As women, we are obsessed with weight loss. Nearly half of American women are on a diet at some point in any given year. But the majority of these women, even though they may lose weight initially, will not only regain the pounds they lost, but will gain even more weight to go along with it.
In spite of almost overwhelming evidence that ‘diets’ don’t work, we try, and fail, again and again. We tell ourselves that we didn’t exercise enough, that we just didn’t use our willpower or that we are under too much stress. And then after a few months, we get a horrified glimpse of ourselves in a department store mirror or see a family photo Uncle Jack posted on social media and we begin the diet cycle all over again.
I was one of those women. Now let’s be clear. I never really had a weight problem until I hit menopause. After that, I could just look a picture of food and gain five pounds, or so it seemed. I tried every diet in the books and yes, I did manage to lose weight only to gain it back. Because you see, diets rely mostly on willpower and most of them demand you eat a certain way and give up foods you love. For most people, me included, this is just not a sustainable way to live.
So in the spring of 2018, at age 64 and 175 pounds, I was beginning to think that this was just the way it was going to be for the rest of my life. I had no energy, my joints ached, I hated the way my clothes felt and frankly I was so disheartened by my appearance that I stopped going to networking events and avoided having my picture taken. As a woman business owner, this was not helping my cause.
But one day, while I was doing research for a client, I stumbled into the world of intermittent fasting, which is not really so much about what you eat as when you eat it. Turns out intermittent fasting (IF) can not only help you lose weight, but it has many other health benefits as well, including:
- Weight loss
- Decreased sugar cravings
- Lower blood insulin levels and steady energy
- Increased fat burning
- Increased growth hormone (important for muscle preservation and growth)
- Reduced inflammation and improved digestion
- Better mental focus and mood.
- Activation of autophagy which is cellular cleansing (this finding won the Nobel prize in medicine in 2016!)
- Lower blood cholesterol
- Potential to prevent Alzheimer’s disease
- Type 2 diabetics have seen their disease reversed
I began IF on May 18, 2018. Just seven months later on New Year’s Eve, I reached my goal of 129 pounds, a weight I had not seen since the day I graduated from high school and which frankly I thought was impossible for me to achieve. And I don’t have to worry at all about how I will maintain this weight. All I have to do is to keep on fasting, which has become an integral part of my life, and if necessary, make adjustments to the length of my window and my calorie intake.
The term ‘intermittent fasting’ is used in many different ways. The method I use is known as time restricted eating where you eat only during a certain number of hours each day known as your eating ‘window.’ During your fast, you don’t eat but can drink water or black coffee or black or green tea. During your window, you eat what you want until you are satisfied but not stuffed.
As I look back over the past ten months, I can’t help but reflect on what I have lost, as well as what I have gained. Gone are 35 pounds of body fat, along with the drag on my energy. Banished forever is the sweet tea addiction I thought I would never be able to break. Gone are the size 16 jeans now replaced with size 4s! My confidence in myself has returned in full force and my physical energy is at an all time high.
So if you are worn out from constantly being run over by the diet train, I would encourage you to look into IF for yourself. There is a whole new world out there just waiting for you to step into it!
NOTE: if you are pregnant, you should NOT undertake any form of fasting. And if you are breastfeeding, please consult with your physician before you start IF. Also, if you have Type 1 diabetes, do NOT start IF unless you are under the supervision of a physician experienced in IF. And, if you have any other chronic or acute medical condition or an eating disorder, please consult your physician prior to starting.