Yes, it is true.
I finally got back on the About Men Radio Fitness Challenge and made real progress.
My amigos from AMR chidded me on the podcast that I — very Kramerlike — declared myself out of the competition before it even ramped up.
Yep, I was OUT!
Earlier this year I noticed a measure that I was not happy to see.
It wasn’t the scale telling me that at 250 pounds that I was at least 50 pounds overweight. It was that tongue twister combination of systolic and diastolic numbers, commonly referred to as BP, my blood pressure.
It read 150/96!
A quick search of medical sites told me what I already suspected: I was squarely in the Stage 1 hypertension neighborhood. And if things continued like this I could buy some property in that neighborhood, and eventually and probably soon, a plot!
How could this be?
I was a soccer player, fit to run. Ten years ago, I was completing sprint and Olympic triathlons as well as 5Ks and half marathons.
Where did it go so far south for me? Ten years of neglect, that’s how.
Fitness levels drop exponentially after 40. Gone are the days of, “Ah, what the hell” attitude.
Every instance of feeding and activity has to be carefully monitored and planned. Gone are carefree days of eating and thinking that a little jog will balance things out.
So after a hard look at those numbers and disgusted that I was about to go up another pant size, I decided to do something about it.
This was not my first rodeo, I had molded myself back into shape those 10 years ago when I first fell out soccer fitness. I felt I knew the approach to take.
The very first thing was to completely cut out the “3 S’s”: Sodas, Sweets and Seconds.
I then started packing up mini-containers with food, to eat small healthy portions five or six times a day. Boy does this take up a lot of time! But I was determined to make it work.
I ordered a Herman Munster-sized lunchbox to carry all my parceled food and mid-meal snacks.
I only added extended walks and light running to my exercise. I was too heavy to bang out actual runs on these shins.
Shin splints were an issue for me back when I was lighter and swifter of foot, so I didn’t want to start my new routine struggling to work through screaming pain.
After the first month, I was rewarded with weight reduction but my BP numbers were still high and I was quickly getting tired of the packing and planning of all those meals.
I continued to review and research and I came across something I had never thought I would be willing to try for weight reduction.
A Canadian doctor of nephrology was getting a lot of attention suggesting to f___ for weight loss and a whole bunch of healthy benefits, including improving blood circulation.
I read on. So I can employ that four letter F word to lose weight, improve my BP and transform my lifestyle?
So can I really f___ my way to a new me?
Yes, I can.
First of all, it is not THAT F word. This is Fasting.
Whoa! Hold on there. That F word means NOT eating. And for an extended amount of time!
That goes against everything I learned in my first go-round for health.
How can this be?
Won’t fasting cause muscle loss?
Won’t fasting weaken me?
Won’t fasting turn me into a grumpy son of a bitch?
No, no and no!
After looking into this from other sources and reading Dr. Fung’s book I decided to give it a try.
I ditched the monstrous lunch box and started what is called a 16/8 Intermittent Fast.
So easy when you look into it. This fast schedule, the easiest of the fasts, allows an 8-hour feeding window with 16 hours of no food but plenty of water!
Black coffee and unsweetened green tea were also allowed. Since I was already a black coffee drinker and I also drank my teas unsweetened, I was good to go for this experimental regimen.
I can happily summarize that it worked!
Most of the fasting period is spent sleeping, and I had missed a breakfast before because of rushing or whatever, so I knew the hunger was not going to be that hard to overcome.
The most I missed the first few days was that mid-morning snack but I did not miss the packing and preparing at all.
The hunger pangs were easily calmed with another cup of joe, or a freshly brewed tea.
I pushed my lunch out to about 1 p.m. and then I ate dinner at home around 6:30, still giving me an extra couple of hours if I needed a nibble.
I found that I didn’t. So I checked out the next level: The Warriors Fast!
Wow, that name alone had me sold.
I also found out that when those wimpy (and not so wimpy) Hollywood types need to get cut for a role in which they would be prominently shown on screen or movie poster (think Gerard Butler and his 299 homeys in 300), this is the regimen their personal trainers force on them!
This fasting schedule is a 20/4. In following the previous naming structure that meant that this will be a 20-hour fast with a smaller four-hour feeding window.
Now I am skipping both breakfast and lunch, eating dinner at home and avoiding any very late snacks.
The beauty of this regimen is that if I start my feeding window at 7 p.m. I could have a late snack at 10:30ish and still be well within my window.
I did this and still was not grumpy.
I did not miss eating and continued to shed pounds. I started this journey at the end of January and in August I had proudly hit my target of shedding 50 pounds.
I looked down on the scale and 199.8 stared right back at me! I did it!
But this is not an invitation to change anything. I have become very accustomed to the meal skipping.
It simplified my life and gives me extra time with my family rather than spending it preparing so many little meals. It also allows me to eat heartily (and not overdo it) at dinner.
I have also learned to try so many different fun meals at dinner without guilt.
I am not shedding weight and cutting up at the rate that Wolverine has with this diet, but our objectives are very different. My goal was to get into a lifestyle change that I could support and still keep a steady improvement of my weight and health.
To that extent, I am maintaining myself in a 195- to 200-pound window.
I have increased my running and together with my wife we happily run and do some high-intensity interval training together (more on that in a future post).
Oh and those blood pressure numbers…118/74!
Now to do some more f___ing!!