Thursday, August 26, 2021


So far, the new diet has been a roller coaster, but that's partially my fault for not doing things right. This week has been, overall, an inauspicious beginning to the rest of my life. Let's start off with the good news: I have effectively cut off the sources of sugar from the Newcastle Diet. No more SlimFast (except on cheat days, and as you know, my next cheat day isn't until I'm back from my walk in October), no more Paris Baguette salads with corn or dried cranberries. To that extent, I'm being faithful to the keto paradigm. I've got two packets of my favorite candies sitting on a table, and I'm not even tempted to open them. 

And now the bad news: my schedule (chart) actually has me fasting 38 hours (24 hours' fasting right after an 18-hour fast the previous day), and given how I've violated the fasts over the past couple of days, I think the paradigm may be unsustainable. Something has to give. I thought that having a cheat day twice a month would be enough to keep me from going crazy, but I might be in need of other crutches.

Admittedly, the health gurus I've been listening to don't suggest more than two day's worth of 24-hour fasting per week. They all stress the importance of intermittent fasting, but none of the experts says a string of 38-hour fasts is a good idea. That said, I admit I like the idea of three 24-hour fasts per week as well as intermittent fasts; it would just be nice if I could interrupt the 38-hour period with some eating (which is actually what I've done this week as my willpower has broken under the strain).

The net effect of this confused beginning is that I can't tell whether I'm gaining or losing weight. Part of me is yearning for the big east-coast walk to happen soon because I know I'll be losing weight during that period. No ambiguity there. But what I'm doing now... is it contributing to loss? Am I gaining weight? Am I merely in "maintenance"? I'll know more when I weigh myself Sunday morning. Even my belt is giving me confusing information. More on that in a bit.

Yesterday, I had my two burgers for lunch. I then went on a longer-than-usual walk all the way out to the Jamshil Bridge and back, something I haven't done in a while. (And I discovered I no longer like walking along crowded routes.) When I got back late at night, I had the shake I should have had in the morning (got up late), then had a handful of nuts, a big bowlful of sugar-free Jell-O, and two of Joe Duff's burger buns. I ate these things after midnight, so I've listed that food for today, when I'm supposed to be engaged in 24-hour fasting (from midnight to midnight). I'm feeling the weight of the food I ate last night, and I've lost one belt hole in the wrong direction, i.e., I've gained weight. But I know I'm going to lose that weight after today's fast. I'll eat my 2000 calories on Friday, have a shake Saturday morning, then fast the rest of Saturday, which is when I'll do my weekly long walk. Sunday morning, after a decent poop, I'll have empty guts.

Upshot: I have no idea what my weight will be like on Sunday. Doing 24-hour fasts on alternate days means my weight will yoyo throughout the week, but what will it settle on by Sunday morning, and what sort of trend will I see from week to week? I don't know. For the moment, I'm going to try harder to stick to the original plan, but if 38-hour fasts start to drive me that crazy, then I'm going to have to come up with a better system. I can hear Coach Greg Doucette's voice in my head saying, "Well, you just need to train harder." Maybe he's right.

In sum, this hasn't been a great week. Newcastle was a lot more straightforward, despite the pain it put me through. But rapid weight loss in a short period of time isn't sustainable as a long-term strategy. I've been listening more to personal trainer Lucy Lismore, who advocates "intuitive eating," about which I know little. Superficially, it sounds a lot like "eat to satiety, but don't overdo it; treat yourself every once in a while; don't cut out entire food groups the way you do on Atkins and keto." I'll be looking into intuitive eating, but I suspect it's something I ought to try only after I've lost another twenty or so pounds.

ADDENDUM 1: I just had a thought: what if I made my Tuesdays and Thursdays like Saturday, i.e., have a shake for breakfast? And maybe, unlike Saturday, a bag of assorted nuts for lunch? This would effectively do away with 24-hour fasting, but it would keep me sane and make me less tempted to snack late at night. I'd essentially be doing nothing but intermittent fasting all week—eating fully on MWF + Sunday, and doing shakes + nuts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with Saturday being the one truly extreme day, during which I'd have a single breakfast shake only. This might be doable. But first, let's see how things end up this week.

ADDENDUM 2: several hours later, and I can tighten my belt to the second-to-last hole again. It'll be a while, I think, before I'm at the final hole. Anyway, you see what I mean: these fluctuations make it hard to know whether I'm losing weight. I think I need to look at long-term trends. For now, I need to just eat moderately and keep avoiding sugar.


John Mac said...

It seems natural that adjustments to a new routine are going to be necessary to make this plan work for you. Everyone is different, so cut yourself some slack as you figure out what is sustainable. You are doing a great job and moving in the direction. The speed at which you reach your goals is of secondary importance.

Kevin Kim said...

At least I can take comfort in knowing that I'm moving in the direction. Thanks.

John Mac said...

Right on!