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!

Twelfth Status Update Monday

Hello Lovelies! Can’t believe it’s Status Update Monday again already. Amazing how quickly a week can go by!

This week has been surprisingly good, considering that it was the second week of my water fast. I do think I decided to fast again too soon on the heels of the last one, but it really has gone surprisingly well. I’ll be writing up a full post just about fasting in general and this fast specifically on Wednesday for anyone who’s interested, so I’ll keep talk about that to a minimum in this post.

By the way, I am not a doctor or medical professional. Anything I write about fasting is my own opinion and in no way advice or recommendation. The one thing I do recommend is that, if you want to make any kind of change in your diet, you consult a physician beforehand.

The thing I feel best about this week is that I’ve kept up my workouts as planned. I’m doing a deload week, as I mentioned last week, and it’s going along pretty smoothly. Today was lower body, and even though my stamina is shot from fasting, my strength is really good until it runs out. I’ve been focusing hard on my glute bridge form for the past couple of weeks, and it has improved immensely. I’ve improved my ability to truly target and isolate my glutes more than I thought possible, so I’m getting more of what I need out of the lift … but also wearing my glutes out more so I’m able to do fewer before failure. But this is why I’m such a stickler for form. When you do a lift properly, you target the specific muscles more fully instead of allowing other, stronger muscles to take over the work, you work them harder, and you get more of the result you want, sooner. So maybe … maybe … maybe, within a couple of months we’ll be able to see real glute growth in my progress photos. That would truly be the ultimate victory for me!

I’ve  done some hiking this week but not as much as last week, and I listened to the demands of my body and relaxed almost all weekend. The Handsome Hubby and I did walk around town Saturday admiring all the flowering trees and bushes. It seems like the whole town is in bloom! So beautiful.

I also accomplished a non-health-related goal this week by uploading my very first ever video to this blog and to Instagram. Success! You can watch in on my last post, Upright Rows. I almost talked myself out of making it, and then almost talked myself out of posting it, but I told myself to just quiet the heck down and did it anyway, and I am honestly ridiculously proud of stepping out of my comfort zone to do something I’ve been wanting to do for ages.

Oh! And I almost forgot to tell you. I’ve come up with a whole slew of exciting new recipe ideas to test out! I’ve got them all listed out and ready to go, so there will be fun new tastiness happening here soon. Watch this space!

I hope you’re all well and happy and full of optimism today, and ready for a fulfilling week ahead!

Upright Rows

Narrow grip

I love upright rows. You read that right – I LOVE upright rows. I do them at least twice a week. You may have heard that they’re dangerous, that they’re likely to cause injury. And yet, I have a bone spur in my right shoulder and they’re one of the few shoulder exercises that has never caused me any issue. Done with attention to good form, they’re a great, safe, effective exercise to build shoulder and upper back strength. I love them, and if you give them a try, you might, too.

Wide grip

The key is to start with proper technique. Feet should be shoulder-width apart, knees soft, glutes squeezed, core tight, spine straight, chest high. Grasp a barbell or kettlebell with an overhand grip. Think of your hands as hooks, with the weight essentially hanging from them.

Raise the bar toward your chin, leading with your elbows. When your upper arms are parallel to the floor, stop the pull. Your elbows should be higher than your wrists. Then lower the bar along the same path. The crucial point is to keep your spine straight, shoulders wide, and chest high throughout the movement, avoiding swinging the torso frontward and back, or hunching the shoulders.

In the video below, I show the lift with both a barbell and a kettlebell. Notice the similarity of hand position and overall movement.

This lift works the entire shoulder and upper back region, and if you’re using a barbell rather than a kettlebell, grip can be varied according to your goals.

  • Upper trapezius (narrower grip)
  • Anterior shoulder/deltoids (narrower grip)
  • Posterior shoulder/deltoids (wider grip)
  • Biceps
  • Rhomboids

In order to get the most out of the lift, it should be performed with weight that allows you to complete sets of 8-12. You should be “done” by the end of the set, but not struggling. Using higher weight that necessitates fewer reps is not recommended, as form can more easily break down, leading to injury.

I honestly can’t stress enough the importance of good form on this and every lift. A lift done poorly with higher weight may feed the ego, but will cost you in reduced gains and higher likelihood of injury, while a lift done properly with slightly less weight will lead to greater strength and muscle building gains sooner … allowing you to move on to that heavier weight in no time, with beautiful strong muscle to show for it.

 

Eleventh Status Update Monday

Things have been a bit hectic in the Land of Bacon Cookie lately, lots of irons in the fire, so Tenth Status Update Monday slipped right past me unnoticed. By the time I realized it, it seemed better to let it go. So, we’re skipping straight to Eleventh Status Update Monday. I do apologize for the oversight!

I’ve been doing really well with workouts, still pushing hard for a little bit more every time, and focusing extra closely on my form. I had a particular victory last Friday, managing 3 sets of 10 strong pushups for the first time in a very long time. It felt so great! I went on to add more to several other lifts in that same workout as well, so it was a particularly good day for me. Success!

The Handsome Hubby and I have also been hiking a lot, especially this past week. The weather has been on-and-off rainy but is forecast to be sunny for a while ahead, so there will definitely be more hikes, and hopefully longer ones. We’ve stumbled upon a few more trailheads in the area as well, so we might even explore some new places!

Diet has been on-and-off, too. I’ve kept keto, but was struggling with portions, especially with nuts. I didn’t gain any more weight, but was feeling sort of overall not-great. Then, last Monday, the hubby and I decided we were ready to move forward with our fat loss efforts now rather than later, by doing our next fast straight away rather than in May as we’d planned. We started Tuesday night, and are going through next Tuesday night, May 1st, for a total of 14 days. That’s twice as long as either of my fasts last month. I was a bit apprehensive as to how I’d do, but that turns out to have been unnecessary.

I’m honestly feeling great this time! I’ve been able to do my full workouts, and even had that wonderful workout last Friday that I mentioned above, and have had no headaches or bodily discomfort. I was a bit tired yesterday, but am back to completely normal today. I’m guessing this ongoing goodness is due to the fact that I learned my lesson last time and have been supplementing electrolytes from the very start. Both of us are slower and have to rest more often on the inclines on our hikes, but that’s as expected. I do plan to do a deload week on lifting for the second week of our fast, this Wednesday through next Tuesday, mostly because deloading now and again is a good thing that I’ve been trying to work into my schedule regularly. Pairing it up with fasting seems kind of perfect.

So, overall, the past two weeks have been good. I did forget to take photos yesterday or today, but I will definitely take some in two weeks, after our fast is over and we’ve re-fed. Photos and measurements at that time will be of more value in evaluating my overall progress anyway. I’m very much looking forward to seeing those, because I’ve seemed to be making some good muscle gains recently.

I hope all of you have had a great couple of weeks, and that the week ahead is looking bright and positive for you! Be healthy, be happy, and most of all, be love.

Ninth Status Update Monday

Happy new week, everyone! It’s update time again. This past week has been good physically but pretty weird and disjointed mentally, so let’s start with the good, shall we?

I got in six excellent workouts, three upper body and three lower body. I’m continuing to push my strength and try to make some real muscle gains. I had two nice strength victories this week. First, when I posted a side plank photo to my Instagram, one of my followers mentioned trying to do them with the top leg lifted. I’ve always assumed I couldn’t do it, but I decided to try it in my next workout and not only managed it, but held it for a (wobbly) 15 seconds on each side! Second, in my unplanned sixth workout of the week yesterday, I managed to do 5 full sets (6 reps each) of my heaviest glute bridges and one additional, lighter set of 10 reps, even after having done heavy squats! Success!

The Handsome Hubby and I also did some hiking, but not as much as last week, mostly due to inclement weather. We’re usually willing to hike in any kind of weather, but it’s been raining so much here lately that the trails are extremely mushy, making any steep hiking very slippery and extra challenging. So on the days when it was really pouring, we skipped it. It’s bright and sunny today, so hopefully we’ll get in more hikes this week!

As for diet, I’ve been staying keto, but my weight has been up about 1.5 pounds. I realize that’s small, but it could be the beginning of weight-creep. It might be that I’m eating more than I realize, but it might also be some other change that I made in the past week. I started taking some supplements again for the first time since beginning my water fast in early March, but I’m not noticing any positive change from them, so I’ve stopped them again as of today and don’t plan to start back up. I’ll only be supplementing vitamin D and magnesium going forward. I also started drinking coffee again daily. I drink it black, so that’s probably not affecting my weight, but you never know. There’s also a slim chance that I’ve just added muscle, since my body fat percentage has remained low, but that’s difficult to confirm.

I’ve been inexplicably very sleepy, low energy, and low self-esteem for the whole week, which has really been frustrating for me. I’m not sure what’s causing it, so I’m not sure how to go about fixing it. I’m going to try to do more yoga and meditation this week, as well as getting at least one video made, even if only a short “story” on Instagram. Hopefully, I’ll be able to report next Monday that I shook the badness with no trouble during the week.

As some of you already know, there was also a death in our family this week. I managed not to let it derail me, knowing that she was one of my joyful-long-life inspirations, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t accept that grief might be part of the all of the above, as well.

I hope each of you can look back on the week with satisfaction, and that you have a productive, healthy, and happy week ahead of you!

Eighth Status Update Monday

No slack! That’s been my motto this past week.

Having lost a much greater percentage of body fat than I’d expected to by now, I’m even more motivated to build some more beautiful, strong muscle! Granted, I always try to work out hard every time. If I’m not shaking when I’m finished, I’m not finished! But lately I’ve been making a conscious effort to push that little bit further, do that extra set, add that extra weight, add another accessory lift, even when I think I can’t. Sometimes I’m right, and then I just dial it back a little, but usually I can. Even when I’m tired, even when I’m still sore from the day before, I can do a little bit more. And it feels fantastic!

Admittedly, I’ve been sore. All over. Pretty much every day. But not so sore that it’s prevented me getting in 5 solid workouts (3 upper body and 2 lower body) and several great hikes, including a very steep, very challenging, 5-hour one on Saturday. We took the longest possible route to the summit, up some trails that were practically toe-to-shin, they were so steep. We did have those nearly to ourselves, though, and I was enjoying myself far more than I had a right to be! Apparently, I’ve made considerable hiking-strength gains lately. And those steep parts make for great ultra-long sets of step-ups. Extra glute work for the win!

I’ve been doing really well with my diet, as well, keeping very keto. I’m loving having a bit more fat in my diet, but I have to remind myself regularly not to eat ALL of the nuts. Even on Easter, the Handsome Hubby and I kept it keto with a tray of gorgeous deviled eggs and some brie and almonds for brunch, sous vide tri trip with roasted broccoli and Boursin cheese for dinner, and gloriously decadent low carb chocolate bunny cakes with Halo Top and ganache for dessert.

I’m also happy to report that I haven’t gained back any weight or body fat since last week’s post-water-fast Update. Success!

I’m looking forward to pushing myself more this week, making more muscle and strength gains, trying out some new recipes, and making a few practice videos toward the goal of starting a Bacon Cookie YouTube channel. Trying to stretch and grow in as many ways as I can!

I hope you all enjoyed the past week to its fullest and are getting a positive start on this one. Be healthy, be happy, be love!

How To Do Plies

I have the misfortune of being the only flat-butt woman in a family of glorious round booties. I’ve been trying to rectify this situation for years, but have only recently found a few lifts that I feel are truly going to make the difference for me.

The one I added to my routine most recently is the plie. It’s not quite the plie you may have learned in ballet class. It’s more the bastard love child of the ballet plie, the sumo squat, and the sumo dead lift. I’ll get a video made soon to better illustrate the exact workings of the lift, but for now, I’ve got some stills that will work. (Please excuse my monster cupcake shirt.) This lift works the glutes, quads, and to a lesser degree, the hamstrings.

How to execute the lift:

Hold your kettlebell, dumbbell, jug of sand, or whatever you’re able to use as a weight in front of you at about hip level, using both hands. Stand with your feet a fair bit more than shoulder width apart, feet turned out to the sides as far as is comfortable. When you’re at the bottom of the lift, you want your shins to be just about perpendicular to the ground, so you’ll need a wider stance than you may expect. Feel free to adjust your feet between reps until you get it right.

To start, bend your knees and sink down, letting your tailbone push slightly out behind you while keeping your back as straight as possible, until your thighs are parallel to the ground.

Next, straighten your legs back to the starting position, focusing on using your glutes to push your body up, rather than simply straightening your knees. That’s one full rep. Try for 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps. If you can’t do that many at first, it’s OK. Just keep working at it 2 or 3 times a week, and you’ll get it!

Things to keep in mind while working on this lift:

  • Keep your feet turned out as far as you comfortably can, and try to keep your knees in line with your feet. Try not to let your knees roll forward.
  • Keep your shoulders square and back. Try not to let them roll forward or hunch.
  • Focus on pushing up with your glutes on the upward half of the lift. Focus keeps the muscles activated, rather than allowing the quads to take over all the work.

I hope you try these, enjoy them, and find them a valuable addition to your workouts. I’ll keep you posted on whether they help me reach my booty-building goals!

Seventh Status Update Sunday

Yesterday was Seventh Status Update Sunday. I had planned to go though week Eight, but I’ve surpassed the body fat reduction goal I had set for myself, something I never thought I’d be able to say, so this will be the last Weekly Update for my fat loss journey. As I shift back to my muscle building focus, I’ll be moving Updates to Mondays, since Life just keeps taking over my Sundays!

So, as I mentioned in my last Update, the Handsome Hubby and I did a water fasting experiment. He did 21 straight days. I did 6 days fasting, 4 days eating, and another 7 days fasting. (More about that below, if you’re interested.) We hiked often and I did most of my regular weight-training workouts throughout. We started eating again Wednesday evening and are now back to eating normal meals, and our weight has stabilized. My body fat percentage has gone down 4 percentage points, from about 26% to about 22%, and I lost 6 pounds. My waist is down 1.25″ and my hips are down .5″, but the overwhelming success for me is my thighs, which typically don’t get notably smaller even when the rest of me does. They’re down 1.25″, and are visibly leaner than I could have hoped. Seriously, you guys, major victory!

So, photos! March 4th on the left, this morning (March 26th) on the right. The differences are small and difficult to see in photos, but I notice it most in my thighs on the front-facing image and my shoulder on the side-facing image.

Now, I get to step away from fat loss as my main goal, and go back to focusing on my favorite thing, building strength and muscle! I’m so excited about it, looking forward to pushing my lifts harder every workout. I got a good start in today with a fantastic upper body workout. My arms are shaking even as I type! So good!

For diet, we’re sticking with our ongoing ketogenic diet plan, but lowering protein and raising fat a bit, a change which basically allows us to eat an enormous variety of whole, minimally processed foods, without having to do things I felt were unhealthy in the long term, like eliminating nuts.

If you’re interested in the specifics of our water fast, feel free to read on. If not, consider this the end of the Update. Have a beautiful, healthy week!

 

NOTE: People who are prone to binge or who have ever suffered from an eating disorder should never fast. 

I didn’t want to focus this update on the fast because it’s not something I want to advocate or recommend in any way. I don’t intend to educate others on the science, especially since I’m neither a doctor nor a scientist, and I also feel no need to justify our choice to try it. We educated ourselves on the research and science involved before starting. We did it for a variety of reasons, primarily autophagy and fat loss. If you’re interested, I do recommend getting online and learning as much as you can. A good place to start is a documentary called “The Science of Fasting”, which you can find on YouTube. The second half contains more of the interesting science involved than the first half. And let me just say how much I love the fact that the initial research into fat loss while fasting was done on penguins!

I kept notes every day intending to use them to write this post, but even though they’re messy because I didn’t intend for anyone else ever to read them, I think they do a good job of conveying how the experiment went down for me. Spoiler alert – I messed up on the 6 day fast by not getting enough electrolytes. When I did it right on the 7 day fast, I felt good, was able to lift weights and hike, both of which I did nearly every day, and I saw great results.

 

Water Fast Daily Notes

Day 1, Tuesday, March 6 – Vaguely hungry, but not in any big way. Strong enough to do full heavy hip thrusts – glute bridges – plies – frog pulses workout without sacrificing weight, reps, or sets. Low energy. Low endurance. Got tired just cleaning bathrooms. Unexpectedly patient and meticulous. Happy to focus very carefully on cleaning humidifier. Slightly light headed. Eyes don’t want to focus properly. Got sort of “low” in the evening, and was quite tired by bedtime.

Day 2, Wednesday, March 7 – Slept pretty well. Woke up very thirsty but not hungry. Very low energy, wobbly, slight vertigo. Got more wobbly for a few hours, then started to regain my center, if not my energy. Slightly hungry, but easy enough to ignore. Not stable enough to work out. So cold, could not warm up. Energy and center came back a bit through the evening, but big muscles (quads especially) were weak and easily worn out. Slightly “low” again in the evening, started getting tired around 9:30.

Day 3, Thursday, March 8 – Slept well at first and then poorly, but woke up feeling fine, thirsty but not really hungry again. Surprised how easy it is to just decided not to eat and then proceed to not eat. Still not crabby or impatient. Yay! Still very cold.  No racy heart or wobbliness, but somewhat weak. Worked out but had to start deload week. Regular row weight literally tipped me over almost onto my face. Miss cooking. Miss eating. Will continue to fast for now, both in support of Handsome Hubby (HH) and in hopes of fat loss. Scale seems to show some reduction in fat %.

Day 4, Friday, March 9 – Felt pretty crappy, ready to quit. HH suggested I might be short on electrolytes. Got me some; I drank them and felt quite a bit better within 30 minutes. Went for a forest hike. Felt good, but got tired quickly. Still very cold. Having a lot of trouble warming up.

Day 5, Saturday, March 10 – Woke up feeling good! Drank electrolytes right away. Felt even better! We went for a pretty steep hike and did well. The steeps were very hard and tiring, but the rest of it was great! Took hours in warm clothes under a blanket with a fire and the heater to warm back up, though.

Day 6, Sunday, March 11 -Absolutely no doubt that my body was telling me to stop. Even electrolytes didn’t help at all. Stayed home in PJs, sitting under a blanket next to the fire. Sipped a cup of bone broth late in the afternoon. Felt kind of glerpy, but it got better quickly. Followed up with about 1/2 cup of nuts, the some cheese, then eventually some chopped chicken breast with avocado and mayo. Stopped feeling horrible but remained very wobbly and slow-moving. Slept poorly.

Day 7, Monday, March 12 – Felt much better, if still somewhat weak and wobbly. Electrolytes first thing again. Did an upper body workout, tough but not my usual. Felt great! Went on a really nice hike with some steeps here and there. Did very well. Didn’t feel like eating all day, but had a few nuts, another chopped chicken with avo and mayo, and a bit of cream cheese and peanut butter between 6:30 and 7:30pm, mostly because I was concerned about developing a disordered attitude toward eating. Slept somewhat poorly.

Day 8, Tuesday, March 13 – Woke up feeling energetic and vibrant! Electrolytes first thing. Did an hour and a half worth of housework, which I admit wore me out. Rested a bit, then did 5×5 60lb glute bridges, 4×5 35lb plies, frog pulses, plank, hollow hold, Pilates scissors. Very tired, but recovered pretty quickly. Going to try to fast with HH until he finishes up Friday evening. Might change my mind and eat a bit at night, though. Will play it by ear. …….. I did end up eating after all, turkey with avo and mayo, and a few nuts and tiny slices of cheese. Have felt so heavy and overfull for hours and hours after this one meal thing every night. Ugh. Stressed and stressed over “messing up” my fast and re-feed. Slept so very poorly.

Day 9, Wednesday, March 14 – WTF, why do I feel so energetic and happy this morning after stressing out last night and getting about 3 hours of sleep? Maybe I’m delirious! Ha! Feeling great but hungry this morning. Drank a cup of coffee for the first time in a week. Planning to eat two meals today, since the one meal thing, even when it’s pretty small, using extra fat to try to get enough calories rather than having more food, leaves me feeling heavy and full for hours, often well past midnight. …. Managed an excellent upper body workout. All sets, all reps, only slightly less weight on rows, nose to bar on chin-up practice. Ate a small lunch at 3. Went for a challenging hike up just beyond the bridge on PooPoo Point Trail, stopping often on the steep uphills. Ate dinner when we got home. Went to bed very tired, fell right asleep, but slept very poorly. Gave up and got out of bed at 6:40am.

Day 10, Thursday, March 15 – Talked with HH this morning. He’s feeling up to another week, so I started again today. Low energy due to no sleep for days, but not feeling bad. Hungry, but not annoyingly so. Salted electrolytes first thing again. Pretty decent lower body workout; squats and deads, slightly lighter than usual. Butts are so tired! Thought I’d be too tired to hike, but we went and it was great! Funny that the uphills have become interval training – 3 to 5 minutes go go, 1 to 2 minutes rest, etc. Very tired afterward, sleepy by 7:30. Slept very, very well.

Day 11, Friday, March 16 – When I didn’t wake up right away when he was ready to get up, HH let me sleep in. Slept ’til 9:30. Victory! I feel like a different person today. Still hungrier that I expected, but nothing I can’t ignore. Salted electrolytes first thing again. Good upper body workout, but feeling too shaky and wobbly to do plank series or pushups. Very cold already. Just want to curl up under a blanket by the fire for the next 5 days! Actually did that for the evening. Sadly, stayed hungry. Not so sleepy in the evening, but slept well anyway. Dreamed that I kept finding myself snacking on M&M’s or tiny sandwiches. Body is clearly tired of making the effort to create and burn ketones and is begging for some nice, easy glucose. 😀

Day 12, Saturday, March 17 – Slept in a bit. Woke up finally not feeling hungry. Salted electrolytes to start the day. Went for a good hike. Very slow on the inclines. Leg muscles felt exhausted after a step or two on any substantial incline, and heart would race so easily, but I kept at it and HH was so patient, and eventually we made it to the high point. At the bottom, it was I who suggested we add on one of the nearly flat loops to finish up. So lovely! Was barely warm enough in my sweater, two hoodies, extra warm gloves and hat, though. Came home and curled up in front of the fire again. Warmed up pretty easily and stayed warm. Not hungry really, but looking at too many food pics on Instagram is really, really rough! Did not get tired early, but slept well.

Day 13, Sunday, March 18 – Woke up feeling not hungry but hollow, like I’m physically incomplete. Super weird! Also a bit weak and wobbly. Felt more normal after drinking salted electrolytes. They’re definitely what I was missing on my first fast! Want to hike but might be not be strong enough. Feeling pretty bad about that, wondering what’s wrong with me. Maybe I just need a lower dose of thyroid meds when fasting. Will check with the doc before fasting again.  … HH checked online and said it might be potassium, so I starting adding some to my water. Did go for an easier hike today. Back a little sore afterward, but otherwise feeling really good! Not so cold today. Less weakness, more energy. Hungry later in the day. Slept OK, but not great.

Day 14, Monday, March 19 – Woke up feeling almost 100% normal, but this is the first day I’ve seen the fat % on the scale go up a little. Salted electrolytes first thing, as usual. Got in a decent upper body workout, but definitely noticing a lack of strength. Haven’t had to drop much weight, but some, and some reps, and am definitely struggling more to complete sets. Really just wanted to be DONE this morning. Got more and more surly as the day went on. Finally wondered if it was electrolytes, because when in ketosis, however the problem manifests itself, it always electrolytes. Got some electrolyte water with potassium salt – BOOM, problem solved. Walked in the evening just around town. Slept fine.

Day 15, Tuesday, March 20 – Woke up early feeling good. Salted electrolytes. Decent lower body workout. Feeling like I’m finally really getting my glute bridge form down, really isolating the glutes. Read an article recommended by @kettlebell.kandy and found two new glute exercises I plan to add to my rotation. Went for an easy-ish hike and felt much stronger on it than I expected to. Hungry in the evening. Ready to be done fasting. Slept well.

Day 16, Wednesday, March 21 – Woke up feeling good but weak-ish and wobbly. Had to ask HH to take the trash down for me. Body fat on scale hasn’t gone down in the past 4 days but I’m still losing weight. That means I’m might be losing muscle now as well as fat, or maybe all the electrolytes I’m consuming are confounding the scale’s fat calibration. Glad today is the last day. Got in a good but shorter than I’d like upper body workout. Feeling much more normal now, but cold and having trouble warming up. Went for an hour walk, then broke our fast with bone broth. About an hour later, had nuts and cheese. Learned that cream cheese is the actual best after a fast, and that I will eat too much during fast-breaking if there’s a lot of food in front of me. HH did great; ate slowly and felt really good. Amazed at how quickly I stopped being cold. Meditated together for the first time right before bed. So nice. Slept fitfully.

Day 17, Thursday, March 22 – Woke up with my stomach feeling not queasy but not quite right, but salted electrolyte water fixed it right up. HH woke up feeling good. Had scrambled eggs with cheese around 10:30, then tried some coffee. Forgot to put salt in the grounds so it was bitter and neither of us enjoyed it, so I threw it out. It’s possible we’ve lost our taste for it, but we’ll see tomorrow when HH makes it right. Got in a great lower body workout – really strong glute bridges with pause at top, plies, tried rubber band kick backs for the first time, finished with frog pulses and core stuff. Taking a day off hiking. Going to Costco instead. … Got Costco ribs for dinner. Ate them with mac nuts and mixed nuts. Pretty sure I over-ate even though I didn’t feel full. Took a short walk after dinner. Meditated together again. Slept poorly.

Day 18, Friday, March 23 – Woke up feeling fine. Salted electrolytes. Coffee was good today! Breakfast around 10. Got full fast. Only ate about 2/3 of mine. Got in a really good upper body workout. Strength isn’t fully back yet, but I was able to do things I had to skip last week. HH worked out with me. Didn’t realize how much I’d missed that. Lunch around 3:30. Got full again; ate about 3/4 of mine. Guess my body wanted to be sure it was fed, and now that it is, it’s done over-eating. Took another day off of hiking, and also no walk. Ate about 3/4 of my dinner. Slept very poorly.

Day 19, Saturday, March 24 – Woke up feeling very sleep deprived and out of sorts. Salted electrolytes. No coffee. Just not feeling it anymore, really. I think we’ve lost the taste for it. Breakfast around 11. Wanted to keep eating, but didn’t. Stayed in and played video games all day. Small bowl of turkey salad shared between us for lunch at about 4pm. Dinner at 7. Didn’t think I was very hungry, but inhaled my food. Finally slept!

Day 20, Sunday, March 25 – Slept in until 10am; woke up feeling good. Salted electrolytes, no coffee. Breakfast around noon. Didn’t get full early or want to eat more after I was finished. Went for an excellent hike with a good number of steep uphills that I used as glute work. So nice not to have to stop and rest every 8 yards! Felt so good that we added an extra, somewhat easier trail on at the end. It was only a total of 2.5 hours, but longer than anything we’ve done since we started this fasting experiment, and I put it to extra good use working my glutes hard. Skipped lunch but ate a lot at dinner. Slept OK but not well.

Sixth Sunday Status Update

The experiment I mentioned on my FB group last week got extended so I still don’t have final data for you, but it’s time I post a Sunday Update anyway and tell you what’s going on.

The Handsome Hubby and I are fasting. Yup, I, the great lover of food and cooking and eating, am voluntarily going without, and for good reason. I’ve read a lot the past couple of years about autophagy, whereby cells rid themselves of damaged bits, clearing out and restoring themselves. It also helps reboot the immune system. It may result in longer life, and is known to be destructive to cancer cells. It increases Human Growth Hormone (HGH) significantly, and contrary to popular belief, has long been shown to cause the body to burn fat almost exclusively while preserving muscle.

Knowing all that, I still wouldn’t have given it a go, but the Hubby decided to do it, in part for the autophagy and immune benefits, but primarily to try to break some bad dietary habits he’d fallen into. After seeing how good he was feeling after a few days, not weak at all and having plenty of energy, I decided to join him. I’m happy to say, he’s still going strong on his 18th day. I had only intended to do 5 days, but managed 6.

I’d gotten into it for the health benefits, but it was the fat loss that stunned me. After only 6 days, I’d lost more fat than I had in 4 months of careful, strict dieting last summer. (I have a scale that measures both weight and body fat percentage. It’s not super accurate on percent, but it measures ups and downs perfectly well.) For four days, I did Intermittent Fasting, eating one meal per day, but fasting together was honestly so much easier. I thought about it and decided that, since lowering my body fat percentage has been my primary goal for over a year and fasting was clearly working for that, I’d join the Hubby for the end of his fast.

So here we are. We’re hiking a lot, although we’re slow on the uphills, and I’m still lifting weights, although not quite as heavy as usual, but close. We break our fast on Wednesday night. I’ve been keeping notes every day since we started. Next Sunday’s update will include a link to those notes in their entirety, as well as photos and measurement changes.

If you’re interested, there are tons of articles out there about fasting and its benefits, as well as about autophagy and the various ways to induce it. There is, of course, a lot of chaff amongst the wheat, so if you do decide to investigate, try to look for the more scientific articles.

* Let me add a quick cautionary note here. If you are prone to binging or have any type of eating disorder, please do not fast! The urge to binge after a fast can be extreme, and on the flip side, it becomes easier and easier to just keep not eating and to become apprehensive about starting to eat again, which can only feed into a disordered relationship with food.