Each week I learn from my patients. All of them, regardless of their unique life situations and perceptions, are resilient, courageous, and relentless in figuring out what works for their health.
Two patients come to mind, both of whom have been working patiently and diligently on their weight loss and health goals. Neither one has found it easy. Each of them knew the basics of what might work, but both found they had to modify their paths. They tried many different variations of food, exercise and intermittent fasting in order to keep weight loss occurring. What impressed me was that both of these women were patient. Life events continually sabotaged efforts, but they did not get discouraged.
One of the women has a very sluggish metabolism; even though she was following a low carbohydrate plan and (seemingly) appropriate exercise, the weight loss was slow. She introduced Time Restricted Eating: trying to finish her last meal by 7pm and not eating until 10am the next day. Although she got some progress, she still felt she wasn’t achieving her goal. She then changed her exercise to more intense, less duration (HIT – High Intensity Training in short duration) along with strength workouts. Along with this she added in occasional 24 hour fasts. She felt great. It took some time, but her body changed and she moved from a ‘tight’ size 12 to between a size 6 and 7. (The scale didn’t move as much as she wanted, but the drop in sizes demonstrates a significant drop in body fat.)
Independent of whatever the scale says, she is still on her journey. It’s taken some time, but she never gave up. She gets frustrated, but she is willing to try different things. Most importantly, she feels fantastic. She has more energy, a more positive mood, better sleep, and better strength/flexibility. These intangibles, the more important aspects of health, are too often forgotten when we always focus on the scale.
The second woman, a Type 2 Diabetic, has worked very hard to get off her insulin and reduce her weight. She began with a very low carbohydrate eating regime, which allowed her to get off her insulin, while at the same time achieve better blood sugars than she had ever experienced while taking insulin. However, due to life stressors, her exercise was minimal, and weight was not dropping the way she wanted. She read more from various experts (Dr. Jason Fung being one of many), and introduced more Time Restricted Eating. She then experimented with more added oils (avocado and olive) along with some Medium Chain Triglycerides, and her weight began to change. Adding in aqua fit has also helped reduce her weight, while at the same time further stabilizing her blood sugars.
The point of these stories is to encourage you to find out methods that work for you. For many of us, especially those with some evidence of insulin resistance (increased belly fat, borderline HbA1C, high triglycerides and low HDL), lowering/eliminating sugar and starch intake is an excellent first step. As well, Time Restricted Eating and/or Intermittent Fasting are shown to be beneficial to health (including weight loss). For Time Restricted Eating, I would encourage you to find a podcast of anyone interviewing Dr. S. Panda – listen to his research! Also, on the subject of Intermittent Fasting, there is Dr. Fung, and Dr. V. Longo.
Knowledge is the key. Use yourself as an experiment, and keep trying different “tweaks” to adjust what you’re already doing. Please – do not to compare yourself to others: you are a unique human being with a unique physiology that is impacted by your unique life! Once you find out what works for you, you will have tools that will serve your health forever. Keep reading and listening. Ask questions. Be Bold. Try different things. There is no finish line, except when we die. We are alive! The quality of our life’s path is all that matters. Make it exceptional!
You can do it. Never give up.