A Pile of Numbers

Day 222, Fast Day #77

What have I been doing over the last month? Nothing new. I've been just working, hanging out with my husband and friends, and dealing with my dysfunctional family. I love them, but they drive me at least a little crazy.

I am still alternate day fasting. I have been less strict and have been on a 4:3 schedule the past few weeks. It seems like every weekend there is some sort of party or evening out which is not motivating me to fast on weekend days. Despite that, I have lost 6 lbs (2.7 kg) since I last posted 5 weeks ago. This puts me at 32 lbs (14.5 kg) lost total in almost 32 weeks, so basically a pound dropped per week even with over a month of not fasting around my wedding and honeymoon. This puts me at just 8 lbs to my goal weight which is pretty exciting.

For the sake of collecting data, I finally plugging in all of my numbers over the last 5 weeks:

Week 1: 1,437 kcal or 76% of baseline calories (-3,213 kcal/week)
Week 2: 1,938 kcal or 102% of baseline calories (+294 kcal/week)
Week 3: 1,680 kcal or 89% of baseline calories (-1,512 kcal/week)
Week 4: 2,196 kcal or 116% of baseline calories (+2,100 kcal/week)
Week 5: 1,829 kcal or 96% of baseline calories (-469 kcal/week)
Week 6: 1,531 kcal or 81% of baseline calories (-2,555 kcal/week)
Week 7: 1,954 kcal or 103% of baseline calories (+406 kcal/week)
Week 8: 1,196 kcal or 63% of baseline calories (-4,900 kcal/week)
Week 9: 1,638 kcal or 86% of baseline calories (-1,806 kcal/week)
Week 10: 1,637 kcal or 86% of baseline calories (-1,813 kcal/week)
Week 11: 1,681 kcal or 89% of baseline calories (-1,505 kcal/week)
Week 12*: 2,108 kcal or 111% of baseline calories (+1,484 kcal/week)
Week 13*: 2,649 kcal or 140% of baseline calories (+5,271 kcal/week)
Week 14: 1,882 kcal or 99% of baseline calories (-98 kcal/week)
Week 15: 1,280 kcal or 68% of baseline calories (-4,312 kcal/week)
Week 16: 1,861 kcal or 98% of baseline calories (-245 kcal/week)
Week 17: 1,684 kcal or 89% of baseline calories (-1,484 kcal/week)
Week 18: 1,598 kcal or 84% of baseline calories (-2,086 kcal/week)
Week 19: 1,686 kcal or 89% of baseline calories (-1,470 kcal/week)
Week 25: 1,857 kcal or 98% of baseline calorie (-273 kcal/week)
Week 26: 1,820 kcal or 96% of baseline calorie (-532 kcal/week)
Week 27: 1,454 kcal or 77% of baseline calorie (-3,094 kcal/week)
Week 28: 1,896 kcal or 100% of baseline calorie
Week 29: 1,613 kcal or 85% of baseline calorie (-1,981 kcal/week)
Week 30: 1,817 kcal or 96% of baseline calorie (-553 kcal/week)
Week 31: 1,694 kcal or 89% of baseline calorie (-1,414 kcal/week)

While ADFing: 1,770 kcal or 93% of baseline calories
Baseline Days: 1,896 kcal

All Feast Days: 2,096 kcal or 111% of baseline calories
All Fast Days: 442 kcal or 23% of baseline calories

For reference
Week 1: 3 feast days, 4 fast days
Week 2: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 3: 4 feast days, 1 medium day, 1 fast day
Week 4: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 5: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 6: 3 feast days, 4 fast days
Week 7: 4 feast days, 3 fast days,
Week 8: 3 feast days, 4 fast days
Week 9: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 10: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 11: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 12: 5 feast days, 2 fast days*
Week 13: 5 feast days, 2 fast days*
Week 14: 4 feast days, 1 medium day, 2 fast days
Week 15: 3 feast days, 4 fast days
Week 16: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 17: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 18: 5 feast days, 2 fast days - maintenance mode
Week 19: 5 feast days, 1 medium day, 1 fast day - maintenance mode
Week 25: 5 feast days, 2 fast days
Week 26: 5 feast days, 2 fast days
Week 27: 4 feast days. 3 fast days
Week 28: 4 feast days. 3 fast days
Week 29: 4 feast days. 3 fast days
Week 30: 4 feast days. 3 fast days
Week 31: 4 feast days. 3 fast days

The numbers aren't showing any super interesting trends. The last two weeks I have lost weight I was eating on average 24 grams of carbs less per day than the prior two weeks. However, it's pretty normal to plateau a bit now and then. 

Now that I am married I have health insurance through Zach's work (because America is a little broken like that), so I am going to see a doctor for the first time in awhile. I am hoping to get a blood test and see how my blood work looks now after the weight loss and ADF.


Slow to Blog

I just want to apologize, especially to my regular readers, about my slowness to write and finish new posts lately. I am alternate day fasting again, tracking my calories, and have lost the three pounds (1.4 kg) I gained while on my honeymoon and family vacation. I plan to get back to blogging more soon and reporting more details of my dieting progress.

The truth is my family is currently struggling to help one of our own who has isolated themselves from us and is exhibiting many signs of major depression and anxiety (and possibly addiction). However, this person is not seeking professional help or treatment yet. I am obviously very worried about this person because I love them very much and am frustrated watching their mental health seriously and negatively impact important aspects of their life including my personal relationship with them. I wish I had a more positive reason to not be spending my time blogging, but family and friends come first to me, always.


Fast(ing) Food - Garlic and Ginger Beef Stir-Fry

Day 141, Fast Day #56
I will tell you how to make this without creating a fireball in your kitchen.
I got a flat-bottomed wok as a wedding gift so I feel compelled to make lots of stir-fry (Zach is not complaining). I love stir fry because it is fast, simple, and healthy (unless you are adding in a bunch of corn starch for a thick sauce).

Because stir-frying is hot and quick, there is some potential for disaster (smoke & flames). Before I give you the recipe, please note these tips on avoiding setting off the smoke alarm while stir-frying..

1) ONLY stir-fry using oils with high smoke points! I know a lot of folks that try to exclusively cook with unrefined oils, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and animal fats like lard and butter. Do not use these for stir-fry! Unrefined oils have low smoke points because of the little bits in them. If you try to stir-fry with these you will likely create a burnt mess if not a ball of flames. On the opposite end, never use any hydrogenated (whipped/"spreadable") vegetable-based oils either. They also have low smoke points.

What oils should you use? Traditionally refined peanut oil is used. For those that can't/don't eat peanut products, try refined canola, soy, safflower, sunflower, palm, or avocado oil. Again, unrefined oils are going to smoke at low temperatures.

2) Do not preheat oil in the wok/pan prior to stir-frying. Just heat the wok. This will minimize the breakdown of the oil due to the high heat and helps prevent your cooking oil from it reaching its smoke point while cooking.

3) Add flavoring oils at the end. Sesame oil, chili oil, garlic oil, and other flavoring oils are for flavor, not cooking. They have low smoke points. If you add these too early, you may summon the fires of Mordor in your kitchen.
Now that you are less likely to cause a stir-fry fire, here is the recipe:

Garlic and Ginger Beef Stir-Fry (Yields 3 servings) ~376 kcal/serving
Takes 10 minutes to cook
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil with a high smoke point, divided in half ~240 kcal (I used refined canola)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced ~5 kcal
  • 1/2" knuckle of fresh ginger, peeled and minced ~2 kcal (about 1 tsp minced ginger)
  • 10 oz beef, thinly sliced (like fajita meat) ~569 kcal (I recommend using skirt or flank steak cuts)
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped ~30 kcal
  • large carrot, thinly sliced ~52 kcal
  • large bell pepper, sliced ~33 kcal (I used a green one)
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped ~60 kcal
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar ~6 kcal (white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar are okay substitutes)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce ~20 kcal
  • 1 tbsp rice cooking wine ~25 kcal (one can substitute this with sherry or a drier white wine, note American cooking wine is salty and not the best substitute)
  • 1/4 crushed red chili pepper flakes ~2 kcal -optional
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil ~60 kcal
  • 1/2 tsp hot chili oil ~23 kcal - optional
Once the wok (or large pan) is heating up on your stove, stir-frying occurs at a rapid pace. I recommend having all of the ingredients you need in your reach and to not take your eyes off of the wok. So make sure all of your veggies and whatnot are ready to go.

Heat your wok on the high heat, (not the oil). I have to use the highest heat possible on my electric stove. You know it is hot enough if you put a small drop of water (DO NOT throw a bunch of water in a very hot pan. Hot steam burns flesh.) into the wok and it evaporates within a couple seconds. If the water immediately evaporates, your wok is too hot and there will be smoke once you put in oil. Remove the wok from the heat to cool a bit if this is the case. As soon as it is hot (but not too hot) you want to start cooking.

Carefully remove the wok from the direct heat source and add the cooking oil into the wok and swirl it around to coat the sides. If smoke occurs when you add oil you need to stop what you are doing, turn off the burner, wait until the wok is cool, wipe up the oil, and start over. Only bad things will happen to your food and you if you continue with a wok that is crazy hot.

Add the minced ginger and garlic into the wok first. Stir around for a few seconds. Stir while it cooks. If you are not using fresh garlic, add it in with the vegetables later since it is already soft and will burn quickly.

Add onions to the wok. Stir until onions until they start to break down and become translucent on the edges.

Add the beef to the pan. Let it cook on one side (pause the stirring for a moment) for a minute. Cook and stir for another minute. The beef should not be cooked through at this point, but seared.

Add the rest of your vegetables (carrots, bell pepper, and broccoli) and rice wine. Stir for about 2 minutes or until the carrots and broccoli start becoming tender.

Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili pepper flakes to the wok and mix for a minute. Add in the sesame and chili oil last and stir. Then serve and eat.

Tip: If you want a stronger flavor and have time, try marinating the beef in the soy sauce, rice wine, rice vinegar, and additional garlic and ginger for 30 minutes to 4 hours prior to cooking.


Return of the Bride

Day 140, Fast Day #55 - First one since August 12

I am BACK after my blogging and fasting hiatus!!!

First off I want to thank all the people that wrote guest posts for this blog while I was away. So thanks again to Becky Clark, Brianna Prigge, Oleg, Sabine, and Sarah Berger.

Since I last blogged, I survived my wedding (and am a lot less stressed now), married Zach, honeymooned on the Oregon Coast, and vacationed in Kona, Hawai'i with the in-laws. The wedding was a lot of fun and it was wonderful to be surrounded by the love of friends and family from all around the country. We were both overwhelmed by emotions and happiness. On that note, it was a lot of fun, a lot of money, a lot of work, and I hope to never, ever *knock on wood* be a bride again.
Mandatory wedding picture.
I am now back home in Seattle to my small apartment that looks like a tornado swept through it, a daunting list of unopened emails, a mass of laundry that needs to be done, and a backlog of work. As one would expect after a month of basically zero rules, zero counting eating and drinking, I put a bit of weight back on. I initially thought I had gained 5 lbs, but it turns out some of that was likely just bloating from the plethora of carbohydrate rich, sugary, processed food I had been eating. It appears I actually gained 3 lbs (1.4 kg) back (6 lbs or 2.7 kg up from my lowest while alternate day fasting) since the wedding, which is not too bad considering what I ate (pie, cake, ice cream, Spam, chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, pizza, and lots of alcohol especially in beer form). To put things in perspective though, I am still 23 lbs lighter than I was this past April and I wore bikinis on the beach in Kona without feeling incredibly self-conscious.

The first day that we got back home there wasn't any food in the house and we ate out, so it was a feast day. Then one of Zach's friends from out-of-town was in town for the weekend, so we feasted again. After the weekend I came down with one of those 24-48 hour colds and had no motivation to resist an extra bowl of turkey chili or leftover gnocchi. It is really hard to get back on the fasting bandwagon (much less off of the wheatwagon) when excuses to eat and drink are everywhere.

Today I am attempting a 500 calorie fast after about a month of gluttony. So far I've had a cup of coffee, a lot of tea, low-calorie can of soup and some left over beef stir-fry for lunch (the recipe and how-to is in the works) and a glass of green juice (with kale, radishes, ginger, lemon, and a couple slices of apple) to get the rest of my calories. The day has been passing by at a snail's pace while my stomach is wondering what happened to the Times of Plenty. I am looking forward to breaking my fast soon!


Guest Post: Fast(ing) Food - Grilled Greek Shrimp with Salad and Green Beans

Grilled Greek Shrimp with Tomato-Cucumber-Avocado Salad and Green Beans
(Yields 2 servings) ~380 kcal/serving

Another delicious low-calorie Paleo and low carb meal from Sarah Berger. This one is low sugar, full of healthy fats, and has vitamins A-E. I can't wait to try this one out.


  • 1 lb large shrimp  or about 24 large shrimp (I used the frozen Argentinian shrimp from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tbsp Greek seasoning (Mix up a batch of equal parts ground cumin, ground coriander, granulated garlic, smoked paprika and dried italian seasoning - keep it for other recipes, make as much as you want, it’s great on chicken!)
  • Juice of ½ small lemon
  • 1 tsp olive oil 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 wooden skewers

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Combine shrimp, greek seasoning, lemon juice and olive oil in a bag- marinate at least thirty minutes to overnight. Skewer about 6 large shrimp on each skewer. Grill shrimp for 3-4 minutes per side or until firm and pink, careful to not overcook or shrimp will become rubbery. 


  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, in large cubes or wedges
  • ½ to ⅔ english cucumber, sliced lengthwise, then sliced into half-circles
  • ½ ripe avocado, diced
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients and toss to coat---the avocado should mash a bit and become part of the dressing. 

Green Beans:

  • ½ to ⅔ lb fresh green beans
  • ½ large sweet onion (like Walla Walla)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic 
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium heat, while it is heating, thinly slice the onion, then add it to the pan. Stir frequently until the onion becomes golden brown and softens. add the garlic and green beans and splash of water (2-3 tablespoons) , turn up heat to medium high and saute until green beans are tender but still slightly crisp. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide salad, green beans and shrimp skewers between two plates. Serve and enjoy!

The creator and author of this recipe is Sarah Berger. She is the blogger behind Love Muffin (also in my blogroll) which is a collection of her Paleo recipes. Sarah has been my friend since middle school and is a great cook with some culinary schooling.


Guest Post: The Lazy Low Cal Lifestyle Way to Revamp Your Recipes

by Becky Clark

My kids put me on journeys I never imagined for myself, but probably not in the way you're thinking. I mean, all parents end up at the waterpark  the emergency room, and Disneyland eventually, but this is different.

When my older son was about 8, he and I went in search of some historical fiction for boys because, let's face it, reading his sister's American Girl books was not cutting the macho mustard for him. When we couldn't find any that he hadn't read, he threw the fiction gauntlet at my feet. Mom, why don't you just write one? Thus was born my first book.

As adults (if that's what we’re calling 18-year-old boys these days), both my sons joined the Navy, shoving this knows-nothing-about-the-military Mom straight into the arms of Uncle Sam. One of them is getting out soon, but the other is deploying again, at which time I'm thrust into the role of adoptive grandmother. Lucky for me it's just for his dog. But still.

Both of them were matter-of-fact about their requests: Mom, will you go talk to the recruiter with me? … Mom, will you take care of Nala for a while?

When my daughter was in her first apartment in college, her request was just a simple: Mom, will you send me the recipes you used to make when we were kids?  

Out loud, I said, “Of course, darling!” but in my head I was thinking, “Score! That will make a cute little Christmas present for Her Hard to Shop For-ness!

Little did I know the result of her simple request would be an entirely new business venture and writing genre for me. When I started compiling recipes for her, I was horrified at how unhealthy those family dinners had been. Yes, we had fun, but geez-o-pete … a jury of my peers just might convict me of trying to kill them with butter and cheese.

So I healthed 'em up. While I was revamping our recipes, hubs and I had lost some weight — not much, 10 pounds or so, but enough to notice. People started asking what I was doing differently and thus was born my Lazy Low Cal Lifestyle cookbooks and blog.

One of the things I get asked a lot — a LOT — is how I create recipes. It's not rocket surgery, but it can be a daunting task. Especially for those of us who have long ago embraced the lazy.

So, here are some tips to revamp your recipes, if you're so inclined. And if you're lazy — like me — and NOT so inclined, here’s the link to buy my cookbooks where I've done all the work for you. I have a sale going on all the digital versions, but the brand-spankin-new print version includes ALL my recipes. (And were you aware your bookshelf has confessed to having a little crush on my cookbook? Just thought you should know.)

The first thing I do with a recipe is look at the ingredient list. If I can't picture the location of each ingredient in my pantry or grocery store, I decide how necessary each one is. If they seem like integral parts of the recipe but I've never heard of them, I wad that recipe up and toss it. Life's too short to search for ingredients or special utensils. (I have made the exception for doughnut pans. I'm not a complete idiot.) If it seems like I can substitute ingredients (or better yet, leave them out), then I continue.

Next I look at what I know to be high calorie or unhealthy ingredients. Can I substitute half the oil for applesauce? Remove half — or all — of the meat? Use almond milk instead of heavy cream? Sauté with water or broth instead of oil? Even though Grandma would certainly answer with an emphatic no, can I get rid of the potato chips crumbled on top of the casserole?

Then I see what healthy ingredients I can use more of. Can I double the vegetables? Add more fish? Throw in a little flaxseed or wheat germ?

This not only ‘healths it up’ but it also increases the volume of food in the recipe, which does two important things. One, it lowers the overall calorie count by increasing the servings. Two, it means I'll have leftovers so I won't have to cook so often. Yes, I really am that lazy. I prefer to think of it as efficient, though.

So then I actually have to cook it. Most main dishes and sides only take one try, but baking is more science than art so changing ingredients causes more angst as well as a few more tries. But when there’s chocolate involved, I'll take one for the team! (Ironic side note here, when I'm in cookbook-mode and making lots of new low-calorie recipes, I actually gain weight. So not fair.)

And the last step is to measure the total number of appropriate-sized servings. You may need to change your thinking about serving sizes. I know I did. Now I cut my squares smaller, use muffin tins and other single-serving choices, eat half as much as I used to. If I'm truly still hungry 30 minutes later, I'll have some more. You know the drill.

And the LAST last step — should you choose to accept this mission — is to do the math and figure out the exact calories in the recipe. It requires precision and a calculator, but I have faith in you. Divide total calories in the recipe by the number of servings and you have calories per serving. If a main dish is over 400 calories per serving, I make the servings smaller, or I try it again with more substitutions or whatever. Or I'm forced to give up on it.

I can offer you a bit of help, however. When you join my mailing list at LazyLowCalLifestyle.com, you get some freebies, one of which is my Alphabetical List of Foods and Their Calories, a helpful resource I've compiled over the years. I use it all the time and I bet you will too.

So, that's my story and a bit of how and why I do what I do.

I hope you find success and joy on whatever journey you’re on, whether your kids nudged you to the path, whether someone dragged you kicking and screaming to it, whether you stumbled on it yourself, or whether you hacked your way through the brambles searching for it despite the dangers of dragons, evil witches, and fierce beasts. You're on it now … isn't the view lovely?

Happy cooking!

Becky Clark is the author, blogger, and cook behind LazyLowCalLifestyle.com. Enjoy more of her humor and low-calorie recipes in her cookbooks or on her website. If you have questions for Becky, please leave a comment and she will get back to you right here!


Guest Post: Do Less Cardio

by Brianna Prigge, CPT

I am thrilled to be guest posting on Lauren’s blog this week. I met Lauren through mutual friends and we now work together. Working in the same small office as Lauren, I have had the unique opportunity to watch her go through the ADF lifestyle change. I had never heard of ADF before Lauren decided to commit to it about 5 months ago. I naturally had countless questions for her and was floored by the scientific evidence boasting the benefits of the ADF lifestyle. As you know from her blog, she has been incredibly successful.

Lauren and I never run short on conversation topics because we are both interested in the Paleo diet and some of the lifestyle aspects of the primal life, as well. I chose to adopt the Paleo diet about 6 months ago. I follow the diet with 80% of what I eat. The occasional soy sauce, peanut butter, corn chips, and dessert do tend to find themselves in my diet from time to time. I battle with some autoimmune conditions, and I feel markedly better following the Paleo diet.  

But, I would like to spend some time discussing a different aspect of the Paleo lifestyle: exercise

How does the primal lifestyle suggest we approach exercise? According to the author of The Primal Blueprint and popular blog, Mark’s Daily Apple, Mark Sisson, “The fact is, our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn't ramp up their heart rates significantly for over an hour every day, and I don't think we should either. They walked at a very low level of exertion, burning almost entirely stored fats.” Is Sisson trying to tell us that there is such a thing as too much cardio? Yes, in fact, once your body leaves the fat-burning zones, we become dependent on glycogen stores to fuel our muscles. Your muscles and liver have a threshold for stored glycogen, up to 2 hours for well-trained individuals, and much less for the rest of us.

Pushing past fat burning zones and relying on glycogen stores can quickly take a toll on your body. To name a few that Mark Sisson mentions: “this kind of training (and diet) raises cortisol levels, increases oxidative damage, systemic inflammation, depresses the immune system and decreases fat metabolism. About the only thing good it does is improve cardiac muscle strength – and even then you get to the point of diminishing returns fairly quickly.

Read more here.

This information has been difficult for me to digest. I have accepted the meat and produce concepts of the Paleo diet, it truly resonates with me to eat like our ancestors did and fuel my body similarly. But we have been conditioned to believe that marathon runners are the picture of health; that we should be jogging for hours every week to be feel our best. For example, I just ran the Seattle Rock n’ Roll marathon in June and felt that I had hit a milestone in my journey towards health. To be honest, I could not have been more misguided. The marathon training demanded me to put more and more carbohydrates into my body as fuel. I was consuming Swedish fish during long training runs to keep my glycogen stores up, and was constantly exhausted. But I truly believed I was reaching extreme levels of fatigue in the name of health. I was very wrong.

Since the marathon, I have changed my approach to exercise. Not an easy task, since I have it ingrained in my brain that running and pushing my body to extreme cardio limits is equated with optimal health. But now, a week of my workouts looks like this:

Monday: 3 mile walk during my lunch hour and a Yoga Sculpt class in the evening
(Yoga Sculpt is a total body workout, CorePower Yoga Sculpt classes are set to energizing music and designed to tone and sculpt every major muscle group. This class complements your regular yoga practice, while boosting your metabolism and pushing your strength and flexibility to new heights. Free weights are added to the CorePower Yoga 2 (C2) sequence, creating resistance and intensifying each pose. Strength-training exercises such as squats, lunges, bicep curls and tricep curls are incorporated to build lean muscle mass.)

Tuesday: Yoga Sculpt class

Wednesday: 3 mile run and functional bodyweight exercises

Thursday: Functional Sprint and Strength Workout (see below)

Friday: Yoga Sculpt class

Saturday: Hike or take another adventure with my husband (kayak on the lake during the summer, ski during the winter, etc.)

Sunday: REST

According to the primal lifestyle, we should move slow and frequently. I do not own a car, so I end up walking a fairly great amount in everyday life, and also enjoy taking walks to explore new neighborhoods in Seattle. It is also important to do functional strength moves to make sure we are strong throughout our entire lives. Squats, lunges, and push-ups with our own body weight are great ways to keep your strength up. Lastly, we should sprint once in awhile  This is good for both our metabolism and body composition.

Here is a great example of a quick, functional sprint and strength workout to do no more than once a week:

*Warm-up for 5 minutes (power-walking or light jogging)*

Interval 1: Sprint 20 seconds, walk/light jog 3 minutes
-60 seconds of air squats (Here is a video tutorial)

Interval 2: Sprint 20 seconds, walk/light jog 3 minutes
-60 seconds of push-ups

Interval 3: Sprint 20 seconds, walk/light jog 3 minutes
-60 seconds of walking lunges

Interval 4: Sprint 20 seconds, walk/light jog 3 minutes
-60 seconds of planks

I feel markedly better on this type of a workout regimen. I no longer need to load up on carbohydrates to sustain my energy levels. In fact, two to three Paleo-style meals a day yields more than enough energy and the correct nutrients to feel my best. And to end on a vanity note: my clothes fit better than when I was marathon training, go figure.

Brianna Prigge is not only my friend and coworker  but a certified personal trainer (CPT) with a passion for fitness and health.


Guest Post: 3 Delicious Low-Fat Apple Juices

by Oleg

When you say "juicing" with the intent to lose some weight, you mean juice comprised of vegetables and fruits. The major front-runner of fruits, when it comes to juicing, is the apple. It is very common among mixtures of natural juices. Apple is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C and folic acid.

Not only that, apples can also neutralize the bitter taste and bad odor of vegetable mixtures. Without the presence of apple in a mixture, the juice can have a strong smell and a bitter taste, especially if the mixture is comprised mostly of green vegetables like broccoli, kale leaves, cauliflower and others.

Here are the top 3 apple juicing recipes for weight loss:

1. Apple-Carrot-Ginger Juice. This juice will be loved by the health enthusiasts because it’s really low fat. It only contains 60 calories at the maximum. You can make this by mixing 1 cup of carrots, 1 cup of chopped apples, 1 teaspoon of grated ginger and 2 cups of ice.

For the carotene to be easily assimilated by your liver, you need to mix the juice with one half cup of sour cream or yogurt   A single serving will give you bursting flavors of saltiness, sourness, bitterness, spiciness and sweetness.

2. Apple-Fennel Juice. This juice has a fighting sweetness and sourness flavor. To get the right mixture, all you need to have is pick a 1 bulb of fennel, 2 lemons (sliced), 2 apples (use large ones) and a handful of mint.

Put everything inside the juicer and start blending until it liquefies. If you wanted to make it greener, you have the option to add kale leaves. Serve with ice cubes for great taste. Each serving only has a maximum of 130 calories.

3. Apple-Grapefruit Juice. This mixture is deliciously enticing because of the presence of semi-sweet grapefruit. In order to tone down the sweetness and sourness of the grapefruit, you need to put 2 big apples in the mixture. Usually, this mixture contains 1 grapefruit. The tropical fruit’s mixture with the apple is perfect. Usually, the mixture will give you 130 calories. 

Juicing for weight loss using apples is indeed very fun. Apples are a universal neutralizer in the world of juicing. They can be paired with any other vegetable mixtures or with other fruits like pears, grapes, citrus, watermelons and many more. Try it and witness its wonders.

Oleg, the author is a fitness and health enthusiast and invites you to visit his personal blog at howtogetabbs.com if you would like to get more fat loss tips.


Guest Post: Fast(ing) Food - Seared Sesame-Crusted Ahi Over Mango Cilantro Slaw

by Sarah Berger

Eat this and forget you're fasting because you made your mouth so happy.
Seared Sesame-Crusted Ahi over Mango Cilantro Slaw (Yields 2 servings)
~500 kcal/serving (w/avocado) or ~350 kcal/serving (w/o avocado)

This fast day meal is full of healthy fats and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals including iron, 11 grams of fiber, and many vitamins (A, B, C, E), and more.

Sesame-Crusted Tuna:
  • 2 frozen ahi steaks (I used the ones from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (not toasted)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • salt - optional
Defrost tuna in the fridge overnight or in a bowl of cold water (still in package). Remove from package and place on a plate, sprinkle with sesame seeds on all sides and press into fish. Season with salt, if desired. 

Heat coconut oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is melted and hot, add fish. Cook on each side for 1-2 minutes depending on desired done-ness. Be careful not to burn sesame seeds---turn often and reduce heat if necessary. 

Remove from pan and place on a cutting board to rest for a few minutes while assembling the slaw. 

Mango Cilantro Slaw:
  • ¼ red cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1-2 carrots, grated
  • 2 green onions, sliced finely
  • 1 mango, julienned
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped finely
  • ½ English cucumber, halved lengthwise then thinly sliced

  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ¼ tsp salt or soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 large avocado, sliced - optional
Combine dressing ingredients in a medium bowl, whisk to dissolve honey and salt. Add in slaw ingredients and toss to coat. Place ½ of the slaw mixture on each plate, slice tuna across the grain and place over slaw. Top with sliced avocado, if desired. 

The creator and author of this recipe is Sarah Berger. She is the blogger behind Love Muffin (also in my blogroll) which is a collection of her Paleo recipes. Sarah has been my friend since middle school and is a great cook with some culinary schooling.


Guest Post: Mix Up Your Fast Days

by Sabine

Hi! My name is Sabine, and I've been doing ADF for about five months. I'm female, mid-forties, don't exercise, and I started off about 50 pounds overweight. I also do primal low-carb, and though it makes me feel great when I eat that way, I found it hard to sustain long-term (cheats!) and hard to get back on after cheating. The biggest benefit I have seen from ADF is that it is now easy to get back on plan after I eat something I shouldn't instead of falling into a downward spiral that can take weeks or months to recover from. And, oh yeah, I'm down 25 pounds so far. I don't always do the same thing on my Down Days (the JUDDD term for fasting days). Here are some different types of Down Days, that are helpful to have in your toolbox:

Zero-Calorie (Water Fasting)
This is what most people think of when they hear "fasting." Water, that's all, right? But even eating nothing has some tricks to it. Have different kinds of water. No, don't go buy fancy bottles. But have regular water, have water with lemon juice and salt (8 cups water, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp sweetener - great for maintaining your electrolyte balance), have a pitcher of water that has some cucumber slices floating in it. Switch off between your different types of water, and have some herbal tea, as well. The change in flavors, though subtle, really helps. 

Drink at least 12 glasses of water, shoot for 16. (Unless you have issues which make drinking lots of water unsafe. Rare, but it can happen. Know thyself!) Accept that you will be visiting the bathroom a lot. Brush your teeth every time you're in there, while you're at it. It really helps. Do not chew gum. It makes it worse. Don't feel that you need to "do nothing" while you are fasting. It is better to be busy. Plan projects, errands, any kind of physical activity. Mental activities, save for Up Days (the JUDDD term for feast days), at least in the beginning. There's something about having to think, that makes your body say, "Hey, let's eat!"

You're still drinking, but you're getting some nutrition. The main reason for drinking your calories, is to minimize your "meal" experience. When you first start Down Days, you will be amazed at all the time you now have, that you used to spend eating, preparing food, cleaning up, and thinking about food. Sometimes it is hard to know what to do with yourself! And sometimes you find that dealing with food at all, makes you want to go all the way, and have a meal, a real meal, and no, you don't want to wait until tomorrow, you want it NOW! This is when drinking a meal helps you out. You slug it down, and it's done, then you can stop thinking about it. Protein shakes are good here, probiotic drinks, and vegetable smoothies. And for those who like to have something going into their mouths all day, sipping on a nice iced coffee with milk or cream, can make the day a lot happier.

I started doing these kind of Down Days because I have had good success in the past with the Atkins Fat Fast. It gets you into ketosis (the good kind) super fast, and knocks cravings flat on their back. The challenge with High-Fat Down Days is that fat packs quite the caloric punch. You really can't eat a lot on these Down Days, but used wisely (after you have been low carb for a while, and are experienced with Down Days and their wiles) these can be great. One of my favorite "meals" is to cut a slice of liverwurst (~60 calories) into 24 little chunks, and eat them S-L-O-W-L-Y, letting them melt in my mouth. Unlike the All-Liquid Days, where you are trying not to think about food, High-Fat Days are all about savoring every bit of flavor in your mouth. Brie cheese, pork rinds with sour cream, macadamia nuts, and a spoon of peanut or almond butter are all favorites.

ADF is supposed to be muscle-sparing, but once in awhile you just start wondering: are my muscles wasting away? Protein to the rescue. At four calories per gram, you can get a lot of protein into a Down Day. Fish is great, because there's not much fat going along with it. Every bite is mostly protein. Protein shakes, of course. And jerky! I was amazed to discover how satisfying it is to tear into bites of jerky on a Down Day. Don't forget the humble egg. Double up on your whites, and save the yolks for your Up Day, or hard-boil them, and have egg-white egg salad. Amazingly good, especially when you consider that the best part (the yolk!) is missing. Also good is diet Jell-O (if you do chemicals) made with extra gelatin. I love being able to have a "dessert" on my Down Days sometimes.

Sometimes, you just want to chew. Or stuff your face. And the fact that it is a Down Day, and you need to keep it to 500 calories or less, matters not. Vegetables are your friends. Those big bags of cut cabbage? They make great stir-fry. Yes, you CAN eat the whole bag yourself! Everyone has their favorites, but let me show you what 500 calories will get you in the produce aisle:

~56 kcal = 16 spears of asparagus
~20 kcal = a head of broccoli
~60 kcal = 4 cups shredded cabbage
~62 kcal = 2 big carrots
~26 kcal = 1/4 head of cauliflower
~24 kcal = 4 stalks of celery
~24 kcal = a bag of cut lettuce
~28 kcal =2 cucumbers
~48 kcal = 8 oz of mushrooms
~40 kcal = a nice big bell pepper
~36 kcal = a bag of spinach
~72 kcal = 20 cherry tomatoes
~496 calories TOTAL

You can eat on that all day and maybe even run out of time. Yes, there's no butter, or cheese, but it is one day! It can be done. And, amazingly, some days, you don't even want the butter. Your taste buds  and enjoyment of food DO change when you are doing ADF. I really look forward to my Down Days now, which I never would have thought would happen at the beginning. And if you have to have the butter or olive oil, well, drop the cucumbers and tomatoes, and stir-fry the rest up with 1 tablespoon of the butter or oil. You'll still have a huge quantity of food.

This is good for those days when you have a long, tedious project to do (think paperwork) and you will be desperate for breaks. In days past you might have had chips, or a candy bar, or a handful of nuts, or heck, all three, just a reason to get away from the project. You make real meals (yes you can have meals that are just ~140 calories) but you divide them even smaller. Just a bite or two. Say, one half of a deviled egg (made with sour cream and mustard in the yolks) which is ~40 calories. Forty calories, you say! That's crazy! But... you get 12 of these little meals. You're eating something every hour. And sometimes, it is okay to have just a bite. You enjoy it, you set the timer for another hour, and you head back to your project. Cherry tomatoes filled with cream cheese are especially good for this. You can have four of them for ~40 calories!

I'm-Not-Dieting-I-Just Feel-Like-a-Salad!
Sometimes you have to meet people for a meal on your Down Day. People you may not be interested in telling what you are doing. For whatever reason. I've had one too many eye rolls to judge anyone. You eat nothing else that day. You order water with lemon, or unsweetened iced tea. You order a salad with protein (chicken breast/steak/salmon) on top and not too many of the crazy extras (pineapple, craisins, nuts, croutons, you know what I mean) in it, and the dressing on the side. Dip your fork in the dressing before you spear your bites, and exclaim over how fresh it all tastes. You ORDER A DESSERT to go, saying you are too full, but it all looks so good, you just can't resist. (You get to eat it tomorrow, not tonight. Or you can give it to someone.) No one who orders a dessert can possibly be on some weird fasting plan, right, so your secret is safe!

Yes, it can be done. Get out your calorie book, and start thinking. Here's one of mine for inspiration:

Breakfast: 1 poached egg (~70 kcal) served over 2 cups spinach (~12 kcal), steamed, and mixed with 1 tsp butter (~33 kcal). Total = 115 kcal

Lunch: 1 small salmon fillet (~100 kcal) with 1 tsp mayo (~33 kcal) and a squirt of lemon juice (~10 kcal) and a shake of dried dill (free!),1 small zucchini (~9 kcal), 4 mushrooms (~12 kcal) sauteed with 1 tsp butter (~33 kcal). Total = 197 kcal

Snack: 1/2 apple (~41 kcal) and 1 tsp peanut butter (~32 kcal). Total = 73 kcal

Dinner: Homemade vegetable soup (~60 kcal) and a dessert of diet Jell-O made with extra gelatin (~45 kcal). Total = 105 kcal

If I count correctly, that's ~490 calories. Go hog wild with the other 10!  :)

Hope these ideas have been useful for you. Down Days can be a challenge, but they can also be fun. Find the right kind of plan for your situation, and enjoy your food!

Sabine started the Alternate Day Fasting Support and Chat forum thread of Mark's Daily Apple, a website that is a hub of resources and discussions about healthy living and the primal lifestyle. I met her through the forum thread when I first started alternate day fasting and was looking for advice from other people practicing the ADF way of eating. For more information on primal eating and living, check out Mark's Daily Apple.


Help Fund Pediatric Brain Tumor Research

One of my general life goals is to give what I can (even if it is not that much) to help those that need it and to causes I think better the state of the planet and humanity. One of those causes is brain cancer researchUnfortunately there are few people that cancer does not impact, whether one gets cancer themselves or has a family member or friend that battles it. Brain cancer has impacted me by taking the life of one of my high school teachers a little over a year ago. I also have a friend that lives with an inoperable brain tumor.

So this year Zach and I are participating in the Run of Hope 3k in Seattle for pediatric brain tumor research. I am joining the team of my former co-worker Kris who lost her own 11 year-old daughter, Jocelyn, to brain cancer. Unfortunately, less than 4% of the money used for medical research is used for children. Team Jocelyn and I hope to raise as much money as we can to help fund the research needed so that hopefully someday we don't have to lose children to brain cancer.
Jocelyn, 1991 - 2003
You can support this effort by becoming a sponsor of my 3k walk with a secure online donation. Over the last four years participants in the Run of Hope 3k have raised over $1.1 million, 99.94% which went directly to Seattle Children's Hospital's research on pediatric brain tumors. Please chip in what you can because every little bit helps in the fight against child brain cancer. Thanks!


Mission Accomplished

Day 138, Feast Day #81 - Nine in a Row

I decided to forgo fasting this week as weight gain was not happening even at 6:1 for me and at -27 lbs (-12.2 kg) my wedding dress was fitting just a bit loosely. I was in a bit of a panic yesterday morning when I dropped another 2 lbs (0.9 kg) seemingly overnight (probably hormonal), which put me at -29 lbs (13.2 kg) lost overall in almost 20 weeks, despite being in maintenance mode for the last couple of weeks. This would be great if I was not trying to gain weight so my wedding dress fits this Saturday.

So yesterday I decided I was going to eat all day and not eat healthy in a last ditch attempt to put on a few pounds. So yesterday I started off my day with a pile of nuts, cheese, and beef jerky, followed by fried chicken and potato wedges drenched in ranch dressing for lunch (which made me feel quite queasy), and then for dinner a large Greek salad with goat cheese, a McFlurry with M&Ms, soda, and a Whopper Jr. hamburger. So I clocked in at over a whopping 3,200 calories yesterday, like a boss. Note: I do not recommend this diet, nor is it a healthy way to gain weight. It is apparently very effective though.
650 McCalories of soft serve and candy.
My fast food and comfort food boot camp boosted me up 3 lbs in a day (so back to -26 lbs or -11.8 kg). I hit my regaining goal, which is excellent. So I just hope I can hold on to some of that bloat for a couple days. Wine and cheese will be consumed tonight, so that should keep my calories up.


Week 19 Summary

Day 135, Feast Day #78 - Six in a Row

Well that pound I gained back after entering maintenance mode disappeared. So I am back to where I started before deciding to decrease my numbers fasting days for the sole purpose of fitting in my wedding dress without more alterations. So I am at -27 pounds (12.2 kg) since April 5 and of course, my dress is just a little too loose. Last week I only did one fast day and a medium day with five feast days, and still lost that darn pound.

So this week, I don't think I am going to fast at all. Even on maintenance mode, my caloric intake has been comparable to other 4:3 weeks I have had in the past. I have been eating out less this month to save money, so I think that has prevented me from eating insane numbers of calories. Now gaining weight is difficult for me. What a silly problem to have.

Gaining weight is difficult is because I have retrained my tastes and my brain has different food reward associations now after nearly 5 months of alternate day fasting. To be honest, I read that this happens in Dr. Michael Mosley's The FastDiet and thought there was no way I would not always want to eat bagels, fried food, processed food, etc. It happened though! the last time I really went nuts on calories and carbs I felt awful sick afterwards with bloating and stomach pain.

I have basically had to unlearn everything my brain liked about food, and retrained it to like food that gives me energy and a lot of nutrition, not empty calories. I crave greens like chard, peppers, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, not breads or pasta. The onion bagels toasting at work still smell good, but I don't crave them on my own without being exposed to good smells. I have been easing off of wheat products after scaring myself by reading Wheat Belly and not repurchased wheat products I've run out of (with an exception for beer) too. It is crazy how many calories you cut out once you stop eating bread, pastas, crackers, and the like.

Reducing my portion sizes and not eating after I am full is also becoming habit for me. These commons sense practices only become habit after lots and lots of conscious decision making and practice saying "no" the instinct to gorge.

I bought some bacon and have wine and cheese eating on my social calendar this week (aside from my wedding). So hopefully I can get one of those pounds back on!

Week 1: 1,437 kcal or 76% of baseline calories (-3,213 kcal/week)
Week 2: 1,938 kcal or 102% of baseline calories (+294 kcal/week)
Week 3: 1,680 kcal or 89% of baseline calories (-1,512 kcal/week)
Week 4: 2,196 kcal or 116% of baseline calories (+2,100 kcal/week)
Week 5: 1,829 kcal or 96% of baseline calories (-469 kcal/week)
Week 6: 1,531 kcal or 81% of baseline calories (-2,555 kcal/week)
Week 7: 1,954 kcal or 103% of baseline calories (+406 kcal/week)
Week 8: 1,196 kcal or 63% of baseline calories (-4,900 kcal/week)
Week 9: 1,638 kcal or 86% of baseline calories (-1,806 kcal/week)
Week 10: 1,637 kcal or 86% of baseline calories (-1,813 kcal/week)
Week 11: 1,681 kcal or 89% of baseline calories (-1,505 kcal/week)
Week 12*: 2,108 kcal or 111% of baseline calories (+1,484 kcal/week)
Week 13*: 2,649 kcal or 140% of baseline calories (+5,271 kcal/week)
Week 14: 1,882 kcal or 99% of baseline calories (-98 kcal/week)
Week 15: 1,280 kcal or 68% of baseline calories (-4,312 kcal/week)
Week 16: 1,861 kcal or 98% of baseline calories (-245 kcal/week)
Week 17: 1,684 kcal or 89% of baseline calories (-1,484 kcal/week)
Week 18: 1,598 kcal or 84% of baseline calories (-2,086 kcal/week)
Week 19: 1,686 kcal or 89% of baseline calories (-1,470 kcal/week)

While ADFing: 1,761 kcal or 93% of baseline calories
Baseline Days: 1,896 kcal

All Feast Days: 2,732 kcal or 144% of baseline calories
All Fast Days: 435 kcal or 23% of baseline calories

For reference
Week 1: 3 feast days, 4 fast days
Week 2: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 3: 4 feast days, 1 medium day, 1 fast day
Week 4: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 5: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 6: 3 feast days, 4 fast days
Week 7: 4 feast days, 3 fast days,
Week 8: 3 feast days, 4 fast days
Week 9: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 10: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 11: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 12: 5 feast days, 2 fast days*
Week 13: 5 feast days, 2 fast days*
Week 14: 4 feast days, 1 medium day, 2 fast days
Week 15: 3 feast days, 4 fast days
Week 16: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 17: 4 feast days, 3 fast days
Week 18: 5 feast days, 2 fast days - maintenance mode
Week 19: 5 feast days, 1 medium day, 1 fast day - maintenance mode

*Includes days during my bachelorette party weekend.