Sunday, August 25, 2019

Intermittent Fasting and Whole30 - together

I have been doing Intermittent Fasting (IF) for about a year now and just decided to combine it with Whole30; reasons coming up a little later in the post. When I decided to take the Whole30 approach while doing IF, I didn’t come across many concrete reasons for why I should or shouldn’t combine these two approaches to eating food or any examples for that matter, so I decided to document my eating journey to share some perspective; although with a sample size of one, it would be anecdotal.

I gained an unexplained amount of weight during the process of our potential move, at the time, to California within a short period of time. Now looking back, I know it was stress and cortisol levels in the body but bear with me as I walk you through my story.

My first health checkup in California revealed that I’m pre-diabetic with high cholesterol numbers and with BMI pushing me into Overweight category. Not that I needed a doctor or any tests to tell me that latter diagnosis. So, to make good use of my sabbatical, I revved up my exercise and coffee routine to no avail.

I joined a health program recommended by the doctor to learn how and what to eat that pretty much restricted me at 1200 kCal per day along with a lousy telephone-based support system. After my six weeks on the program when the needle on the scale didn’t move in the desired direction, I called the support line and rediscovered they were pretty lousy – the female voice on the other end of the line told me, I’m too impatient. I was so emotionally disturbed to get that response from a fellow female and supposedly a nutritionist that I forgot to call her names and yell at her before disconnecting the line.

I wasn’t ready to give up, so I decided to go for one of those basal metabolic rate test that required me to give up coffee, alcohol and exercise for 24-48 hours. Basically, everything I was surviving on after the phone conversation mentioned above. And if you are beginning to judge me, my alcohol consumption was within the daily 1200 calories limit. The test told me that my metabolic rate was so low that it was off the charts, the technician couldn’t map it and had to extend the graph line to tell me that I only need 700-800 kCal each day to survive. And so understandably, my 1200 kCal with three Zumba classes a day was barely keeping me at a steady weight and if I decided to skip an exercise class and go for a latte then all those liquid and well documented calories stayed comfortably on my love handles. The only benefit of this test was to confirm that, one, I wasn’t impatient and two, the ‘above-mentioned’ nutritionist cheated on her certification exams.

Fast forward a couple months; with continued workouts, a Bollywood dance class and a few episodes of emotional eating later - I was still at my heaviest weight ever and that is counting those times when there was a baby growing inside me. I stopped dancing and started running but that is a conversation for a whole another post. I even dedicated an entire year to staying ‘Active’ – my word of the year 2018, joined a running group, ran half-marathons, 5k and 10k but situation didn’t improve significantly.
That is, until I came across this concept of ‘intermittent fasting’. I started that last year August around this same time and for the first time started seeing the needle move in the desired direction. I averaged 16 hour fasts and ate within an 8-hour window, some days the fasting window is longer and a few days when I am traveling with family, the fasting window gets shorter. I lost a few pounds and plateaued but being the patient person I am, I continued with it. IF is a good program for insulin sensitivity, metabolic disorder, gut health issues, digestion but not so much for hormonal issues or for that matter parasites either. If there is an underlying issue that remains unaddressed, its is very difficult to heal completely no matter how good a program might be.

I saw my health deteriorate, possibly due to the toxins being released in my body from the stored fat sources. My liver couldn’t process the toxins, my adrenals were fatigued, I had a lot of water retention specially after my long practice runs… overall indication, I had to change something.

I intuitively knew that gluten is not a friend but couldn’t give up roti (whole wheat unleavened flat bread) although I did give up refined flour, sugar and rice for the longest time , kidding that long time was only in my mind; it wasn’t very long, only 2-3 months at a time with all the temptations around. DH started making whole wheat sourdough bread at home, so I can still eat bread. And then there was a new banh-mi sandwich place close to home that made the most delicious after-hiking food. Also, there were Indian sweets to be consumed and new recipes to be tried and parties to be hosted and festivals to be celebrated. Long story short, I needed a regimented food elimination diet and whole 30 fit the bill.

So, here I am deciding to continue with IF protocol while eating Whole 30 recommended foods. When I started documenting these thoughts, it was meant to be a single post with short introduction followed by my 30-day journey and a conclusion. Clearly, I’m not a woman with few words and the 30 days are yet to be documented. So, before I add many more words, let me just conclude by saying -
To be continued…

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea you were dealing with all this as you made your move to California. Hang in there!