Intermittent Fasting: A Diet that Costs Nothing and Works…for me

I found a way to lose weight that works for me. Its called intermittent daily fasting, which is different from fasting one day a week or for longer periods. I don’t diet. I don’t count calories and I don’t eat light foods or drink diet drinks.

I’m not athletic. I don’t generally work out or go jogging. I don’t play sports, at least not consistently or lately and when I did it was a day of paintball here or there. I’m not interested in counting calories or likely to starve myself to lose weight. That said, I need to lose weight after being on Prednisone for a year and it wasn’t just falling right off after stopping. I happened on something that works for me to shed that weight.

My original thought was, what if I just skip breakfast? Its the one meal where I was more likely to go with a high calorie meal like a breakfast burrito from Taco Bell. That seemed to work and I suspect I later heard something somewhere about intermittent fasting. That’s where you don’t eat for at least 14 to 16 hours a day. You can Google it to get more specifics but I’ll just give you the lazy guys explanation, because that is what I am. Well, I have a sedentary job as a software developer. I work from home so I don’t even get a workout walking to may car and back.

The specifics of what I do is I do not eat before 10 am or after 6 pm. For that 8 hours I can eat, I try to limit it to one fairly normal meal and a second meal that is a little less. I try to avoid snacking in between, but I slip. What do I eat? Does it matter? My goal is fewer calories overall. So I eat pizza, burgers, whatever I want, at least for losing weight. I also try to eat healthier to avoid issues with kidney stones, so more fiber and less red meat. A sedentary person uses about 2000 calories a day so my target is about 1500.

What is the purpose of the fasting? Basically it puts your body in the mood to shed weight, to access fat for energy and as long as you don’t go too long with it or eat too little it wont resort to starvation mode which goes for muscle first. Its actually not hard either. I don’t have a lot of cravings that I just can’t get past in the off hours. Eight hours of it is spent sleeping, the evening my body is still working off of the before 6 dinner. So I’m really just having to get from 8 am when I wake up to about 10 am when I can eat again. So we are talking 2 hours here of any real issue with having to go without.

I like to go to Subway and get a 6 inch sub that is within my calories for a single meal and that helps to keep me from grabbing more food to keep munching. That or I’ll have a simple sandwich, some chips and a Coke. Yes, a Coke! If I stick to this I can lose about 2 pounds a week. As of this writing I’ve lost 40 pounds in about 10 months. That is with several months here and there slipping and just maintaining. I had a month where I started to job and either because I was building muscle, retaining water or eating more because I thought I could (probably this, chocolate milk) I started to gain a few. At which point I just redouble my efforts and get back to basics of the plan again.

Now for the dirty details. I weigh myself in the morning after I’ve gone the the bathroom. I take note of how likely it was that what I jut did emptied me out because the deal is you can have a pound or two just rolling through your system and get depressed that you aren’t making progress when you simply are not weighing yourself accurately and consistently. My preference is to weigh myself when I think I’m empty and that really isn’t too common even if I weigh myself after a whole night of “processing”. Problem is it usually takes a meal to get my system in gear to want to go to the bathroom. So I factor that into my thought process too. Its not about how much I lose over one day, its whether or not I am making progress over several.

Tip 1: Feeling a little dejected that you aren’t a half pound lighter on weigh in? Go take a shower, you’ll hit the mark, just dry off afterwards. You may have that much in sweat and grime from sleeping. Wash it off, weigh yourself, smile.

Tip 2: If you didn’t weigh yourself and you are out and about and eat something, don’t go weigh yourself. Its not going to serve a purpose other than to maybe say that is the most you weigh right now. That meal you just ate does not translate to weight gain. It isn’t fat…yet. So just take it easy, try to stay in your boundaries and weigh yourself tomorrow when you think your half glass self is empty.

Okay, so something else that helps me eat something at least a little nutritious is a Caesar salad. I’m not a salad person, usually just lettuce and Thousand Island dressing for me but I tried a Caesar salad at one restaurant and liked it with grill chicken. Very few restaurants had one I liked. Then I decided to try it myself at home. Thing is, Im not a cook and that includes grilling chicken. So here is my recipe.

GRILLED CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD

Leafy Green Romaine lettuce, bagged.
Shredded Mozzarella
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Tyson Southwestern Chicken Breast Strips (frozen in bag)
Ken’s Steakhouse Caesar Dressing with Roasted Garlic (small bottle at Publix)

Microwave grilled chicken for 2 minutes.
In small bowl add Lettuce. Add a small amount of Mozzarella. Not too much but you’ll figure out how much as you go. Let’s say a three fingered pinch. Shake over some grated Parmesan. Lightly add dressing and mix in chicken while hot. Meal prep takes 2 minutes, I like to try to get it all made before the microwave goes off. Yum.

Gotta be careful and not make too much because salad doesn’t necessarily mean low calorie. This satisfies me on its own and gives me some fiber.

Later on I got Mission brand whole wheat flour tortillas and made it a wrap.

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