To diet or not to diet: intermittent fasting

December flew by with a feast of chocolate covered nut clusters, pecan pies and sugar cookies. Now, it’s January with resolutions to lose the holiday weight. Except for me, I enjoyed the treats and the weight remained stable through the feasting season. It only took me 40 years to figure out how to lose and keep off weight.

That lesson began last spring. I went to bed with the flu. I drank chicken broth, nibbled crackers, and slowly sipped a glass of Sprite to help settle my stomach. I stood up and quickly sat down. My chest felt explosive. For the next half hour I entertained my husband with loud, rumbling belches. It was months before I drank another carbonated beverage.

Several days of the flu convinced me I needed to go to the clinic. I received a prescription and an x-ray for possible digestive issues. The x-ray showed lots of gas and no food. Of course, I hadn’t had much after that glass of Sprite.

For six or eight weeks, I ate little more than a couple bites at any meal, drank lots of chicken broth and a spoonful of sauerkraut. For some reason, pickled cabbage helped. I lost weight. Not from eating sauerkraut – I lost it from not eating. Not from exercising, I had no energy for that.

Finally, I learned I didn’t have the flu, digestive or gall bladder issues. I had an infection. By the time a couple rounds of antibiotics fixed me, I had lost 25 pounds. I absolutely do not recommend the method.

I did want to keep the weight off though so I practiced my hard earned lesson: eat a third or a half of what I usually ate. When I bake cookies, I eat half a cookie instead of half a dozen. I returned to my thrice weekly exercise class at Champagnolle Landing. When we traveled, instead of gaining five, I lost five.

About the time I started eating too much, I read a couple articles about intermittent fasting. The studies showed that folks who did not eat anything for 14-16 hours each day, could pretty much eat as normal and some lost a bit. For me it meant cutting out early morning breakfasts and bedtime snacks.

I have no forbidden foods. However, I always eat lots of fruits and vegetables, including a large green salad most days. Some days I quit eating earlier than 6 because I feel full and realize I have eaten quite enough for one day.

During the feasting season I continued exercising and enjoyed pecan pie, dressing and my share of holiday treats. I never went to bed saying, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing …”

I did say, “I feel great!”

And I should. Looking at old photos, I no longer have a spare tire, “just the tube … and a small one at that,” as my husband says. I could still lose another 10 or 15 pounds. I might. Still, after losing those 30 pounds, I feel healthier and am quite pleased with this no forbidden food diet which gives my digestive system a daily 14-hour rest.
A couple years ago, I joined an exercise class at Champagnolle Landing after breaking my leg. With the weight loss, I realized I could jog again. Thank you, Lord, for good health. It is a greater blessing than great riches and laying in bed sick. I saw recently that Healthworks begins an Intermittent Fasting program this week. It worked for me. May this be the year you find a healthy life style that works for you.

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