Bacon Blue Burger Skillet

I threw this recipe idea together last night while trying to figure out something to make for dinner that would use up at least a couple of the items I have languishing in the fridge, getting close to their last days. I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t be as tasty as it seemed it should be, but to my surprise, it was even more so! In fact, the Handsome Hubby and I enjoyed it so much that I’m going to try to create a casserole version of it to share with you later, as well. Meanwhile, here’s the one-skillet version to sate any immediate bacon blue cheese burger cravings you may be experiencing.

As usual, this recipe can be scaled to suit any number of diners.

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • pinch garlic powder
  • 2 – 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Brown bacon pieces in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Remove to a paper towel, and drain excess grease from pan. Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to ground beef and mix thoroughly. Add seasoned ground beef mixture to the hot skillet and brown thoroughly. Remove to a bowl or plate.

Reduce heat to medium low and wipe skillet with a paper towel. Add butter to skillet. When butter is melted, add garlic and cook for a minute or two, until fragrant but not brown. Add heavy whipping cream and reduce heat to low. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for approximately 5 – 7 minutes to thicken.

While sauce is thickening, lightly steam broccoli florets in the microwave or in a steamer on the stovetop. Be careful to remove them from the heat while they’re still crisp, so they won’t over cook when added to the sauce. Dry by patting with paper towels to prevent any remaining water from thinning the sauce.

When the sauce has reached desired thickness, add 3 tablespoons blue cheese and stir until melted. Remove skillet from heat, add bacon, ground beef, and broccoli and stir until all pieces are coated with sauce.

Scoop onto plates or bowls and top with remaining blue cheese crumbles, and perhaps a dash of coarsely ground black pepper if you’re feeling spicy. Serve and enjoy!

Sixteenth Status Update

I apologize for once again missing Status Update Monday. It fell on Memorial Day this week, and I was happily absent from my ordinary life. I spent the long weekend in the North Cascades camping with friends. It was a wonderful finish to a very good week!

Let me update you on the week first. I was still focused on pushing my workouts, and that went very well. I continued to add to each workout, and to feel a bit stronger each time. By Thursday, for instance, I was doing the same hip thrust weight as two weeks prior, but for sets of 8 reps plus 8 pulses, rather than sets of 6 reps. I also added more activation exercises and body alignment drills to my warm ups, and finished more of my workouts with yoga and stretching. Definitely feeling the gains, and starting to see them, too! I even posted a photo of my newly visible baby abs to my @baconcookielifestyle Instagram.

In diet news, I kept it keto, but I was still experiencing occasional  issues. I’ve added some probiotics in the form of homemade sauerkraut to my daily food intake in the hopes it will help. So far, so good.

Our camping trip was Friday through Monday . I did squeeze in a workout Friday morning before we hit the road, but missed Monday’s. In camp, we shared meal duties, and everyone brought such great food that I had no trouble keeping keto throughout, although I definitely ate more of the deliciousness than I strictly needed. I mean, just look at those sausages! I did splurge on a single s’more Sunday night. Absolutely worth it!

Saturday we’d planned a hike, but when we got to the trail head, we found it covered in a couple of feet of snow for which we were completely unprepared! It sure was beautiful, though. We wandered around in it and took plenty of photos. Sunday afternoon we succeeded in going for a beautiful hike closer to camp, up to a place called Thunder Knob, and again, many photos were taken, including the one at the top of this post.

I sustained a minor injury on the camping trip, a bruised tailbone from slipping off an unstable camp bench, that still hurts but isn’t stopping me working out. Adapt and move forward! If one feels able and inclined, there are almost always lifts one can do even when injured, which is one of the many reasons why it’s beneficial to learn proper form for as many lifts as possible. You never know when you’ll need to swap out one of your favorites.

Speaking of which, it’s time for me to work out! I hope you all enjoyed the past week and are off to a positive start on this new one.

 

Italian Chicken Roulades

The idea of Chicken Cordon Bleu has always seemed rather delightful to me, but I’ve never tried it because, honestly, despite my love of all things cheesy, I don’t enjoy Swiss cheese.  Not at all. Not even a little bit.

Far be it from me to allow my ongoing dislike of one single type of cheese to prevent me trying a cheesy, meaty, crunchy, delicious chicken concoction, though, so I went right ahead and Italianized it by swapping out the Swiss for provolone, adding a bright flash of roasted red pepper for sass, and topping off the lot with a drizzle of vivid pesto. Now that’s delightful!

The method may seem a bit tedious or overwhelming (pounding the chicken thin, layering fillings, rolling and sealing, dredging, crisping on the stovetop, then finishing in the oven), but I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy it ended up being. I do hope you’ll overlook the seeming complexity and give it a try.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2-3 slices prosciutto di parma
  • 2-3 slices provolone cheese (or approx 1/2 cup shredded)
  • 4 narrow slices roasted red pepper (I used one large piece and sliced it into ribbons myself)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup fine ground almond flour
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • dash of garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.

Cover your work surface with a piece of plastic wrap. Set chicken breasts on the plastic wrap at least an inch apart. Cover with a second piece of plastic wrap. Pound chicken pieces until approximately 1/4″ thick. Remove and discard top piece of wrap.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Top with a layer of prosciutto, piecing it together if necessary. Top the prosciutto with a layer of provolone, again piecing if necessary. Lay red pepper slices near the narrow end of each piece of chicken.

Starting at the narrow end, carefully roll each chicken breast. You don’t need to try to keep it super tightly rolled, but be as neat as you can. Seal the overlapping side with toothpicks, and lightly season the outside of each roulade with a bit more salt and pepper.

In a skillet than can comfortably hold the number of roulades you’ve made, heat oil over medium-high heat.

While oil is heating, crack the egg into a shallow bowl or dish and beat thoroughly. Add almond flour and parmesan cheese to another similar dish, and season with dried herbs, garlic powder, and salt, and mix well to combine. Dip each roulade into the egg, then dredge in the almond parmesan mixture.

Carefully place the roulades into the hot oil. Cook for a minute or two on each side, just long enough to nicely brown the almond parmesan coating. Remove the chicken roulades to a lightly greased baking dish, or if your skillet is oven-safe, simply drain of any excess oil, keeping the roulades in place. Put the baking dish or skilled into the oven, and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until cooked through.

Remove the roulades to a cutting board and allow to rest uncovered for at least 5 minutes. Do not tent with foil, as condensation will un-crisp the coating. Slice, top with pesto or other sauce such as dijon cream, and enjoy!

Fifteenth Status Update Monday

How does Status Update Monday keep showing up so quickly?!? Well, here we are again, and I can say unequivocally that I got the better week I was hoping for.

The best part of the week for me was my workouts. Remember last week, how I said I was succeeding well at pushing harder with every workout? This week saw even more of that. I raised weight, did more reps and more sets, tried more new variations of some of my favorite lifts, added more accessory lifts and core work, and did more yoga and stretching. I was sore all over all week, and it was excellent! I’m looking forward to my next round of progress photos. I have good reason to hope for real, visible improvement.

Diet was less excellent. I stayed keto, but was still struggling some with the desire to overeat.  I kept it mostly in check, but ended up not feeling great a lot of the time. I really wanted to give the slightly lower protein and higher fat protocol a good solid 30 days to see if it would work better for me, but considering that I’ve felt less than stellar and have been fighting off the urge to binge for the entire time I’ve been trying it, I think the verdict is in. This week I’ll be going back to my usual ratio of approximately 1:1 grams of protein and fat.

I don’t have a lot else to report this week. Honestly, I’ve been a bit mood-swingy and low. Hopefully that will subside as I get back to my usual eating habits. There are more social events coming up as the summer season gets going, and with the drier weather there should be more hiking and other activities. Looking forward to all of that!

I hope all of you are doing well, and that the week ahead looks bright for you!

Skillet Pizza

This recipe is not one of my own, and sadly, I have no idea who to credit with the original idea. It was already a staple amongst keto-ers when I joined Instagram. When I first saw it, I immediately wanted to try it, but the Handsome Hubby and I are both big pizza sauce fans, so I wasn’t sure how we’d feel about a “pizza” with no sauce.

Then, my Insta-friend @keto.copy got the brilliant idea to fold hers over like a quesadilla. (Follow her if you don’t already. Her recipes are fantastic! The recipe I use for my chocolate bunny muffins is her brain child.) It became an instant hit amongst keto Instagrammers, and I finally decided to make Skillet Pizza-dillas for lunch yesterday. Let me tell you, they will for certain become a common meal in the Bacon Cookie household! So easy, so quick, so unbelievably delicious … with or without sauce!

I’m writing up the recipe with the toppings I used, but you can use anything you like on yours. I’ve listed no measurements because you can use as much or as little as you like, of everything. The only necessary ingredient is the mozzarella. So go wild! Choose whatever ingredients you like. Choose every ingredient you like! Make them huge! Make them mini! Just make them!

Ingredients:

  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried parsley
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepperoni
  • Sliced black olives
  • Grated parmesan cheese

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, sprinkle it liberally with mozzarella. Don’t worry too much about covering the entire surface. It will spread as it melts. Sprinkle with oregano, parsley, or whatever other dried herbs you like, and salt to taste. Then layer on your favorite toppings and sprinkle with parmesan. The pepperoni and olives we tried this time were delicious, but I honestly can’t think of anything you’d put on pizza that would be delicious here!

Allow to cook until you can clearly see the edges browning. Slide a spatula under the edge to make sure you’ve got a nice brown “crust” going. Then you can either slide your pizza onto a plate flat like a regular pizza, or you can make it a pizza-dilla by folding it in half before sliding it onto your plate. Cut into wedges. Serve with sauce, such as pesto or Italian Style Red Sauce, or simply as is. Enjoy!

Tip: Beware molten cheese! Allow to cool slightly before attempting to eat!

Italian Style Red Sauce

Red sauce is a fundamental ingredient of so many Italian dishes and is easy to make, and yet many people rely on canned or jarred versions from their local grocery store. Sadly, most store bought brands have unnecessary ingredients, such as preservatives and sugars.

So, next time you want to make spaghetti, pizza, chicken or eggplant parmesan, stuffed shells, lasagne, or any Italian-inspired dish that requires red sauce, why not make it yourself? My version is made to be as low carb and keto friendly as possible, having only about 1 carb per tablespoon, but if you aren’t concerned about keeping your carbs super low, feel free to add onion as mentioned in the instructions below.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 yellow onion, chopped fine (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 12 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Add the olive oil to a small sauce pan. If you aren’t keeping strictly keto, add onion to the oil and saute over medium low heat for a minute or two, until just starting to be translucent. Crush or mince the garlic and add it to the olive oil, and saute for about a minute, until fragrant but not yet beginning to brown. Stir in the tomato paste and allow to cook for another minute before adding the tomato sauce, herbs, and salt. Mix thoroughly, then reduce the heat and simmer for at least 10 minutes before serving or saving. Note that it will reduce and thicken the longer you allow it to simmer, so keep an eye on it and remove it from the heat when it reaches your preferred consistency.

If you like, you can add browned ground meat or Italian sausage to make a rich, savory meat sauce, or add 1/3 cup of heavy cream to create a velvety, creamy sauce that pairs wonderfully with pasta and pasta alternatives like spaghetti squash or shirataki noodles.

Enjoy!

Nutrition, entire recipe:

  • Fat   14g
  • Net carbs   32g
  • Protein   less than 1g
  • Calories 295

Fourteenth Status Update Monday

Well, alrighty! I have to admit, I’m glad the past week is over. It was a bit disappointing for me on several fronts.

First, what went right. As I mentioned I was planning to do in last week’s update, I leaned hard into my strength training, especially core, glutes, and legs. My abs have honestly been sore every day this week. I even added hanging leg lifts back in to my routine. They’re very challenging for me, but that’s what makes them worth doing! I also worked hard on some variations on my glute workout, especially adding pulses at the end of each hip thrust set. Oh my goodness! I practiced that change twice during the week, and it killed my booty both times! So good. Definitely a keeper. I plan to keep pushing harder and adding more for the foreseeable future. (This photo is from today, just before my workout. Kawaiice-cream kitty helping me keep cool.)

We didn’t hike much during the week, mostly because I managed to give myself edema that was so bad I couldn’t put my boots on over it. At first I thought I’d maybe injured my left ankle on one of our hikes the week before, but when it kept getting worse and then the right started to swell also, I put together the two and two I should have put together when I first gave up some of my dietary protein in favor of additional fat, and realized that I no longer need to supplement sodium, at least not to the degree that I had been. By Saturday I was able to put my boots on, so we went back to Sqwak Mountain and did the May Valley Loop trail again, and added on the additional loop to the peak. The peak trail was much more challenging than we expected, but very much worth it. There’s even an old fireplace still standing there! So interesting.

In addition to failing to re-evaluate my supplementation when I changed my diet, I also failed to get the over-eating under control. I didn’t do it every day, but most days. Evenings, actually. I did fine during the days, but had a hard time stopping with the snacks after dinner. Last night, for the first time since our last fast ended, I got truly, uncomfortably full. I still snacked, though. Happily, today I seem to have successfully gotten sufficiently fed up to have altered my mind set, because I have no desire or compulsion to eat that way today. If anyone has any doubt as to why people who have problems with bingeing or have ever suffered from an eating disorder shouldn’t fast, this is why. I don’t struggle with those issues much at all, but overeating has dogged me for almost two solid weeks since our fast ended. It certainly cements for me the concept that I don’t want to do any more longer-term fasts. I’ll stick to the few days necessary to promote autophagy, improvements in stem cell generation, and immune system repair.

I hope every single one of you can look back on the past week with satisfaction, and forward to the upcoming one with optimism and joy. I’m definitely looking forward to having a much better week ahead!

Mediterranean Pizza

When I made this pizza, I didn’t worry too much about measuring ingredients carefully or taking perfect photos because I was thinking it would just be a toppings-variation on my Chicken Crust Pizza, not a new, separate recipe. But then it turned out so much more unique and delicious than I’d hoped, and I knew it needed to be its own thing! That means I’m going to have to make it again for exact measurements and macros, and more photos. Darn!

It starts with my usual ground chicken crust, which gets an extra shot of seasonings, since we’re forgoing the usual highly seasoned red sauce. Instead, it gets layered with extra-thick alfredo sauce and a delicious variety of Mediterranean toppings, then gets broiled just enough to heat the toppings and crisp things up a bit. And it is perfection!

Start by pre-heating your oven to 450F/232C. Then cover a large baking sheet with parchment. Tip – dampen the baking sheet slightly with water to help the parchment lay flat and not slide around. Spread a tablespoon or so of olive or avocado oil over the parchment.

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash of garlic powder

Put all ingredients together into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. I find my hands to be the best tool for this job, but you can use a spoon if you prefer. When the mixture is thoroughly combined, oil your hands lightly and form the “dough” into a ball. Set it on the oiled, parchment-lined baking sheet and, using your fingers, spread it out evenly across the sheet. You can spread it surprisingly thinly and have it still come out cohesive enough to stand up to eating slices by hand like regular pizza.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until it begins to brown. Remove from the oven but leave the crust in the pan. (Current photo is regular chicken crust. I’ll replace it with a photo of the seasoned variety as soon as possible.)

While the crust is cooking, prepare the sauce.

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • small pinch of xanthan gum

Melt butter in a medium sized skillet or saucepan over medium low heat. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant but not yet beginning to brown. Add whipping cream. When the cream comes up to a visible simmer, reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 10 minutes ot so. Add cheese, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and simmer for another minute or two, until cheese is thoroughly melted and incorporated. Add a small pinch of xanthan gum. Be sure not to add too much as even a tiny pinch will thicken the sauce considerably. Mix in well and continue simmering for approximately 5 more minutes, until sauce is thick and no longer sticks to a spoon.

Spread sauce evenly over crust. Top with whole basil leaves, halved kalamata olives, prosciutto, and slices of fresh mozzarella. Broil for 5 or 6 minutes, or until sauce and toppings are just beginning to brown.

 

Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few moments before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

If you make this wonderful pizza, please let me know in the comments, especially if you add or subtract any toppings. I’d love to know how you decorate yours, and whether you love it as much as the Handsome Hubby and I do!

Thirteenth Status Update Monday

This week has vanished so quickly, despite seeming to go pretty slowly at the time. Have you ever experienced that with time passing? It’s an odd feeling. But, oddness aside, overall the week was good, filled with small victories and positive moments.

I got in five strong workouts. My lift strength post-fast was almost immediately back to full, with the exception of pushups. Those suckers always get to me, but I’ll have them under control again in no time. I changed up my chest press grip style, and found I’m better able to target my pecs and take some of the work away from my anterior delts, which are now getting plenty of work via upright rows, which I’m doing once a week with narrow grip and once a week with wide grip to work as much as possible of my shoulder span. I started adding more core work back into my routine, and am continuing to work hard on my glutes.

The Handsome Hubby and I got in several lovely hikes, including one with our dear friend Brooke and her adorable puppy Mia. The Hubby even ran with Mia for quite a lot of the trail! So fun! We also went to one of the new trail heads I mentioned in the last Update and explored a trail there. We’ll be going back to that one again soon, leaving a bit earlier in the day so we have time to follow it all the way up to the peak.

Food wasn’t quite as good as exercise. The foods I’ve been eating have been the right ones, but I’ve been fighting alternating over-eating and under-eating. Today I focused on getting everything back to my usual routine, including getting back to drinking green tea throughout the day, and I’m finally feeling normal again. This definitely solidifies my feeling that longer-term fasts are not for me, though. I don’t typically have food or appetite issues, and I’m dismayed that I’ve been faced with that this week.

In other food news, we finally got an air fryer, which we used for the first time today to make chicken wings. It’s so nice to be able to make nice crispy, juicy wings without any advanced planning, in a quarter the time it takes to make oven baked ones, and without having to heat up the house by having the oven on. It’s going to be a wing-y summer!

I’ve also gotten back to taking really good care of my skin, body as well as face. I tend to neglect my body except for my back, where my eczema tends to be worst. The Handsome Hubby surprised me with some lovely new body butters this week, though, and we’ve both been making good use of them!

I did weigh and measure myself and take progress photos yesterday as planned. After fasting and re-feeding, my weight has settled at 3 pounds lower than when I started, and I’ve lost some more body fat. My hips and thighs are each down another inch plus, although my waist, surprisingly, didn’t change much, and my chest is down about half an inch. In the photos, the most visible change is in my back, shoulders, and arm, which are looking lean and nicely muscled. (I’ll add photos tomorrow, but wanted to get this posted while it’s still Monday.)

The photos also showed me where I need the most work moving forward. Of course, the glutes, my ongoing project. They feel different, more solid and dense, but look only very slightly different. As I mentioned above, I also started adding more core work back in over the past week, and that turns out to have been an excellent choice. My core is not as strong as I’d like and I don’t have much in the way of ab definition. I also need to get in more quad and hamstring work. My legs are looking much leaner than they were at the beginning of March, but there’s little visible muscle, and they’re still relatively weak, especially in my quads.

I also had a revelation this past week. One of my Instagram followers complimented a photo of me, saying, “You can certainly tell that you lift!” And in mid-reply, I realized that she was telling me what hadn’t yet dawned on me, that I’ve accomplished the first part of my goal of the past two years. I’ve gotten lean enough to look fit! Now there’s just the second half, seeing whether I can maintain it while living and eating normally.

So, it’s been a good week, with much accomplished and much learned. I’ve got the beginnings of a solid plan to reach for the second half of my goal, and some other smaller goals along the way. I hope every one of you can look back on the week with a feeling of accomplishment, and that the week ahead is shining with optimism!

Fasting Recap

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a scientist, simply an interested layman who spent a little time reading online and watching documentaries. I do not advocate water fasting. This post is simply an account of my own experience and opinions and is not intended as medical or fitness advice.

The Handsome Hubby and I finished our second longer-term water fast just less than two days ago. For the most part, the low-carb/keto/IF community understands fasting and is aware of what most of the benefits are, but I’ve gotten a few horrified questions and run up against a few people who were certain we were going to starve. And I understand. I had the same fears about fasting until the Handsome Hubby started looking closely into it.

As I mentioned previously, I’m wary of appearing to advocate or recommend fasting, but it occurred to me that it might be beneficial to my readers if I share some of the benefits of fasting and the science behind those, as well as share my experience. All I can do here is skim the surface as there’s a great deal of research out there, some of it Nobel Prize-winning. If you find the subject of interest, don’t stop with this post. Hit up Google!

There are two sets of goals in fasting. The first is the more obvious, weight loss and reduction of body fat. The other is more subtle, the things that take place on a cellular level that renew some of the body’s systems, help in fighting disease, and may (or may not) extend life.

Longer term fasts, like the ones I’ve done recently, serve both purposes, but people usually embark on them for weight and fat loss purposes. Most people believe fasting will “eat up your muscles”, but the opposite actually happens. Once you’ve burned through any glycogen stores (which takes no time if you’re already following a ketogenic diet but can take a couple of days if you follow a standard high carb diet), your body enters a ketogenic state, in which it makes ketone bodies from your fat to burn as fuel, sparing your lean muscle mass. This is most probably a mechanism that evolved early in human development, to keep the unfed body strong and energetic enough to keep hunting and gathering to find that next meal and keep the individual, and the species, alive. The best explanation I’ve encountered so far of how the research into this phenomenon developed is contained in the second half of a documentary called “The Science of Fasting” (2012), which can be found online. You can also check out this talk with Dr. Walter Longo, one the most prominent figures in this line of research.

In my own experience, on my first fast, after re-feeding, I ultimately lost only about 3 pounds, but my body fat percentage dropped by 4 percentage points, from about 26% to about 22%.

The Handsome Hubby and I completed that first fast and the one we just finished primary to take advantage of this fat loss effect. In future, we plan to do shorter 5-day fasts a few times a year, solely for the cellular benefits.

Research has shown that, in just three days of fasting, the body can rejuvenate the entire immune system, primarily by killing off damaged white blood cells, which are then replaced by fresh new cells within 48 hours of re-feeding. The article I linked also touches on how the body can help repair cellular aging, reduce tumor growth, and help protect against the harmful effects of chemotherapy.

Autophagy, or autolysis, the process by which cells repair and rejuvenate themselves, is also promoted by fasting. This effect strengthens and regenerates the very substance of the body on a microscopic level, and might theoretically result in longer life, and greater health throughout that life.

As for my as yet very limited personal experience with fasting, one result I didn’t expect was to learn so much about myself. Many people rest during fasts, but the Hubby and I don’t. I still lift weights and we still hike together almost daily. We’ve always carried snacks with us on hikes, and on any outing that might last over two hours, because I get shaky and feel weak when I don’t eat fairly regularly. For that reason alone, fasting was unappealing to me, and we thought I might not do well with it. I was stunned to discover that, not only could I fairly effortlessly fall into the habit of NOT eating, but even when I get shaky and feel weak during a fast, I have much greater strength than I would ever suspect. I can keep hiking and push up inclined trails even when my brain tells me I don’t have the energy. This revelation alone was worth the experience to me.

Speaking of energy, many people report boundless energy and mental clarity while fasting. I have not experienced these lovely side effects, though I wish I had. At workout time each day, once I started lifting my strength was sufficient (although we both noticed a substantial drop in stamina and endurance), but trying to encourage myself to get up and do it was a bit of a challenge throughout our fasts. I also felt somewhat disconnected and fuzzy-brained, which made writing new blog posts rather a challenge as well!

On our first fast, I did 6 days fasting, took a break for 4 days while the Hubby was still fasting, then finished up the last 7 days with him. On this most recent fast, we did 14 straight days together, and I learned something else important. About 11 or 12 days is my limit. I made it to 14 days, but those last couple were very tough.

As it turns out, the lack of energy I experience while fasting, and difficulty I experienced during the later days, is due to my comparatively low body fat stores, according to Dr. Jason Fung in the obesity code podcast, wherein he states, “The amount of energy we have to use when fasting is based upon how much body fat we have, which gives up its energy at a fixed rate according to A limit on the energy transfer rate from the human fat store in hypophagia. If you have 10 pounds of body fat, then you can generate 315 kCal per day, which would be a state of significant caloric restriction. If you have 60 pounds of body fat, you can generate 1,890 kCal per day, and now we’re talking about a pretty adequate amount of energy to fuel your day.” So there it is. More body fat equals more of that elusive boundless energy!

For those of you who’ve asked, I don’t have final data on my body composition results from this last fast. I know I lost approximately 12 pounds, but that isn’t a final figure. When you fast, some of the weight you lose is simply the emptying of your digestive system, while you’re adding nothing back into it. When you do eat again, the food you eat has weight and takes time to traverse your digestive system, so most people gain three or four pounds just from that effect over the first few days. I’ll be weighing and measuring myself and taking progress photos on Sunday for Monday’s Update post, so all of those figures will be included there.

And please, if you’ve ever had an eating disorder or are prone to binging, please do not ever try fasting unless instructed to do so by your physician. Fasting is not a reasonable or safe long term weight management plan, and it can easily contribute to disordered eating. Be healthy, know your limits, and take care of yourselves!