Last week I had a wake up call. Nothing serious like a heart attack or stroke…not yet anyway. But just a gentle nudge from nature that I needed to take some serious actions concerning my weight and my health. I was feeling unusually tired last week, and I noticed I was gaining weight again. So, I decided to remove coffee and sugar from my diet hoping that would help me turn the tide. I also decided to get into an exercise program to help accelerate my weight lose. That’s where the wake up call came in. I got down on the floor to see how many push-ups I could do. I was hoping to do 5 to 10 push-ups to start out with. I could barely do 1 push up. That was it. One push up and I was worn out. Clearly I was in the worst shape of my life. So I thought far more drastic action was needed to help me get a handle on the situation.
I started doing my own private research on diet and excercise, and I found a series of videos on YouTube by Dr. Eric Berg. In these videos Dr. Berg outlines his program of Intermittent Fasting combined with a simple Keto Diet which encourages a person to cut sugar and some carbs out of the diet. I had had success in the past with the Atkins Diet, but had never focused on Intermittent Fasting. I watched several hours of Dr. Berg’s videos and then last Sunday night I decided to put the program into action. I cut all sugars and many carbohydrates out of my diet, and added a simple 12-hour Intermittent Fast to my daily routine. It’s only been 3 days, but I can already see some results.
The major difference in Dr. Berg’s Program is the focus on Intermittent Fasting. In most weight lose programs people focus mainly on what kind of food you can eat, and that’s it. With Intermittent Fasting you focus mainly on your eating schedule. You see, most people tend to eat or snack during many of their waking hours. We eat when we are bored, we eat when we are stressed, and we sometimes eat just out of habit. And many people think this pattern of eating is OK so long as they are eating healthy foods and healthy snacks. Turns out, this assumption is completely wrong.
In his videos Dr. Berg reveals that eating almost any kind of food spikes a person’s insulin level. Insulin is the hormone that converts sugar into fat. And when a person’s insulin level is high, the body is very busy converting blood sugars into fat, and storing the fat away in the body. Insulin also blocks the activity of another vital hormone we’ll simply refer to as Growth Hormone. Growth Hormones break down fat into energy and are responsible for much of our weight lose. But, when we are eating over the course of an entire day grazing our way through life, Insulin becomes the dominant hormone at work and the Growth Hormone is held back from doing its work. As a result our heightened Insulin levels cause the body to produce more and more fat and we gain more and more weight without fully understanding why. People will tend to fight the problem by changing their diet and eating healthier foods, but not by altering their eating schedule. So they just continue to eat whenever they feel hungry, or bored, or stressed. This does not solve the weight gain problem, because the primary problem of grazing throughout the day continues, resulting in elevated Insulin levels and continuing weight gain. Over time the average person becomes overwhelmed with the situation and gives up in frustration. But here – according to Dr. Berg’s Plan – is where we can gain the high ground and begin making some healthy changes.
With Intermittent Fasting we begin to pay attention to not only what we eat, but WHEN we eat it. We stop grazing throughout the day and instead schedule time for a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner and cut out all snacking in between meals. This allows our body to raise our Insulin levels during mealtimes, and then gives the body time to lower those Insulin levels throughout the day so the Growth Hormone can get a change to do its job of burning away excess fat in the body. I started the program with a 12-hour fast and then worked my way up to a 16-hour fast leaving me a reasonable 8-hour window to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in. Tonight I will be fasting for 18 hours leaving me time for only 2 healthy meals while at the same time giving my body a solid 18 hours each day to burn fat in. As of this writing I can tell by the metallic taste in my mouth that the fat burning process has begun, and so far I am feeling great.
The process of intermittent fasting, once you study it for a while, makes a lot of sense. And it is a flexible program giving different people the option of using the program in different ways. Some people like me who have gained a lot of extra weight over the years will see the wisdom in at first cutting back to 3 meals a day (minus snacking) and then working their way down to only 2 meals a day to give the body a chance to do some serious fat burning. Others will want to take it a step further and cut back to only one meal a day, and still others will choose to maintain themselves at 2 1/2 to 3 meals a day, depending on their physical needs and weight lose goals. This program can be adapted to suit any body type and most any need.
I will be posting more updates as I progress along my journey. Please keep in mind that any dieting or fasting program carries with it some health risks as well as benefits. So be sure to check this out with your own doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise routine, especially if you are already having health problems as it is. In my case I find this program makes sense and so far…it seems to be working.
If you are interested in Intermittent Fasting I encourage you to check out Dr. Berg’s YouTube Channel. I am also including an introductory video below. Thanks for taking the time to read this post. And, until we meet again, stay healthy!