (IF) journey started.
Fortunately, we started our IF journey in mid-January 2019. It was not a New Years Resolution. It was not something we had ever heard of before that day in mid-January. It was a typical Wednesday and I (Michelle) was driving to work listening to a podcast about the Camino de Santiago. The woman was telling her Camino story to our favorite Camino friend, Dan Mullins. She was establishing the “why” she started walking the Camino which included a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. She explored many non-traditional ways of managing this diagnosis including intermittent and extended day fasting (ADF). She told Dan that she didn’t eat for 30 days (it may have been longer but all I know it was a long time). He interrupted her, “excuse me? You didn’t eat for how long?” I echoed the same question out loud. How does this happen without dying of starvation? She went on to explain and I swear I listened to that podcast at least three times. Disclaimer: She explained how she worked with her physician along with several others including Dr. Jason Fung. I had to Google these doctors and I found books by Dr. Jason Fung and Gin Stephens.
At this point, I told Brian nothing! I knew he would roll his eyes out loud and would never go along with my interest in this subject area. He is a foodie and we are both food addicts. Mind you, I was not fasting yet rather just exploring this strange idea of not eating. I had a work trip scheduled a day or two later so I ordered Delay, Don’t Deny by Gin Stephens on Audible, skipped my first breakfast ever, and got on the road for my 5-hour drive. STOP: I skipped my first breakfast ever. Ever, in my entire life ever. I still can’t believe that I took step one so fast. I normally think about a diet long before I start one. I listened to her book for the entire drive. I didn’t eat for the entire drive. Fortunately, it’s only a 4-hour book so I was able to repeat several sections. By the time I arrived at my destination I decided to not eat the rest of my day and to “open my eating window” the next day for lunch.
You read that right, this food addict started her fasting journey with a 36-hour fast: Mistake 1. Dr. Jason Fung and Gin Stephens would have slapped my hands. But oh my dear goodness I felt amazing! I opened my eating window guilt-free with my favorite Culver’s gluten-free bacon cheeseburger and fries: Mistake 2. Just a side note, when practicing IF correctly, you should not open your eating window with greasy, processed, carb-heavy foods. That being said, I was hooked on this new path. More importantly, I ate something guilt-free for the first time in my entire life. Living with guilt is a series for another day.
Hold on. I have to go back even further before I can tell you how badly we failed at intermittent fasting. I am a lifetime dieter, we both are, but I have been dieting since my hormones kicked in around age 13. I have always been fat. I’ve tried a million diet pills, failed miserably as a 20-something at Weight Watchers. If there was a quick or easy fix, I prayed it worked but it never did. When Brian and I met, we tried countless more diets. Miraculously, one diet finally worked for us. Between the two of us, we lost about 250 pounds! Yes, we were living our best life! Our weight loss success was even featured in Woman’s Day magazine. We were counting our points, found a love of hiking, and were both happier than ever. But we weren’t. In order to sustain my weight loss, I could only eat about 1,200-1,300 calories a day. We love food. We hate counting every calorie. We hate thinking about what we can’t eat every day. We love wine and indulging in foods from all over the world. We were ticked off! Skinny people don’t count every calorie and don’t feel guilty for every bite they take. We were skinny – why do we have to think about all of this crap!
But we weren’t skinny, rather we are former fat people. We believed we would always have a weight “problem,” even if the scale said we were perfect. So we rebelled. Slowly and unknowingly we started to gain weight. We were frustrated. We wanted to live like skinny people (though I actually have no idea what that means). We ate what we thought were reasonable portions and only indulged occasionally. But the weight kept creeping up. We didn’t talk about it. My hormones continued to get out of whack. Our clothes started getting tighter. Brian would loosen his belt and I would run to Kohl’s to get more comfortable clothes. I discovered leggings. 🙌🏼
In this series about intermittent fasting, I will tell you about the hormonal challenges I am faced with, how I introduced IF to Brian, how we continued to fail at losing weight with intermittent fasting, what turns our IF journey took in 2019 and 2020, and why we both still practice IF today. Wait, what? Yep, two years later and not a single pound lost, we are still practicing IF. It’s a crazy story very few people know about it. We have been judged since the first day someone realized we were on a diet that was working back in 2010. I can’t believe I am talking about something that didn’t work but there is a lot we can learn from this intermittent fasting journey. Subscribe to our blog for notifications when the post comes out.
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