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The Mister and I are expecting…

…to lose some weight.

Oh now, that was a nasty shock to give my gentle readers, wasn’t it?  Sorry.  Just couldn’t resist.  I’ll be good now.

But yes, the Mister and I are on a diet.

What! I hear you say.  But haven’t you’ve always condemned diets as a waste of time and potentially harmful to boot?

Yup.  And I have never been on a diet in my life.  If I found I was gaining a few pounds, I just ate less or ramped up my exercise.  Then two years or so ago, the pounds started adding up and refused to leave.  I also had some digestive problems at the same time, so I went gluten-free and voila, goodbye pounds, goodbye digestive problems.

But last year, with the flare-up of chronic fatigue, the pounds started creeping back.  I thought once I was able to workout again they’d melt away, but no.  Even when I was back to doing an intensive cardio workout, and weights, six days a week, not only did I not lose anything, but the weight kept climbing at the astonishing rate of a pound per month!  I had never weighed so much in my life and felt completely discouraged and mystified.  The doctor checked my thyroid and other stuff, but everything was fine.  I just couldn’t stop gaining.

A couple of months ago, three different sources came out with the same message – sometimes the body can interpret intense exercise as stress and will hold onto or put on more weight as a stress reaction.  Well, I’ve always followed the adage “If three people say you’re sick, lie down.”  So I cut my exercise back to three cardio days per week and on alternate days I do Tai Chi.  Four pounds disappeared in about as many weeks.  Great rejoicing, until I plateaued and stayed stuck there, still looking at jiggley rolls that seemed to be laughing at me now.

Then the Mister watched a program on PBS about Dr. Michael Mosley’s fasting diet.  Dr. Mosley was overweight and at high risk for diabetes and prostate cancer when he discovered the life-lengthening and health-enhancing properties of fasting.  The evidence was so compelling, the Mister and I decided to try it out immediately.

The diet works like this.  You eat normally five days a week, but on two non-consecutive days you cut your calories down dramatically to 500 – 600 per day.  We bought his book and are following his guidelines fairly strictly.  Mind you, we’ve only been on it one week (two fasting days), but I was hoping the extra room I was finding in my jeans was attributable to weight loss and not the fact that I’d stretched them out to the seam-ripping point.  I didn’t want to blog about it until we had our weigh-in day, today.  Both of us are down two pounds, and our fancy-schmancy scale says one of those pounds was pure fat.  Great rejoicing again.

The Mister is doing quite well on the fasting days.  Me, not so much.  We decided to have our two small meals at lunch and supper, with just a steamed carrot and kiwi for breakfast.  Tuesday, my energy so low I wasn’t up to my Tai Chi, although I did go through a rather stressful meeting with our financial consultant.  (These meetings require intense concentration on my part, something I was finding difficult to do on an empty stomach.)  When we got home, the Mister made us a lovely low-cal chicken stirfry which I tore into greedily.  I was quite comfortable that night and the next day and thought maybe this fasting-thing might be OK after all.  On Friday I woke up with enough energy to do my cardio workout before our carrot/kiwi breakfast.  When lunch (which seemed very slow in coming) finally rolled around we relished our boiled egg on greens and veg.  After lunch, my energy barely registered, but I thought a bowl of vegetarian chili would perk me up like the chicken stirfry did on Tuesday.  Only we didn’t follow the recipe in the book but our own, the one we’ve always used.  The Mister calculated the calories, and alas! we discovered half a bowl used up our remaining calories for the day.  I went to bed hungry…and cranky.  And this morning my energy was way low and I was headachy.

But that’s only the first week and we’re tweeking the diet as we go along.  For instance, we’ve learned that beans (a staple at our house and a delight for me), while high in protein, are also very high in carbs and therefore calories, and so our last meal of the fast day should include lean meat protein and tons of veg and greens which contain very few calories.    I’ve also become aware of where calories have been sneaking into my diet.  An example – dried cranberries – very good for you nutritionally, but sky-high in carbs.  I’ve cut my consumption in half.  Bread (especially gluten-free bead) is also high calorically (because of the starches) and is another bug-a-boo I need to watch, not just on fast days but generally.

The book provides a calorie counter, but there’s still arithmetic to do (ick!) and we find his calorie count for eggs a bit off.  So we need to confirm some stuff on line.  All in all, this diet  ain’t no walk in the park, but Dr. Mosely assures us that with time our bodies will adapt and we will barely notice our fast days.  I willing to give it a chance.  And the lovely things the scale told me today is great motivation.

The name of the book is The Fast Diet by Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer, and we picked it up at Shopper’s Drug Mart of all places.  And if you’re interested in the documentary, see if you can catch it on PBS.  I think it might go by the same title.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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