And maybe apart from my first few years on this planet, I’ve pretty much always been a fatty. At least a bit chubby and outright fat at other times.
I recently found an old Google Sheet from 2008 (unsure if Google Sheets existed back then, if not then I used Excel and the sheet was created after the fact) and it listed me as 123.5 kg. Given my height of 174cm that is a BMI of 40.8. So I guess that’s what you’d call morbidly obese even. I am rather sure I’ve seen a scale at 124 at some point but I highly doubt I’ve ever reached more than that. Now I do know that there are others much fatter than me, maybe even people that would call me chubby instead of fat but I think we can all be fat, just in different degrees of course. Wouldn’t want to offend anybody of course!
My main problem here is luckily not genetics nor some disease but simply being an idiot. Eating too much at times, at other times eating the wrong thing and then sometimes eating way too much of the wrong thing. I do like to combine stuff of all sorts but combining those two is NOT a very good idea.
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So what have I done about it previously?
I will go into more recent attempts of losing weight further down, however previous to that – in the time of 2008-2014 I’ve used numerous “techniques”.
One of those was the “Schlank im Schlaf” or, roughly translated, Slim during Sleep method. That would focus on carbs in the morning, little carbs during lunch and pure protein for dinner. Combined with that lots of weight lifting or exercise. If I recall correctly, the idea is to damage the muscles by training, giving the body proteins in the evening to repair that damage to small degree as well as satisfying hunger and the rest would have to be taken from fat storage.
Worked quite well for a while, that was the previously most successful attempt of a total of ~15kg lost.
Other than that, there were no noteworthy attempts otherwise.
And what am I doing about my weight now or rather what have I just tried?
Water fasting, plain and simple. I have never consciously fasted before and while there was the occasional day or maybe even two being sick and not having any inclination to eat at all, I sure as hell have never done it purposefully to reduce weight.
While water fasting is essentially about detoxing and cleansing the body, as well as reducing body weight for some, I mostly do it for the latter. Before I go into the why water fasting and whatnot, here’s the overview of how my days have been:
- Day 0: Saturday, ended the day with a mango and a pineapple, something somewhat easy to digest
- Day 1: Sunday, around 6pm the hunger started kicking in and made it hard to focus on anything else, I decided to finish a game and start another to keep myself occupied – helped slightly
- Day 2: Monday, the hunger wasn’t all that bad anymore but my god, joint pain & an overall feeling of being weak. I initially decided to go to the cinema to occupy myself but after my trip to the grocery store, this seemed to be an impossible task
- Day 3: Tuesday, woke up in the middle of the night. Not sure why but joint pain greeted me right when I woke up. Apart from the pain, I felt quite strong, energetic and just awake, conscious.
While feeling okay I did have quite a hard time to walk short (8-10 minutes) distances and I couldn’t go at my usual speed. After walking for these distances I felt close to having cramps in my legs. A bit light headed every now and again and the hunger was mostly quite manageable. Short spikes of hunger occurred whenever I smelled food, to be expected really. Hello Ghrelin my old friend …
- Day 4 & 5: Incredibly similar to day 3, sleep was still interrupted and feeling of overall weakness, lack of my typical agility and speed while walking. Combined with feeling weak, the lack of sleep surely added to being quite tired at the end of the day.
- Day 6: sleep was still disturbed and I woke up 3 times in the middle of night, completely out of the blue. While walking my usual walk to the bus was still tedious, it was much easier than the previous days. The weight loss went down from 1.6kg previous day to 0.5kg today – without any food I’d suppose that’s simply the amount of weight lost due to fat burning.
If it took this long to shed all the water weight, that would also mean that the previous 1.2kg and 1.6kg were roughly 0.5kg fat and the rest being water weight.
- Day 7: the day I decided to end the fast. This is due to my girl friend coming over and I don’t want to impose my current experiments onto her and the keto-breath is surely nothing I wanted to share.
Another 0.6kg loss today and since I was more active yesterday, this means 0.5 is apparently my current fats worth without much activity. Also didn’t wake up during the night. A welcome change for sure. 😉
While the fasting reached 6 full days at 3am I decided to continue it as long as possible, which coincided with my lunch break at work at 2 pm.
Breaking the fast
Broke my fast with a stew of which I blended half of it to make it smoother and easier to digest. I considered this list to break the fast. It seemed reasonable so I didn’t look further for more information.
Since I was fasting only 6 full days, I decided not to go the slow route but a 6.5 (due to half way making it into a soup). 80g of carbs in the entire thing fully made out of vegetables so it would break my ketosis as well but overall rather low amount of 330 calories roughly.
In total 155 hours of fasting. The result of that being 5.8kg lost. A weight gain afterwards due to food intake, water weight gain and so on was expected. This is why I went with a low carb yet not keto friendly diet for the next week.
I’d assume after an entire week, the results should be more or less conclusive.
At first I was gaining a lot of the weight back, naturally. A week after breaking the fast I lost a total of 3.8kg, so the gain was limited to about 2kg which I anticipated more or less.
So why water fasting?
Why not a reasonable method like working out and reducing caloric intake like normal people?
When I first started losing weight in ~2015 or so, I used a combination of intermittent fasting out of sheer laziness (eating 2 times made it simpler for me) and a low-carb diet. So my lunch would be as big as I wanted it to be but be a varied a salad based meal (on some days more salad, on some days less – depending on my companies’ canteens supply) and the evening meal would be mostly proteins & fat, bacon, eggs, etc. And coke light, lots of it.
And that simplicity let me go without any gym activity from ~120 to 96 kg. But then a change in my life made it very apparent that this simplicity built upon a consistent daily routine was very fragile and inflexible. Which meant a slight weight gain and then stagnation trying to cope with that change. Even though I came back to my old simplicity with slight adaptations and had success with that, I decided to try water fasting after initially seeing this video.
Now just to be clear, this wasn’t the sole motivation behind it. I will leave a bunch of scientific research links down below as reference.
What about the future though?
Looking back at the experience, I can’t say I enjoyed any part of it. This may very well be due to me not preparing well for it, this may be due to only doing it for 6 days. All possible, however that’s the experience I have and can share.
I’d still like to try a Ramadan inspired version of fasting and see how that works out. 🙂 I’ve still got about ~16kg worth of experimentation “on me”.
Links followed by personal notes to summarize the findings most relevant for me. Also note, not all of them are directly relevant to the topic at hand even but still interesting or at least related to weight loss
– overall explanation as to why fasting does not destroy muscle mass (incl. heart) as long as fat reserves exist
– dietary restriction, benefits include: insulin sensitivity, stress resistance, reduced morbidity, and increased life span
– intermittent fasting: glucose regulation and neuronal resistance
– positive for blood pressure, 2-3 days of fruit only pre-fast, 10-11 days of fasting, 6-7 days of low fat, low sodium, vegan diet afterwards
– food deprivation on rats, brain tryptophan and 5-hydroxyindolylacetic acid concentrations both increased while changes in 5-hydroxytryptamine (seratonin) were much smaller
- http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/48/5/1197.short &
– 30 day fast during Ramadan, all values improve or stay the same apart from a significant increase in LDL (bad cholesterol)
– replacing caloric drinks with non caloric drinks / water results in 2-2,5% weight reduction on avg
– hypocaloric diet +500 ml water ingestion before meal reduced energy intake, leading to greater weight loss