Finally, I have something to report! The last diet I blogged about here was The Plan, which started out promising, but I couldn't keep up with it while I was on vacation (way too complicated), so I gained back the weight I had lost. I never went back to the planned days, I just tried to avoid wheat during the next few months. It didn't do much for weight loss, although it did reduce my bloating and made me feel more comfortable, so that was useful at any rate.

I watched the Michael Mosely documentary about diets, and it featured variations of "intermittant fasting" (IF). On November 22, 2013, I decided to give it a try. The first two weeks I would eat only 500 calories on my two "fast" days, and then ate whatever I wanted the other days. I lost a few pounds the first week, but then even at the end of my second fast day during week two, I was back up a few pounds. So I determined that I am not one of the lucky people who can eat whatever they want on their eating days. The next step was to cut out wheat on the days I ate my full portion of calories. That wasn't enough, either.

By this point, I was really tired going through all this trouble and still not losing weight. So I made the decision to cut out ALL carbs, every day, and continue to fast at least twice a week. WOW, what a difference. I started eating a high-fat low-carb (HFLC) diet on December 14th. I immediately began to lose weight. From a high of 189.5 lbs on December 10th, I was down to 180 lbs on December 21st. After just one week on this diet, I lost 1.5" from my waist and 1" from my hips. Part of the amount off my waist was probably just getting rid of some bloat, but there was no bloat on my hips, that was a full inch of fat loss.

There are several additional things I'm liking about this diet. First of all, my appetite has dramatically decreased every day. Fast days, non-fast days, I am just not as hungry as I used to be. At first, I could only fast on days I had leftovers to feed the family since I couldn't cook something fresh and then NOT eat it. But now it's not a big deal. I just don't need to eat the way I needed to just a few weeks ago. The other day my sitter made dozens of sugar cookies, and I have been able to dole them out to my family without eating even one. I do take a small nibble now and then (cookie tax), but I have yet to eat even the equivalent of half a cookie. It's not willpower as much as I just don't feel like eating it. Weird, right?

At first, I would get verrrrry tired during the evenings of my fast days (right around the 24 hour mark since "normal" eating) and would be ravenous the next morning when it was time to break the fast. But now, several weeks in, breaking the fast isn't such a big deal. I'll often skip breakfast after my fast day, and just wait until lunch to eat. Although if I do that, I do tend to consume a lot of calories for lunch, in the 600 range, so it's like breakfast and lunch together. But then, I might not be very hungry for dinner.

Because I do not want my metabolism to slow down, I do continue to track calories on my "eat" days, and was at first trying to keep them up around 1900 calories (my maintenance calorie level). But it was hard to keep the calories up when I just wasn't feeling that hungry, so now I just make sure I eat when I'm hungry on my eat days, and try to include a lot of high-fat foods to keep the calorie count up. Nevertheless, I'm finding that I am now routinely satisfied with only 1,000-1,200 calories per day. And I still keep up with the IF two days per week, although here is less and less difference between an eat day and a fast day, I still suspect there is something about the fasting that is at work here, and so I'm happy to keep up with that.

I also try to exercise in a fasted state, then I'll have a whey protein drink to break the fast and recover. The exercise must use up fat, since after 36 hours with minimal food, there really shouldn't be anything floating loose in my bloodstream to use for energy. And I'm not feeling lethargic or weak or anything, just a little more tired at the very end of the day, which makes it easier to sleep.

Without the carbs, I haven't felt bloated in weeks, either. This is a big relief, since when I was on the vegan diet I felt bloated and gross much of the time. Now I just feel thin. Occasionally I'll feel hungry, but that passes. I am now much thirstier than I was before. On The Plan diet, I was supposed to drink just under five 20oz canteens of water per day, but I found it difficult to keep up with. Now, it's much easier to drink all my canteens, since I'm much more frequently thirsty than I am hungry.

I've lost weight down to 179 lbs a few times during the past year, but it's always crept back up for one reason or another. I am hopeful that THIS time, I will break through that barrier and continue to lose weight right down to my goal weight.