I lost 45 lbs this year… by accident
And I still can’t believe it.
A little background
I always struggled with my weight. I’m 6'3 tall and the only time I was “lean” was when I was around 4–5 years old, if my memory serves me well. Otherwise I’ve always been at least chubby.
Being mocked as a “fatty” and all of the other nicknames cruel children find for each other is a memory of my childhood, even though I was always sporty, so to say. I thrived in explosive sports. Throwing, jumping, sprinting translated to volleyball, basketball, European football, badminton. Everything that needed energy much more than endurance, at least that’s the best how I can describe it.
I remember a school olympiad, where I was super motivated to run 400 meters. I even trained for it. I never finished those races before, but I so much wanted to. I don’t remember how much I trained, but I remember clearly that I finished it… last… by far… And I remember that I broke down afterwards. Not just physically, but mainly mentally. I can still feel the pain, the shame and the disappointment in myself more than even just a little sense of pride, because it was the first time I ended such a race without having to retort to walking.
Then there came a growth spurt when I was in 5th grade, which inflamed both my knee-growth-joints. Being 10 years old and moving like a 50 year old (literally), that must have been the first time in my life, that I’ve become what would be considered fat. Well, it was not just the growth spurt and it’s consequences, also way to much sweets, a unhealthy family environment both with eating and emotional, but I digress. I’m well aware of most of what led to it.
In addition to that I must admit, even though it was never diagnosed, that I might suffer a mild form of body dysmorphia, because I can’t even remember myself slim, even when I had around 185lbs in my early twenties, which wasn’t lean by any means, but I was considerably more athletic.
It’s all about the weight, until it isn’t
So, my weight has always been an issue, some might say even if it wasn’t. And boy did I always dream big. In my youth for shallow reasons, being sexy, being adored by the opposite sex and all those things. But the older I got it changed more into a desire to experience myself at least once in a state of peak physical health (for a lack of better words), to be fit and to perhaps even fulfil my lifelong dream of running a half-marathon at least once in my life (yeah, I know, two dreams at once, it’s exhausting, my dear 5 readers a month) — basically to at least get a taste, of what my body could be capable of in terms of strength, endurance and so on.
A big change for me was when I discovered intermittent fasting, which fell into a period of above-average physical activity. Besides my job at a factory where I lifted parts between 15 lbs and 30 lbs at some point I managed to start going to the gym. At first two days a week, then three, then four.
Sounds good, right? Well, if it wasn’t for those 3 month periods of exercise which were followed by at least 3–6 month of falling back into old patterns, literally doing nothing anymore, and stopped even fasting, even though I held up the fasting well.
For the better part of I think three years now I live on 8:16 intermittent fasting. For those of you who don’t know: 8 hours I could eat, 16 hours I wouldn’t. And it felt good. After a few first days with a little more hunger I had it implemented — it never felt like I was torturing myself!
Last year I moved to a new city for a new job, 440 miles away from the first place I called home, out of the shared house I’ve had with my best friend for almost 6 years, leaving behind me the most successful years of my life, where I improved upon myself each and every year in many aspects. A lot of stress later, financially AND health-wise and I ended up at 270 lbs (my personal “best”). It was so bad that even after months I wouldn’t improve walking up two flights of stairs at work and at home, which I had to do regularly. I’d come up there, breathing as fuck, my heart was not beating excessively high but as hard as it could. That’s where I was, even though I still fasted intermittently through most of it.
In February then, I took a turn, a hard turn. For me unexpected, because I was distracted by all my “problems”, I had a rough awakening. Asking my superior how my performance was, expecting I was on a good way, even though I still had some issues he literally tore me a new one. During that 5 minutes I was made aware that my chance of rising up the ranks was in danger (which had been almost a guaranteed promotion up until that point), to that degree my private life was affecting my work, because it seemed like I wasn’t really there anymore mentally.
After I spend a weekend in literal misery I came back to work on Monday… and baby was I back! I worked my ass off, made miles and miles at work (I do have to walk much at work) and that was the first part of me starting to actually loosing weight. I didn’t go for it, it was just a side-effect of giving everything I had at work. And I was still on the 8:16-routine.
A few month passed by, another illness as well, and I think it was sometime in May when I accidentally fell over something. I would bring my own food to work, my eating schedule started during lunch break and would end a few hours after work. But then in one week I forgot my “breakfast” three days.
Even though tempted to buy something from the vending machine I didn’t, because I still had my food prepared for me at home and I preferred to eat my own meals. So I didn’t eat at work. I came home, ate then and strangely enough, that seemed to be enough.
It wasn’t just enough as I would soon realise — I felt good with it!
I realised that week that I could fast for 23 hours, basically only eat once a day, and it wasn’t that much more of a struggle than keeping up my 8:16. Yeah, one or two hours before I got off work, when dinner was in smelling and tasting distance I would get hungry, but it was never a sort of hunger that made me suffer or that I would feel threatened by. I rather got excited to get home, cook something and eat it than to feel like I’m missing out on something, if that makes any sense.
And so I stuck to it. I watched my body and my feelings very closely (I still do). On the weekends I’d eat regularly just to not overdo it, but during the week when I was working I only ate once a day, mostly. There were days were I felt more hungry, especially if they were hard ones, were I would enjoy a snack mostly in the form of a bagel of some sorts, sometimes even just a pear would suffice. It didn’t feel like cheating, except for this instance of writing I never even really considered this term in this context, it was just a necessary supplement.
To make sure to have oversight I counted my calories for a while (very much at the beginning) and I was shocked, that the portion that would be sufficient wasn’t even reaching 1000 kcal. Well, call me overcautious, but I thought that number to be a bit to little, so I would raise the amount of food I ate during this one meal to about 1100–1400 kcal per day. And during the whole time I let myself have sugar in my coffee or tea during the day, also because I didn’t want to overdo it and go cold turkey on sugar while I’m on a quite radical fast.
On weekends, as I said, I ate regularly, basically 8:16 as I’m used to. With the addition of sweets, also the loads of sweets I am used to. And let me say it like that: it was a lot of sweets I ate during the weekends. But something interesting happened, and is still happening. Each weekend I buy less sweets and right now I’m in the process of starting to bake my own sweets on weekends, but that’s something for another article.
Here I am now, almost 3 months in with the fasting and even though I already started loosing weight in February, the bulk of the 45 pounds I’ve lost so far was, as you can imagine, when I started fasting 1:23. And the best part about this is, that I didn’t really start it for loosing any weight at all. I discovered it accidentally, stuck to it because it felt just good and I’m loosing weight basically as a bonus, it’s the cherry on top. A cherry that weighs 45 lbs!
I’m still careful though, for everyone who is wondering! In two weeks I have an appointment with my physician to get a health-check and a blood count. On days where I feel like it I’m supplementing with some minerals and vitamins, especially when I had a rough day at work or on those days where I had a work-out (a little one, I’m starting again, and I won’t overdo it). I’m a little suspicious, because it almost feels to good to be true, to easy, but all I can say is that I simply feel good and start to suspect on the other hand that I may just ate way too much my whole life so far. I’ll keep you posted!
And a word of advice
I don’t recommend this lifestyle to anyone. I’m just sharing my personal story. I’m well aware that perhaps even most people would consider this a rather radical way of living (those I told about it do). It’s something I discovered when I wasn’t even looking for it and it just works for me. I would assume if it works for me it might work for other people as well but I’m for sure no health or medical expert AND I’ve been living with intermittent fasting for years as well as having experienced a few 48 hrs water fasts, so to some degree, I assume, my body is used to it. I expect to get more health-related data from my doctor in two weeks. If you want to try something similar the only thing I do recommend is to be very, very careful with it and consciously attentive about how you feel during the process!