Intermittent fasting works brilliantly and fast. And it ruined my life!
Two weeks ago Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager weighed themselves on the Today show as they began their public intermittent fasting regime. Jennifer Lopez, Hugh Jackman, Terry Cruz and Beyonce all swear by the practice.
You can add Beth Ellyn to the list. I lost 9.3 percent of my body weight in 60 days. This is an amazing feat for me, a post-menopausal woman no less.
Two Things Working Against My Weight Loss
I had three things working against any major weight loss. First was my tortoise-slow metabolism. Your basal metabolic rate-the energy it takes to maintain your muscles, bones and organ activity-starts to drop when you turn 25.
Specifically, metabolic rates typically decline two percent or more per decade.
I am staring down by 40th 29th birthday. I’m four decades past 25. Do the sad math.
This weight loss is even more remarkable because I am in pretty good shape, the second factor against me. I work out with a personal trainer. I do yoga, kick boxing and Zumba. I lift weights, so important in building bone, another key factor in successful weight loss efforts.
I also eat clean. No sugary deserts. No sodas. No white pasta. Lots of fruits, nuts and vegetables. I smoke my own salmon. I only eat meat when I (rarely) find myself in a rapturous steak house. (Hey, I live in Las Vegas…)
How I Lost So Much Weight So Quickly
Since the weight loss gods were against me, how did I drop so much weight so quickly? By fasting intermittently. I ate healthy from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm every day. Then I ate nothing and drank only ice water after 4:30 pm.
A by-product of this eating regime was I now got the recommended eight hours of sleep a night. I was sooo hungry by 9 pm I figured I might as well go to bed. My strength was literally waning. Plus I couldn’t cheat and snack while I was asleep.
Sleep is another key ingredient in losing weight. And this was good sleep. My sleep app (I use Sleep Cycle) reported my sleep efficiency was typically in the 80s and 90s.
I was amazed and oh so proud as I watched the weight disappear. I had to tighten the chest strap on my heart rate monitor. It keep falling to my waist!
The Distressing Downside of Intermittent Fasting
But my social life was shrinking too. I am a real estate broker, so it is easy to eat during that eight-hour window. But most of my friends have jobs that keep them at their desks way past 4:30.
Every time I joined them for dinner at 7 or 8, I always gained at least one pound the next day.
In the early days of my fast, I would turn down the social invitations if it involved food after 4:30. But over time I grew lonely. I missed the social interaction.
And some of my favorite classes at the gym were at 6 pm. I just didn’t have the strength to work out during the fast. Forget driving home!
I used to be a night owl. I did all my marketing at night after dinner, when life is quiet, no phones, no texts. I found it difficult to squeeze in marketing during my busy days during the times I was also eating.
What I Decided to Do
I decided a compromise was in order. During the week I stuck to my fasting (unless there was a special event I just couldn’t miss.) But on week-ends, social interactions came first.
I gained back a third of the weight I lost. But I am OK with that. I am happy with my choice …and that’s what really counts.