Ditch the Diet
Posted February 15, 2019 by Guest Poster - 20 comments
This is a guest post written by my good friend Ginny Butcher. I was thrilled when she asked me if she could write a post for me that was geared towards menopausal women’s health. This is something I know that a lot of our readers struggle with and frankly, it’s not anything I can offer support on. So thanks Ginny for your willingness to share!
What if I told you there was a way to burn fat, build muscle, gain mental clarity, emotional stability, time, and energy all without restricting foods? Nor counting calories, macros, and points. Not even weighing, measuring, tracking, spending hours in the gym, or swallowing magic weight loss powders. Not to mention all the rest you’ve probably done if you’ve ever been on a diet. What if I told you, you can ditch the diet and live a life of food freedom while burning up all the unwanted fat you’ve been carrying around? You’d probably think I was dreaming. Or that I was going to try to sell you something really expensive. But there is a way you can ditch the diet and reach your healthy goal with an ancient practice (it’s free) that seems to be gaining in popularity. I believe in this so much I asked Prairie Wife if I could share it with you.
What I want to share with you is a lifestyle of Intermittent Fasting.
You may have heard of Intermittent Fasting lately as it seems to have hit the mainstream. I was never interested in it until I reached the end of my ability to make myself do one more diet. I didn’t even know I was interested until my friend told me about it. The idea of not obsessing over what to eat and the ability to still lose fat was too intriguing not to try. She introduced me to a book titled, Delay Don’t Deny, by Gin Stephens. I committed to the idea immediately, deciding to give it at least 6 months to see if it worked. I began fasting the next day, delaying my “break-fast” until noontime and then eating within a five-hour window of time. My friend stressed the Clean Fast, which is the centerpiece of the book and success of those who adopt this lifestyle.
Armed with black coffee and water, I devoured the book the next day in one sitting. I had so many ah-ha moments as to the whole weight problem I, and so many people, have struggled with. I won’t go into detail here because I can’t do it justice. But I will mention a few things that are like magic happening during the Clean Fast.
The Clean Fast is where it’s at.
Here a few things taking place during that time.
The first is autophagy. It’s the process of our bodies cleaning up the debris that accumulates simply from being alive. It’s something that is happening all the time in everyone or we would soon die, but it is increased during the clean fasting time. It is also the thing that seems to be the fountain of youth producer. As time goes on skin becomes clearer, various conditions seem to disappear and I personally have had hair regrowth on a receding hairline. Not to mention I feel 20 years younger even if I don’t look it (yet).
Another thing happening during the clean fast is the increased release of HGH (human growth hormone). It’s a muscle building hormone that diminishes with age and leads to body recomposition, even without doing any exercise. Don’t get me wrong, exercise will certainly increase HGH, but isn’t necessary.
The third thing that happens over time with the clean fast is called Appetite Correction and it’s pretty fantastic. It simply means your body gets back to its normal ability to tell you when you’re truly hungry and when you’ve had enough, and also tends to change your food choice desires over time. When I began intermittent fasting at the end of October, I ate everything I had restricted over the past 20 years and I often ate too much of it. But in the last month, I’ve noticed I want to eat more things I would put on the “healthy list”.
But I’m not eating them because I should.
I’m eating them because I want to.
Big difference there.
And I also eat pizza or fries if I want to. No guilt. Nada. Zip. Zero guilt. Just pure enjoyment.
The fourth thing that makes the fat loss magic happen is that because you are going for a fairly long time without food, your insulin levels stay low. This enables you to begin using up stored glycogen residing in your liver. After a few weeks, you burn through the stored glycogen. When that happens your body begins to learn to burn the past meals you’ve been carrying around with you for so long (AKA fat). With access to all those stored calories, your body doesn’t go into starvation mode but is able to use it for fuel. You become a fat burner instead of a sugar burner. Here’s where all that extra energy comes in. You have a constant supply of it on your hips or around your waist.
All these amazing things come to you when you adopt the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle. And it IS a lifestyle. Something you can easily do for the rest of your life. No more diet obsession, plenty of food freedom and incredible health. It has been referred to by Gin Stephens, the author of Delay, Don’t Deny, as the health plan with the side benefit of fat loss.
If you’ve gotten this far, you probably want to know how to do this. First of all, I’d say buy the book Delay, Don’t Deny and read it. Read it a few times. It’s very easy and entertaining as well as chock full of info you will want to know. You’ll hear about Gin’s diet life and how it all changed when she found Intermittent Fasting. The information is easy to access and there are plenty of resources and studies given if you like to study in depth. The basic premise is to delay your eating for a certain length of time, then eat whatever you like for a smaller period of time (called opening your window), and repeat this daily.
If you want to start right away you must know that the heart of making this successful is the Clean Fast. That means during your fasting time the only things you will consume is plain black coffee, tea and water. That’s right, no stevia, cream or any flavor in your coffee or tea or water. No lemon, not anything. You can, however, have plain sparkling water or seltzer. This is where a lot of people struggle, but it is super important that you follow this. If you don’t like coffee or tea, that’s ok. They aren’t required. And remember, you are only delaying, not denying. When your “window opens” you can have whatever your heart desires. Make sure you eat enough to be completely satisfied. This can be spread out over the open window or consumed in one meal. It’s up to you. There’s no calorie counting or measuring and weighing. No tracking of macros or points is necessary. You can use this in conjunction with something like Keto or Paleo or Atkins, but it is most often not combined with any diet.
Next is choosing a window of time to eat and a period of time to fast. It should add up to 24 hours. I started with a 5-hour eating window from 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm because I wanted it to fit my life. Lots of people start here, or close, and then adjust to suit their schedules. Some people cannot imagine a 5-hour window and start with a 6 or 7 or 8-hour window and slowly decrease from there. So, with a 5-hour window like I started with, for every 24 hours I adhere to a clean fast for 19 of those hours. It isn’t as bad as it may sound because I sleep through quite a few of them. The thing is to make it work for you. And clean fast. Always clean fast. Then feast when your window opens. Then clean fast again. It’s a skill you get better at the longer you do it. There is no perfection or blowing it like a diet. You just fast clean for a length of time and then eat. I will tell you I was very hungry the first four days, but by day five it was pretty easy. It helped to keep reminding myself I was just delaying and I could eat whatever I wanted when my window opened. (It’s not a good idea to do this if you are a child, pregnant or a nursing mom).
It is so simple and by far the easiest and most enjoyable thing I have ever done as far as eating and getting healthy!
Now for a little bit about my results thus far.
First of all, I’m 63, in fairly good shape and health and don’t have a lot of fat to lose. I’d guess fifteen pounds. When you have less to lose and are past a certain age things tend to go slower in the fat loss department. So, with all that, I have managed to lose 4 pounds, 2 jeans sizes and had to tighten my bra fastening. And a gal told me my skin was glowing the other day! All this since I began intermittent fasting a couple of days before Halloween. You do know what that means, right? That means that from Halloween to New Year’s Day it was a veritable holiday feasting time during which, in the past, I would have probably gained five pounds at least and felt so guilty about every indulgence. This year I denied myself nothing that I wanted to eat and felt no guilt about it. I ate all the goodies and treats. In fact, I overate sometimes. And here I am, still four pounds down and on a steady losing trend now that I have Appetite Correction happening also. This is like a dream come true!
It feels normal and natural.
It feels like its the way we were meant to eat before it got so complicated. Besides becoming a fat burner there are the non-scale victories. I love cooking again, I have so much more time to do things, I spend less on groceries and am not buying special foods that cost a small fortune. I have a ridiculous amount of energy, I sleep better and wake up refreshed. I’m in a better mood and calmer, and I have new hair growth on a previously receding hairline, right next to my glowing skin! I’ll take it!
After a week of intermittent fasting, I shared the book and principles with a friend of mine who has struggled with her weight and some health issues too. She began her Intermittent Fasting lifestyle a week after I did. She has followed the same pattern of clean fasting for a certain length of time and then eating whatever she feels like during her window. She tearfully (happy tears) told me the other day she has now reached a weight she hasn’t been at in over 30 years. She continues to lose about a pound every week, has more energy and requires less sleep.
My other friend who shared with me about this awesomeness and who had very little fat to lose, also around my age, has reached a size she also hasn’t seen in over 30 years. But the even more exciting thing is her struggle with SAD has not happened this year. She’s now one of the most cheerful and sunny people I know. That is truly life changing!
I hope this has piqued your curiosity and you decide to give it a go. As I said, I highly recommend the book, Delay, Don’t Deny by Gin Stephens. You will have a resource at your fingertips to guide you, answer as many questions as you have and point you to a ton of scientific studies on the subject if that’s your kind of thing. You’ll be able to decide for yourself if you want to ditch the diet like I did and embrace a freeing intermittent fasting lifestyle.
And last but not least, I believe in this lifestyle so much I’ve bought extra copies of the DDD book to give away. I have one left and I would like to give it away to a reader who wants to give this a try.
I just ask that if you think that’s you, that you would make a commitment to do it for a minimum of 3-6 months to give it a fair try and that you commit to the clean fast. This is not a fast weight loss plan, but a health plan with the side benefit of losing fat.
You can ditch the diet forever.
To enter to win, all you HAVE to do is let me know in the comments that you’re willing to give it a try.