First thing’s first: Many who know me will tell me I’m full of shit… “No you’re not fat!” – suck it up. This is my issue and I’m dealing with it my way.
So what’s the big deal? People barely notice how big I am, why am I doing something about it? The answer’s pretty simple. I don’t like the shape I’m in. That’s the long and short of it, and no-one’s going to tell me otherwise. I’m unhealthy, and the chubby appearance that barely registers with my friends is not the reason, it’s a symptom. I’m not unhealthy because I’m fat, I’m fat because I’m unhealthy.
So yeah. I’m not morbidly obese, not in massive danger because of my body fat percentage, but the fat shows another aspect of me that everyone tends to overlook: the mind.
All in my head?
Yup that’s right, this adipose gut structure thing I’ve got going on is a symptom of my poor mental health. Now my long-lasting depression has lifted and my worst 15-year stretch is behind me, I have to start addressing some of the underlying problems that have made it difficult to stay healthy.
One of the worst things is that I’m lazy. This is a twofold problem: prong one of this fork (which I so need to learn to put down) is lack of exercise. I just can’t be arsed getting up and doing something active. Actually that’s not true, I walk for about an hour most weekdays, when I’m on my work breaks. I average about 6000 steps a day, which includes the weekends when I generally sit on my arse doing sweet FA.
Prong two, easily the more damaging aspect, is food. Laziness in food preperation (yes, while I love cooking, I don’t tend to do it for myself often, and I rarely have company to cook for) means that I’ll grab tinned foods, ready meals, things to fry; basically anything I don’t have to put much work in to get food out of.
This becomes a problem when you look at the ingredients and nutritional information on processed foods. The sugar levels are through the roof. So it’s quick and convenient, sure, but in the long run it’s really not worth it. I had a look at a tin of beans today, thinking “yeah, beans are healthy, they’re pretty much just fibre and protein”, which is true until you consider the sauce they’re packaged in, and that’s all sugar. So a half tin of beans has more calories than the three Heck veggie sausages I had as part of my dinner today. I left the beans on the shelf for someone else.
Fantastic! So dieting and exercise will fix it all?
Alas, no. I’ve been here before. Not quite here, in fact I’m fatter than I’ve ever been. My waist is 43 inches. This is an unbelievable state of being for me. I’m almost 15 stone. It doesn’t sound like much but this genuinely is the biggest I’ve ever been. I’ve tried various diets and adjustments and nothing seems to get the weight off and keep it off.
So what’s next? This post title should be a massive clue: Intermittent Fasting.
It’s the latest fad, and I’m all over it! Actually that’s not true, we’ve been doing it for millennia. It’s what our metabolisms are built for. Our ancestors didn’t spend their lives in a constantly-fed state, they could go for days without food. And yes, one could go on about the benefits of paleo, but I’m a vegetarian; paleo isn’t really sustainable for vegetarians (happy to be corrected but paleo diets really centre around meat for the bulk of nutrients). So in comes Intermittent Fasting (IF).
IF is a paradigm for maintaining a healthy metabolism and cutting much fat from one’s body without causing problems. The most important thing is to consult your doctor if you plan on taking on something like this long-term: it’s definitely not a good idea for diabetics to adopt for example, particularly without professional monitoring.
The gist of it is this: stop eating for a while and the body will use the reserve tanks (fat) rather than skimming off the readily available energy from food. It doesn’t even necessarily need to be a huge reduction in caloric intake (however it’s generally quite difficult, particularly while maintaining a more healthy diet, to take in all of one’s daily recommended calories in a short window [that isn’t to say it’s impossible, trust me]), just the extended period of not eating will give your body a boot in the right direction.
There’s a shit ton of articles and stuff on IF available, I highly urge you to do your own research before just taking my word on it, I’m not here to educate you, just to make you aware of what’s going on in my life and how I’m dealing with it.
Most importantly, whether you’re following IF or not, make sure you stay hydrated.
Footnote: A New Direction?
I’ve been having some thoughts on something I might add into future blog posts, just a few little details about what I’m up to at the moment. I think dropping it at the bottom of the post is going to give it the most value, but I’m open to suggestion. Lemme know what you think, particularly if there’s anything you want me to add to the “Things For Today” section.
Things For Today:
Book: Tao of Seneca, by Tim Ferriss (Audible)
Food: Uh, don’t ask. I had a fry-up with veggie chilli. From a tin.
Music: Today I’m listening to my Punk Recommendations playlist on Spotify.
Drink: Oh wow, so I found this White Tea Infusion stuff with raspberry and lychee in Spar and it’s fantastic. It’s made by the Lucozade/Ribena company.
BONUS DRINK!: Twinings Pomegranate Green Tea. It’s incredible.