Welcome to The Fast Diet › The official Fast forums › Soul › Personal stories › So it starts, today… The Imacs story
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17 Feb 17
Hey guys and gals, my name is Ighneachan MacManus, I am 37 years old and have NEVER been on a diet in my life.
AND IT IS TIME!!! I was always a “large” gentleman, and moderately active through work, not organized exercise. My wife and I had our first child young (I was 17) so I was working 2 full time jobs and sleeping 3-5 hours a night if I was lucky, that is where the unhealthy trends started. I have 2 sons one almost 20 and the other 17, and now that my wife and I are about to be “on our own”, I have had time to stop and see the poor state I have let my health deteriorate to.
I am 6 ft 5 inches tall and 425lbs, I worked my entire life as a pipe fitter and can easily carry my weight plus a 340lb furnace up a flight of stairs and lift it into the attic by myself, which I do quite often. My weight has never really been a problem, until recently I have gotten a case of cellulitus in my knee followed by a bout of gout.
Also attributing to the wake up call.
Ill start with my old eating habits, I used to wake up and drink a cup of tea, go to work for my 9-12 hour day, and come home and consume enough food to put me to sleep, a half loaf of bread, 2 chicken cutlets, and 3/4lb of pasta with a sugary/creamy sauce would not be unusual, or a 24oz cut of prime rib with 2 bowls of mashed potatoes and a some bread for good measure. But it was only eating once a day. The only thing I ever did right was I never drank soda or
sugary drinks, or coffee, just water and plain seltzer water.
So heres my plan, and I welcome any advice, I start today. My wife already portioned everything up, but I am not sure of the portion sizes since I don’t know how much its gonna take to carry me through the day, BUT I ate normally (for me) last night, which was a large sandwich, 2 slices of pizza, a bowl of soup, and a pretzel.
Breakfast- greek yogurt and berries
Lunch- romaine lettuce salad with some olives, banana peppers, celery, and artichoke hearts.
Dinner- I am going to play by ear, BUT, probably gonna be a salad, with a chicken wrap.
I figure I am going to try to eat healthy for the 5 days obviously, and then fast for the 2 days.
Here is what my doctor said- I have to seriously cut down on the sugars, breads, and bad carbs (going to be a challenge because I am a bread and pasta guy), I have to seriously cut down on the fats of all natures of them (gonna be tough because I love fried everything). And I have to eat a minimum of 3 times a day, he would prefer 6 small meals through out my work day.
With out going into great detail he said , fruits, vegetables, yogurt, some nuts, and lean meats only, no pork, and no more than 5 times a week. Because of the gout, he wants me to limit meats and cut out pork and beef until my next appointment. So eggs and chicken breast with no skin and cooked without the bone, not fried either baked or boiled. FUN!!!
So that’s my story, I am going to put a gym in the second floor of my house, and start using it twice a day and I am going to do my best to stick to this or find something that works for me.
I would like to think I have strong will power, I guess I will know by this time tomorrow, I forgot to mention I have a commercial kitchen in my house, and I grew up the son of a baker, and one of my hobbies is making artisan breads, pastas, and pizzas. I am half Italian and half irish (probably could tell by my name), my mother is 100% Italian and my father 100% Irish, my mother born in Sicily and my father born in Lucan outside of Dublin.
Any tips and advice are welcome, please someone tell me there is a magic trick that can make this as easy as continuing with my normal routine…
thank you for your time.
Hi Imacs. You sound like a big guy with some big, ingrained habits. My experience is that changing your life after living a certain way is tough, trying to change everything in one go is even tougher. You may stick with it for bit, particularly if you have some health issues reminding you why you’re doing it, but there’s a significant risk that pretty soon you’ll give up.
My advice would be to change just one thing for now. So decide which 2 days a week you’re going to fast on and do it. Don’t worry too much about the non-fast days for now, just focus on doing the 2 days this week. Do this repeatedly for a few weeks so that it becomes a habit. You’ll start to see changes and feel better, which in turn will motivate you to change something else and so on.
You didn’t get to where you are in an instant, you shouldn’t expect to turn your life and health around instantly easier.
My 2 big lessons from this process (that I’m still learning) is that it’s about 2 things : consistency and patience. Make this a way of life and be patient, the change will come.
Thanks for your reply Rob, I thought about just doing a little at a time, I actually thought about 1 fast day, and then add a second and then when I got comfortable add 1 day of healthy eating and so on, as I progressed.
BUT, my problem is I am an all or nothing guy, just feel like if I jump right in, I may have a better chance of at least getting through the start of it.
Not sure how to word this but this is my thinking, IF, I can gt through it this way great, but If I breakdown and eat a pound of pasta one night, I will get back on it the next day, if not, I will still always do the 2 days fasting per week. And always try to get the exercise in.
So this was my first morning, eating breakfast in maybe 15 years, I haven’t eaten breakfast in a very long time. I had the yogurt and some blue berries, maybe a cup of yogurt and a handful of berries, now its lunch and a good thing because I am actually hungry for some reason?
I am not sure why I am hungry I thought the opposite would happen, since I ate last night and now ate this morning where normally I would not have eaten this morning and I would not be hungry right now..
Hi Imacs, I agree with Rob, don’t change too many things at once. Take some time to work out some low cal. meals, unless you fast on water only on your fasting days. I am personally thinking it works better to eat one or two small meals on fasting days, because the body does not cut down the metabolism as much. Some people say they can not eat a small meal, that if they eat, they start to indulge. Anyway, if you could eat a 600 kcal supper on your fast days and leave the other days alone, you have a good chance to start seeing results and it would be easy to stick at it.
I do not agree that several small meals are good for all. Some people are happy with that, others are not. It can increase appetite when you eat in the morning, and you may not want that. Still, main thing is to get your fast days sorted and see the pounds melt away. Good luck
Good for you for starting a healthy regimen to get your body and health back on track. I have been doing 5:2 since November 1, 2016. It is actually hard to imagine that it has been that long because over all it has been relatively painless. I do get hungry on my fast day (I do water only), but not usually until the evening and by that time I have enough will power to wait until morning.
Here are some things I have learned so far:
1) It seems more intimidating than it is. I have found that hunger is definitely more of a mental thing for me. Once you get a few successful fast days under your belt you will see what I mean. I try not to make too big of a deal of my fast, because then I just obsess about food.
2) I try to make sure that I break the fast with a really healthy meal. In the past I have done veggie smoothies, but those became too much work. Now I use a really healthy meal replacement shake (Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal). It is a bit pricey (but not too bad on Amazon) and the flavor is only okay, but it keeps me full for a while and it has a lot of nutrients (I don’t take a multi-vitamin anymore because this has almost everything in it). There are so many options for healthy meal replacements, and I suggest trying a few if you are not really into eating breakfast (I have never been a breakfast eater either). Anyway, point being I would make sure to have a really healthy meal to break your fast.
3) Be patient with yourself. As others have mentioned, if you find that you are trying too much all at once just go slower. When I first started I was only focused on the fasting. I didn’t care about eating especially healthy on the feed days and I did not put too much effort into exercising. After about a month of fasting successfully I started to add those in too. This has been a really successful weight-loss journey for me so far and this strategy has worked well for me. I am also an all-or-nothing personality, so I completely understand the desire to go balls to the wall. I sincerely hope that works for you, but if it doesn’t don’t give up on 5:2, just try to ease yourself in. You’ll do great!
4) Eventually exercise is crucial (though I do not recommend exercising on fast days). I bought a stationary bike (I want to say it was about $250) and that has been a really great low impact cardio that can be done at home. Find something that you can do and that you can find some level of enjoyment in. It doesnt have to be an amazing challenge, even if it is just walking that will help.
5) Reward yourself! I have found that rewarding myself on my fast days is very encouraging. I have television shows that I only allow myself to watch on successful fast days. Find something that you can reward yourself with on your fast days and you will have something to look forward to rather than just dreading the days. Also, I reward myself for successful weeks. I try to make them non-food rewards, but occasionally I will go out to eat or something. Usually I reward myself with new clothes that I need because of the weight loss or a fun activity that I have been wanting to do. Celebrate your success!
6) Try not to get too focused on the scale. I know this can be *really* hard (at least for me). You will have weeks where you lose a ton of weight and weeks where the scale will not budge even though your are doing everything you should be, just stay on track!
I am so happy for you and your life changing goals. Stay strong! It will not always be easy and you will fail – that is OK! Just keep swimming 🙂
18 Feb 17
First I wish you the best of luck. The first and hardest step is realizing you need to change.
I would caution you against doing two fast days in a row at first. Get the one day fast under your belt and then worry about a second day in a row. Generally after 24 hours of fasting the body starts making some profound shifts and the second day in a row is often the most difficult for people that are into fasting. Once your body gets more adjusted to fasting you will probably find the fasts easier. While fasting may not cut enough calories, I actually eat more on my 5 NFDs than I did per week when I wasn’t fasting, there is a lot more that goes on. You also should plan your fast days so you have easy access to bathrooms. You need to drink more and your body will start releasing more water while fasting.
I understand the all or nothing attitude. So if you do going and fast two days in a row and find it very difficult, just take pride in the knowledge that it just isn’t you. However the longer you fast the benefit there is in general, as long as you have enough body fat to sustain the fast. People that fast for many days often claim it gets easy after the 2nd or 3rd day. I just haven’t pushed that far myself yet.
When I started fasting I actually started by skipping supper here and there when I had opportunity. I knew about 5:2 but thought it sounded too hard. I just sort of slowly fell into it. I’m a big fan of making small changes but keep doing and finding out what works. Some things I’ve tried and I know they don’t matter to me, other “small” changes have had huge impacts.
For me here is what matters:
* Avoiding refined sugar – By far the biggest impact. This has greatly reduced my hunger and visceral fat.
* Lots of fruit and vegetables in my diet. It is strange the sugar in whole fruit doesn’t seem to have the negative impacts on me that refined sugar does.
* Exercising at high intensity. Short is okay, but I really need to push hard.
* Fasting really burns fat and helps build muscle
* I eat carbs but I don’t overeat them. I live in Japan which has a very carb heavy diet. I also try to eat complex carbs (like whole beans) as much as I can.
* Fats – I eat a *LOT* of nuts. Probably nearly 2 pounds of them a week. What can I say, I like them and my body doesn’t punish me for eating them.
I would expect your list would be totally different. For example I always avoid bread my whole life, so that is a big difference there! There were things I tried and abandoned because they didn’t really help or hurt me in the long run. Many of those things are helpful to other people.
Things that don’t work for me. (However they often work well for other people)
* Low salt diet, waste of time and money
* Calorie restriction is at best a temporary benefit for me by causes a great many negative impacts while I continue it for months.
* Portion control – waste of time. I now eat until I’m satisfied and then stop. (Fasting helped me tune into my body signals.)
* Calorie counting – waste of time. While it is good to have an idea of how much you eat, the amount of calories can cause me to make bad decisions. For example nuts have more calories than sweets but sweets make me fat and nuts don’t.
* Exercising extreme amounts like running until I burned over 1000 kc / day.
I guess the one thing to keep in mind is you probably won’t get everything right at first. Just keep experimenting and making progress. Don’t give up.
Hi Imacs, you have been given great advice and this is just to wish you well on your journey. Many of us find it easier to fast eating only one meal a day and I womdered if that might suit you better as that is what you are used to anyway. For example, I find eating breakfast makes me much hungrier through the day and the idea of several small meals wouldn’t suit me at all. As others have said, there are some basic principles but no one way of doing so experiment to see what makes it easier for you and stick with it. The only way to fail with this is to give up. Good luck.
19 Feb 17
WOW, Thank you ALL for the great advice and wishes. I am floored at the amount and quality of advice, I really do appreciate it…
OK, so today was day two and its 11:30pm, getting ready for bed, actually had a really busy day so getting the meals in was kind of tough (normally my weekends aren’t crazy like this).
So today I ate eggs for breakfast with a little onion and a little red pepper and a tbl spoon of mascarpone cheese. Lunch was a salad with red onions, some walnuts, a little tomato, and some vinegar and oil. Then I had a pretty good sized bowl of yogurt with a handful of granola for a snack about 3 hours later, and then about 3 hours after that I had a big salad with grilled chicken.
I have to say I am not hungry and I don’t have the energy drop like I used to at the end of the day. I seem to have energy all day now.
I did a 18 minute kettle bell work out in the AM and then I did some back and shoulder work outs an hour after dinner.
This is a lot of work, lol, but I am optimistic about it, I think I can handle this.
I am going to take your advice on the splitting up the fast days, and I am going to do my first fast day Tuesday, (no work tomorrow or Monday and I would rather fast when I am to busy to think about it)…
I cleaned out one of our extra bedrooms (we have 4 bedrooms not being used right now) and I started setting up a gym in there on the second floor, I think this will help me get the workouts in if I have to walk by that room a few times every day.
Also my wife did some shopping for different things to try, she is vegan so excited about me committing to this…
Thanks again for the advice and kind thoughts, I really feel encouraged and I am going to give it my all..
21 Feb 17
Tomorrow is going to be my fist fast day. Still going strong eating better and multiple times a day, as well as drinking lots of water…
See how I feel tomorrow..
You already only ate one meal a day ?
I will give you a personal story here, may help.
I went on that 1 meal a day type for ~28 days. Sept 15 to Oct 12th 2016. It was just water through the day, no sweetened anything, sometimes black coffee, but nothing else. Then on oct 13 I forgot to eat dinner. Literally, forgot. I remember @ 11pm or so just as I was crawling into bed. Anyway, I got caught doing other stuff, the next day, got to eating ~6pm. 2 day fast. I said, that was pretty painless, let me do 3, same result, then 5 … then 8 (Fibonacci sequence). I would almost say, you have a great habit going, just forget to eat a day, then try that for 2 and then as you like to proceed – My longest fast was 20 days. Nov 24th dinner – thanksgiving to Dec 14 – office Christmas lunch.
22 Feb 17
Wow 20 days with out eating is serious..
I didnt do 1 meal a day as a diet, lol, that was just what life gave me and it obviously isnt good for me.
So yesterday was my first fast day (2/21) and today I think I ate more than I would have liked to being on a diet, but less than I would on a normal day…
I feel good today, I did notice a feeling in my foot hopefully not getting gout…
23 Feb 17
The ting about fasting is – the less you eat, the more you’re able to stay away.
I am eating every day and will be for a few days atleast. My wife has started to say is making me foggy and sorta like I’m losing it. I now feel like cooking up my next meal, even though its not due for another 20 hrs.
The temptation to buy, stock, store, refrigerate, cook, clean and keep that next meal is almost my first thought. On a multi day fast, after 2 days or so, it fades away to nothing. You can even plan and decide what restaurant and what you’re gonna eat/make and not be bothered by it.
In fact I started it as a 13 dayer, then went to 15, then to 19 and 3/4. I was basing it on my social calendar, so I ate @ office Christmas party.
Even now, I cant tell you how nicely comfortable I was doing it. Its not as hard as 20 X 1 day, its less than 5 X as hard as a 1 day. I cant wait for my wife to conclude “I’m just as foggy as always” and I’ll be back to fasting my last 20 lb out.
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