And Intermittent Fasting Wrap Up
So I’ve had an OK week, put my back out on Monday (ouch!) so my workouts were quite a bit gentler this week than usual. I have osteoarthritis pretty bad in my SI joints and along my spine so this happens probably once a year or so. My back was actually the main reason or my “why” back when I lost 60 lbs. after university and starting exercising. And it’s the reason I started doing Pilates and Yoga and found my true passion! Since then my back is SO much better than it was before I got in shape it’s crazy!
Good news is it’s settling down now, so I’m getting the next month’s challenge off and running. This month, by request and in honor of my back recovering, we’re doing a 30 Day Ab Challenge! I’ll post the calendar in this link.
I just finished up the month long 5:2 Intermittent Fasting experiment and I wanted to share a few things I learned along the way.
Lessons Learned from 5:2 Intermittent Fasting
1. Count Calories over the course of the week, and don’t stress the day by day – so this was a big takeaway from the whole experiment. You don’t have to count calories when you do 5:2 except on your fasting days, but I did just to make sure I wasn’t eating excess calories on the days I wasn’t fasting to make up the difference. So as you might have noticed from my weekly breakdowns, I did total calories for the week to make sure it all evened out. But that’s when it hit me that as long as during the course of the week I was in a calorie deficit, it didn’t matter if I was in one each and every day. That’s very freeing to know you can lose weight and still enjoy date night and special occasions, going out with friends, etc. and as long as my overall calories worked out each week the scale was still going down!
2. Easy! – it was the easiest diet plan I’ve ever followed! There is no set foods to eat or times in which to eat them. The goals I set for myself each week were just that, my goals. If I decide to just eat exactly how I normally eat (which I definitely did lots of days), and then just eat less a few days a week, I would still lose weight. So if you just need to drop a few pounds but you want something that will very easily fit into your lifestyle then this is the weight loss plan for you!
3. Hard to change your body composition – unfortunately, along with being able to eat what you want comes a price. My body fat percentage didn’t really change over the course of the month, even though I was exercising and lifting weights. That means I lost body fat AND muscle which I didn’t really want. I attribute that to still eating as many carbs as I wanted and not eating enough protein. I tried to hit my targets every week for protein, but when you’re a carb lover like me if I’m able I will chose carbs win over protein 9 times out of 10.
4. Not a quick way to lose weight – so while it did work, I lost about a 1/2 pound a week, it was obviously not a quick fix. So if you are trying to slim down for an occasion like a wedding or a vacation, this might not be the right plan. But for those who have weight to lose and want to keep it off permanently, this is the plan I would recommend as an easy lifestyle change.
That brings me to what I’m doing this month. It’s the antithesis of the easy plan that 5:2 IF was. It’s called the 17 Day Diet. I’d heard of it years ago and was curious to see what it was about, especially since it was written by a doctor and had such great results.
The 17 Day Diet
So the 17 Day Diet is a short term, rapid weight loss plan that cuts all carbs but certain fruits and vegetables and focuses on lean protein. So basically all the things I struggled with during the last month! That was why I decided to try it right now, I just could not get my body fat to budge and I was not hitting my fruits and veg or my protein targets. This diet is just fruits and veggies and protein so that definitely shouldn’t be a problem! Here’s the breakdown of what I can eat over the next 17 days:
1. Unlimited Lean Protein
Chicken, Turkey, Egg Whites and Fish (not shellfish though) is it for protein, but as much as I want! Seriously! I can also have up to 2 whole eggs per day as well.
2. Unlimited Non Sugary Vegetables
again, I can eat as much as I want, but just from this list of veggies; artichokes, artichoke hearts, asparagus, bell peppers (all colors), broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans, green leafy vegetables (including beet greens, turnip greens, collard greens), kale, leeks, lettuce (all varieties), mushrooms, okra, onions, parsley, scallions, spinach, tomatoes, watercress, arame, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, bok choy, broccoli rabe, chiles, Chinese broccoli, cilantro, dulse/sea lettuce, fennel, grape leaves, lily pods, long beans, sugar-free marinara sauce, nori, parsley, pea pods, seaweed/sea vegetables, snow peas, summer squash, tomatillos, zucchini/courgettes
3. 2 servings of Low Sugar Fruits
apples, berries (all types), grapefruit, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, prickly pear cactus, prunes, red grapes, and you aren’t supposed to eat them after 2pm.
4. 2 servings of Healthy Fats
1 tbps. is a serving, and although he doesn’t specify what a “healthy” fat is, I assume he means olive oil, coconut oil, etc. He does say in later cycles these fats are allowed: Avocado (1/4 fruit = 1 serving),Canola oil (1 tablespoon), walnut oil (1 tablespoon), Light mayonnaise (2 tablespoons), mayonnaise (1 tablespoon), Nuts or seeds (2 tablespoons), Reduced-calorie margarines (2 tablespoons), trans-free margarines (1 tablespoon), Reduced-fat salad dressings (2 tablespoons), salad dressings (1 tablespoon), so I’m using these as a guideline.
5. 2 servings of Probiotic Foods
yogurt (e.g. Greek-style, sugar-free fruit flavored, plain, low-fat – 6 oz. = 1 serving), kefir (1 cup), low-fat acidophilus milk (1 cup), yakult (small 50-calorie bottle), active culture cottage cheese (½ cup), reduced salt miso dissolved in low-fat, low-sodium broth (1 tablespoon), tempeh (4 oz.), sauerkraut (½ cup), kimchi (½ cup) (this diet was out before the popularity of kombucha so I will add low sugar kombucha to the list, 1 cup)
The only foods he lists as ok that I don’t recommend and will not be adding to my diet are sugar substitutes and fat free foods (yuck!) Not only do they taste awful, but they are not good for your health.
This super restrictive phase only lasts for 17 days and then we move on to a carb cycling phase so you can reintroduce carbohydrates into your diet without putting the weight back on.
The claim made by this diet is that you can lose as much as 17 lbs. in 17 days, which seems quite high, but if you were very overweight and ate a lot of carbs and bad foods I’m sure that would be the case. So I wasn’t sure if someone like me who already eats pretty healthy would be able to lose much, but the diet claims that even if you are down to the last 10 lbs. you can lose almost that in the 17 days. Well we’ll see if that’s the case!
So here’s what a typical day on this diet will look like for me:
Breakfast – Coffee with Cream only (I know it’s not on the list, but since the fats you’re allowed aren’t strictly specified, I’m using 1 tbsp. for cream in my coffee) + 1 cup kombucha + 1 piece of fruit
Lunch – 2 eggs and 3 egg whites + 2 cups veggies scrambled
Afternoon snack – 1 piece of fruit
Dinner – Large piece of fish or chicken + 2 – 3 cups veggies (in a salad or stir fry or grilled) with 1 tbsp. fat
After dinner snack – ½ cup low fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
Looks challenging but it’s only for 17 days so how hard can it be? I will let you know next week!
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