A Little Weight Gain

Day 126, Feast Day #71 - Triple Feast Day

So I'm on my fourth day in maintenance mode and gained back 2 lbs (0.9 kg) in the last couple of days, which is fine in terms of my wedding dress fitting. This puts me squarely at a total of 25 pounds (11.3 kilograms) lost since early April. I had already fasted twice earlier in the week, so I have been "feasting" since. Switching back to a modern day normal person's eating pattern is proving difficult because I just don't get as hungry, I don't expect the food, and my new habit is not eating much every other day (just like three days a meals, plus snacks, plus lots of carbs and sugar was my habit prior to ADF).

Some of my ADF habits have remained intact over the last few days. For one, I don't eat breakfast. (Such a rebel, I know. But, a lot of that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" propaganda "research" is funded by food manufacturers like General Mills through puppet organizations, surprise surprise. They sell breakfast cereal.) As long as I don't go crazy with the wheat and carbs at dinner the night before, I tend not to be hungry at all in the morning. In fact, I have never really liked eating in the mornings because I am not hungry until midday. I like my scrambled eggs, hash browns, and bacon, obviously. I just like them for brunch or dinner like a weirdo. I also have never had much interest in sweet breakfast foods like pancakes, waffles, french toast, oatmeal, jams, etc. I find that all to be too sweet and I don't like a morning sugar rush followed by a crash to set the tone for my day.

I am also still trying to cook and eat healthier. I ended up eating under the amount of calories that I would normally eat on a feast day this past Wednesday, thinking my homemade shrimp teriyaki would have brought me past the 1600 calorie mark for the day. It ended up being far fewer calories than I expected (I didn't use granulated sugar at ~720 kcal per cup in the teriyaki sauce, but instead substituted with crushed pineapple in pineapple juice at ~140 kcal per cup), so I had some Greek yogurt with a bit of honey for dessert to get up to 1433 calories that day. I am also still trying not to eat wheat products.

The plan is to fast again on Sunday for sure and probably Tuesday next week while continuing in maintenance mode (as of now, I am doing a 5:2 fast diet as maintenance). Zach and I are celebrating one of his colleagues surviving their PhD defense tomorrow plus running a ton of last minute wedding errands, so, fasting on Sunday makes more sense.

As you may know, I am getting married in 15 days (O-M-G) and then jetting off for a beach honeymoon followed by a family trip. I may blog a bit in those three weeks, as there will undoubtedly be a lot of down time on vacation and I honestly enjoy writing (and I go a little crazy if I don't feel like I am being productive). I don't like the idea of letting this blog go stale for 3 weeks after months of routine blogging, especially for regular readers. So, I have been spending time soliciting, editing  and scheduling original guest posts from folks that also practice alternate day fasting or are bloggers in the fields of health and wellness, weight loss, low-calorie cooking, etc. If you are personally interested in submitting a guest post that relates to these topics, hit me up with a proposal for your writing piece.


Maintenance Mode

Day 123, Feast Day #68

So I lost another pound for a total of 27 pounds lost in 17.5 weeks. Normally this would be a great accomplishment, especially losing weight after a feast day. However, if I lose much more weight my wedding dress is going to be too baggy and maybe fall off. I only have 18 days left until I walk down the aisle so that limits the time I could get the dress altered. More importantly, I do not want to spend more money on that dress! It's a great dress, it looks great on me, but I am wearing it once. My expensive outfit expires within 24 hours. I do not need to be spending more money on it.

My solution? It is much cheaper to fast less often to maintain my weight (or possibly gain back some weight in my case) compared to altering my dress again.

Fasting periodically to maintain one's weight is what is commonly referred to as "maintenance mode" by other fasters. Dr. Michael Mosley for instance fasts just 1 day a week (a 6:1 schedule) to maintain the weight he lost while doing a 5:2 diet and to get some of the other benefits of fasting. Other people go from ADF to 5:2 or 6:1. Some people who just fast for weight loss (not the biochemical changes) just go back to everyday calorie restriction.

So my goal until August 25th is maintenance, not weight loss, in the hopes my wedding dress will fit nicely. So more feasting will happen.I 

Hence, I will try my best to pig out on my feast days for a couple of weeks. I broke my fast with a gross amount of carbs and wheat yesterday in the form of beer, a soft pretzel, and a burger bun. I got home after that and passed out soon after. I swear all the wheat and carbs resulted in a food coma I couldn't fight off. I felt awful physically after that feast and later groggy and hungry the next morning. I think it might be better if I try to get fat on potatoes instead. Sorry body.


Fast(ing) Food - Spicy African-Style Fish Stew

Day 122, Fast Day #53
Nom, fishies!
Spicy African-Style Fish Stew (Yields 4 large servings) ~252 kcal/serving
Takes 30-40 minutes

This spicy stew has 20 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, 39% of the DRV of calcium with no dairy, all of the vitamin A and C for your day and 950 mg of potassium.

  • 1 small head of cabbage, diced (I used red) ~176 kcal
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil (I didn't have palm oil, which is more traditional, so I used coconut) ~120 kcal
  • 1 onion, diced (I used half a yellow onion and half a red onion) ~40 kcal
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced ~12 kcal
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of ginger, minced ~2 kcal
  • 1 can of tomato paste (6 oz) ~150 kcal
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 habañero pepper, seeds removed, minced (can substitute with a milder pepper like a serrano, jalapeño, or an Anaheim pepper) ~15 kcal
  • 1 can of sardines in tomato sauce ~371 kcal (you can substitute the sardines with another oily or white fish, Using a white fish which will be less "fishy" tasting)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, drained ~53 kcal
  • 2 cups of kale, just the leaves, chopped ~66 kcal
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice ~1 kcal
  • kosher salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Boil water with a couple pinches of salt in a large pot. Boil the cabbage until tender. Drain and set aside.

While the water is coming to boil/cabbage is cooking, heat the oil in a large pan or medium to large pot on medium heat. Add onions and the ginger to the pan and cook until the onions start to become translucent (a couple minutes). Add in the garlic. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring as needed to keep things from burning.

In a separate medium-sized bowl, mix the tomato paste and water together. Add that mixture and the habañero (or whatever pepper you are using) to the frying pan. I wore latex gloves while mincing the hot pepper, I highly recommend you do too. I have made the poor life decision before and not worn gloves and had burning fingers for days. Add in the diced tomatoes to the frying pan too. Cover the pan and let it cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the fish (if using a fish in tomato sauce, include the sauce), kale, and cabbage to the frying pan. Season with allspice, salt, and pepper. Cover the pan and lower the heat to keep a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes (if using raw fish, make sure it is cooked through). Eat! It's even better the next day.


Week 17 Summary

Day 121, Feast Day #67

This morning I woke up a pound lighter. So that makes for 26 lbs (11.8 kg) lost in just over 17 weeks of alternate day fasting. This puts me at about 1.5 lbs (0.7 kg) lost per week so far. I am a little worried I will fast myself down too small for my wedding dress. So I tried the dress on again today. It fits right now without any shapewear and I can zip it up myself (unlike when I originally bought it and had to squeeze in with the help of a layer of strong Lycra compressing my belly and a second pair of hands). So I just have to work a bit more at eating all of my calories on fast days and possibly cutting back to a 6:1 or 5:2 schedule for maintenance if the dress gets too loose.

Yesterday I fasted 22 hours on just tea and water and then broke my fast with an African-style fish stew and a late night snack of nuts, plain Greek yogurt with a little honey, and some raspberries. I wasn't very hungry at all yesterday, maybe because I ate so much the day before. Any brief thoughts I had about food passed quickly and I got a ton of chores and wedding tasks done. I don't often experience the feelings of being light-headed or tired like I did when I first started intermittent fasting, which is nice.

Zach is off doing fieldwork, so I have been testing out new recipes while he is away and adding to my dinner tool belt. So far my favorite was this Paleo recipe for Asian-inspired pork meatballs. They were so yummy!

I added in some minced garlic and red chili flakes to them and substituted soy aminos, since I don't have any coconut ones. They are also only ~252 calories for five meatballs the way I made them, therefore perfect for an easy fast day meal.

This is how last week's numbers factored in:

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 (-1484 kcal/week)

While ADFing: 1,775 kcal or 94% of baseline calories
Baseline Days: 1,896 kcal

All Feast Days: 2,831 kcal or 149% of baseline calories
All Fast Days: 438 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
*Includes days during my bachelorette party weekend.

I feasted hardcore this past week with a fondue party and a couple happy hours with friends. It turns out what I was feasting on was notably different than past weeks. I ended up averaging just 119 grams of carbs a day, versus my average of 186 grams over the last 17 weeks, a 36% decrease. I've been trying to reduce the amount of grains I have been eating, since quitting wheat cold turkey didn't last longer than 72 hours for me. I have been feeling less tired recently despite no changes in how long I am sleeping. I wonder if my recent burst in productivity is from reducing the refined and total carbs in my diet or if I am just riding waves of wedding jitters and stress that is leading to more work getting done. Maybe it is just because I am trying to stay busy and not think about Zach being away.