It seems like the up and down (often more up than down) of my weight has been a life long journey for me. I had gastric bypass surgery in 2008. It worked like a charm for me. I lost 113.5 lbs. I had a little initial rebound weight gain, which is normal but very scary when it is happening. After that initial rebound I maintained my weight loss effortlessly for 8 years. Then the weight started to slowly creep back on. I am now in the process of learning about myself, why I eat, what is causing the weight gain and how can I most naturally, once again, release the weight.
Those of you who follow the daily meditation adventure know that I started 90 days of daily meditation to see if reducing stress and cortisone, would help stop my insidious weight gain and hopefully even help me lose some weight. Last Friday I decided to try something that was recommended to me by a friend, intermittent fasting. I read some articles and saw that studies have been done on this concept. The idea is that you fast for a specific number of hours each day. Of course most of us do fast, for a specific number of hours each day, while we are sleeping. This stretches that out a bit longer. One study I read proposed a 16/8 split. People would eat only between 10am and 6pm and then fast the rest of the time. I have decided to try a 18/6 split.
I am eating only between noon and 6pm. I feel hungry but my “wanting to eat” is more instinct or habitual than an actual need. I am really liking the fasting. I feel I am making healthier choices about what I put in my body instead of mindless noshing. I feel that I am again appreciating food (like I used to do after my surgery). It was 8 years of my weight being maintained before I started gaining. When I look back at what changed, it occurred to me I started eating just because I needed to eat instead of making good choices for tasty food. I was just filling a hole instead of selecting something I would enjoy and nourish my body.
I used to be really good about being selective about what I would put in my body. I knew I could only eat so much and so I made really good tasting and healthy choices. That has changed over the past couple of years. I still am a vegetarian (truly pescatarian) and I avoid highly processed foods with lots of preservatives, as well as processed sugar. I often eat just because it is meal time and I just need to fill myself with something. I eat, but not what I really want or need and then eat more later to compensate. Some of that is being a part of a family, I got married 2 years ago (the same time the weight started to reappear). When I was single it was easy to eat what I wanted when I wanted. Now as a part of a family, it not just about me. Compromises have to be made about when, where, and how meals occur. My boss told me once my weight gain was because I was married now. I could not at first understand how that would contribute to weight gain. This experiment in fasting has given me the opportunity to step back and study my eating and see what really did change.
The other thing that has affected my eating is being busier. It seems I am always on the run. Instead of making a good choice that will satisfy me, I just grab something quick to get by and then eat more later. It has started a vicious cycle of eating second breakfast and snacking or grazing.
I enjoy a glass of wine in the evening, sometimes two. I know that my wine intake is also a part of my weight gain but not the whole story. I have had other times, when I was maintaining my weight, where my wine intake was about what it is now. One of the rules of post gastric bypass surgery is no fluids with calories. Wine should be off the menu. Beverages with calories are also a sneaky way for your body to slowly gain weight, because it is easy to intake more calories than you realize you are ingesting, without feeling full.
I have noticed, since starting the intermittent fasting, that I am chasing more and more veggies. I really crave them. I am limiting the amount of carbs I eat and when I do eat them, trying to choose complex carbs like sweet potatoes and brown rice. One of the side effects I have from my gastric bypass is if I eat to many carbs, my blood sugar drops and I feel horrible, so I focus on getting protein with my meals. With the decreased carbohydrates I have not had problems with the usual fluctuations in my blood sugar that I had prior to starting to eat in this way.
I have not even been doing the intermittent fasting for a week yet, but it has given me some very interesting insight into myself and my eating behavior. I hope to continue to learn about myself in order to make healthier and healthier choices.
Thank you for Reading my blog today. May you learn how to eat nutritious, healthy food, that makes you feel happy, healthy and nourished, as if by magic.
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