Saturday, January 11, 2014
I posted about this subject on a team thread, and judging by the response, thereís a lot of misinformation around, about exactly what fasting is, and isnít.
I started fasting on 17th March 2013, after reading a book about the 5:2 fast diet, and how fasting can considerably cut oneís cancer risk, and I am already a breast cancer survivor, of a type of tumour that is aggressive and prone to reoccur.
It cuts this risk by cutting down the rate that cells divide, which cuts down the rate that mutations occur, (they repair and recycle instead), by reducing a measurable blood marker IGF-1, (Insulin-like Growth Factor) which encourages cancerous cells to divide, and by reducing glucose levels in the blood, glucose is the cancer cells prime fuel source.
The research on this program has been ongoing for over 16 years. The evidence is very difficult to refute, and is well published in scientific journals, by Dr Krista Varaday, who deserves all the credit for it.
It is not a starvation diet! On the 5:2, you can eat normally on 5 days out of 7, but I soon discovered that I could overeat on those 5 days, to a far greater extent than the 500 calories eaten on the other two allowed for.
I then decided to try Dr Varadayís own recommendation, which was 500 calories, in the form of a 400 calorie meal, and a 100 calorie snack, every other day, and eating as much as I liked, of whatever I liked, on the others. Since starting in March I have gone from 179lbs to 151lbs, a loss of 28lbs.
Iím not too precious about it, I Ďtook offí my three week holiday in the USA last September, also Christmas and New Year, and if a fasting day falls awkwardly, or I have a horrible day that needs a beer and a takeaway, or am unexpectedly asked out, I simply move the whole thing on a day. You NEVER fast two days running.
Also during this time, I have never felt weak, wobbly or faint due to fasting. I don't suffer headaches, or even much hunger. In fact I routinely do 2 hours of karate on 2 evenings a week, (Monday and Wednesday, so if I fast on one, I fast on both,) and regularly burn 6,000+ calories during a week according to my spark tracker. Which is public, so you can check! On the contrary, I have this enormous surge of energy on fasting days, so much so, that sometimes I have trouble getting to sleep.
Now whether or not you feel that this program is for you, and I am the first to say that it doesnít suit everyone, (one size doesnít fit all remember), there is also a growing body of evidence to suggest that people who cut their calorie level daily by several 100 calories a day, permanently reduce their BMR (Basic Metabolic Rate). Thatís permanently!!! Which explains why itís so difficult to maintain weight loss, as successful dieters need several hundred calories a day less to maintain, than those who are at that weight naturally. Also why, if you Ďfall off the wagoní, you regain hand over fist, much, much faster than you were losing it.
(Done that, been there, got the tee-shirt in every conceivable size, design and colour)
So may I humbly suggest, that you try calorie cycling? E.g. if the middle of your allotted range is 1,500 calories, then one day at 1,500, one at 1,000, one at 1,500, one at 2,000. The calorie intake over a week/month/year is precisely the same, but the effect on your metabolism isnít. It basically keeps it Ďon itís toes.í
If on the other hand you would like to try it, but donít see how you can achieve it, or are nervous of trying, and letís be honest, nobody LIKES being hungry, (even Iím not that odd), then try this gradual alternative.
On alternate days, aim to eat no more than 1,000 or maybe 1,200 calories, (up to you where you set the bar, this is YOUR program), but on the others eat as much as you like, of whatever you like. It has also been proved that fasting is easier and more weight is lost on a high fat diet than a low fat one, contrary to perceived wisdom!
Now, I can see you all recoiling in horror! ĎIíll gain weight,í you all wail! Bear with me though and read through to the end. Yes you might, probably will even, during the first few weeks, but this is long term remember, for life in fact, not just till the next weigh in.
As former dieters, we actually need to practice eating like this, because weíre so unused to it, and feel such guilt even thinking of it. It is necessary however to practice NOT cutting our calories since when you eat only 500 calories on alternate days, you need to eat well on the others, and anyway, you will do it like this for only one week, possibly a couple if you feel more comfortable taking more time.
The next week you cut down by 100 calories a day, on your proto-fasting days, while still eating properly on your non fasting days. Also you are going to eat your calories on fasting days, in three meals or two meals and one snack, because snacking is not fasting! On non fasting days you can snack as much as you like.
Continue cutting down by 100 calories each week on your fasting days, until you reach 500 for ladies, or 600 for men. When youíre on 800 calories per fasting day, cut it down to two meals a day, or one meal and one snack, which is what youíll be doing on 500 calories per fast day. At that point (about 800 calories) you should start to see the pounds come off too.
Iíve been doing this for 10+ months now, so it's not a fad diet, and I intend to continue for life. Itís nice to have to intentionally eat enough on my non fasting days too. I hope that a few of you will try it and succeed, but if not, at least will understand a bit more about it, and my passion about it.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
It was drizzling when we stopped in the car park near Balmoral. Undeterred we pulled on our woolly hats, gloves and scarves and headed off up a well made path.
We walked past a very posh house, which had a rather flash sculpture in the garden. Personally I wouldn't fancy it on my back lawn, but each to his own!
Then leaving that path we started to climb steadily through the trees. This path had a small brook running down it.
The path continued to wind gradually uphill, I was carefully sticking to the middle of the path out of the water, as I was only wearing trainers and they're old and not waterproof. To the sides of the path the snow was lying in the trees.
We carried on climbing, taking pauses to 'read the map' and take photos! We emerged through the tree line, and found the snow line, but the view behind us was magnificent.
As the snow was lying on the path now, the clearest bit was in the stream. I decided I'd rather be wet than flat on my face, so I stepped into the stream. Wow that water was cold!
Eventually the trail was totally covered in snow. My old trainers were not only soaking, but didn't have much tread left, and I hate slipping and sliding. Fortunately my daughter and son in law are very patient and waited as I picked my way over the ice, disappearing up to my knees a couple of times.
We started to come downhill again, and dropped back below the snow line, but this is the view back up the track.
The view though was well worth getting wet for.
We started to work our way downhill.
We were following a path with a stream running on our right, tumbling over the rocks. We were confident that we would soon find a bridge to cross over. Unfortunately we didn't!
I was so pleased that my feet were already soaking wet! While the other two looked for an easy way across, I just forged through, as did my daughter. My son in law with his long legs found somewhere to stride across. It was very pretty from the other side.
Congratulating ourselves on leaving the stream behind, we started to go downhill quite quickly, but the stream had other ideas. Going round a loop, it crossed the path again further down, and I had to get wet again! The scenery was still stunning however.
The third time I had to forge the stream, my poor daughter was mortified that her 'easy' walk had become so difficult, but really I wouldn't have missed it for anything, I was having enormous fun. As you can see I was really enjoying it!
After this, the last half a mile to the car park was an anti climax! I walked about 5 miles, and did 15,700 steps, and had a lovely day!
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
When I registered for BLC24, and asked to remain with Azure Destinations, I started to think about what the BLC meant and had done for me, and what I had learned since I first started on BLC22.
I started the BLC with Azure, and have stayed an Azurite. After initial concerns whether I could cope with it, I settled in, and found a strong caring team that fitted me like a glove. I wouldnít want to leave them. This round, being my second, having got my feet under the table, I have learned a lot.
I NEED the scale! One of my concerns when I started was with the weekly weigh in, as I know that I am an obsessive person, who can become fixated on the numbers, which then take on an importance they donít really have. For years I have been saying to anyone who will listen, that itís not all about the numbers, itís about how I feel in my skin, how my clothes fit etc, and thatís all very true, BUT, and itís a big but, my easy going, laid back personality that can ignore what is going on in the mirror, and is an expert at not seeing what is obvious to everyone else, who can chuck the scales under the bed and not use them for months, well, that all contributed to me becoming the 220+lbs person that I was when I originally joined Spark.
I have learned that I need that weekly weigh in, but not to take it too seriously, lots of things can upset that number. Itís merely a tool.
I NEED the structure. Although I have exercised for the last couple of years, it has been sporadic. I will seize upon any excuse not to do it, and I donít push myself. Although Azure doesn't have the same challenges as the other teams, (we do however always have others), when weíre traveling, we take on their challenges. I love the TNTís, the weekend challenges, and the LCWís. It hauls me out of bed and gets me to the gym. It gets me in the pool after, it sends me off to karate, when I really would rather not, just to gain extra points for my team!
I needed to be more flexible in my attitudes. I started out in round 22, thinking ĎIím not doing thisí and ĎI canít do thatí and have gradually found myself doing all sorts of things. participation not perfection, is the phrase, and itís meant wholeheartedly. If you are physically not capable of doing something, you can modify it until you can at least try.
I love meeting the other teams and visiting them. I meet lots of different personalities, and make friends and see how they do things. it is fascinating, and I can do anything if itís just for the week! (except I draw the line at jogging!)
I NEED CI/CO. Azure is a team that doesnít use this, and as I love Azure as it is, and would be sad if it changed, I am very glad of it, but I had never even heard of it before recently visiting the Outlaws. I have always resisted calorie counting, not only does it take a lot of time, but it doesnít work for me, because Iím set an unrealistically high calorie limit which I then eat Ďupí to. Then I gain weight!. CI/CO though worked! It was a revelation, my BMR was calculated much closer to what I calculate it to be, and if I Ďsavedí 3,500 calories over a week, guess what, I lost a pound! Simple as that! and as I can calculate over a weekly, rather than a daily target, I get less Ďtaken overí by it too. It's just another tool.
I would never have found or tried that if not for the BLC, and independently, will keep on using it.
I NEED Azure! My journey through SP has been littered with teams joined, briefly flirted with, and discarded. This one is different. if I only had one team on SP, and in actuality, I only visit this one, it will be Azure. A no apology, no blame, no criticism zone. I have learned to be honest. Because nobody criticises me, I no longer need to be defensive, whatever I have done or not done, someone else on the team has been there before. I can be proud of my successes, and simply acknowledge my failures. We are a close knit team, without exception.
Itís always interesting, I have never been bored by it. My team chat thread, and the thread of the team I am visiting, are the first things I check in the morning and the last I look at at night.
So, at the end of BLC24, I will sign up with Azure again for round 25Ö.and 26Ö..27...... ad infinitum as far as I can see at the moment.
Perhaps I will meet you there on one of the teams.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
October 15th 1987, was a very ordinary day, it was the day before my husbands important exams towards his BSc. It was a mild autumn Wednesday, and that night, London, and all of south-eastern England was pulverised by the most violent storm in to occur in over three hundred years.
Now many of you will live in places where real hurricanes or typhoons are part of everyday life, but for us, sitting smugly in our little semiís in London, it was cause for some amusement when the weather announcer (with the rather unfortunate name of Michael Fish) announced that a lady had phoned up the BBC, and said that a hurricane was brewing. He rather condescendingly said not to worry, it would be just a little windy over night. The poor man never lived those words down!
It was a little windy when we went to bed at about 11pm. I went quickly to sleep but was awoken by banging at about 2am. The curtains were dancing the gay fandango from the draught around the windows. We had an old fashioned fireplace in our bedroom. Someone over the years had covered the opening with hard board, and affixed a gas fire to it. The noise that had awakened me, was the fire and hard board being alternately pushed away, then sucked back to the chimney. I laid in bed listening to the howling of the wind. My husband, oblivious, slept peacefully on. I always said that he could sleep through the last trump, and here he was proving it.
The wind was like a live thing, screaming round the house. We faced west, and that was the direction the storm was coming from. A little white face appeared around the bedroom door, the children were awake, they were then aged 17, 14 and 7.
We sat on the landing for a while. My son said he had been woken by the noise of slates sliding down the roof. You could hear nothing but the sound of the wind, it was deafening. The loft hatch was also bouncing up and down in its hole.
My husband slept on! The children werenít frightened exactly, just in awe of the power of nature, so after a while they went back to bed. I slipped downstairs to the toilet, and to check on my cats, very grateful that I always insisted that they were indoors at night. It was quieter on this side of the house, I looked out of the kitchen window into the darkness of the garden. The wind was still strengthening. The old apple tree outside the window was being almost pulled up by the roots. It was extraordinary watching it, almost like it was a human, being picked up by the hair and then dropped again!
At about 4.30 the electricity went off. I had gone back to bed, but it was impossible to sleep. I must have made a noise, because my husband asked what was the matter, then told me not to be so stupid, and went back to sleep!
Finally I did sleep. In the morning there was chaos. My husband actually wouldnít believe me, and set off for his exams on his motorbike, only to be turned back by the police as all the roads into Guildford were closed by fallen trees. Shops and schools were shut. Trees were down by the thousands, if not millions. In October in south-east England, all the leaves are still on the trees, so there had been devastation. Oaks Park had lost all its oaks, Kew and Wisley Gardens mourned their losses. To this day, under the undergrowth, in English woodlands, you can see lines and lines of pushed over trees, all pointed the same way.
Ships from the English Channel had been blown inland and dumped by the waves. It took over a week to get power back to some of the more rural parts of Sussex. The slates, fortunately, came from a neighbours roof. Equally fortunately, it was not full moon, so there was no accompanying storm surge.
So why am I blogging about this now?
Forecasting has improved a lot over the intervening years, satellite and radar have got it down to a fine art. Just off the eastern coast of America, a storm is brewing. It is forecast to meet up with the jet stream which is lying across the south of England at present. The low pressure will intensify and deepen, then rush across the middle of England, on Sunday night. The wind speed forecast across south east England in the early hours of Monday morning, is in excess of 80 mph in the gusts, about the same as 1987.
Also in the intervening years have come a number of false alarms. We have been forecast wind, hail, snow and some events of almost biblical proportions. So far, theyíve all amounted to nothing, so in all probability, this will be another storm in a teacup. (sorry, couldnít resist!)
But, it just might...just might,...be another night to remember...like the hurricane of í87.
Get An Email Alert Each Time STONECOT Posts