Okay, that deserves some explanation. It has nothing to do with the economic crisis, nor with Corona, it is a personal experience that I wanted to share because hopefully, someone can benefit from it, as I have benefitted from it until now.
The 5,5 months I am referring to is the time that I have been practicing Intermittent Fasting (IF). This is a method where you are “allowed” to eat (and drink) during certain times and at other times you are not. Okay, you áre allowed to drink water and thee or coffee (with nothing added), just no stuff that gets your metabolism running.
In those 5,5 months, I didn’t lose 20.000 euro’s or anything financial, I lost 20 kilo’s (today was the day I reached that mark).
It all started with one simple tweet, or well, maybe that is not truly the start of it all. If I go back a little further in time, I think it all started back in around 2006, when I decided to stop smoking. That was not very hard for me, so within weeks I had stopped smoking.
The bad side (if any) of no longer smoking was the fact that I started to gain weight. Not very fast nor very large amounts, but very gradually. Every year I would gain one or two kilos, but because it was rising steadily, after 14 years of being a non-smoker I had grown approximately 20 kilos. And I was a little bit on the heavy side, to begin with anyway.
It wasn’t something that really bothered me, I wasn’t having any physical or mental complaints due to my weight, so I was not very worried about it. It also wasn’t because I ate very large amounts, nor that I was constantly snacking. It wasn’t related to a lack of exercise or anything else, it just was that every day I took in a little bit more than I needed and so I grew. I always thought that when I stopped smoking, my metabolism might have slowed down just a little bit, but the intake hadn’t changed a lot, so I gained weight.
It was most notable in jeans size. I started being around a 32″ waste and at the point, around 5,5 months ago, I was a 40″ waste and my belt was down to it’s next to final hole.
Still I was not worried, I was not contemplating changing my life in any way shape or form, but every now and then I would think that maybe it was time to look into something to do about it.
Then I noticed a tweet. And as they say, one tweet can make a difference. The tweet had not been liked, retweeted or anything like that, it just showed up in my feed and I was interested. It was a slow workday and I needed a little distraction, so I decided to click on the link.
This was that tweet:
(and I hope Duncan forgives me for blatantly copying this here).
As I said I was thinking that metabolism had something to do with my slowly gaining weight, so that triggered me on this tweet, so I decided to give this podcast a go. If you want to listen to it, please go ahead, I highly recommend it: https://overcast.fm/+NS2z3-LmQ
Anyway, without going to much into detail about the podcast, it talked about something called Intermittent Fasting, so, the modern-day person I am, I started to investigate more on this on (what else) the internet.
I came across the following blog post, that very accurately describes what it is and how it works (much better than I could anyway): https://happyhealthy.nl/intermittent-fasting/. It is in Dutch, but if you are really interested there are a large number of articles on the matter that are in your language, so do search for it.
Anyway, I learned that intermittent fasting basically meant that there is a time to eat and a time not to eat. And if you don’t eat for a certain amount of time (or eat way less), you might lose weight. This has to do with your metabolism, but also with the fact that you reduce your intake, by not eating for defined periods of time.
For me the 16/8 schedule (which basically means, skipping breakfast) was the most promising one, since I never ate breakfast until I was around 35 (coincidentally also around the time I stopped smoking by the way, it might be related). So skipping breakfast might be relatively easy to reintroduce.
So I did, I decided that my schedule would be 18/6 and that I would eat between 12 noon and 6 o’clock in the evening. Okay, maybe not every single day, maybe sometimes I would go out to dinner and would finish around 10 at night, but I would compensate by (sometimes) skipping lunch the next day.
I started two weeks before VMworld Europe, so that was a good test. I found out that I was able to this without very much effort. Okay, one time I wasn’t able to do the 16 hours, but all other days, I managed to do that. Being in Spain meant eating late in the evening, so for me, this also meant lunching later in the afternoon, but most days I managed to do that. And since VMworld also means a lot of walking, the weight practically flew of.
All in all, the most important thing for me was that this isn’t a rigid schedule, it is not a rule, it is a guideline. If you sometimes are not able to fast for 18 hours, do 16. If you can’t do 16, do 12 or 10, no pressure. This also goes for the stuff you eat. I try to avoid sweets on my bread because it contains a lot of sugar, but sometimes I allow myself this.
And on top of that, I started to get interested in other stuff that was related to weight loss and gain, so I started watching and reading stuff on that as well. I found out that sugar is “the enemy”. So I changed my diet (a little) to exclude some (very) sugar-rich parts of it. I also started going to the gym more regularly (which I started a couple of months earlier, together with my son).
And after 5,5 months, I have lost 20 kilos. The target is not yet reached, so I will definitely continue. I don’t have a very definitive target, but I would be happy if I was about halfway :).
Also, it is not a diet. I don’t plan on doing this until I reach a certain weight and then stop.
So if you think you might benefit from this as well, learn more about it, and try it out. If you want to know more from my personal experience, reach out, I am happy to help.
Today (almost 4 months after my initial post) I reached 30 kilos of weight loss and still aiming for more. I have started walking in the weekends. A brisk 5-10K walk through nature (I live in the Veluwe, which has a plethora of beautiful walking routes). Also adjusted my food intake a little, but basically, I stuck with the program.
When I look at my progress, I can see the first 10 kilo was lost in around 2,5 months (half October – early January). The next 10 took 3 months (early April) and the 10 after that, took almost 4 months (end of July). This makes sense, since from a percentage perspective the first 10 kilo was much less than the third.