I told him this evening, “It’s surreal at this point.”
I mean…as an adult, I’ve never weighed this little.
I mean, it’s still a lot (read: my dot on the health chart will probably still not make my doctor happy), but in my world, it’s a whole lot less than I have weighed pretty much my entire adulthood.
So, I’m celebrating the achievement for sure, but also reflecting on the weirdness of being here…at this point…now. And while I answer questions that come in from friends and connections about my progress, I wonder —
If I could write myself a letter back when I started at Week 1 of this journey, what would I say?
I started Intermittent Fasting (which I will refer to as IF moving forward) in August 2016.
I was pretty much the heaviest I had ever been – and sick of it. And sick of trying to figure out where enough activity to make a dent in my weight fit into my jammed-packed schedule. And sick of always feeling like I had nothing to wear, because nothing fit. And sick of feeling emotionally attached to food. And sick of…
You get the point.
I’ve been following Sumaya Kazi since way on back. Female entrepreneurial ROCKSTAR based in San Fransisco, she is someone I look up to in the industry. I saw her developing an amazing platform. I was a BETA. I saw her – concerned about her weight – trying to eat healthier. I saw her commitment to being more active, at the gym and on the dance floor. And then she broke her leg…and posts weren’t as frequent and my life was moving too fast for me to dig up what she was up to.
And then – out of nowhere – she was back – and 50 pounds lighter in 8 months by practicing IF.
I knew immediately after reading her article on Medium, I wanted to give it a try.
Do it now. I’ll wait.
And then, come back and finish this…
I Hear You’re Gonna Give Intermittent Fasting a Go
Let’s start there.
I’m really proud of you for not giving up, for not settling. For continuing to try methods to improve your health, to lose weight. I know those Health Coach calls from the company-sponsored healthy incentives program are driving you nuts. Activity is important, but IF is going to give you a pass on that for now. IF is going to totally fit within your schedule, and it’s going to be a relief. Don’t stress. It’s going to work out.
I have a few things to tell you that might help you along the way – not exactly spoilers – but things you may not have thought about yet.
Trust me. This is going to be huge for you, for your mindset.
And, that’s where we’ll start…
Your Mind Is Everything
What you want – really want – is what you’ll change for, and if you really want to lose this weight, you’ll buckle down and figure out a plan to get through those tough days when you’re feeling some kind of whay and just want to douse it in ice cream.
As the weeks unfold, you’ll bounce around keeping different records, trying to find something you can be consistent with – relax. Analytics have never been your thing. Sure, it’s totally helpful to keep a journal and keep track of calories – and to be honest, it’ll be a real eye-opener for you…to learn exactly what the caloric consequences are for your thoughtless hand-to-mouth, so-called comforting, movements.
Wallow in the truth. And learn from it. Because soon, without even realizing it, you’ll understand about how much each item you consume offers in energy, and how much of it you really need to fuel your body.
Read up on IF as much as you can. Watch the documentary. Understand that this lifestyle is more than just about losing weight. Understand the benefits to your body. Getting a handle on this will help you through weak moments, lonely nights, and yes, even boredom, when you’re most likely to want to snack.
Resolve to shake off disparaging remarks. Not everyone is going to like the idea that you’re fasting to lose weight. They’ll tell you starving yourself is the wrong idea. They’ll say it’s unsustainable.
You and I both know you’re in no danger of starving. And this lifestyle is only as sustainable as you want it to be – nobody else can decide that for you.
Listen to Your Body
I know you realize you’ve chosen an aggressive schedule. And I want you to know, it’s the right decision. You need dramatic change to challenge you to rise above a lifetime of bad habits. But also understand, you aren’t going to get the swing of it right away.
YOU’RE CHALLENGING A LIFETIME OF EATING HABITS.
Think about that. Nobody wakes up one day and magically turns their life around without any missteps or bumps in the road or lessons learned. You are training. That’s what the first several weeks are going to be – training.
And while you’re training your body on consumption expectations, listen to it.
LISTEN TO IT.
You’re going to experience natural symptoms: fatigue, grumpiness, headaches.
These are not the end of the world.
Get some extra rest.
Put on some music. Meditate. Find a way to focus on the joy of the bigger picture, not the momentary discomfort.
Have a headache?
Well, now…this could be a couple different things –
Have you had any water? No? Well, then. You’re dehydrated. Drink some water. Then, drink some more. Water is lifeblood. Water is sustenance. Water is peace for your life.
Your internal organs are swimming around because of all the water you’ve had. Okay, fine. Take in some protein. But, don’t overdo it. Use your 500 calorie limit wisely. Remember, it’s a buffer for training, not a crutch.
Be Honest with Yourself
Look this journey is for you…not anyone else.
People are going to get really excited when they see you start losing weight. And their compliments are going to feel really good. But those compliments won’t mean a thing when it’s Friday night and you’re lonely and hungry and wish you could tuck into a basket of chicken wings…and not because you’re hungry, but because that’s what sounds like fun.
Think about it: are you really hungry, or are you just eating because it’s habit?
And just because you have other mouths to feed, that doesn’t mean you have to eat.
What? You don’t have the self-discipline to prep and cook and serve food without eating it yourself?
The truth is – you do. Just find it.
And enjoy spending time talking with your kid while he eats the food you’ve prepared. You may learn a thing or two.
Be Nice to Yourself
Look – you’ve been beat up about your weight all your life.
THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO JOIN THAT BANDWAGON.
You are choosing a change in lifestyle, so let’s consider too that you can change the way to speak about yourself, your health and your weight.
A change in lifestyle takes time. There is no fairy godmother, no miraculous size 20 to size 12 makeovers in store. There’s time. And persistence. And goal setting. And trying. And failing. And trying again.
Always trying again.
Here are a couple of tips that are going to help you:
- Weigh-in regularly, but by god, don’t be obsessive about it. Every week is good enough. And remember, some weeks, you’re gonna hold on to water weight anyway. Hold the course. The scale doesn’t always tell the truth of your development.
- You need coffee, and you want it light and sweet. For the sake of humanity, drink your coffee. It can be your thing. Don’t stress about it. Don’t over do it. Just enjoy and move on.
- Again – Use that 500 calorie buffer. Use it until your body is accustomed to your new schedule, and then, use it less. It’s not a crutch.
- You’ve picked an aggressive schedule, but that doesn’t mean you always have to keep it, or that it can’t be adjusted to suit your lifestyle. That was the WHOLE POINT of trying IF – to find a solution that made sense for your life. Don’t be so rigid that you can’t flex when needed.
- Try new things. Set new standards. Work towards new goals. But you know, if you realize they don’t make sense, or they’re too hard to keep up with, it’s okay if you let them go. Stay focused on the bigger goal here – a solution towards better health, towards better weight that makes sense for your life.
- Feeling empty? Drink some bubbles. They’ll fill you up in a heartbeat.
- Had a hard day? Sip on a shot. At less than 100 calories, it isn’t going to break your bank.
Eat the Good Food
This is going to happen naturally, but…your taste in food is going to change.
A lot of it has to do with the automatic portion control trigger that’s going to kick in once your body understands the new plan for consumption. Unless you like that “too full” feeling, you’ll find that you’re eating less.
And since you’re eating less, you’ll want to make sure what you are eating counts.
Go for the good food. The real stuff.
I’m not saying you’re going to transform into a health nut – far from it, babe. But, you are going to gravitate towards less junk, less filler and more real, fresh, nutritious foods. And not in any particular diet. Just whatever happens to come around, whatever strikes you at the market.
Okay, I know I said no spoilers…but – in the next 68 weeks of your life, you will eat more chocolate GUILT-FREE than in your entire life. Some of it will be crap chocolate; some of it will be the fine, high shelf stuff. You’re gonna love of all it. Eat up, baby. Life is short.
A couple of things to keep in mind about the good food:
You’re gonna start understanding how your body processes food when you eat it. It’s part of the whole “listening to your body” tip from before. Different foods get processed differently. Take note. Eat more of what makes you feel good; less of what makes you feel crappy.
AND BY GOD, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY THINK ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO VISIT THE INDIAN LUNCH BUFFET AFTER AN EXTENDED FAST.
Understand that you will over-indulge – and, you’ll pay the consequences as your body deals with the onslaught of what you’ve jammed in. In some cases, you’ll need to make sure you have a bee-line to the bathroom.
You’re gonna realize that some food is worth it, but a lot of it isn’t.
And, you’re gonna get to a place where having your friends eat in front of you, when you’re not eating, or not eating as much, bothers them more than it bothers you. Let them be bothered. It’s your taste buds, your digestive system, that matters here. Not their feelings.
There Are a Myriad of Technical Resources
There is so much information about fasting out there. And tools. And opinions. And recommendations. And technicalities. And rules about whether you’re doing it right.
Don’t be distracted.
Use what tools you want to – what makes the best sense for YOU.
You don’t have to diet during Eat Days for this to work. Some people do – that’s their choice.
Don’t stress about the nitty-gritty rules of fasting that others tout as the true way. Remember, there’s dogma everywhere.
You do you.
And if you’ve found a path that makes you happy, follow it.
I promise you, you’re actually going to be dancing on it.
Because one of the coolest things you’re going to learn is that fasting isn’t suffering. It’s actually very freeing.
And by the time you’ve made it here, to Week 69, you’re gonna be out-of-your-mind excited about how much you’ve accomplished, how much you’ve grown…and, of course, how much you’ve lost.
And how, now, you can actually move forward with that crazy tattoo project you only half-thought would ever happen.
Changes are ahead. It’s gonna be tough. But practicing IF will give you a feeling of control within the chaos. It’s okay to lean into that feeling. Don’t be scared. Don’t be overwhelmed.
I’m here. Cheering you on.
Because you absolutely CAN do it.
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