ARE you obese or over weight and you want to unFat but don’t know where to start? Maybe you’re lacking motivation because you think to successfully lose weight, you need a gym subscription and the energy to do a complete set of burpees and other complicated workouts? Well, I have a recommendation on the best way to kickstart your weight loss journey – intermittent fasting. Five months ago, I decided I needed to unFat because my health was starting to give some very dangerous warning signals. A certain doctor had diagnosed me with hypertension but I didn’t want to take those drugs which he prescribed so I went in search of a way I could naturally reverse it and I came across cardiologist Dr Pradip Jamnadas. I wrote about what I learnt from him last week so I won’t bore you so much with the details but this week, I will tell you about how I kick started my weight loss journey with intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting involves alternating periods of fasting and eating. There are different methods of intermittent fasting or time restricted feeding and in this tech era, it is so easy to follow through with your selected plan because there are numerous Apps you can rely on to let you know when your eating window is about to open or close. They give you several fasting options and allow you to choose a plan which seems most doable for you. I chose the 16:8 plan which simply means for 16 hours of every day, you don’t eat a single thing and for 8 hours, you eat whatever you want. Now, I was coming from a background of chewing from the moment I open my eyes to bed time so as you can guess, the first few days were challenging! I was determined though, so I never quit, even when I was so hungry it felt like I would die, I heard Dr Jamnadas’ voice telling me “you won’t die if you don’t eat every two hours, you want to eat because you are a junkie”, and I pushed through.
In that initial month, I didn’t modify my diet much. I just cut out snacks and told myself I wouldn’t eat cake…LOL, if you’re a regular here, you know by now that I had a cake obsession and it’s as though I had been conditioned to believe that after having lunch, I needed something sweet to properly ‘seal’ the deal. So despite my best efforts, I found myself failing to stay away from cake, cookies and brownies after lunch, more times than I am willing to admit. But anyway, I would eat nshima for lunch as my first meal and then I would have a second meal at dinner time which I would try to keep light but fail because I had to cook nshima for Hubby and I found myself eating it a second time too. I didn’t want to go the OMAD route because I am still breast feeding so I didn’t want my milk supply to tank. By the time week two rolled around, I wasn’t suffering with hunger. Having lunch as my first meal became very normal, I wouldn’t even crave for breakfast anymore. So, essentially, bread was no longer a daily affair for me. Another thing I added to my routine was walking. Most mornings, I would do a walking workout and then over the weekends, my husband and I would take 5 to 14 kilometre walks. By the end of March, I had lost 3kgs but the real benefit I felt was internal, I even started to get near normal blood pressure readings! In April, my blood pressure readings returned to normal.
I did not, however, lose anymore weight until I modified my diet in June but I will share more on that later, for now, let me just tell you about some of the benefits of intermittent fasting:
1. Weight loss: Intermittent fasting aids weight loss by reducing calorie intake. By restricting the hours in which you eat, it becomes easier to consume fewer calories overall, leading to weight loss without explicit calorie counting.
2. Improved insulin sensitivity: Intermittent fasting can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, as it may reduce the risk of developing these conditions.
3. Increased fat burning: During fasting periods, your body taps into stored fat for energy. This enhances the fat-burning process and promotes weight loss.
4. Reduction in inflammation: Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation contributes to various health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders. By reducing inflammation, intermittent fasting may help improve overall health.
5. Boost in brain health: Studies suggest that intermittent fasting may enhance brain health by promoting the growth of new nerve cells and protecting against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Fasting also triggers the release of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which supports brain function.
Now, maybe you are hesitating because you’re thinking there’s nothing wrong with carrying around that extra flesh, I wish that were true, but it is not. Obesity has become a global epidemic, affecting millions of individuals worldwide. It is not merely a matter of appearance or body image; rather, obesity poses significant dangers to one’s health. This chronic condition increases the risk of developing various diseases and can have a severe impact on overall well-being. Understanding the dangers of obesity is crucial in highlighting the importance of maintaining a healthy weight. Here are some of the issues associated with obesity:
1. Cardiovascular diseases: Obesity significantly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and strokes. The excess weight puts additional strain on the heart, leading to high blood pressure and arterial blockages. These factors can ultimately lead to heart failure or other serious cardiac complications.
2. Type 2 diabetes: Obesity is one of the primary risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. Excess weight and body fat disrupt insulin production and utilisation, leading to insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes can result in long-term complications such as kidney disease, nerve damage, and vision problems.
3. Respiratory issues: Obese individuals are more likely to experience respiratory problems, such as shortness of breath, asthma, and sleep apnea. The excess weight can cause difficulties in breathing, impacting the quality of sleep and overall lung function.
4. Joint problems: Carrying excess weight puts immense pressure on joints, particularly in the knees and hips. This increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis, a painful condition that affects the cartilage and surrounding tissues. Obesity can accelerate the wear and tear on joints, leading to chronic pain and reduced mobility.
5. Cancer: Obesity has been linked to various types of cancer, including breast, colon, kidney, and pancreatic cancers.
6. Mental health issues: Obesity not only affects physical health but also has a significant impact on mental well-being. Individuals with obesity often face discrimination and stigma, leading to low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. These psychological effects can further exacerbate unhealthy eating habits and hinder efforts to improve overall health.
7. Complications during pregnancy: Obesity in women can contribute to complications during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and difficulties in labor.
These dangers of obesity emphasise the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight. That is why I have named this stage of my life the “UnFatting Season” because I want to lower my risk of developing all of those conditions. I also want to be able to wear any types of clothes I love without limitations in terms of worrying about whether my love handles will be sticking out or whether my belly will stand out in a not so nice way. I want to be able to play with my kids without getting tired within a minute. I want to take pictures with my husband and kids without feeling like cropping myself out afterwards because I don’t like how I look. Are you tired of being obese? Join me, let’s unFat together.
For any feedback, [email protected]