12 Tips for Making Healthy Nutrition Choices on an Intermittent Fasting Program

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Image courtesy of kerdkanno at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Nutrition is an essential aspect of our overall health and well-being, no matter what our age. What we consume can make us gain weight, lose weight, or cause (or prevent) many health problems. I had lost 30 pounds during my cancer ordeal in 2017, and the weight started to creep back up. I realized that if I didn’t change my diet, I would probably gain the weight back and some. Scientific studies show a link between obesity and medical problems like cancer, high cholesterol, and diabetes. As I age, I want to be as healthy as I can and prevent any further medical problems – or recurrence of cancer.

After talking to my doctor about my concerns, I went to a dietician she had recommended. I told her I was following an intermittent fasting lifestyle, and the dietician was good with that as long as it’s working for me. In the hour I was with Marni, she listened to my concerns and gave me some great tips. She wants to help me make healthy choices during my “eating window.” She says my dietary habits need some “tweaking.”

Following are the words of advice that stand out for me. Keep in mind that each person’s situation will be different, and dietary recommendations given here are tailored to me, my situation and my overall goals. You may find some of these tidbits helpful, or you may want to see a dietician for your own personal advice.

#1. Consider the 80/20 Rule. For 80% of the make “healthy choices.” She said it’s okay sometimes (about 20% of the time) to eat or drink what we consider “fun foods.” We all need to satisfy our indulgences or treat ourselves once in a while. “Cheat days” are not encouraged. Instead, follow the 80/20 rule and you won’t feel guilty. FYI – 20% of equals 1½ days per week or about four meals in seven days. Read more about the 80-20 Rule.

#2. The 50/25/25 Plate. When filling up your plate, half should be vegetables, one-quarter protein, and one-quarter carbohydrates/starch. For some people, the carbohydrates can be reduced or eliminated. My doctor also told me to reduce the amount of carbs. For example, if I was having a piece of bread, cut it in half. Pasta, rice and other starches should also be consumed in smaller amounts. Here’s more info on the healthy portion plate. 

#3. Focus on Healthy Choices and Lifestyle (Not Weight Loss). Psychologists, dieticians, and obesity specialists are realising that they have to stop focusing less on weight loss as this does not help people keep weight off in the end. The focus has to be more on healthy choices and lifestyle. Also, the “set point” theory states our body is going to try and get to a certain weight, no matter what we do. If we weigh less than our set point, then our body is going to do whatever it can do to get to that weight. Case in point, on the TV sensation, “The Biggest Loser,” the contestants may have lost a lot, and I mean A LOT of weight. When some of these people were followed up six years later, they had gained most of the weight back, except for one contestant. This is a testament to the set point theory, and it is related to metabolism. All we can do is focus on healthy nutrition choices and lifestyle, and go by what our body is telling us. If it feels healthier with the choices we are making, then we can say that’s a win! The dietician told me, “Things have their way of coming together.” For example, if you are a runner, you may eat differently to fulfill your caloric needs.

#4. Know Your Why for Wanting to Lose Weight. I had to think about the reason why I wanted to lose weight. Was it because society tells me I “should” weigh less? Is it societal pressures on me as a woman? Is it because I want to “look” better? Or is it because I want to be healthier? For me, I know there are many reasons why. And what I do know for sure is that I don’t want to be overweight or obese.

#5. Keep Unhealthy Junk Food Temptations Out of the House. If you don’t have those unhealthy choices around you all the time, it’s a lot easier to avoid them. Instead of opening up the cupboard to find that unhealthy snack, you would have to drive to the store to get it. That little deterrent can help a lot. Having a supportive environment can help support healthy choice goals.

#6. Listen to Your Body – Eat When Hungry, Stop When Full. Some people don’t know what hunger feels like. If you are not hungry, don’t eat. When you do it, make sure you eat until you feel full. Eating more of the “healthy choices” will help prevent you from snacking and eating things you consider unhealthy — more quality AND quantity.

#7. Eat 1-3 Servings of Fruit a Day. Fruits are a good source of vitamins and minerals, and play a role in preventing vitamin C and A deficiencies. Read more about why fruit is so good for us. 

#8. Practice Mindful Eating. The first bite or sip of anything is the most satisfying and rewarding. We usually don’t need to eat much more than a bite or two to satisfy a craving. If what you desire is considered an unhealthy or “fun food” choice, try one or two bites, or a small amount. That’s probably all you need. We usually continue to eat something because we want that feeling to stay. But that’s usually not the case (e.g., potato chips and chocolate.)

#9. Follow the 2019 Canada Food Guide. There are lots of great tips and advice there. For example, water is recommended as the beverage of choice. Mindful eating is encouraged.

#10. Nuts and Legumes are Healthy Choices. These are considered good sources of protein and healthy fat.

#11. Dietary Fiber is Important. Beans, whole grains and brown rice are all good choices. Here’s the top 10 according to WebMD. 

#12. End Your Meal by Brushing Your Teeth. I like to end my meal with something sweet or fresh-tasting as I don’t like the food after-taste. I used to chew gum after, but in the evenings that cuts into my “fasting window” time. I was in the habit of eating chocolate or something else that was sweet (even marshmallows!). Options would be to brush my teeth, chew gum for a bit, or have a mint. A breath mint spray may also work.

The dietician was pleased that I have found something that works for me (intermittent fasting) and she is going to help me tweak it. She says regimens like WW (Weight Watchers) works for some people, and there are other programs that can help with making healthier choices. A good friend of mine has lost 20 pounds on WW! We are all different and it’s good to have choices on what works for us and complements our lifestyles. What works for one person may not work for the next.

I will consider all these tips and see what works for me. I know there are plenty more tips and you may want to add some of your own in the comments below. The dietician wants to see me again in April, and she has registered me for the Well 4 U exercise and education program. There is also a Fit 4 U program this fall that she recommends I attend.

By the way, she said I could have a little bit of dark chocolate every day! 1-2 squares daily is okay – even more if my body says I need it. But as it turns out, I gave up chocolate for Lent. No chocolate for me until Easter!

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

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The ​Long Road to Recovery

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Anyone who has had or has cancer or any other chronic illness or disease knows there is a certain amount of time when they feel they are truly on the road to recovery, recovered, or have discovered their “new normal.” I am one of those people.

I was diagnosed with anal cancer in April 2017. I finished treatment in August 2017. One and a half years later, I can say I am starting to feel “recovered” for the most part – “still recovering” in other areas –– and have discovered my new normal.

My new normal includes ongoing and long-term physical rehabilitation as a result of pelvic radiation damage. I am not complaining (radiation saved my life!), I am just sharing that although some people look great after a big ordeal like cancer, there could be ongoing battles that you may know nothing about. Invisible wounds and scars are very common for people who have experienced cancer.

Recently I attended an art show, and I received a few compliments on my appearance (the picture above was taken at the end of a Hawaiian vacation last month). I know I am feeling much better physically, and my self-image is shaping up. My hair is almost all grown back and highlighted again; I am back to yoga once weekly, and I have started back on my elliptical and doing stretches and weights. I even started wearing my FitBit again. My modest goal of 6,000 steps daily is still a ways away, but at least I am working towards it.

I have also been enjoying my new “intermittent fasting” lifestyle and my relationship with food. I am feeling in control of my life and my body. It’s taken almost two years, but I finally feel like each day I feel better and better.

I am enjoying moderating and managing support groups on Facebook. The “Anal_Cancer Support” group on Facebook is doing amazingly well and has recently achieved the 10-year milestone and the 300th member. Having cancer has expanded my social network by leaps and bounds. A profound and harrowing experience can bring more people into your life – if you want it. You just have to open up and ask for it.

The “Dementia Caregiver Solutions Support Group” is also growing and the admin team recently expanded to include two new moderators who are actual caregivers. They join three professionals to moderate and keep things on track. I find comfort in knowing I have given caregivers this safe forum to share, vent, and get advice for such a difficult time in their lives.

I am also pursuing other volunteer opportunities to help me reach more people who may benefit from my experience, passion, and support. I seem to have an infinite amount of “help” to give, and I am looking for ways to do so –– in a way that will keep me balanced and not over-taxed.

I continue to write for a company called Trualta. I am enjoying my writing projects and look forward to writing for more companies and individuals as the opportunities present themselves.

I am also helping people get married, sort out their problems, write books, develop websites and more. I am starting to consider finishing up my book on aging well (this will be my fifth book!).  Where all this will take me? Who knows. The long road to recovery takes us places that we never dreamed of. I am looking forward to continuing on this journey.

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

 

Customized Topical CBD Remedies – Plus Your Chance to Win a Prize!

 

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Image courtesy of Zuzuan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Guest Post: Pharmacist Judy Lee-Wing, Consultant on Cannabis

(See updated post)

Are you not sure if cannabis (marijuana) is safe to use, but you want to try it for your chronic back, wrist, shoulder, or knee pain? You are not alone. Many people are considering cannabis to relieve chronic pain, inflammation, and stiffness. (Note: Cannabis is legal for medical and recreational use in Canada.)

Be careful. Natural doesn’t mean safe.

For example, it has been reported that a marijuana lollipop having 90 mg of THC caused a 70-year-old man to have a heart attack. He tried it on his own without consulting anyone.

Many pharmaceutical medications are found naturally in plants such as digoxin in the Foxglove plant, quinine in the Chinchona tree, and aspirin in the White Willow bark. Pharmacist Judy advises to “know before you go.”

About Judy

Judy Lee-Wing is a licensed Pharmacist Consultant in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with over 25 years of diverse pharmacy experience including management, caring for people in the community, long-term care, and in the hospital.

Judy is:

  • committed to promoting the safe and appropriate use of medications
  • dedicated to serving others by providing excellent pharmaceutical care
  • interested in collaborating with healthcare providers and others to promote health and wellness

Judy’s story

“I was very skeptical at first, but after having made a topical cannabinoid remedy for my chronic pain, I became convinced of the usefulness and effectiveness of cannabis. I was looking for cannabidiol (CBD) to relieve pain and swelling but was looking for something other than ingesting oils or inhaling or vaping cannabis. I did not want anything affecting my cognitive function, and I wanted something of high quality that worked faster than in two hours. Hence, I made my own topical botanical CBD tincture as I wanted a pharmaceutically elegant, good quality product to use as a rub on the skin or to incorporate into a cream. I chose a tincture as it is alcohol-based rather than oil-based and by nature less greasy, which is my preference.”

– Judy Lee-Wing

What Judy Offers

For a consultation fee, Judy makes topical botanical tinctures, creams, and oils customized for you. Her service includes assessment, medication review, product sampling, and follow up. For a nominal fee, Judy can also safely and professionally incorporate your own CBD oil into an OTC base that is appropriate for you. This would also include follow-up. She will donate a portion of the proceeds to Riverview Health Centre to go towards buying items for the older adults who live there.

As a pharmacist, Judy plays a much-needed role in working to ensure the safe and appropriate use of cannabis. Pharmacists work collaboratively with other healthcare providers to optimize health outcomes. By performing medication reviews and consults, pharmacists can help to identify possible drug-related problems, interactions, side effects, and adverse drug reactions which might occur in combination with existing medications.

NAME THAT MEDICATION CONTEST! We need your help with finding a name for Judy’s products! (see information below for more details on how you could win a $25 Gift Certificate to Tim Horton’s — Canadian residents only). For now, she will use Judy’s Botanical PharmaTincture and Judy’s Botanical PharmaCream.

Judy’s Botanical PharmaTincture is highly effective in relieving pain, inflammation and muscle stiffness. She does not know all of the uses yet, and she is still discovering and eagerly listening to everyone’s amazing stories! The tincture has an alcohol smell which dissipates in less than one minute, leaving a mild, fresh scent. Customized for you, essential oils like lavender can be added as a fragrance and for a combined therapeutic effect. Judy recommends using a moisturizer as needed.

Judy’s Botanical PharmaCream is the botanical tincture (mentioned above) combined with a pharmaceutical over-the-counter (OTC) cream, customized for you. There is no need to reinvent the wheel as these products are highly regulated and have proven therapy. Customization promotes the safe and appropriate use of medications and enhances the optimal relief of pain, swelling, and stiffness. The medicinal ingredients work synergistically to enhance the effectiveness to relieve pain and inflammation.

Testimonial

“This product has helped my son’s back so much. He has two herniated disks. He puts it on before bed & when he wakes he can actually get out of bed without using any assistance (a broom). He saw great relief after three days. Over the years, my husband’s shoulder had a lot of hockey injury issues. He started using it at night & the pain is gone by morning! Amazing product. Thank You, Judy” – K. & G.

Judy’s products have a natural sanitizer

Organic oils and creams, by nature, may contain ingredients which can degrade or go rancid. Additionally, organic oils and creams may be prone to bacterial and mould growth. In Judy’s Botanical PharmaTincture and Botanical PharmaCream, the alcohol in the tincture is a natural sanitizer.

Judy’s specialties

Judy sees cannabinoids as she sees other medications. She has a particular interest in helping those who are curious about using cannabinoids topically for pain, inflammation, and muscle stiffness, particularly:

  • Middle-aged and older adults

Many older adults are sensitive to medications, including cannabis and are already on a complex medication regime. Topical rather than oral medications may help to reduce pill burden.

  • Athletes or former athletes

Athletes are at risk for overuse of pain-relieving medications and opioids. Applying topicals may help to decrease risk.

  • Young adults

Research has shown that the brain is not fully developed until age 25 so youth are especially vulnerable to the effects of cannabis on brain development and function. Topical is preferred over vaping, smoking or ingesting to help to relieve minor pain.

  • Pets

Improved options for pain-relieving topicals for pets.

***Please discuss with your physician, veterinarian, or health care provider prior to use.***

Testimonial

“Judy is awesome! She is very caring, friendly and knowledgeable. Her consult is worth every penny. The tincture works great for the pain in my wrist that has been bothering me for years. Thanks.” – Mike

Some additional points

  • Please consult with a physician prior to using topicals. If medical attention is required, please seek medical attention.
  • Ingesting, smoking, or vaping cannabis is not appropriate in people at risk of psychosis or schizophrenia, cannabis use disorder, or heart conditions.
  • Customized topical CBD remedies including Botanical PharmaTincture and PharmaCream works almost instantly in a lot of cases.
  • Ingesting oil or capsules may take up to 1.5 hours for effect. Your customized remedy works to relieve pain and inflammation before oral kicks in.

 

Name that remedy contest! We are brainstorming for ideas for a name and need your help!

For now, we are using Judy’s Botanical PharmaTincture and Judy’s Botanical PharmaCream but we are looking for a new name! Submit your wonderful ideas to our “Name that Medication” contest by emailing Judy at judyleewing@gmail.com. The chosen winner will receive a $25 Gift Certificate to Tim Horton’s. Contest open to Canadian residents only and closes March 31, 2019.

 

Resource information

1. Health Canada – Cannabis Education Resources.
2. Judy Lee-Wing attends cannabis workshops, conferences, webinars, continually researches the topic on the internet and very importantly, talks to people.

Questions? Please email Judy at judyleewing@gmail.com, phone or text (204) 488-0812 (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada).

Weaknesses Are Only As Strong As We Allow Them To Be

I saw this quote on Instagram, on the Optimal Living Daily account (@oldpodcast) — “The more willing you are to face your weaknesses, the less likely they are to remain weaknesses.” I wanted to know more about Tynan, the person who was quoted. I took his quote, put it onto a picture my husband took while on vacation in Hawaii, and wanted to share it. I hope this inspires you to face your weaknesses, too.

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What weaknesses are you willing to face?

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

Caring for Parents with Memory Issues (Video; 28 minutes)

 

 

Where does one begin when memory problems become an issue with an aging parent?

Issues such as getting a diagnosis, terminology (What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?), resources (Book: Caring for a Husband with Dementia; App: Dementia Caregiver Solutions for iOS; Alzheimer Society), sundowning, and managing difficult behaviours are all discussed in this half-hour video.

Check out my video interview with Nancy Baker from Healing Healthy with Nancy called “Caring for Parents with Memory Issues.”

 

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

 

Keywords: Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Book, App, Essential Oils

My 72-Hour Fasting Experience, Part 4

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During the day yesterday, I did really well. I was busy with work, and I was taking my water, S. Pellegrino mineral water, plain tea and salt. I got a little tired around 11:00 am (40 hours into my fast), and I figured it was because I hadn’t had my second cup of tea. I perked up in the afternoon, but work created some brain drain (intensive clinical work), so I was looking forward to going home and just resting on the couch in front of the TV.

 

My husband Cupp made some sausages and reheated some other food for himself for supper. The food odours were driving me crazy! I was very hungry. The site, smell or talk of food was very tempting and made me want to end my fast.

 

I managed to get through the evening unscathed, but I noticed when I got to bed, my heart was pounding and racing. I’ve had some heart issues since chemo-radiation in 2017 (checked out as “normal”) so I was thinking it’s just a little “blip” as I’ve had this before.

 

I had a restless sleep, mainly due to the racing heart. When I woke up, I felt like I had got enough sleep, in order to carry on for the remainder of my fast (another 12 hours or so) and the rest of the day. My heart was still pounding when I got up. So, I drank some water, and headed for the shower. I weighed myself, I was 158 pounds. I lost two pounds in one day. The total was now five pounds in 2.5 days of fasting.

 

In the bathroom, I started to feel a bit woozy, but I decided to get into the shower to help start my day. As I got into the shower and started running the water, I started feeling a bit weird. I was a bit shaky and weak. I looked down at my toenails and they looked a bit bluish. My heart starting pounding harder. I thought to myself, “This isn’t right.” The doctor had said if I feel faint or lightheaded, to stop my fast and eat something.

 

I cut my shower short, and went to check my heart rate. The effort it took to take a shower pushed my heart rate to 112 beats per minute (BPM). I knew I needed to eat something. But – I had come so far in my fast. I was disappointed. How far had I come? Maybe checking my Life app would help me decide what to to.

I opened up the app and it said I was 60 hours into my fast. “Wow!” I thought. I was actually satisfied with that number (I am sure I would have been satisfied with anything at this point!) I couldn’t see myself functioning the rest of the day without eating — waiting another 12 hours? I think my heart would have conked out!

I ended my fast at 7:15 am, 60 hours into my fast. I HAD to eat. The quickest thing I could think of was my favourite cereal with milk. It went down pretty good. I also made tea with milk. After I finished my cereal, I was still hungry. I figured I should have some protein, so I made an egg. I still wasn’t satiated, so I had some more cereal. My heart was still pounding. I was hoping my heart would settle down. I was eating more than my usual breakfast, that’s for sure!

 

At 8:15 am, I was feeling stronger. I wasn’t hungry, just thirsty. Drank some more water. I checked my heart rate, still at 112 BPM, but not as distressing. No more pounding. I drove to work for a staff meeting.

 

At 10:30 am, I was on break. During our staff meeting, we were celebrating a co-worker’s birthday. There was chocolate cake and other treats. I had some. I was feeling stronger as time went on. I walked down to the cafeteria to buy a tea. With the walking, my heart started working really hard! 122 BPM. I was hoping it wouldn’t get any worse!

 

At 12:00 noon our meeting had ended and I was driving back to the office. I was feeling good still. Had a chicken bacon ranch wrap with extra veggies.

 

At 12:45 pm I checked my heart rate again. Now it was at 97 BPM. Starting to slow down. Whew! Thank God!

 

So, although I didn’t make it to 72 hours, I am pleased with my results. 60 hours is no small feat! I hope that anyone who tries this does it with a doctor’s approval. I will be going back to my intermittent fasting routine of 17:7 on Friday. If I were to do another prolonged fast, I think I would keep it to 36 hours. Next steps is to go get my blood work done to see if it has helped rejuvenate my white blood cell count. I will post the results when I get them. I will also share my elevated heart rate experience with my doctor at the next visit.

 

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

My 72-Hour Fasting Experience, Part 3

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7:30 am. Half-way (36 hours) into my fast, I woke up after having a bad dream. I dreamed I was being chased by a large, vicious, hungry lion! I haven’t remembered my dreams that vividly for a long time. I was in some sort of building, a school perhaps, and I heard a loud rustling noise. My intuition told me danger was lurking. As the noise got closer, I saw the lion coming around the corner! I ran into a room and locked the door. That’s when I woke up. (Maybe it was all that thinking about hungry animals yesterday that brought it on!)

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I felt noticeably “lighter” this morning, so I stepped on the scale. I lost three pounds! Now going from 163 to 160 isn’t a lot when you look at the bigger picture, but wow, it’s interesting how lighter one can feel after not eating for 36 hours!

My energy is still good. I have a slight little nagging headache, but that will soon pass once I have my green tea and some Himalayan pink salts (I hope!). (See the screenshot above of the app I am using, it’s called LIFE.)

I will be working today so I will be kept busy.

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

 

 

My 72-Hour Fasting Experience, Part 2

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I am 24 hours into my fast (48 to go!), and the first day went pretty well. I have been drinking water, green tea, San Pellegrino and taking some Himalayan pink salt every once in a while. I worked today, so I have been keeping busy and distracted.

At 1:20 pm (“Lunch break” – 18 hours into my fast) I noted I hadn’t really felt hungry at all, and I had lots of energy still.

It was a bit difficult when I got home, as my husband and daughter were making dinner. The smell of food makes me want to eat! But, I am proud to say I was able to sit at the table with them while they ate. I had my black tea and I was fine!

Watching TV is torturous! Every second commercial is about food!

I was thinking about the idea of energy and alertness. When wild animals are hungry, they are super alert and on the lookout for their next meal. Hunting takes a lot of energy. I guess that’s kind of how I feel. I am mentally alert and feel I can keep going until Thursday at 7:15pm. At least that’s how I feel right now.

I decided to take my magnesium citrate supplement. I passed on the others.

I found this video on a three-day water fast and Dr. Zyrowski answered some of my questions about how to break the fast. He suggests steamed veggies and bone broth, but I am already dreaming of bacon and eggs! I guess time will tell.

Watch: 3 Day Water Fast – A How To Guide

with Dr. Nick Zyrowski

I also watched another video where two younger guys, who had practically no body fat and lots of muscle, challenged themselves to a 72-hour fast. They only got to 50 hours.

Let’s see how I do. I have more body fat so maybe I’ll be okay.

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

 

 

 

My 72-Hour Fasting Experience, Part 1

72-hour fastthat's three days!

On 14 Jan 2019, I saw my doctor and discussed my interest in trying a 72-hour fast. I explained that I have been doing intermittent fasting for the last 20 days and I also experienced one 24-hour fast already. I am feeling great, and I wanted to explore the possibility of a prolonged fast that could also help boost my immune system.

I had chemoradiation 17 months ago, and my white blood cell count has been running at a moderately-low level for a few months now. I was told that if I got a fever, I would have to go to the hospital, as “leukopenia” can make it difficult for my body to fight off infection. Also, whenever I get a little cut or something, I am very diligent at making sure I keep it clean and put Polysporin on it.

My doctor explained to me that a prolonged fast will make the liver work harder and my body may experience “starvation” mode. She explained that there are many people who fast for religious reasons, and in fact, her mom has done 72-hour fasts (she would drink only water and black tea or coffee.) She told me that she, herself, couldn’t do it. She also said she can’t “promote fasting” and suggested I speak to a dietician (as it is provided by our provincial healthcare services). I was quite convinced that I can do it without the dietician’s involvement, and I am motivated to see if it can help improve my immune system (as there are studies that show it can help).

Watch: Fasting: Awakening the Rejuvenation from Within

TedXEchoPark with Dr. Valter Longo

My doctor cautioned that if I feel faint or lightheaded, that I should stop the fast and eat something. I told her I will make sure I stay safe and I will always have water and something to eat with me. She gave me a requisition for lab work – including blood glucose and white blood cell counts. She said to get my blood tested in a fasting state and about one month after my prolonged fast has ended.

I plan to do my 72-hour fast starting tonight, after dinner. I will document how it goes in a subsequent post. Wish me luck!

Warm regards,

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

 

Intermittent Fasting – A New Way of Eating for Health and Weight Loss

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Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

A couple of months ago, I read an article in a newsletter written by an acquaintance about her five-day “fasting” experience. For health reasons, she drank only water for five days. I was both shocked by this news (how could any live for five days without food?!) and curious (she said she felt better and wants to try for seven days next time.) I tucked this knowledge away in my back pocket, with the intent of learning more.

Then a few weeks after that, I listened to an interview by D’vorah Lansky, bestselling author, who interviewed Gin Stephens who wrote the bestseller, “Delay, Don’t Deny.” D’vorah had adopted the “intermittent fasting” lifestyle and Gin was talking about this way of living and her book sales. This interview was so powerful, I hung on to every word Gin said about how the time-restricted feeding pattern freed her from years of dieting. She lost 80 pounds and has kept it off.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is when you choose to not eat anything for at least 12 hours and for as long as 24 hours. It can be done for religious or health reasons.

I purchased her book (ebook for Kindle) and read it in one day. I loved everything about this new way of eating (WOE) and vowed to myself that I would start on December 26, 2018. I was going to start by not eating after supper and skip breakfast, and only consume water and black tea during my 16-hour fast.

It was much easier than I thought! I felt in control. My hunger pains were short-lived and I soon realized that I was not only eating too much but TOO FREQUENTLY. We are a “well fed” society, and the more I learn about this, the more I understand why there is so much obesity and other related health problems (central abdomen obesity, high blood pressure, high bad cholesterol, low good cholesterol, and high blood sugar). Metabolic syndrome –– which includes three of the five previously-mentioned conditions –– causes an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (heart problems) and type 2 diabetes. Increasing age also causes us to have an increased risk in these areas. I realized in order to reduce my caloric intake, instead of “dieting,” I needed to give myself a “window” of time where it was okay to eat. I am learning how to delay my meals, instead of denying them.

As I write this I am on Day 12 of my new WOE. There is a lot of flexibility with intermittent fasting. For example, my usual pattern is 16 hours of fasting with an 8-hour window of feasting or eating. This is a good place for most people to start. I “close my window” at 8pm, and I don’t eat anything until noon the next day. This gives my body a good 16-hour break from eating. I can drink all the water or black tea (or coffee if I wanted) during the fast. I found I was closing my window earlier, so some of my days were 17 hours of fasting (or more).

Some people choose this 16:8, others choose 18:6 or 20:4 – or some other variation. There are also other patterns, and “extended fasting” which is what the lady did who I mentioned at the beginning of this article. (I’ve also read any fast over 72 hours is dangerous, so be mindful of that.)

For special occasions, where I know I will want to eat or drink outside of my regular window, I can switch up the fasting time. For example, I went for a 21.5-hour fast before new year’s eve so I could have champagne and snacks during the evening. This weekend, I knew I would be having two different family meals, so I did a 24-hour fast. This is also called “alternate day fasting” (ADF) which is another pattern of eating. There is also one-meal-a-day (OMAD) in which the eating window is very short, which could be anywhere between 2-4 hours. Each person finds their own “sweet spot” and you learn how to listen to your body. The Mediterranean diet is what I prefer, as it has the most research behind it for health and longevity. Oh, and my sugar addiction is being curbed as the fasts force me to abstain.

Many people find a lot of benefits associated with intermittent fasting (IF). Improved health and weight loss are the two biggest reasons why people try it. I belong to a few groups on Facebook, and the success stories and non-scale victories (NSV) are very inspiring and encouraging.

IF isn’t for everyone, however, and there isn’t a lot of research on it as it is quite new. I’ve read Gin Stephens’ books and I am also learning from Dr. Jason Fung and will be reading his books, too. Gin says IF is not for pregnant women or children. For those who have pre-existing medical conditions, they should talk to their doctor. In fact, I’ve heard of a few people now who say their doctor recommended IF for their health! It’s been known to reverse type 2 diabetes. If you are considering trying it, please speak to your doctor first.

I am enjoying this new WOE and I am already feeling less bloated and I am sleeping better. I lost 30 pounds a couple of years ago going through my cancer ordeal, and I put most of it back on. The way I lost it was not in a good way. This time I want to lose it in a way that is intentional and will benefit my well-being. I want to reap the benefits of a healthier body that is well fed –– not frequently fed. I also have my own group on Facebook for women who are 40 and better. If you’d like to join us, please drop me a line.

Age well, my friend.

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW