Friday, January 8, 2010

Fasting for Health - Why I Do It?

I have had a couple of comments about my decision to fast twice a week, and I'm sure I'll have more in the future. I will take it as people who genuinely care for my health, and that is a wonderful thing. However, I would like the oppurtonity to tell people why I've decided to fast twice a week. I want to make it clear that this post is simply to educate people as to my decision. I encourage anyone who has considered fasting to thoroughly research it and consider speaking to their doctor. Read at our own risk kind of thing I guess.

Fasting is not for everyone. Before you even consider fasting you should know that it is not a good idea for;
"Thin people, and those who are particularly sensitive to cold, can have a particularly hard time. Also, too much physical activity while fasting may also be a cause of headaches......It is also important to know that no matter how short the duration, fasting is unwise and potentially dangerous for some people. This group of people includes pregnant and lactating women, people with cancer, diabetes, gout, hypoglycemia, stomach ulcers, liver kidney, or lung disease. It could be potentially dangerous for anyone with a compromised immune system."
I think there are a lot of misconceptions about fasting, and I'd like to address those that I can think of. I am totally open to people's criticism's, as well as questions. I will say that I have read a lot on the subject, good and bad view points, so I feel confident in my decision to attempt fasting.

Why don't I go through a couple of questions and objections that I first had about fasting?

What is fasting?

"In a medical context fasting may refer to the metabolic status of a person who has not eaten overnight, and to the metabolic state achieved after complete digestion and absorption of a meal. Several metabolic adjustments occur during fasting, and many medical diagnostic tests are standardized for fasting conditions. For most ordinary diagnostic purposes a person is assumed to be fasting after 8-12 hours. Many of the metabolic shifts of fasting begin as absorption of a meal is complete (typicaly 3-5 hours after a meal.....Finally, extended fasting has been recommended as therapy for various conditions by physicians of most cultures, throughout history, from ancient to modern."
You will just lose muscle!
"Glucose is the body's primary fuel source and is essential for the brain's functioning. When denied glucose for more than 4-8 hours, the body will turn to the liver for glycogen, a storage form of glucose, to be used for fuel. A process called glycogenolysis converts glycogen into a usable form of fuel. At this point, the body will also use small amounts of protein to supplement this fuel. This fuel will last for up to 12 hours before the body needs to turn to muscle stores of glycogen, lasting for a few more days. If glucose is still denied at this point, muscle wasting is prevented by temporarily switching to fat as the fuel source, meaning fat is converted into ketone through catabolism. Ketones, while not sugars, are able to be used by the brain as a fuel source as long as glucose is denied." -Wikipedia
So yes, if you are on a long term fast you will lose some muscle. However, I would like to point out I am only fasting for 24 hours at a time, before the process of using protein (muscle) occurs.

Your body will go into starvation mode!
"The body will generally indicate to the faster when fat levels are running extremely low (less than 7% and 10% of body weight for males and females respectively) with an increased urge for food. Fasts are usually broken long before this point. If the fast is not broken, starvation will begin to occur, as the body begins to use protein for fuel. Death can occur if fasting is pursued to the point of complete starvation."
I'm just going to come right out and say this is not a problem for me :)...I've got some fat to eat up before I ever enter starvation mode.

You just lose water weight & Health Benefits...

On a short term fast, yes, you do lose a lot of water weight. But that is because your body is cleansing itself. While I'm happy if the fasting I do results in long term weight loss, I am fasting for the health benefits beyond losing weight.
"Research suggests there are major health benefits to caloric restriction. Benefits include a reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, insulin resistance, immune disorders, and more generally, the slowing of the aging process and the potential to increase maximum life span......other health benefits include stress resistance, increased insulin sensitivity, reduced morbidity, and increased life span. Long-term studies in humans have not been conducted. However, short-term human trials showed benefits in weight loss. The side effect was the participants felt cranky during the three week trial."
"Advocates of fasting believe that it periodically give the body a break from digestion, and also allows it to eliminate the toxins that cause disease, while promoting healing and reversing the aging process. Studies indicate that fasting helps health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headache, and some skin diseases as well. Acute illnesses such as colds and flu, colon disorders, allergies, obesity, and respiratory diseases may also respond to a fasting diet. Proponents claim a one-day fast creates a clearer mental state and increased energy of the body, that a three-day fast rids the body of toxins and purifies the blood, and that a long-term fast promotes healing, alleviates food allergies, sheds pounds, and rebuilds the immune system."
There have got to be some cons!
"On the other hand, critics believe that fasting depletes the body of important nutrients, essential minerals and energy. They think fasting may be unsafe, and is an ineffective weightloss aid. The few pounds that are lost near the beginning of a fast are from water. They believe this weight will return as soon as the fast is over."

I am not fasting for weight loss, I am fasting for health. I plan on fasting at least once a week once I am to my goal weight, so this is part of the healthy lifestyle I am creating for myself. I also keep well hydrated during my liquid fasts. I also allow my self a V8 Splash if I want one and take my vitamins.

I hope this post may have answered some questions, and I welcome other questions/critisizms if anyone has any. I know fasting isn't for everyone, it is just a choice I've made.

Thanks for listening and have a great day!

Weight, 21, 10, & the thing...

What I really wanted to title this post was,

"Weigh Day, 21 Day Habit Challenge, the Perfect 10 Challenge, and the Thing I couldn't Post Yesterday"

Alright, so I think I'm going to save the most exciting part of my title for last.

21 Day Habit Challenge - At the beginning of the year, instead of making any resolutions, I decided that I would try to form a new habit every 21 days. (FYI - Gotta give props to Candy on this, because it is her idea she came up with.) My first 21 day challenge is to start looking SASSY (read my last post for the meaning of sassy). The last week I have committed myself to spending more time 'grooming'. Every day this week I have put on makeup in the morning and I have spent an extra few hours just taking care of myself; putting on lotion, shaving, etc. So, 5 days down, 16 to go! I can definitely see how doing this for 21 days will create a habit, so I'm really excited to emerge a bit sassier in 21 days!

The Perfect 10 Challenge - I'm doing pretty good with this challenge. I'm going to highlight in green the ones that I have definitely been doing, and red the ones I still need to strive harder with.

1. Have at least a 1000 calorie deficit every day.
2. Run, no matter how short a distance, 5 days a week.
3. Weight train 3 days a week.

4. Drink 6 bottles of water per day.

5. Fast for 24 hours, twice a week (these will be my off days for exercise.)

6. Post my progress every day on my blog.

7. Weigh in every Friday.

8. Do 100 crunches after waking up, and 100 crunches before going to bed at least 5 days a week.

9. Eat a serving of fruits and a serving of vegetables every day.

10. Get 8 hours of sleep every night.

I am really proud of the things I am mastering. I am so happy that I have posted every day. This blog is really bringing something to my life. I'm also proud that I have been going to sleep earlier and getting the rest I need. This next week I'm really gonna try to have a few less things in the red.

Now, I think I'm also supposed to say something that not everyone knows about me...Hmmm....well....I don't think that everyone knows this one, so here goes:

I met my real father for the first time this year.
(I also found out I have a step mom, 3 more sisters, and 8 nieces/nephews...This is a picture of my dad, me, and my little sister Ashley. My dad and I are on the top.)

The thing I couldn't post yesterday - I have been offered a higher secretarial position where I work!! It comes with a bit of a pay raise, I will be in a much more stable office (where I work now they may be laying people off in a year or so), and it is in a much more 'visible' office. I like my job now, but I am a very competitive person..and honestly, this job is too easy. It has been nice to goof off a bit for a year, and get paid for it, but I'm ready to put the peddle to the metal and get going on that career path. I couldn't say anything yesterday because the offer wasn't official, and I couldn't chance someone at work reading the blog. Today will be hard because I have to tell my boss and coworkers. But, I know it is for the best!

Weigh Day -

Sooooooo...............last Friday I weighed in at 200.8 pounds. I wasn't upset with this number, I was happy that I hadn't gained back 10 pounds over the holidays. This whole week I have worked pretty hard. I'm not going to say really hard, because I think I can work even harder this next week. Yesterday you may recal I was a bit worried about this morning's weigh in. I was worried last week was a fluke. I was also secretly thinking, "Man, I know I should be happy if I lose 2 pounds, but I know I will secretly be kinda pissed." I am just not happy with 2 pounds a week at this point. Mainly because I have that Cabaret Audition deadline coming up. And remember, if I get the role I want I'll be wearing something along the lines of this (while dancing):

So yeh, it is imperative that I'm down to a good weight by mid-May. Anyway. On the way to Candice's this morning to weigh myself I convinced myself I'd be happy with 3 pounds. If I lose 3 pounds a week then by the end of April I'll weigh 155. I was happy, content with weighing in three pounds lighter.

So I know you are dying to know (or at least I'm dying to tell you) what I weighed in at this morning.

Drum Roll please....

It is an all time low....

I now weigh less than my husband for the first time since we've been together.......................

.................................................I weighed..........................................


And the crowd goes wild! That is an 8.4 pounds loss!!
Yay! Weeeeeee! Oh HELL Yeah!!!!!!!!

I know, I know...I can't expect this kind of loss every week...yada yada yada. But I am so happy to see it today. This is the first week in a long time that I've really been committed and it shows. I feel like I have so much momentum for this coming week! Again, I am completely aware that I probably won't see another 8 pounds loss...well, maybe ever. Next week I am secretly hoping to lose at least 3 pounds so I'll be in the 180s..but after that, I am honestly happy with 2 pounds a week.

Oh, I do have one piece of bad news, that is actually kind of good. That chocolate cake from yesterday? Well, it tasted kinda gross. I only had two small bites and ate the icing off half of it. The weight loss this week was reward enough for obstaining from mexican food yesterday.

I didn't even need that chocolate cake in the end!

One last thing...found a few quotes I liked yesterday so I thought I'd share them...

"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. Many people take the first step and then stop. Yet, with every additional step you take, you enhance immensely the value of your first step."

"All masters of success are chiefly distinguished by their power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line."

"There is no royal road to anything. One thing at a time, all things in succession is the rule of life. That which grows fast withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly endures."

"Do not despise the bottom rings in your ascent to greatness."