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I just stepped on the scale. I weigh 295 pounds. That probably sounds like a lot to you, but it sounds like a minor victory for me. For several years, I have weighed over 300 pounds. I have had a lot of health issues over the last 30 years that have led to my being fat. The history doesn’t matter much, but another recent physical challenge had me ready to consider new measures. One measure that I have heard can sometimes “reset” the metabolism is fasting.
I had already been thinking about fasting when someone posted formulae in the PIT for calculating one’s basic metabolic rate (BMR). This is, according to the site where it was referenced, the absolute bare necessity for doing things like breathing and maintaining a heartbeat. Here are the formulae:
- For men= 65 + (6.2 *(multiply by) weight in lbs) + ( 12.7 * height in inches) – ( 6.8 * age in years)
- For women = 655+ ( 4.3 * weight in lbs) + ( 4.3 * height in inches) – (4.7 * age in years)
As an example, say that you have a twenty-one-year-old man who is six-foot-one and 165 pounds. His BMR is: 65 + (6.2 * 165) + (12.7 * 73) – (6.8 * 21) = 1872.3 calories per day. If he is active, he’ll use a lot more calories.
Then there was me. 2457.4 was the number I came up with. Obviously, the number of calories needed per day goes up with height and weight, but down with age. Also obviously, if you don’t meet your minimum for the day, you’ll burn stored energy in the way of fat or protein or whatever the body can get its hands on. And if there’s nothing left to burn, you die. I am not in any danger of having nothing left to burn at the current time. But looking at that number, I thought, do I even eat that much per day?
(Narrator: Well, he certainly wasn’t losing weight before, was he?)
As I had said, I had been considering fasting already, and thought it might help reset my metabolism. The problem with fasting is that I am part of a household. I am also the primary cook in the household. That could make something like a three-day fast difficult, especially if I am cooking for my wife. I went back to the Internet to read more on fasting and found that there are several kinds. Particularly, there are at least three forms of what is called “intermittent fasting.”
The first form might have multi-day fasts, like what I had initially been thinking about doing. There are some religious fasts like this.
A second form, or schedule, of intermittent fasting that I found might have food every other day. So, it would be one day of fasting, the next of eating, the next of fasting again, etc.
The third intermittent fasting schedule was a daily schedule where the hours of eating were restricted followed by a fast. To a certain extent, we do this anyway, it’s just that the hours of fasting are usually when we sleep, perhaps for six or eight hours, and then we might eat for most of the remaining hours of the day with three meals and maybe a snack or two. It is why our first meal of the day is called breakfast, since we are breaking our fast. But the intermittent fasting schedule was much more like what Muslims go through during Ramadan. The fast isn’t just six or eight hours, but most of the day, such as 12 or 16 hours.
This last form of intermittent fasting was something I could do without inconveniencing my wife. I decided I would fast for 16 hours per day and allow myself to eat only within an eight-hour period each day. Due to my wife’s sometimes unpredictable schedule availability for supper, the schedule I set was to be allowed to eat between 1 and 9 p.m. I started about three weeks ago.
If one thinks about it, most people probably usually eat over at least 12 hours per day. Maybe they have breakfast at 7 a.m. Even if they catch an early dinner at 6 p.m., by the time they’re done, it has been about 12 hours since they started breakfast. For some people, it is even more hours per day. For me, I never slept much at one time. Fifteen minutes here, two hours there, so my eating schedule was open 24 hours per day.
(Narrator: And this was why he wasn’t losing weight.)
When one cuts down to only eating within eight hours each day, the first thing I found was that it is difficult to have more than two full meals in the allotted time. One might manage a snack in between the two, but the body needs digestion time, and one soon runs out of one’s eight hours. At the same time, I also started paying a bit more attention to the calories I was consuming. Once I started paying attention, I realized that I had probably been getting a whole passel of calories before as I grazed for 24 hours per day. Now, eating it all within eight hours, it is difficult to even consume 2,000 calories. And that is about right for a man to consume to lose weight.
On the first week, I lost six pounds. As with most diets or regimens that help reduce inflammation, I suspect a lot of that was from water. The subsequent two weeks, I have averaged two pounds per week. That will likely slow down as time goes on. My BMR is dropping with the weight. I’m already down to a BMR of below 2,400 calories per day. Yet, if I can even lose one pound per week, in a couple of years, I could be down to a reasonable weight.
I’m not counting my chickens before they’re hatched, but I’m also not planning on buying new clothes for a while, just in case I go down a size or four in the next couple of years.Published in