Chapter 7: Emergence of Abs
I woke on Day 7 as I usually do. Checked on Bumblebee, remember the prior day’s events, go to the bathroom. As I’m washing my hands I can’t help but notice the lack of bloating that’s usually there. You know the type that makes you dig that girdle out to camouflage the pooch? Well today it was gone. Not a slave to the scale, but clearly my eyes are lying on this abnormally warm Fall Chicago morning. Mmm…. 5 lbs. down. W..T..H… I look in the mirror again, snap a few selfies…for proof of course and smile. There’s hope for you abs, even at 39, there’s hope. Oh excuse the bathroom, I was on my way to abs and didn’t care.
Chapter 1: Denial
I met @Poetic_just_we on IG. She was a “Fit Friday” feature SCC does each week. When I first saw her I noticed she had what I wanted: Abs. The ultimate fit body Holy Grail. “How did you do it?” I asked. “Intermittent Fasting” (IF) she said. I’ll admit, Craig’s mom’s voice from the movie Friday was in my head: The phony “O…o…okay girl.” The idea of not eating for hours on end would make my metabolism plummet. How does she do it? I have to eat every 2-3 hours or my body will go into starvation mode and hold the fat I’m trying to get rid of. In my Bumblebee voice, “No thaaannnkk you,” I’ll stick to eating 5-6 small meals per day even if I’m not hungry…because that’s how you get fit…. right?
Chapter 2: Be like Nike
During my usual morning gym routine I was thinking about my usual egg whites and protein for breakfast. I’m not usually hungry in the morning, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day right? It’s fit life blasphemy to skip breakfast. Ahh and Nieta don’t forget to pack a salad and sauté some veggies/chicken for a snack… and stop by the store to grab some berries for meal 4. Sheesh what’s for dinner? I got exhausted just thinking about it. Then my mind went to my Fit Friday IF’er and I said to myself, but WHY do you have to eat breakfast? You’ve been thinking of a way to shake things up and you haven’t eaten yet. Why not try IF this week? (Does quick research) Mmm…the 16/8 schedule (Fast: 8p-12p / Eat: 12p-8p) seems doable, since I would be sleep for 8 of those hours. But don’t I need to plan it out? Obsess over it and announce it to my subscribers/followers? Nope. Just do it.
Chapter 3: I’m going to die…
When your body is programmed to eat at certain times, it lets you know. By 9:30am ish, my stomach began to growl so loudly in an interview. Thinking the candidate could hear every growl, I thought either eat something and try this another day to avoid embarrassment or drink water/coffee to tame this beast. It worked. I did fantasize about my salad in interview #2. At 11:59am I was like a runner at the starting line, Ready… set… EAT!
Chapter 4: Up…on a Tuesday
Lately my energy levels have been low. One night on the town and I’m paying for it for about 2 days. So by the time the work week hits, I’m just trying to muster energy to get through. Those who don’t know me: I’m a GROUCH when I’m sleepy. I wasn’t the “burn the midnight oil” type in college. If I didn’t know it by 11pm, may the Lord be with me come test time. I’ve be unusually very, very tired, but for some reason it was 9pm and I hadn’t yawned nor gotten annoyed with…hell anything…I said I’m a grouch when I’m sleepy. I had so much energy. Not eating to fulfill my boredom, I went to the gym. Slept like a newborn that night.
Chapter 5: Could this work….
Ironically, by Thursday my cravings disappeared, even ending my feeding time an hour early. I didn’t feel the pressure of obsessing over what every meal would consist of. It was so easy. Hungry? Is it between 12 and 8? Eat girl! No eating every 3 hours, no packing food like I’m running away from home. I was actually LESS hungry. How was eating less making me less hungry? Where were the cravings? Is that you re-emerging collarbone? I see you triceps! HOW could this be possible?
Chapter 6: The Blueprint
*Disclaimer: I am not a dietician, nutritionist, personal trainer, or doctor, please consult your physician before beginning any weight loss program. This works for ME. Do what works for YOU.
What is IF?
Consuming your calories during a specific window of the day and not eat food for a larger window of time. Eat “what you want” during your feeding period. Of course “what you want” should align with you weight loss goals. I chose 16 hours fasting and 8 hours feeding since this works for my schedule, although there are several types of IF plans.
What is Keto?
Wanting to make the most of my week, I got back to my roots: Keto (Eating less than 50g Carbs daily). A couple days I fell short, clocking in at 60-70g, but still fewer than 100. The “keto” in a ketogenic diet comes from the body’s ability to produce small fuel molecules called “ketones.” Ketones are alternative energy and are produced when eating low carb (20 to 100 grams per day) and when glucose is reduced. When fasting on a low-carb diet, your body uses fat stores for energy and we LOSE BODY FAT. After all, isn’t that what the whole point? Fasting on a keto diet reduces glycogen, when glycogen is depleted our bodies use fat and ketones for energy instead of glucose. HEALTHY low-carb eating is ideal for controlling hunger pangs. As your body gets used to fat and ketones as main sources of energy, you will naturally eat less amount and less frequently. Briefly ranting about this in an FB fitness group, one of my fit crushes says, combine keto with IF the belly fat has no choice but toleave. Well there it is.
What I did/didn’t eat for 7 days?
- Gallon of Water daily
- Lean Proteins
- Babybel (I LOVE those little wheels!)
- Dark Chocolate
- No Alcohol…Well I lasted 6/7 days 😉
- No pasta, bread, or rice
What did I learn?
- Breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. I’m never hungry when I wake. I eat because that’s what I’ve been taught. Eat when you’re hungry.
- I did not have to eat 5-6 small meals a day. I know, “But he body will go in starvation mode!” Yeah…no. You would have to go without food days for your body to go into survival mode. Once your body adapts, insulin levels will be steady and you will not have a need to eat frequently.
- I gained more energy by eating when I was hungry vs. all day. Every time you eat, no matter what it is, insulin is released. Insulin is one of the primary causes of belly fat. Following the 5-6 meals a day rule, it takes 2-3 hours for blood sugar to return to normal after a meal. By the time it’s balanced, it’s time for another meal. Get it? Constantly eating or eating too much can result in high insulin
- A week of not having to think about when or how frequent I ate was like a weight lifted off of me. This isn’t for everyone, but in 1 weeks’ time, it’s worked for ME and I will continue with it.
Weight loss isn’t easy. Use trial and error. I know me, I’m not about that #veganlife, I love salmon too much. IF, Keto, Paleo, Vegan, etc… whatever you choose, make sure it’s right for YOU. My main focus is reducing belly fat and belly fat is all about your DIET. There’s no cookie cutter method. You might read an article next week that tells you IF and Keto are bad for you, or like me, you might think it’s the best thing that’s happened to you.