Project 50

Menu Close

Page 3 of 4

Waisting away

Blue shirt to white shirt – 15 days.

Blue shirt: 114.1Kg, 28.7% body fat, BMI 34

Pink Shirt: 111.1Kg, 27.0% body fat, BMI 33

White shirt: 109.2Kg, 26% body fat, BMI 32.5

Blue shirt: waist size – 40 inches and stretching it. White shirt: wearing 38 inch waist trousers and going to have to go shopping for 36 inch waist trousers.

No need for a long post, a picture says my usual thousand words.

Temptation

OK, so if you know the link between title and picture then my friend, you can officially class yourself as ‘awesome’ and savor the fact that you have an excellent taste in music.

If you are of that era of above said band, then I have some bad news. You have an over 40% chance of currently being either pre-diabetic or even a fully-certified type-II diabetic and you won’t know about it. If that goes unchecked and you progress further then you will, most likely die earlier than would normally be expected and you will have a very high chance of developing several nasty chronic diseases that will most certainly add to your demise.

As a diversion from the main topic of this blog post I want to scare you, and hopefully scare you into making some changes like I have done. Just some facts from a large group of US studies on the potential health outcomes from untreated type-II diabetes:-

Heart and Blood Vessel Disease – heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure

Nerve Damage – tingling in the fingers that moves up the arm (I had this), digestion problems causing a lot of nausea (I had this, but always thought it was IBS), erectile dysfunction (not making a comment on this one)

Kidney damage, eye damage, slow healing, increased susceptibility to bacterial and fungal diseases.

Sleep apnea and snoring – I have been a bad snorer for years. My snoring has significantly reduced and my sleep quality has improved dramatically since May 7th

Alzheimer’s disease. I really don’t want to end up down this pathway. After watching my father degenerate over 7 years with Alzheimer’s this is one thing I want to avoid.

In 2007 the cost of treating diabetes (type-I and type-II) in the United States was €174 BILLION, in 2012 it was $245 Billion and it is estimated that cost will be nearer to $500 billion in 2035. The majority of spending has now been skewed to treatment of chronic diseases associated with Type II diabetes. Before 2050 this is likely to hit very close to €1 TRILLION dollars. On top of that there is an estimated cost burden of over $30 billion to treat ‘undiagnosed diabetics’. This is completely and totally unsustainable. It is also totally preventable and easily treatable. However, the journey to that treatment is not easy, it will require work, it will require sacrifices and it forces you to face temptation, serious serious temptation.

TEMPTATION

Late at night, the kids want supper and they want toast. The smell of the toast wafts across the kitchen tempting my nostrils and making my belly crave carbs. I need to hold the hot buttered toast in my hand, stuff it into my mouth and savor the flow of processed fat and sugar into my throat. But I won’t let it happen.

There is a noise coming from the kitchen cupboard, can’t quite make it out. I open the door and the noise gets louder, it’s three packets of biscuits, screaming at me to eat them. Ginger nuts, Oaties and Chocolate Digestives are all ganging up on me and want me to tear into them and devour them. I would normally give into this pleading and not stop until all that is left is crumbs and an empty packet, but not tonight.

Cheese sandwiches, the staple of my late night snacking. I can taste the processed cheese slices, mixed with the creamy Flora on some doughy white bread. I can feel my teeth sinking into the bread, biting a big chunk, the taste, the bland bland cheesy taste, I want it, I need it. But I need to live.

What’s in the box. I have the curiosity of a puppy, need to know, smells good, come to me, come to me my precious. Can it be, yes, yes it is, its a pizza. Oh Lord, it’s a pizza, a big 18 inch pizza, cheese, tomato, ham, pepperoni, spicy beef and there are dips, sweet sweet garlic dip. I want it, I want it all, no one is having any of it, I have to stuff it all in my mouth, make myself feel sick, I need the hit, I have to get this thing inside me. Get away, what are you doing, it’s my pizza, you get your own, I will fight you for it, PUT THAT SLICE DOWN. But I don’t eat it, I walk away

You’re having a take-away tonight, excellent. Beef, black bean sauce and noodles will go down a treat. The portion will be huge, probably enough to feed 4, but I am going to eat it, but I don’t want to be greedy, I won’t eat it all tonight – I will save some. Putting fork down on an empty plate, mmmm that was nice, so nice in fact that I am going to go back and finish the rest now, I just want that nice food-induced, MSG laden hit to send my brain into the clouds. I don’t care if tomorrow my IBS is going to go into overdrive, my gut will spasm so hard that I will have to crawl on my knees to the bathroom because the pain is so bad, i want it all NOW. But I don’t.

Don’t tell my wife, but I am in love with another woman, her name is Krystal. I met Krystal about a year ago, and I see her most days, but my wife doesn’t even suspect. I have never been closer than about 10 feet to Krystal, and it is usually across a counter top with a glass barrier. Krystal makes my lunchtime wrap, always the same thing, made exactly the same way. Krystal deviates from the menu, she doesn’t put on 4 slices of bacon, she has been known to put on 20, along with a handful or two of cheese, jalapenos, olives, onions, lots of thick BBQ sauce. She then toasts it and hands it to me. Our fingers have never accidentally touched as she hands me the sandwich, but the electric feeling as I receive the hot package wrapped in the grease-proof paper makes my heart skip a beat. The over 800 calories will be gone in 2 minutes, but the tin of Pringles I bought at the same time will continue the hit. Krsytal can’t remember my name, to her I am just that slightly quirky guy from that office next door that likes BBQ melt with a shit load of bacon. She doesn’t realise it, she is my enabler. But I don’t see Krystal anymore, the streak has been broken.

Pringles, why the hell did I have to mention Pringles. I can buy a long tube of Pringles at the nearby motorway service station, this is just 12km away from my house and is one junction on the motorway. I will have those Pringles finished before I have even hit the 300m to exit sign on the motorway. If there was a World Championships for eating Pringles, I would rule the world. I am the master at consuming 1000 calories in under 8 minutes. In that same 8 minutes, my body probably exerted 40 or 50 calories in changing gear, and will probably exert about the same when I drag my sorry ass from the car to the sofa. That is 1000 calories that my body doesn’t need, I am not planning on running a marathon later, might see if there is one on TV if I can be bothered to find the TV remote control, but I am not ‘fueling’ for something highly energetic. But now I don’t pop, and now I have stopped.

It isn’t my body that needs the food, it is my brain, and to be honest the brain doesn’t care if I get that hit from 1000 calories of crispy sour cream goodness or a line of cocaine, it wants the chemical hit, that is all it knows, it’s what it needs.

Hello, my name is Iain Shaw, and I am an addict.

That Holy Hiit moment !!!

Exercise, on 800 calories a day, you’re having a laugh right ? No, apparently not, it is key to the success of the programme and also vital for burning off some of that lard. This was going to be tough, fitness was something I had started to struggle with, and one of the flags that had shown me that something needed to be done.

As mentioned in previous posts, I have been a runner, I have been quite a successful runner. Few people will know that in my early 20s I ran a sub-11 second 100m, I was fit, very very fit. Due to an accident that left me with a serious shin issue, running got left behind for a few years (make that 15 years) and fitness levels dropped. I took up running again in 2006 as a way of raising some much needed funds for the neonatal intensive care unit in Galway where my son had spent 11 days. I ran a marathon, a half marathon, numerous 5K and 10K races and even competed in track and field events. In 2009 I even represented my club, Athenry AC, in the national masters track and field, taking a whole bag of medals and a few national titles: https://www.athenryac.com/news/club-news/2009-08/super-sec-turns-power

However over the past 4 or 5 years as the weight has gone on, my ability to run, and even my motivation to run has reached rock bottom. Recently in a training session with my younger athletes I tried to run about 50m at speed – I had to lie down and even inquired if their was a defib anywhere close – such was the trough I found myself in.

So, now I find myself looking at the ‘Fast 800’ bible and Dr Mosley is telling me I have to start to exercise again. I did like the part where he said that it could be done in small bursts of high intensity, the so called ‘High Intensity Interval Training – HIIT’. Couple of times a week, on an exercise bike, warm up 5 mins, 20s all out effort, 3 min recovery and then repeat. His warning of, ‘maybe just do it once at first’ sort of passed me by – sure, I am still an athlete at heart, I can do this.

I have an exercise bike, a very nice exercise bike, got it a long time ago, and probably like most exercise bikes up and down the country it makes an excellent hanger for clothes and has a great ability to attract dust. Just like writing this blog, and telling people what I am doing, the bike had to be taken from a place of concealment to a place of prominence, and no better place than in the front room in front of the big front window. So after negotiating it down the narrow attic steps it was set up in the front room, where it promptly sat idle for about 4 or 5 days. The kids liked it, my youngest has taken to it quite nicely, but I still viewed it with suspicion. Then one night I decided I had to do it, I did the first HIIT session, doing three repeats of 20s all out effort. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy – what was all the fuss about. Feeling very proud I uploaded my exercise data from my Garmin to my web account, looked at the effort and the heart rate – barely a flicker on the heart rate trace, I think my granny could of done better, and she has been dead for over 40 years.

Take 2: Seems that I missed out an important instruction. For the 20s effort the resistance on the bike has to be turned up to 11. By 15s into the interval the legs should feel like they have gone numb and you should just about make 20s – wasn’t quite liking the sound of this, but hey, If Dr M says it is good for me, who am I to argue. Here goes. Five minutes gentle pedaling, turn resistance to max (it actually is 11 on the bike) and go for it, 120 rpm and legs going like a fly in its last moments of existence. Fifteen seconds in and my legs appear to have come detached from my body. Twenty seconds, resistance back down to 2. Could feel that alright, but quite manageable, starting to sweat, breathing heavy. Three minutes of gentle pedaling, resistance to 11, 20 seconds of effort. Holy Shit that was hard, not sure this is a good idea. Three minutes rest, don’t feel too bad. Lets go for it one more time – BIG MISTAKE !!!

Resistance to 11, pump hard. Five seconds in, not going to make 20 seconds, hang on in there. Ten seconds in, think I might die here tonight. Fifteen seconds, I can see a bright light and someone beckoning me towards the light, but I only have 5 to go, pedal away from the light. Twenty seconds in, resistance to 1, I didn’t die……. yet. Three minutes of gentle pedaling. I don’t feel too good, kind of light headed, can feel the blood pumping in my fingernails. Think I might need a lie down after this. I stumble off the bike – obviously remembering to hit the stop button on my Garmin though. I lay down on the beanbag in the front room and fell asleep instantly for 30 minutes. Waking up I feel very light headed and just a bit concerned. I manage to stand and get some water, but I now understand how baby Bambi felt on that ice.

Why did I feel so bad, exercise has never done this to me before, even in sprint training where my eyeballs have literally popped out of their sockets, have I felt this bad. Maybe something to do with 800 calories a day and I haven’t eaten anything for about 6 hours and haven’t really eaten any carbs for 3 weeks. However, in the midst of feeling bad, I also feel good, very good. The warm post-exercise glow is on me.

Moral of story: yes, exercise is good, exercise is necessary but when on a calorie-restricted, and time-restricted eating programme you need to be smart how you do this, because if you don’t it’s going to hurt. I am still experimenting with the whens and hows, but seem to be better at this now. High-intensity stuff within an hour or two of eating, weight training pre-eating followed by a nice dose of protein-laden food – I usually take a 200 calorie, 30g protein shake, and bizarrely enough my ‘long cycles’ – sessions of 40 minutes or more at steady pace can be done late at night, pre-bed and I have no issues.

Three weeks in, 10Kg lost, body fat down by 4%, BMI down 3 points, blood pressure 126/92 – significant improvement. Starting to feel good, liking what I am seeing in the mirror.

Then it happened

Weight loss is a strange thing in that you don’t really notice it happening. Yes, you see numbers change in front of you (hopefully) every day you stand on the scales, but what does it really mean ? What does 5Kg of weight loss really look like ? Changes in your body do, however, get noticed by other people, particularly those you don’t see everyday. On the Friday of the second week of my journey I was at almost 7Kg down, over a stone, and I met up with two friends I hadn’t seen for a couple of weeks and to protect their identities we will call them Bominick and Bolin. Both Bom and Bol instantly commented on the weight loss, how obvious it looked. I said it was just the clothes I was wearing etc., but no, they were adamant it looked like I had lost some serious weight. So there you had it, in 10 days I had made a change that was externally obvious, and I couldn’t of been happier.

I had heard before that 1 stone is the magical figure to hit before people notice the difference. As much as watching the reading on your scales drop is motivating, there is no better feeling than hearing ‘have you lost weight’, or ‘you look good, the weight loss suits you’.

I also noticed a few other changes happening, and some of them weren’t subtle. Back to Bom and Bol – I was wearing a T shirt I hadn’t been able to wear comfortably for some time and I didn’t feel self conscious that it was pulling on my big belly and accentuating and already significant problem. I was also wearing jeans. I haven’t wore jeans for 3 or 4 years now as it was more comfortable to wear jogging bottoms or a pair of utility trousers I got when working on an event a few years before. But this day I decided to put on jeans and the button did up, and not only that, it didn’t feel as if I was getting cut in half with them being so tight. The other not subtle change came a few days later when getting ready for work and I was putting on my suit. I picked up a white shirt that normally presents a problem as it is an 18 inch collar and I need 18 1/2 or 19 to be comfortable. Not only did the collar button do up without issue, but I could also put two fingers down the collar without cutting off circulation to my fingers and my neck. Dramatic change come with just a small loss of weight, it was the sign I was looking for that I was doing the right thing.

There is a trade off to all of the above, and a few months ago I did something really stupid. I threw away all my old clothes in a fit of despair as I spat, ‘why bother keeping them, I’m never going to fit into the fucking things’. Ooooops

Weak One

No, that’s not a spelling mistake, that was my concern once this all got started on week one, that I would end up being a weak one. To consume just 800 calories was going to leave me exhausted and unable to function. When I haul my lard-laden ass up the stairs at work to my office I probably expend 800 calories. I have a Garmin watch and it’s online presence tells me that everyday for a man of my stature I should be consuming nearly 4000 calories to survive. On a side note I think that ‘smart’ watches are themselves contributing to some health issues – they tell you to consume 4000 calories, so you consume 4000 calories. They tell you to walk 10,000 steps, and you do 10,000 steps. But what if 4000 calories for your particular days efforts are too many, what if you could easily do 20,000 steps but the watch says you have hit the target. Common sense needs to prevail. Don’t get me wrong, I think they are a fantastic tool in the modern life, but like all tools, there is an appropriate way of using them.

Anyway, back to my concerns of not being able to lift a pen off the desk by Friday. It is true that during the first week I did feel a little tired, in fact for the first few days I found myself ‘having a little lie down’ around 9:30pm and then not waking up again until the following morning. Good thing was this stopped me from feeling hungry, and boy was I feeling hungry. My concerns of tiredness were really starting to bother me as I knew that I had a busy weekend coming up and it was going to be quite physical. On similar weekends I would easily burn 3000-4000 calories (according to Mr Garmin) and I was only replacing a fifth of that. However, this was the big challenge, I had probably picked the wrong time of year to start this due to all my athletics officiating and timing duties around the country, but if you are going to do something, do it extreme. The weekend came and went, energy levels didn’t seem to be affected, pleasantly surprised really. Stuck to my 800 calories a day and drank plenty of water. Perhaps this is manageable after all.

Monday morning weigh-in: 120.4Kg. In just 5 days I have lost 5Kg, closing in on 5% of my bodyweight. This is the first figure that Dr Mosley says is critical as has been shown to correlate with a correction in blood sugar levels and the start of correcting any insulin resistance issues. I also seem to have dropped 1% of my body fat – although I am still currently nearly a third fat !!

Monday morning and a strange thing happened. Alarm went off at 6:30 and I bounded out of bed. Breakfast, shower, prep for work and drive into work. Mental focus was through the roof. Sat at my desk and looked at the tasks in front of me and I just tore into them, no slacking, get it done. For past few months have been procrastinator #1 when comes to work (I suppose quite ironic that I am now typing this at work) but now I just wanted to get shit done. This was strange, what was happening to me, was there something extra in my coffee this morning ? No, I just had a renewed sense of wanting to do my work. People in the office must have wondered what was happening. Meetings were set up, calls were had, documents written and probably for the first time since I started this job 3 years ago my to-do list was empty at the end of the day. This was scary.

Not only was mental focus improved but I seemed to have more energy, not less. Jobs were being done that I had been putting off, and I started to do something that I had not really done for years, I started to cook again.

I love cooking, for years I did all the cooking at home and made some good food, for the past 5 or 6 years I have had no interest, and night-time commitments have made it difficult. That has put most of the cooking duties on Georgina and that wasn’t fair. Now, I just wanted to cook, I wanted to make nice food. Dr Mosley has included several recipes in his Fast800 book, they look scrummy, and they are. A lot are based on Mediterranean food, which I love and all come in around the 200-300 calories. The fridge was transformed, for the first time ever, it looked a healthy fridge, the type of fridge you see on TV shows – full of green things and food that teenagers hate.

End of week one, I am full of beans (figuratively and physically), and I now have a fantastic tasty diet and the office doesn’t know what has hit it. Scares around 800 calories were completely unfounded, they were fueling me well and by the end of the week the hunger pangs had started to go away and the original two week plan to stay on this diet seemed like an easy goal – perhaps it should be pushed to four weeks.

Week 1 stats:

Weight – 119.9Kg (5.5kg loss)

Body fat – 30.7% (1.1% loss)

BMI – 35.8 (1.5 unit loss)

Resting HR – 63 (9bpm improvement)

False Start

OK, one false start for me, yellow and black card, one more and I will get disqualified.  Won’t let this happen, too much at stake.

Probably a good idea here to lay down the baselines, how does my body currently measure up, just how bad is this.

  • Body Weight: 125.4Kg, 19stone 11lbs
  • Body Fat : 31.8%
  • BMI: 37.3
  • Blood Pressure: 146/105
  • Resting Heart Rate: 72
  • Waist: 40 inches, well that is the waist size of the trousers I can just get into
  • Fasting blood glucose: 5.7mmol/l
  • Cholesterol: 4.5 (probably the only thing that was in some way normal)

Below is the standard BMI chart based on weight and height.  The circle represents where I am at – right on the border of obese and extremely obese, that is a long long way to move to the left to get into the overweight, let alone the normal category.

presentation1

There are some other worrying numbers on that list.  BP 146/105, should probably be medicated for that.  Tried that a few years ago – tablets made me feel horrible, would prefer not to medicate and attempt to control through diet.  Waist 40 inches (and stretching even that) – this one is a major concern, waist size is now increasingly associated with heart disease and type II diabetes and 40 inches is the danger limit.  The blood sugar was an interesting one, 5.7mmol/l is regarded as the ‘entry point’ for pre-diabetes, with 5.6mmol/l being considered normal.  This figure I really wanted to attack and get into the normal range.  I will talk about my specific targets in another post, except to say, I want to lose the 10% body weight as fast as possible to be in line with the findings of the Fast800 philosophy and the association with improved insulin effectiveness that that seems to bring about.

Anyway, back to the first day of the rest of my life.

  • Breakfast: 1 Hard boiled egg, wholemeal bread, tablespoon of low fat mayo: 205 calories
  • Lunch: USN Dietfuel Ultralean Chocolate Protein Shake: 198 calories
  • Dinner: Brown pasta with a beef bolognese sauce: 174 calories
  • TOTAL for the day: 751 calories

I did it, no snacks, no midnight cheese sandwiches, no chocolate, no biscuits.  Boy did I feel hungry in the evening, temptation was all around me, biscuits, bread, nice things in the fridge, nice things in the cupboards but I didn’t give in.  Just because I am on this eating plan, no need for the boys to be, I don’t mind them eating a bit of junk, just please do it out of eyesight of me please.

10pm – had to go to bed, if I sleep I won’t be hungry….it worked.

Here is an interesting nugget from the Fast800 book.  I had always thought that if you weigh yourself everyday then you may not see big changes and that you would lose motivation.  Best to hold off for a week and take weekly readings and see big losses.  Apparently not, in studies carried out on behaviour and weight loss, those who weigh themselves everyday have a greater weight loss than those who are weekly weighers.  Daily weighers are also more motivated to keep going, and can accept that small ups are likely to be due to hydration fluctuations.  If you are up in weight after a week as a weekly weigher then you will probably think that a whole week was wasted and motivation drops.  Another benefit of daily weighing is that you can respond to an increasing trend quickly rather than take you 2 or 3 weeks to notice the issue and then respond.  I was going to be a daily weigher.

Waking the next day I was both eager and afraid to approach the scales, but I had decided to be a daily weigher, and now was 24 hours since I started this plan.

123.2kg

Who stole my will power ?

flakeTuesday 7th May, 2019.  This is it, I’m going for it.  In some ways I felt excited, like first day at school, first date with a new girlfriend, starting a new job.  Not sure what to expect, not sure what was going to happen.

I took this day as annual leave as I was involved in a Schools athletics competition, carrying out my duties as electronic timing and photofinish operator.  I don’t normally eat too much on those days as they can be busy, and if I eat and drink I often need to go to the bathroom and this day was not going to give me many opportunities for any of this.  I had prepped myself well, two hard boiled eggs for breakfast (156 Calories) – this was my usual breakfast anyway.  I had taken a diet protein shake with me, 200 calories, and I was planning on a regular meal when I returned home.  The day was going well, at lunchtime the diet shake was consumed – absolutely disgusting, and thick and creamy, but it was going to do me some good, right ?  Then it happened – I got offered a sandwich, cheese and ham on white bread.  Looked yummy, and I am sure I saw that sandwich stick a tongue out at my empty protein shake bottle.  Without any hesitation I took it, and before I had even had a chance to fully appreciate I was eating something it had gone from existence – there was another 300 calories gone.  So far, 656 calories consumed, just 144 left to go today, and I hadn’t even had my dinner !!

What happened next I think typifies my life for the past few years, and is one of the reasons I am at where I am today, I got offered a chocolate bar – and I took it.  I didn’t even question that I was about to eat it, the thoughts of Fast 800 were nowhere to be seen, I just took off the wrapper, chewed a few times and swallowed it, an instant hit – I am a drug dealers wet dream, except that drug dealer was a member of a Quaker family from my home town of Birmingham, Mr Cadbury.

My food diary for that day states: Mini Flake, 4x bars, 300 Calories.  I know that is a lie, I know I consumed at least 8 that day, I had the wrappers to prove it, I just couldn’t write down the true amount.  I went home, I had dinner.

Bollocks.

On Wednesday May 8th 2019 I started The Fast 800 diet

Say that again ? How many calories per day ?

fast800

 

So, just what is the Fast 800 diet, and how was it going to help me ?

First of all, I want to go back a few years to a TV programme I watched on BBC on a ‘new’ method for weight control that had positive health benefits – intermittent fasting (IF).  The documentary was entitled, “Eat, Fast and Live Longer” and featured a medical doctor I had seen on a few other TV programmes, Michael Mosley.  He had a very engaging way of presentation, and his ideas all seemed to be backed up with strong peer-reviewed evidence (important for me), but most important is what he said made sense.  The documentary showed that one of the issues we have is that we eat way too much, our diets have changed over the past 20 to 30 years, and this change is quite literally killing us slowly.  The modern diet, and I am speaking generalities here, is causing issues with insulin resistance, ie the ability of insulin to do its job in the regulation of blood sugar after eating.  The consequence of this is that you get fat, and this isn’t, ‘does my bum look big in this’ fat, this is bad fat, known as visceral fat, that infiltrates some key organs and sets up an enemy camp that fires off a nasty campaign of chemical warfare against your body.  To use an analogy from Dr Mosleys book, think of how the French make fois gras – goose liver paté – they force feed a very high carbohydrate diet into geese and exceed their capability to utilise it and the result is a very fatty liver, not a fat goose.

Insulin resistance then is the key to this story (and ultimately mine) – if your body produces insulin but doesn’t get the benefit from it then you have a problem.  Dr Mosley utilised an idea, based on ancient eating habits of periods of fasting, along with normal eating.  He proposed that if you eat normally for 5 days and then fast for 2 days then your body starts to show changes in insulin resistance and as a result you can now utilise the sugar you are consuming better and less gets stored as visceral fat, the enemy outposts are then defeated and a more healthy state resumes.  It does work, a lot of people have switched to an IF approach to their diet, and it is used in clinical practice of treating obesity.  However I found it had one major drawback, it can be very difficult to do.  If you do not have a serious amount of will power, IF will break you.  Not eating for 24 hours is tough, how you structure those 24 hours can be a help – fasting from night time after your evening meal to the next evening is probably easier, breakfast to breakfast is somewhat harder.  I got some results, then I had to give it up, I just couldn’t maintain it, for me it was not a change in habits, it was just not eating, simple as that.

Several new variations of the 5:2 IF diet have been bandied about, and Dr Mosley himself has tinkered with it.  He has also come up with some other ideas around improving insulin resistance which I find interesting.  For those, like myself, who struggle with 24 hour fasts, the idea of ‘time restricted eating’ or TRE may well help.  I have always had a bad habit of snacking late at night.  When I used to drink I would always end up seeking out snacks, lots of snacks, and a cheese sandwich at midnight or 1am would be the norm.  The idea of TRE says that you should stop eating at an earlier time in the day to allow your body to utilise what it has eaten, and allow your body to enter a fasted state.  That fasted state often changes the fuel your body uses as once the glucose and glycogen are used up, the body turns to fat for fuel use, and the first storage used is visceral fat.  This switching to burning fat is called ketosis, and is pretty much the basis of another diet, the Keto Diet.

A 12 hour fast is good, a 14 hour one better and a 16 hour one looks to be optimum.  Have your main meal at 6pm, don’t eat ANYTHING that contains any level of calories until the following morning and you have done TRE.  If you go to bed for 8 hours, then not only are you getting the benefits associated with a good nights sleep, but you also sleep through most of your TRE period.  As TRE is not even so much of a diet, it is a lifestyle change – eat earlier, it is often easy to adopt, and just this step alone has been shown to have dramatic weight changes and a great increase in insulin resistance issues.  But Dr Mosley decided to take it further, much further. He developed ideas around calorie restriction, and how this can be brought into a lifestyle change.

Calore restricted eating, CRE, is not a new idea.  Roy Walford, the founding father of calorie restriction penned a book entitled ‘120-year Diet Book’ where he advocated eating a maximum of 1600 calories a day, about 2/3rd the amount that a man would normally eat.  He thesis was that if you eat a calorie restricted diet you will live longer.  This was based on research done on laboratory animals, where CRE extended the life of laboratory mice.  However one thing that has become evident in scientific research is that what happens in a mouse can be far from what happens in a human and they are often unreliable models.  Walford had claimed that if you follow a CRE diet that you could potentially live to 120 (based on the animal studies).  Roy Walford – born 29/06/1924 – died 27/04/2004 – aged 79 years !!!!!

Step forward another scientist, Professor Roy Taylor, a diabetes specialist, he had shown that if you lose 10% of your body weight fast that there was dramatic health changes including literal draining of the fat from your liver and pancreas – that nasty forward operating base of invading visceral fat was knocked out of existence and quickly too.  Patients who were diagnosed with Type-II diabetes, that lost greater than 10% of their body weight quickly came off all medication and blood sugars were restored to normal healthy levels.  Prof. Taylor conducted a study where an 800-calories a day rapid weight loss programme was followed and all the usual biochemical and physiological parameters were monitored.  In a majority of patients these patients showed dramatic body changes and a total reversal of their type-2 diabetes – revolutionary stuff and an approach now used in clinical practice.

So taking all of these ideas, Dr Mosley published ‘The Fast 800’ – a period of CRE, for anywhere between a 2-16 week period, consuming just 800 calories a day with reduced carbohydrate intake, and also combine with TRE – 12 hour fast to start with, but try to get to 16 hours.  Two major clinical trials supported this work, and gave an evidence-based approach to the diet.  However most importantly it was more than a diet, it was a lifestyle change, eat less, eat earlier, break the cycle of modern eating habits and get healthy.  The book also has some fantastic recipes.

On Tuesday 7th May 2019 I started the Fast 800 diet.

 

Holy Shit !! and the Fast 800

hly-shit

 

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.  Probably a bit of a cliche, but also hopefully the truth, and my aim is for that life to be as long as I can possibly make it.  The date is May 7th, one day after the Holy Shit moment and a really important day, it is the day when things change.  But how are they going to change, what single thing can I do that will make a difference, that will bring about a meaningful change, what is my most pressing issue.  As a an ‘Operations Director’ I often have to look at the array of projects in front of me and try to pick the critical issues in the projects, the one thing waiting for a Holy Shit moment to move it forward, or to point it in a new direction.  The answer came relatively easy for me, as it was something I have been telling myself to change for many years now, my weight.  If I lose weight I will feel better, I will take the pressure of my knee that has been hurting for 2 years now, I will be able to get up stairs without having to stop at the top to get a breath, I can maybe dig a flowerbed without giving up after 5 minutes because it is too difficult.  So what is my weight, and where do I want to get it to.

Step on the scales – 125.4Kg, nearly 277lb, 19 stone 11lbs.  That is bad, that is very very very very very very bad.

Project manager conundrum #2 – you have identified the problem, now find the solution.  OK, easy – lose weight.  Been trying that on and off for 3 years.  Best I did was to drop to 118kg and then it was straight on again within a few months.  Need another solution.  This is going to need some drastic response, I don’t need to just change my diet, I need to change my life.  I have a target weight of 99.9Kg, 15st 10Lb – I want to lose 4 stone.

Fortunately, the answer was only a few feet away from me.  There, sitting on the bed was a book, by an author and scientist I have a lot of time for, Michael Mosley.  The book was called the Fast 800 and it described a way to lose weight – fast – and to correct a lot of health problems quickly.  Was it a fad, possibly.  Was it for me, maybe.  Was it producing results, definitely if the author was to be believed.  However most importantly there appeared to be some serious science backing this up, and that caught my attention.  Now, although the answer was staring me in the face, I needed the answer quickly, and I didn’t have time in my life to read another book at the moment.  Quick load up of Audible, and using some of the free credits I have racked up, I now possessed a copy of a 3 hour audio book – The Fast 800.

May 6th 2019

bdaycake

 

May 6th, my birthday.  The realisation that this is the last year in my 40s.  I talked about this with a co-worker and we decided that this is just the worst year.  Your 40s are a great decade, relatively care-free, often the first decade where you can start to shake of the debt burden of your 20s and 30s, but 49 represents a full-stop on that.  It is officially the last year when you can still call yourself ‘young’.  Next year is 50, an exciting year, the start of a new decade with new challenges, and at 50 you are the youngest of all the 50-somethings.  However 49 has you stuck in the middle, end of a good era, the next one a year away.

For me 49 was also an age of reflection.  When I first met Georgina, one of the first interactions I had with her family was her fathers 50th birthday party.  I suppose one of my main recollections of meeting her father was that he was quite overweight, and that, with a combination of working as a spray painter seemed to make for some quite laboured breathing (or so it seemed).  Now, at 49 I look at myself in the mirror and I probably have the same physical attributes as Sean did on his 50th party, and I also often have laboured breathing, although I am not a spray painter,  My job has me sitting on my arse for hours on end, often many hours without moving, which is apparently more dangerous to my health than smoking and drinking (neither of which I partake in).  On my 49th birthday I had a realisation that my job is quite literally killing me, and that I have a real chance of dropping down dead at my desk.  I also didn’t want to look like Sean when my own 50th birthday came around.

Change can often be dramatic and very sudden, I am just reading a book on the very subject – The Holy Shit Moment – How Lasting Change Can Happen in an Instant by James Fell, and for me 6th May 2019 was, I hope, my Holy Shit !! moment.

© 2021 Project 50. All rights reserved.

Theme by Anders Norén.