Monday, April 04, 2016

The Extended Fasting Plan

I've lost about 14 pounds in the past 3 months. Six of those pounds came back for a visit recently. I backslid in my gym and eating habits.


I'm getting ready to double down on the 8 pound loss.  And I even have a plan. (Yes, another of my plans!)

(The photos you're seeing will make sense as you read the post...)

First off, I have to get back to the gym. That's going to be much easier now that warmer and sunnier is finally showing up around here. Finally. Second, I am going to have to eat better - and that doesn't mean skipping one of my many cups of daily coffee with extra creamer.

I'm going to be using a modified fasting plan to both lose some weight and up my prayer life. Just as much as I've been ignoring my health, I've been slacking on reading my daily Bible reading and meditations. They might even go hand in hand.


The other week, a friend and I were talking about an article she'd read about losing weight "while you sleep". Yeah. Ri-iiight. Of course, that part was just to get readers to pay attention to the whole eating plan. It's simple (like my friend and I) so it's something I can do with a little bit of discipline. All I have is a little discipline, so it's really perfect.

The basic idea is that we fast while we sleep (which is why the first meal of the day is a breaking of the fast, or breakfast), so we could extend that fasting period. Of course, what we do eat for meals is a big part of the weight loss. That's it. Simple.

My friend (I'll call her "Daisy") has been doing this extended daily fasting for about three weeks. She's lost over 12 pounds. She jokes that she thinks that initial weight loss is just from dumping toxins. Apparently, because of what she is eating during the day, her body is in total cleanse mode. Here's an outline of her plan:
  • No food after 6:30pm. She drinks a few 4-ounce glasses of water (some infused with lemon or with honey added). She generally goes to bed by 9:30pm.
  • She's generally up at 5:30am. She immediately drinks warm water with lemon first. When she is ready for breakfast, she has her coffee with cream & tries to limit it to an 8ounce coffee with around 2tbl of her Coffeemate plain liquid creamer/no sugar. For food, she eats a piece of toast or a bagel with cream cheese.
  • Throughout the day, she avoids any heavy food. She eats several small "snack-sized" meals (she likes a handful of trail mix; a cup of yogurt; etc.). She tries to empty her 16-oz water bottle at least 3 times. This is a struggle for her.
  • About an hour before her fasting starts, she has a 'real' meal. She usually does turkey meat or a chicken breast with veggies on the side. 
  • Once a week, she allows herself to enjoy a handful of chips or a couple of small cookies. She has a sweet/salty tooth and doesn't want to deny herself.
  • She is not a gym-goer, but tags along with friends sometimes. She is walking her neighborhood "a few times a week" in the evenings, parking further away from entrances when she is out, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Daisy is only looking to lose around another 10 pounds or so. Like me, she isn't looking to be her 30-year old self, but she does want to be in better shape and get into the clothes at the back of her closet. She's almost there.

She had me almost laying on the floor in a fit of giggles when she talked about her first couple of days on this fasting thing. She said she was so gung-ho about the idea of something as simple of not eating after a certain point in the day that she got carried away. First day in, she said she went to at least 2 fast food places and oinked out like crazy. And was SO proud when she didn't "cheat" after 6:30. When she got serious about eating better, she overloaded on water (not her favorite thing) and lost at least 1 pound just running to the Ladies'. I'm really proud of her though.

My eating plan is a little different. For one thing, I realize that this is almost more about eating better than it is about eating less. I don't plan to eat much different than I already am, but that daily cut-off point is going to curb my worst habit: late-day/late-night eating. Also, the water thing. Ugh. (I'd gotten better about drinking water, but haven't really lived up to that gallon-a-day thing for a while now...)

Here's my plan:

  • Start the fast at 6pm. I'll only drink water - plain, with cucumber slices, or infused with either vanilla extract and honey, lemon and honey, or orange oil and honey*. My sleep time varies from 9:30 to 11:30, depending on how well I am resting. Insomnia.
  • I'm generally up by 6 or 9 (again, depending on how well I feel). I plan to not eat before 9am, no matter when I'm up. I'll start with water and, to break my fast, some raw veggies or a 4-ounce cup blackstrap and vanilla soy. I'm not a breakfast eater. Of course, I will have to have my coffee, but I'm going to be better and limit myself to 1 8-ounce morning serving (with 2tbls of my sweetened and flavored creamer). 
  • At around 11, I will have veggies with chicken or turkey sauteed with olive oil or palm oil and non-salt seasonings**.
  • Around 1pm, I will have soup (which is salted, but I love it and it's only 260 calories for the Teriyaki Chow Mein that I love or 290 calories for the Maruchan Chicken flavored Instant Lunch that okay but cheap.
  • At around 3pm, I will have either a spinach/kale salad with some chicken or turkey meat or just skip it. Depends on how hungry I am.
  • About an hour before my fast, I will have a serving of sauteed veggies on naan bread.
  • I'm going to try really hard to empty at least half a gallon of water during the day, but I'm bad with water. Being hungry after I start the fast might help! 
  • I'm going to attempt to make it to the gym at least 3 times a week. At the very least, I am going to copy Daisy and try to walk around the neighborhood. Just walking a couple of times from one end of our street the other is not a bad stretch. I will have to trip it on the pedometer and update this post.
I will try to keep you all in the loop. If I make it at least three weeks like Daisy, I'll be lucky. She claims that it gets much easier after the first week. I'll wait and see...


P.S. I ** a couple of thing to remind myself to share my delicious and simple recipes.

The water infusions are my favorite. I do them all the time, no matter what the rest of my diet is like! You can use either plain or a seltzer type water. You know, of course, about adding slices of lemon or cucumber to water for flavor. Another think I like is to pick up a little bottle of flavored oil or extract (generally used for baking/cooking) and add just the tiniest drop to waters. You can jazz up lemon and cucumber water by adding a bit of honey. (NOTE: Here in Anchorage, I have to either order my flavored oils or buy them from local health food and specialty stores. New Sagaya and Natural Pantry are stores that carry them in town.)

My veggie dishes are what I came up with a long while ago. I get on these kicks where I just want lots of fresh and colorful food. I love to sautee veggies in olive oil or palm oil (or both) and add as many seasonings as I can without too much sodium. My fave combo includes sweet orange, yellow and red peppers, mushrooms (any kind!), garlic. I'll sometimes leave the spinach and kale uncooked so that I can serve the other veggies and oil over the greens. If I'm feeling really hungry, I'll add a little tomato and avocado to the top.Okay. I usually add tomato and avocado!And maybe some crumbled bits of leftover bacon...  LOL

A variation of this is to sautee all the veggies (greens included) and then serve them over some warmed Naan bread. I love that bread. 

You can freeze the bread and then warm it later. I like to get the small single-serve pieces, but can't always find those. If you get the large pieces, you can slice them up to use small pieces at a time. To warm them, I like to lay them in a pan and use low or medium heat for a few minutes. The bread can also be toasted, but I like to keep the inside really soft.

For seasonings, I like to use tumeric, onion powder, a little cayenne, basil or Italian seasoning. This is one dish that I actually can enjoy Mrs. Dash with.

What I like about this is that, even if I don't use bread, it's filling and so, so flavorful. The best thing about this "eating plan" is that it's fairly cheap. You can use whatever vegetables that you catch on sale. The thing is to vary the seasonings for the food and make sure to flavor up all that water!