For a few years now I thought I’d be happy at 147 pounds, given that I weighed 167 pounds. You know the feeling and the words – ‘all I need to do is lose twenty pounds? But you never get there. And it weighs heavy on you.
Why not? Why can’t I lose that weight like I used to? Looking back honestly, those times I lost weight wasn’t as easy as I remembered.
Why am I so weak? Why am I hungry twenty minutes after I eat, or in less time than that? Why after the first dose of calories in the day, does it prime the pump for continuous eating thereafter? Grazing they used to call it.
Well I finally got to 147 pounds through intermittent fasting and putting myself in the state of autophagy (more than the common eight hours of sleep without food every day when the body naturally goes into the state of cleaning and recycling as you sleep), to clean up the cells by forcing the body to burn it’s own fat while fasting (I thought it did that anyway). Evidently if I’m eating throughout the day, my body isn’t using it’s own fat stores for energy. It uses what I’m eating at the moment, then stores what I don’t need or use. Basically, it’s a sugar-feed, not a fat-feed.
- A Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2016 for his research on how cells recycle and renew their content, a process called autophagy. (Two Greek words: “auto” or self and “phagy” to eat.) After about 17 hours of fasting, these cells start eating the cells that are the ‘debris’ of the body. They clean the house so to speak: dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, washing, waxing, deodorizing. Squeaky clean!!! They especially like ‘brown’ fat cells. The real bad boys, the visceral fat.
- Of course, calorie reduction will do the same thing, except that it takes longer to achieve the fat loss.
When I reached 147 pounds I wasn’t satisfied. Why do I still look fat? My face and neck were skinny, and that’s what most people notice unless one is morbidly fat.
Then I realized that at 73 years old I had lost a lot of muscle, though to be fair I never was a muscular girl. Long and lanky. ‘Bag a’ bones’ was my neighborhood nick name as a kid.
I thought for sure 147 pounds would cut it for me. It didn’t. So there I was at 147 not satisfied, wishing for 137.
Considering the dystonia (a neurological disorder that puts my body into abnormal contractions and stays put, which pulls the vertebrae in abnormal ways) plus the injuries and surgeries over a lifetime, I thought losing too much weight would make my entire back/spine unstable and susceptible to further injuries especially through falls.
I exercise often. Been a walker all my life. Stretched (yoga my way) all my life. Did the small exercises to strengthen and tone. But if you don’t have the musculature to begin with, unless you take growth hormones, and you risk structural injury if pushing too hard, then those muscles are never going to make it to Muscle & Fitness body building status. Still, I’ve always been wanting more and bigger and stronger muscles. But they just weren’t there, so at this late stage in life, I tossed that dream away.
This morning I awoke to 137 pounds. It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen those numbers on the scale. I used a spring scale.
I thought I’d be happy. I wasn’t. Where’s the joy I felt when wishing I was thinner and imagining it? I don’t know. The joy, the satisfaction of success was vacant. It was the anticipation of it that brought me joy. What a bummer.
I did a body sizing with the tape measure that equalled 40-35-40 (chest waist hip). That’s fat in anybody’s world – isn’t it? It doesn’t matter at this point if I’m not happy with it in my world. It’s how I feel. Am I trying to get down to skin and bones? Is my body stuck in autophagy, whereby whatever I eat doesn’t get registered as even happening? It just goes in and out, while my body still relies on burning it’s stored fat? I don’t know, but when I do eat, it doesn’t feel as if I’ve eaten.
Putting one’s self into a prolonged state of starvation over time – and repeatedly, even if done on an intermittent basis, meaning not always the same number of hours in starvation mode and then upon eating, not always the same foods the same way – could one inadvertently lock one’s self into the autophagic state?
That autophagic state, whereby one is no longer hungry or if they are, the thought of following the hunger to the food becomes aversive and even repulsive. But even if one talks their way out of it, the consequent couple or three small bites is all the body can handle before it turns away from it.
That’s called anorexia.
The strangest part for me was when I would overeat purposely, because I thought my body needed it, and I was trying to shock it out of its autophagic state, I fully expected to gain a couple pounds like the days of old.
Not so. It didn’t work that way.
Now I’m on my way to 125 pounds. That’s my new goal. Given I have very little muscle mass – or so it seems – I’m basically skin-bones-fat. Okay, I’ve got some muscle there still. So develop the muscle that I do have.
Somehow I intuitively don’t think eating a lot of protein – animal or animal-free – is going to help in my longevity happy, productive last stint of life goals.
I could be wrong. No, I can’t on this. Too much protein does not make for a happy, healthy Sharon organism.
I wish you the best in whichever way you discover to lose the fat you need to lose for now and the future!
I’ll tell you a little story before I close up. It’s about the use of a comma and how important one comma can be in communicating whatever it is one communicates. This particular comma applies to weight loss.
One night I’m in bed, thinking, racing, meandering through the universe of my mind seeing codes metaphorically pop up as I try to figure out how best to lose weight that actually works. A little at a time doesn’t work well for me, since I do most things fast.
People say reduce your caloric intake by so much per day and you’ll lose so many pounds in a year. On paper maybe, but not when you throw all the other variables that make people overeat into the mix. They’re talking about lab rats, totally controlled by their oppressors. Neither you nor I want to be totally controlled by anything or anyone (neither do the lab animals by the way).
I rest a bit and just as I was about to nod off a faint voice says, you’re going to lose weight fast. Wow. I thought about it and wondered how fast. Oh God, please don’t make me sick so I can lose weight fast. Cancer? What are you talking about here?.
Days went by and I ate more than usual and of course gained a few pounds. Yeah, so much for the voice being wrong; I didn’t lose weight fast. I gained weight.
Steve being way over his desired weight goal was glued to YouTube for weeks trying to find ways to lose weight and still eat a lot, watching doctors talk about ways to do it. Interestingly, fasting was the one that caught his interest. Ketosis also. I was never a fan of putting the body in danger to achieve a goal. I didn’t like the concept of no pain no gain with exercise either, even back in the 1970’s when it was popular until it wasn’t.
Well, it seems that putting the body in a state of ketosis isn’t necessary when you withhold foods long enough to force your body into an autophagic state, whereby your body uses it’s fat stores rather than glucose for energy, by consuming thus recycling the contents of the cells.
‘Yes, I think I like that. I think I can do that”, I said to Steve. So we both embarked on the journey together.
It was only after we both had lost 24 pounds in two months and kept it off for the third month (not fasting as much that third month) did I recall that small voice that night while nodding off to sleep. You’re going to lose weight fast.
Yes, by fasting. I left off the comma in the interpretation.
You’re going to lose weight, fast. Or more precisely a semicolon.
I was given the goal and the how to achieve the goal in one sentence.
FAST. It means don’t eat. In other words I had to do the work of it, and this for me, my God thought was the best way to achieve it. And Steve already had it all lined up.
As it turned out it also happened fast (quickly.)
So there. A little inspiration. Talk to your God. And stick around long enough to hear or see the answer.