Keto is not the only game in town that leads to fast, effective weight loss. I know, I know. Keto is all the rave right now. Everywhere we turn there are recipes, articles, books, new menu items at restaurants, there's even a Keto Slimfast. Make no mistake - it works and it's fast. There are also the other tried and true go-to weight loss programs like Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Medical Weight loss, even Atkins just to name a few, and yet...
There are folks like me who question EVERYTHING, and sometimes it pays off because I find great alternatives to whatever the popular, going thing might be. This is one of those times. First, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have the utmost respect for each of the diets I mentioned, but I knew from the beginning that they wouldn't work for me. These are the reasons I started researching for myself. You see...
1. I have a problem with anything that has too many rules.
2. Giving up entire groups of foods (Keto) is not something I ever plan to do.
3. Despite recent tweaks like the addition of more free foods, there's no way I'm realistically going to count calories, weigh foods, attend meetings, or pay membership dues for the rest of my life (Weight Watchers).
4. I don't plan to pay hundreds of dollars a month for prepared foods + membership dues (Jenny Craig and others like it), and
5. The last thing I want is to have to see another doctor every month to get shots and be told what I shouldn't eat (Medical Weight loss).
6. As a kidney patient who deals with chronic infections, pain, and restrictions, I can't always do what others can do so it has to be something safe, natural, and simple.
My solution is intermittent fasting. Now, before you stop reading and call me crazy, let me explain. With intermittent fasting there are no required grocery lists, fees, expensive prepared meals, memberships and calorie counting, or doctor visits (although you should always check with your doctor before starting any weight loss plan). In addition, intermittent fasting is one of the easiest, most natural ways to lose weight and sustain the way of life. Sustainability is extremely important to me. Losing weight is much like relationships. Whatever you have to do to make it work in the beginning is the same thing you have to do to keep it working. You're allowed a few modifications, of course, but the principle is the same.
There are several versions of intermittent fasting: I'll call the first one basic intermittent fasting because it's the easiest, alternate day or AD fasting, the 5: 2 Fast Diet, and a number of others. I consider basic intermittent fasting the easiest because it simply extends the time most of us already naturally fast. Since we sleep for a number of hours - I hope you're getting your 7 - 8 hours of zzz's - intermittent fasting is natural to an extent. With basic intermittent fasting we simply extend that natural fast from the 8 hours we've slept by about 6 more hours. It's much easier to do than it sounds.
Basic Intermittent - Say your day starts at 7 a.m. If your first meal isn't until 10 a.m. and your last meal is before 7 p.m., you've got yourself a 15 hour fast just by shaving off a couple of hours that morning and a few that night. Even better, because this allows your body the time it needs to properly digest food BEFORE you turn in, your digestive systems gets to rest and repair itself during the night while you sleep. You'll have sweeter dreams and feel better the next morning. For more about this, visit this helpful site.
AD Fasting - Alternate Day fasting is exactly what the name implies, except most of the research is based on 'modified' instead of complete fasting on your fasting days. You're allowed a maximum of 500 calories on fasting days, and every other day, you eat what you want. Here, you already know this, but I'll say it anyway. Whatever you want to eat still has limits or you'll ruin or slow down your progress. This is the version I'm trying right now with a few tweaks I learned while trying the 5:2 Fast Diet. Here's more about AD Fasting, including the benefits.
The 5:2 Fast Diet - With the 5:2 diet, you choose 2 days a week to do a modified fast - 500 calories max for women, 600 calories max for men, and on the other 5 days you get to eat what you want. The same rule applies here about eating what you want. This one didn't work for me but it could have something to do with the chronic illness and my body's individual chemistry, but I did lose 8 lbs. of water weight the first few days. The second week was a bust, however, because my body refused to let go of anything else, and I mean that in the strictest sense of the word. Irregularity for days despite eating raisins, drinking in excess of 12 cups of water a day, and taking medication. That said, many people have been very successful with this one and I like the element of being able to plan that it offers you. Your fasting days can always be the same 2 days each week or you can switch them when you need to and still achieve great results. For more about the 5:2 Diet, click here.
As I said earlier, these are just a few intermittent fasting plans. All in all, intermittent fasting is definitely worth checking out if you're looking for an easy, natural, and sustainable weight management lifestyle. Needless to say but I'll say it anyway, you'll have to tweak the plan to suit your individual needs and the needs of your body. Any fasting plan requires a few modifications to keep your body running smoothly while fasting, and there are some great resources for that, too. Every body is different. Here's one of my personal favorites. Do add more movement to your lifestyle if at all possible, and please check with your doctor before starting anything. I make no claims that these weight management plans work better than any of the other plans mentioned here, only that they suit my lifestyle better and I wanted to share them with you. I'll keep you posted on my progress, and if you decide to try one of these or have experience with one of them, please share. I'd love to hear from you. Best of luck!