From 125 kgs to 65 kgs - My journey with Intermittent Fasting..

A sustainable lifestyle change

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From 125 kgs to 65 kgs - My journey with Intermittent Fasting..

Around three years ago, I decided to start on a journey, that was touted as a revolutionary approach to health and wellness - Intermittent Fasting. At first, I was skeptical, I dismissed it as just another fad in the world of diets, it seemed like it was filled with grand promises but seemed to lack real results. Little did I know that intermittent fasting would prove to be much more than that, it turned out to be a sustainable lifestyle change that has transformed the way I approach food and my overall well-being. 

Like most of us, I had tried various diets over the years, each with its own set of rules and restrictions, that often left me feeling deprived and unsatisfied. As a passionate cook and food lover, my love for experimenting with various cuisines often led to weight gain, eventually making me a 125-kilogram obese girl, that too in my mid-twenties. Countless failed attempts with various diets like Atkins, Keto, Low carb and Detox left me disheartened and frustrated. Although diets like Keto and Atkins showed /yielded immediate results they were notoriously difficult to sustain as it led to moments of binge eating, followed by a strict diet to compensate making my weight loss efforts useless/futile. 

To be honest, my journey towards a fitter version of myself took a positive turn when I discovered intermittent fasting. The concept of intermittent fasting intrigued me as I no longer had to focus on what I had to eat instead all my focus was on when I had to eat - this shift in mindset was motivating enough for me to give this diet a shot! During the initial days, I did face several challenges, breaking away from traditional eating patterns and adopting a new routine required discipline and patience but guess what - I did it !! 

Being a 125 kg obese girl in my mid-twenties was not only challenging physically but emotionally too. Struggling with confidence due to my weight, my life took a defining turn one evening, as I walked back from the college library during exam time. Sleep-deprived and surviving on junk food, the mere 800-meter walk to my apartment left me exhausted and gasping for breath, leading me to skip an important exam the following day. That moment was a wake-up call, and I knew I had to change my lifestyle and my relationship with food.  Driven by guilt, I wasted no time in joining the university gymnasium. Serendipity played its part, and I was fortunate to meet a fitness trainer who also practiced as a physiotherapist. She introduced me to the concept of intermittent fasting, and although I faced immense challenges initially I was determined not to give up this time. 

The first month was the most challenging, but I clung to the belief that if you persist with a new routine for 21 days, it becomes a habit. So, I persevered, determined to make this change a permanent part of my life. They say you can't exercise your way out of an unhealthy diet, and my past experiences proved this to be true. In my twenties I trained vigorously, I trained like a monster, but without a disciplined diet, the excess weight remained stubbornly in place. 

What is Intermittent Fasting and how does it work? 

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that alternates between periods of fasting and eating. This concept is so unlike traditional diets because most diets focus on what to eat and not on when to eat. There are different approaches to intermittent fasting such as the 16/8 method where one fasts for 16 hours and consumes food during the 8-hour window, then there is the 5:2 method, where you are to eat normally for 5 days and fast or have restricted calorie intake for 2 days. 

Photo by <a href=" Editor&utm_medium=referral">Brooke Lark</a> on <a href=" Editor&utm_medium=referral">Unsplash</a>
You can't exercise your way out of a bat diet - Nutrition is the first step toward weight management 

What I ate the first month of intermittent fasting? 

My trainer suggested a balanced approach where I ate normally for five days while fasting for two days, usually Mondays and Fridays. On Normal eating days, there were no strict calorie restrictions, but I had to eliminate processed foods, sugars and soda from my diet - a challenging diet, considering these had been my college staples. 

Breakfast - For breakfast, I would usually opt for 2-3 eggs (boiled, or omelet) with 2 pieces of toast or a bowl of cereal with milk and one banana. 

Lunch - Lunch would include a wholesome North-Indian thali which included two chapatis, one portion of veggies, 2-3 pieces of chicken (breast or thigh), some rice, a bowl of dal and a bowl of curd. 

Dinner - I have a thing for oriental food, so dinner would usually feature noodles or ramen or nasi-goreng. 

Now comes the important part - what I ate during the two days (Mondays and Fridays) when I was required to fast -  On fasting days, I was allowed to drink green tea, and juice, have fruit salads or sip on vegetable clear soup. Green tea and ample water (up to 8 glasses) were my allies during the fasting period. 

Adherence to the new routine - How I forced myself to stick to this new diet? 

The first two weeks witnessed some cheating on my part, but a moment of self-realization jolted/forced me into accountability. I realized I was not cheating anyone else, but myself. From that moment on, my commitment grew unwavering, and Mondays and Fridays that I once dreaded transformed into days of resilience and determination. And guess what happened after 30 days of sticking to this new routine? I was down to 118 kilos, I lost about 7 kilos in the first month, and this motivated me to keep going!  To be honest I did not see any visible results - as in a 118-kilogram obese person and a 125-kilogram obese person look almost the same size. But goodness gracious I did not feel the same, I felt like I have achieved something big, something that I'd been wanting for years but was unable to achieve. 

My six months of progress with Intermittent Fasting : 

My journey through six months of intermittent fasting unfolds with a simple powerful narrative. The first month set the foundation, as I forged a new routine and embraced it.  By the second month, this new routine had evolved into a habit, I was determined to break free from the shackles of obesity that had held me captive for way too long. The repercussions of my excess weight were undeniable - they echoed through every facet of my life. My social life suffered, my academics suffered, and my well-being was compromised. This realization stuck with me and I was not willing to endure this suffering anymore. I discovered self-motivation, a fire within that no external force could ignite. It's said that you can lead a horse to water, but it will only drink when it's ready. I understood that real change comes from within. Motivation must arise from one's purpose and I had found mine. 

The 5:2 schedule of fasting for two days and resuming normal eating for five became my companion during the second and third months. With newfound energy and focus, I tackled gym sessions better, propelled by the vision of shedding extra weight. The scale confirmed my progress - within the initial three months, I reached 105 kilograms, an accomplishment that significantly altered my mindset and pushed me to continue. I sought no validation from others, this was a battle fought on my terms, a battle against my former self. As the three-month milestone passed I transitioned to the 16/8 approach to intermittent fasting - fasting for 16 hours and eating within the 8-hour window.  From that point onward, my practice shifted to reverse intermittent fasting where my day began with my meal at 8 AM, lunch at 1 PM and dinner at 4 PM, followed by fasting until the next morning. This new schedule worked wonders for me, I was more conscious of my choices as I resisted junk food, I was driven by the fear of undoing my hard work. With time, my relationship with food mended and by the fourth month the changes were evident to my friends and family.  Compliments flowed in, and college became a realm of success, boosted by newfound confidence in my appearance. People around me started taking me seriously, I was no longer that obese girl who liked to cook and eat - I was not defined by my past anymore. Then the unexpected happened - friends and family turned to me for nutrition and fitness advice, a role I never envisioned. 

By the sixth month, my weight was at 95 kilos, a remarkable achievement of shedding 30 kilograms within half a year. This remarkable progress which seems extreme is grounded in the science of weight loss, yes obese people lose weight quicker than their leaner counterparts - 

 Check out this article to know why! 

Photo by <a href=" Editor&utm_medium=referral">Kelly Sikkema</a> on <a href=" Editor&utm_medium=referral">Unsplash</a>
Exercise not only changes your body, but it also changes your mind, your attitude and your mood.  Weight loss is 20% exercise and 80% Nutrition, you can't achieve your goal just by excessive physical exertion, find your balance. 


The science behind intermittent fasting - 

Intermittent fasting triggers several physiological changes in the body that contribute to weight loss. During fasting periods the body utilizes the fat stores for energy, promoting fat burning and consequently leading to weight loss. Neuroscientist Mark Mattson at John Hopkins University has studied intermittent fasting for over 25 years and his study concludes that human bodies have evolved and are capable of going without food for hours or even several days, in prehistoric times (before humans learned to farm) humans were hunters and gathered food who evolved to survive - and thrive for long periods without consuming any food. 

Mattsons study has revealed that fasting improves biomarkers of disease, reduces oxidative stress and improves memory function. The one hypothesis that I particularly found interesting was the concept - that during fasting, the cells in the body are under mild stress and these cells respond to stress adaptively, eventually enhancing their ability to cope with stress and can resist disease. This is similar to what exercise does to our body, when we exercise our muscles and cardiovascular system is put under stress, once we follow it up with a period of rest and give our body the time to recover, eventually making it stronger. 

My personal experience with intermittent fasting - 

Contrary to my apprehensions intermittent fasting wasn't about deprivation, instead, it offered a sense of freedom and mindfulness in my relationship with food. One of the most significant benefits I experienced was increased energy levels throughout the day. Rather than feeling sluggish post meals, my body seemed more energized and focused. I found myself better able to concentrate on tasks, both at work and in my personal life. Another aspect that surprised me was the positive impact it had on my digestion, it gave my digestive system ample time to reset and rejuvenate. 

The most gratifying outcome of intermittent fasting has been its effect on my weight management. While it is not a quick-fix solution for weight loss, I noticed a gradual and steady decline in excess weight, leading to a healthier body and a more confident version of myself. This eating pattern has enabled a shift in mindset towards food and nourishment. I learned to listen to my body and recognized the difference between true hunger and emotional eating. Food to me was a source of comfort however with this new shift in mindset food became a means to fuel my body with nourishing and wholesome choices. 

Today, as I reflect on my journey, I am filled with gratitude - Intermittent fasting has taught me the importance of patience, discipline, and self-awareness in fostering a healthier relationship with food and my body. I consider it to be a powerful tool that can change the way one looks at nutrition and well-being. 

I encourage anyone considering intermittent fasting to approach it with an open mind. As with any lifestyle modification, it's essential to listen to your body, seek guidance from health professionals and allow oneself to adapt to the new way of eating. My persistent efforts led me to lose a whopping 60 kilograms - yes you heard/read that right, I lost a whole person just by sticking to my usual exercise routine and by embracing intermittent fasting, today I am 65 kilograms and this story started with 125 kilograms, are you still hesitant about intermittent fasting? 


References : 

Collier R. Intermittent fasting: the science of going without. CMAJ. 2013 Jun 11;185(9):E363-4. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.109-4451. Epub 2013 Apr 8. PMID: 23569168; PMCID: PMC3680567.

The Obesity Code, by Jason Fung, MD (Greystone Books, 2016).

Early Time-Restricted Feeding improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure and Oxidative Stress Even without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes. Cell Metabolism, May 2018

Effects of intermittent fasting on health, aging, and disease. de Cabo R, Mattonson MP. New England Journal of Medicine, December 2019.

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