Saturday, April 30, 2016

If these people regain, what chance do I have?

We all hear the stories. People lose huge amounts of weight, and then slowly gain it back. It's commonplace, actually. It happens to people who we perceive as having "the means" to keep it off, like Oprah, or those that had the chance to work with trainers on The Biggest Loser, and it's so tempting to think, if these people can't keep the weight off, what chance do I have?

I know lots of Biggest Loser contestants regained, but I didn't know Ali Vincent had. Ali was the first female Biggest Loser winner, and she looked amazing. Sadly, she's regained almost all of her weight as well. At first I watched this feeling hopeless, but then she really made me feel for her in the end with the positive comments she's getting from people. Yes, it's about trying to get healthy, not skinny, and most importantly learning to love yourself at any size. That's all true. I do believe that. But I don't want to use that as an excuse to let myself give up on my goals and regain, either. What's the point of all this? Were's that fine line? I don't know. I don't have any answers right now.

Monday, April 25, 2016

I'm over it.

I have fasted completely for four days out of every week for the last six weeks. I seriously expected a decent drop this week, I mean come on! Well ... technically I did drop ... I am down .3 kg or .66 pounds from last week. Better than nothing? Not really. For the last three weeks my weight has remained pretty much the same despite fasting more than half the week. It's looking like just one more thing that works in the beginning and then doesn't.

I'm so over it. I have tried everything I know to get my weight moving again and no matter what I do, the best I can hope for is to stay stalled. Hell, my doctor is out of ideas, she just wants me to be happy where I am. Well where am I? If I start eating normally again, I will regain. Am I really meant to struggle this much just to stay in a stall? Sorry for the pity party, I am just so over it.

It's true that I have no problem fasting -- I don't get hungry for the most part, and I feel good while doing it. But it does put a damper on things, like when hubby wants to go out to the club or friends and family invite us over to dinner. It sucks to remind him I'm not eating that day, and what will we tell them? Strangely enough, meal planning is more challenging when he's the only one eating four nights out of the week.

I have no idea what I'm going to do. After this week, we are on vacation for two weeks and we're going to Queensland. I know he won't want me to fast while we're on holiday. Maybe I'll take a break and resume when we get back ... or not. Whatever I do, it may be time to take a break from blogging because I seriously have nothing interesting to say.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Slight gain, but I rather expected that

I thought I might actually show a gain this week since it was that week, and I did. 0.1 kg (0.22 lb). Such a small amount I'm not going to stress. Since I used to gain a fair bit more during my cycle, this is nothing. I'm hoping to see a much better result next week.

It's frustrating, but since losing at all is so hard these days, the small losses I've been seeing recently are enough to keep me fasting. But I must say part of me feels like I'm not eating for over half the week, dammit I should be getting bigger losses! If you've followed me for any length of time you know that nothing seems to be working anymore and that all signs point to pre-menopause hormonal changes so I am definitely going to keep fasting even if I continue to see only small drops.

Truth be told I like how I feel when I fast. I have learned a couple of things on eating days. Firstly, when I break the fast it needs to be with real food. A few times we were pressed for time so I grabbed an Atkins shake and bar for breakfast. When I did that, I tended to feel a bit nauseous until I ate something more substantial. If I only had a shake, I didn't have that problem, but if I had an Atkins bar (with or without the shake) I did. I never had any problems with Atkins bars before, but it makes sense that if I'm not eating for four days out of the week, then when I do eat it's got to be real food.

The other thing is in the first couple of weeks I had no problem eating larger meals on eating days. Not binge-sized by any means, but a good sized portion. After all, I wasn't going to eat again for the next two days, so I wanted a substantial dinner the night before I started a fast. But now I find I feel overly full if I do that. Last night we had steak and broccoli, and I ended up giving some of it to my husband as I didn't need it all. I suppose needing less food is a good thing.

In any case, that's it for this week, here's looking forward to better results next week.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Another drop; and do you use bone broth?

So another drop this week, marginally better than last week. I'm down .5 kg (1.1 lb) from last week, bringing my total after four weeks of 4-day fasting to 6.8 kg (14.99 lb). Hey, 15 pounds in 4 weeks I will definitely take! :)

Look, ordinarily a pound a week is totally acceptable, but when you're not eating four whole days, you kind of expect a bit more. But I'm thinking this is my usual pattern that I used to see before the hormones interfered -- lose well two weeks, then have monthly weight gain for two weeks. Next week will tell, I guess. So far after stopping the progesterone cream, I have had two normal 28 day cycles. A doctor recently told me that when your cycles start coming every 21-23 days (as mine had been before the cream) it's a sign you'll go through menopause in the next 1-4 years. If it's about age 55 like my mom, it means I could be dealing with 3-4 week cycles for the next 2-1/2 years, so I just gotta get used to some ups and downs I guess.

What you see above are my results at the end of the week.  Alternating fasting days and eating days, however, means that I see a roller coaster ride on the scales during the week. For example, I could see a loss of 6 pounds, followed by a 5 pound gain after an eating day, and that just repeats. Much of that is water weight and to be expected. As long as the overall result is moving down, though, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. As I said, as soon as this cycle passes, I should hopefully see a much nicer drop next week. Fingers crossed!

Someone at work asked me whether I take bone broth on my fasting days. I do not -- I mostly have water, tea and Pepsi Max. Only twice have I ever had a headache while fasting, and both times a little salt with water fixed me right up. So I know sodium is important while fasting. Dr Fung recommends bone broth and gives a recipe for it -- like many recipes I've seen online they recommend cooking this stuff for anywhere from 24 hours (chicken) to 48 hours (beef). I personally cannot go to sleep leaving my stove on. I have electric, but I still just don't feel safe doing that. Others recommend using a crock pot, but I don't think it's safe to let it run that long. I once let mine run for 16 hours as a specific recipe called for, and now I have a brown 'burn' mark on the outside of the crockpot. I have also contacted Crockpot manufacturers and they highly recommend against leaving it run that long. So no, I have never made my own bone broth, though I'm sure it's nutritious.

Well the guy at work recommended an organic place not far from work that sells it, so I went there and checked it out. They sell it hot by the cup (small was around $5 and larger around $8) or you can buy a 500ml frozen container with about 2 larger serves in it for $12.50. She gave me a small sample of the chicken which wasn't bad. I guess I was expecting it to taste more like standard chicken broth, but this is bone broth and not as "chicken flavoured" as I had expected. She said most people find the chicken more palatable, and that the beef yields a stronger flavour. Well I took home a 500ml tub of chicken and it's thawing in my fridge over the weekend, so I'll give it a try Monday and Tuesday. But the lady was kind enough to advise it's much cheaper to make the stuff yourself, and they only cook theirs for about 9 hours (chicken) to overnight (beef) and they feel that's long enough. From what I've heard you need to cook it longer to get all the nutrients.

She also advised that while she does use it, just adding salt to your water will work if you're just worried about getting enough sodium. I asked whether she adds enough that it actually tastes salty - she said she does, in fact plain water she doesn't like anymore because she's used to the salt. I personally think I'll just worry about it when my body advises I need it. I will use this bone broth Monday and Tuesday because I've bought it, but in general it's been working for me to just have a bit of salt when I feel a slight headache, and then it goes away.

What about you guys -- fasting or not, do you make bone broth? I'd be interested to hear about your experience with it.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Smaller loss this week, but still a loss

Yeah, after the last two weeks having fairly big drops, this week was much less dramatic - despite still fasting four days. Did I indulge a bit more last weekend being Easter? Maybe a little, I did have some mixed nuts which are a favourite of mine. Or could it be monthly weight gain coming around again? Whatever the reason, I'll take the loss and just keep doing what I'm doing.

So this week I'm down just .4 kg or .88 lb. bringing my total loss since 12th March to 6.3 kg or 13.89 lb. I was hoping for another big number, but it is what it is.

I fasted Monday and Tuesday, ate just one meal Wednesday evening with an Atkins bar and a couple tablespoons no-added-sugar peanut butter for dessert, then fasted again Thursday and Friday. I will be especially careful to eat light this weekend and hopefully see better results next weekend.

I've had a recommendation to try cutting out caffeine to help with weight loss ... that one may be tough because on fasting days I drink a lot of tea and some Pepsi Max (never have liked coffee). I feel like these are the last vices I have and it would be tough to give them up. I could switch to caffeine free Diet Pepsi but I don't like it as well as the Pepsi Max. I find I tend to get dry, scratchy throat sometimes during the day and water alone doesn't seem to relieve it, I need the bubbles in the fizzy drinks sometimes. That and it's so bloody cold in the office where I work - year round - and with cooler weather approaching sometimes a hot mug of tea is desperately needed. We'll see - I'll go another week on the same routine and if I don't see a better result, it may be something to consider.

As far as activities, I've walked half hour to an hour every day, and we'll have another big walk this weekend - that and lots of yard chores should keep me busy. That's it for now, hope you all had a great week.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Dropped 2.2 kg this week; nearly 5 pounds!

So this week I followed essentially the same pattern as last week - eating Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday; fasting Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Only instead of light meals Wednesday I only ate one meal in the evening. Actually I was feeling that good and really wanted to go three days in a row, so I fasted during the day and I really didn't want to eat that night. But I'd already planned our menu for the week and it was nice to have a meal with my hubby. But I could easily have gone three days in a row, maybe longer. And I felt great! And I lost close to five pounds this week! So the stats since I started this new fasting routine are:

You can bet I'm going to keep doing this as long as it works - I can't even tell you how thrilled I am to see losses again. So I mentioned I eat very light on Wednesday, in the middle of the fasting periods. On the weekends, I eat normally - not pigging out. I stick to low carb meals, generally starting the day with an Atkins shake and/or snack bar. Lunch is often tuna or egg salad with a green salad on the side, mayo and Dijon mustard combined is my favourite salad dressing. Then I have a low carb meal for dinner followed by an Atkins bar (and sometimes some nuts).

I was toying with the idea of trying to go the full five weekdays without eating, but it is nice to eat with hubby once during the week. Plus this is working right now, so maybe I'll reserve that option in the event I stop losing this well.  We'll see.

Anyway, my citizenship ceremony went very well, we did not go out afterward which made the fasting very easy. I was thinking we had to go up and say our pledges one by one, so I kept trying to memorise it, but when the time came we stood as a group and said it, so it was no big deal. So I'm now a dual citizen! I would never give up my US Citizenship, and fortunately it's not required. But I'm officially an Aussie now, fair dinkum! Aussies will understand. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Drastic measures -- or a healthy fast?

When I last checked in with my test results, I had no idea what my next move was going to be. I'd been told not to worry so much about weight because I was the picture of perfect health and that women my age just have to live with weight struggles. Yes, I wanted to get healthy. But I had another goal too: achieving a healthy weight. I may have passed the blood tests with flying colours, but I still was far above my goal weight. I came so close to goal last July before my trip home sent my weight back in the wrong direction. I'm not ready to give up on my goal. So I had to take a good hard look at where I stood now.

  • 28 Feb - 86.3 kg - 190.26 lb
  • 05 Mar - 88.8 kg - 195.77 lb
  • 12 Mar - 90.1 kg - 198.64 lb

That scared the crap out of me. Yes, I was expecting monthly water weight gain, but I was now way too close to 200 pounds. Healthy or not, I am not prepared to go over 200 pounds again, no way.

I had recently become a member on and decided to look through the membership area. I found several videos of interest and spent the next few days watching "Women, Hormones and Nutrition" by Dr Michael Fox, an expert on fertility, PCOS and menopause; "Weight Loss Struggles of Women 50+" and "Women, Hormones and Weight Management" by Jackie Eberstein; and several videos from Dr Jason Fung's course on fasting as the key to treat obesity and diabetes.

Fasting worked great to get me to my lowest weight back in July, but recent attempts had not been so successful. Reviewing Dr Fung's fasting course again I came across one on doing a 7 day fast. Wow. It may sound crazy - but as he pointed out in the video, lots of people dismiss it as something they couldn't do without ever having tried it. The whole reason our bodies even store fat is to get us through periods of famine -- we're meant to live off it when there's no food. Fasting for spiritual purposes is widely practiced in most religions. There are cases of people fasting for 30-40 days or more. Heck the record is a 382 day fast by a 27 year old man in 1966 -- he went from 456 to 180 pounds, losing 276 pounds.

No, I have no plans to fast for a year. I'm not sure I can jump right into a 7 day fast at this stage, either. But I have done two days in a row before with no difficulty, and didn't get hungry. So last week I planned in two 2-day fasts.  I ate normally Sunday; fasted Monday & Tuesday; ate lightly Wednesday; fasted Thursday & Friday; and ate normally Saturday.

I didn't get hungry on my fast days, I really didn't. In fact when Wednesday came I kind of wanted to see if I could go longer, but I decided to stick to my plan for the week so I had light meals. So how did I go?  Well, I'll remind you where I was 12th March compared to where I am now.

  • 12 Mar - 90.1 kg - 198.64 lb
  • 19 Mar - 86.4 kg - 190.48 lb

That's a loss of 3.7 kg or 8.16 pounds this week, 2/3 of which was fat, 1/3 water weight.

It was a week I expected to drop some water weight after my cycle, but still I think that's a darn good result. Never-the-less, I have lost 8 pounds in a week before, basically that brings me back to where I was at the end of February. I plan to follow the same schedule as above next week, three days eating, four days fasting -- but I'm going for my citizenship ceremony Tuesday and may have to swap the days around a bit if the family want to go out to celebrate after. Then again, if I swap Tuesday and Wednesday, that would mean three of the four fasting days would be in a row. Maybe that's a good idea -- try three days in a row first, and then I can decide whether to attempt four or five days.

It may seem drastic to some -- Dr Fung even suggests not telling people about it because some will try to talk you out of it -- but I've done a lot of research on fasting, trust me. If you're interested, you can read Dr Fung's blog posts on fasting here. and he has a full series of videos - some free on YouTube, and others on the member site. Fasting is not unhealthy, it's a totally natural thing and something we were actually designed to do. It's the reason our bodies store fat to begin with -- to get us through periods where food is scarce. I felt great during the fasting days, and when it was time to eat again, I kind of wanted to keep fasting. That's not to say that it didn't taste good when I did break my fast, but I'm very much looking forward to trying an extended fast soon. Wish me luck!