Day 8 – I Ate a Donut and It’s Ok!

Day one of week two is here and I’m in the middle of my eating window.

The soul-sucking bastards I work with brought in 3 doze Krispy Kreme donuts this morning. But this is what IF is all about. I grabbed one, wrapped it up in a paper towel and left it on my book shelf for the after noon. I then continued to fast through the morning and my Friday workout.

Lunch started around 1:30 with some light fare, but I kept thinking about that donut and whether or not it was going to spoil my day. I calculated the calories. Considering lunch AND the donut AND a fairly large amount of popcorn tonight with the family movie I STILL have 930 calories left for dinner. That’s pretty damn good. And if I eat a very large dinner (which is doubtful) I can always cut back on the popcorn.

With this information in my arsenal, I brewed a cup of coffee and ate my donut. And here’s the punch line… I didn’t even enjoy it that much. I think sometimes the obsession with food is all about the obsession and not about the actual food. I can say that the donut was good, but it didn’t rock my universe! Perhaps this diet is muting my cravings for sweets… god I hope so!

The unofficial reading on the scale at lunchtime was 209, which is about 4 pounds lower than what it was over the weekend. I don’t trust that scale very much, so I need to replace the battery on the one at home and do so real measuring this weekend.

All in all, I’m really impressed with myself and my compliance with IF this time around. Let’s hope the enthusiasm continues.

Starting Monday I’m going to switch over to a 5/3/1 lifting program. I’ve normalized my 3 core lifts over the past month and I’m ready for a bit of structured progression. Obviously I will omit OHP lifts because of my shoulder. But doing this makes things pretty convenient since I can fit the schedule into 3 days.

Day 6 – I’m not hungry

As I write this post it’s 1:30 in the afternoon. I’ve spent the entire morning fasting including an hour of lifting at the gym. At 1:00 I broke my fast with an apple and two clementines. And now I’m finally starting to feel “peckish” as the Brits like to say!

I’m still pretty amazed at the results that this style of eating has had on my mental state. Yesterday I had a fairly large lunch of a turkey hoagie and a bag of chips – about 750 calories in all. But I didn’t eat it until 2pm and afterwards I was stuffed and couldn’t even fathom the idea of eating anything else until I got home for dinner. At the end of the day I estimated that I consumed about 1700-1800 calories.

Assuming I hit the gym 3 days a week (which I currently do without much difficulty), this is about 1000 calories under my maintenance. Now, trying to stay 1000 calories under maintenance without fasting until 1 or 2 pm is almost impossible for me, but with morning fasting it seems like a breeze! Maybe it’s just first week enthusiasm, but I think I could make this work long term.

Tomorrow will be a full week since I started so we’ll see if I’ve made any progress on the scale.

Day 4 – Something is Happening…

…it’s not weight loss yet, but it’s something.

I have successfully (and without much effort) managed to delay my first meal until about 1 pm for the past 3 days. As I write this today, I’m heading towards 11 am without much hunger. I do have a bit of a headache though.

The eating side of my 16:8 schedule hasn’t been all that healthy. Dinner on Friday and Saturday nights were both high calorie greasy sugary meals. As was my first meal of the day yesterday. Last night I calmed things down with a salad. Today I plan to eat as clean as possible.

But there is one thing I’ve noticed since starting last Friday that seems different than the last time I tried IF. I haven’t been hungry and I haven’t really craved too much junk food. It seems like the longer I go without eating the less hungry I get. And it’s only until I start eating that I remember that I’m hungry. Logic suggests that the opposite is true but I really think that eating makes you hungrier.

My approach for the past few days has been a little different than before. The first time I tried IF I set an eating schedule and tried to hit all my macros between the hours of noon and 8pm. Sometimes this schedule conflicted with itself, especially when I hadn’t hit all my macros for the day and scrambled to choke down a protein shake at 7:59 even though I wasn’t hungry. But I don’t think this approach is optimal. Instead, this time I’m just sticking to a single rule, “Delay your first meal for as long as  you can”.

Once I decide to start eating for the day, I try to eat healthy when I can and I try not to binge on anything, especially close to bedtime. But I’m not counting calories or macros. I already know what to eat and how to proportion correctly. And I’m not looking at the clock to decide if I should or shouldn’t eat. As long as I stick to the rule, I will simply eat when I’m hungry.

I’m heading to the gym today around 11:30, which should put my first meal at around 1pm. We’ll see how it goes…

Day 1 – Again!

Rebooting a 12 week fitness/diet plan on a Friday in November is a bit odd. After all, winter is coming. Now is typically the time when humans prepare to hibernate and add a few additional layers of fat. And it’s only until the last morsels of holiday food and drink are consumed that we vow to get drop weight and get healthy… the inevitable New Years Resolution!This time I’m trying something a little different, mainly because the aforementioned description never seems to work anyway.

I blogged here back in the beginning of 2015 when I was all hyped up about intermittent fasting and linear progression barbell training. I was following at 16:8 fasting program and the Strong Lifts 5×5 training program. Everything was going well for a while. From time to time my diet slipped but my lifts got better and I managed to put up some impressive numbers by the end of 12 weeks.

Progress was then interrupted by a shoulder injury. I was going too fast and too heavy and not paying attention to form and my AC joint paid the price. A cortisone shot, ice, heat, massage, chiropractic care and regular applications of KT tape couldn’t really undo the damage fast enough for me to get back into the gym. So I switched to training for a 5K and stayed away from the weights all summer.

5K training culminated with a lackluster (“…but at least I finished”) time for the CHOP 5K race in September and I was determined to get faster. But I missed the gym and the weights and convinced myself that I needed shelter from the winter elements in order to keep on running and hey, since I’m paying to run indoors I might as well pick up a weight or two every once in a while right?

The first week went pretty well but then I stupidly tripped over a drain cover in the dark on my way to the gym and sprained my ankle. Two weeks later (as I write this), it’s still hurts to walk on it. Needless to say I haven’t gone running in a while despite this unseasonably warm November weather!

But I have gotten back to the weights and taking it much slower than before. Instead of trying to cram squats, bench press and deadlifts into a single workout 3 times a week. I’m spreading these big 3 movements out to once per week each. This gives me enough time to get to the gym at lunch (instead of getting up at 5am to go before work), finish the main lift and then do some rehab work for my shoulder.

While all of this was going on, I continued to experiment with eating regimes and track calories. And now after more than 7 months since I started this blog, my weight and measurements are exactly the same as they were when I started. This is not to say the the first 12 weeks weren’t successful. More likely is that 16 weeks that followed did nothing to further the progress as I fell back into old habits and became more sedentary.

The philosophies behind intermittent fasting continue to intrigue me and I’ve spent most of the last month reading more about the various flavors of IF. A few weeks ago I tried the 5:2 approach (sometimes called the Fast Diet) which restricts your calorie range to 500-600 for 2 days a week. Initially this sounded like a plan I could comply with easily. But after a couple weeks of experimenting I found it required too much preparation and scheduling. The food you do eat on fast days can be anything but you have a better chance of success if you prepare 2 300 calorie meals that are high in fiber and protein and low in starch. The thought of these meals as “rewards” did not make the day easier and the promise of a full calorie day within 24 hours didn’t help either.

So as of today, I’ve decided to return to the 16:8 method which seemed to work well for me at the beginning of the year. This method can be easily summed up in two words, “skip breakfast”. That’s it. Sure there are all sorts of other things to consider, but skipping breakfast is the one simple tenet that can turn a diet philosophy into a habit.

My plan is pretty simple and looks a lot like the plan I was following 7 months ago. Skip breakfast, eat normal healthy food 90% of the time and weight train 3 days/week. After 12 weeks gauge progress and adjust accordingly. Cardio and yoga will enter into the picture at some point, as will holiday food and drink. These will all be treated as minor variants, not meaningless but not paramount either.

And so, off I go to the gym in a 12 hour fasted state. I’m a little hungry and I have a bit of a headache (it’s my first day without breakfast in a while so it’s to be expected). I will take some BCAA and pre-workout caffeine about a half hour before lifting. And hopefully delay my first meal until sometime between 1 and 2pm.

Wish me luck!