30 Jul 365 Day Challenge (Year Two)
It’s been two years since I began a “365-Day Challenge” as my attempt to get healthy in a sustainable way. I had set my goal a year out so that I wasn’t rushing into a bad diet or habit in reaching my goal. The first year, as you can see, I only lost 13 pounds. I felt and looked a little better, but it wasn’t enough.
Frustrated with the results, I reached out for some advice from a friend, and it was suggested I try Intermittent Fasting (IF) – I lost 12 lbs that month! I was seeing real results, sleeping better, I was never hungry, and I felt amazing (and younger!) – but I wanted to do more!
Read on to share my journey. Twitter thread here.
Do it 100%
One month into IF (~Sept 1, 2017), I cut out all meat. I felt that if I was going to do this, I might as well do it 100! With the other foods that I omit due to allergies (& sensitivities), cutting out meat wasn’t going to be that different. I eat Vegan every chance I can, if not, I eat vegetarian.
Note: There’s a common misconception of meat that needs to be cleared up; All protein comes from plants – when you eat meat, you’re just eating the middleman!
Last year at this time, I weighed 187 with 20% body fat (BF), and by mid-November of that same year, I was already in the 150s – I lost almost 40 pounds in only 4 months!
Today, I stand 6’ tall, 152 lbs and 10% BF and I feel as though I’m 25 years young again even though I am 36. I am literally the same weight that I was when I was a sophomore in high school, however, I’m much stronger than I have ever been in my life, lifting my weight for the first time ever – 12 times, squatting 3 times my weight – 15 times, and my decline press is up to 275 lbs x12!
The Power of Fasting
I knew what I ate was important, but I had no idea how important when I ate was. As I fasted, I found that it increased my muscle recovery time, therefore I’m stronger each time I lift. I am on a 4 day on 1 day off gym schedule, down from 4/2 since I feel I don’t need as much time to recover. I could put a lot more time into the workout, but I only spend about 45 minutes a day at the gym and that includes 10-15 min of warming up on the elliptical. In total, I walk 4-6 miles each day and 50% of that walking the pups.
Food Rejuvenated Me
It seems as though fasting is what amplified what I was already trying to do, and then all the fruits, nuts, and vegetables accelerated it and rejuvenated me. I can’t begin to tell you how much this has helped me mentally. In fact, I’m afraid to think of where I’d be had I not invested so much time and energy into bettering my health.
What changed everything for me is my re-education on what is “healthy”. I can only speak for myself, but I’ve been lied to my entire life – adults, institutions, the media all telling us what’s “healthy”. Easy examples are Meat, Milk, and Fruit Juice. All of these are widely promoted as “healthy”, when in fact they aren’t. We are all different, so there isn’t just one healthy diet for all of us, but I do know that getting rid of foods that cause harm to our bodies should be universal. I urge you to re-educate yourself too and pay attention to what your body is telling you after you ingest food or drink. I’ve listed my diet and Pros and Cons of this process below – best of luck!
What’s important is having a strong support staff around you as you’re going through this. With no family for 2K miles, it’s helpful to have someone close to you. It’s been one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my entire life, so to have a partner that’s there to support me, to repeatedly cook the same boring food, and to even eat some of it with me, has been the most helpful in all of this.
If you’re looking for a more difficult challenge than above, I’ve been including a 72-hour water fast into my routine every 3 months and not only does this help what I’m already doing, but I feel amazing for a week or two after! It’s one of the most challenging things I’ve done, but I really think the benefits outweigh any pain and suffering you think you’ll go through. I think it’s because of the 72-hour fasts and the IF that I haven’t had a cold in over 10 months. My body seems to kill off any “bugs” at night because sometimes, I’ll wake up hot and soaking wet sweat – my body was working OT burning something off.
So many people have reached out to me and thanked me for continuing to share this story – it means a lot. Some even told me that I’ve changed their lives (happy-crying face emoji) It’s been a strange transition for me because when I was losing weight I was adamantly sharing in hopes to motivate more people – and I did. But, now that I’ve reached a goal, I’m more self-conscious in sharing. This stems from the ridicule and criticism received for who/what I am today which is “too skinny” or “tiny” – only in America. I continue to share for the sample of you that are still tracking my progress and are still progressing yourselves! It’s inspirational – keep going!
If I leave you with anything it’s just common sense – what you put in your body is so important. Re-educating yourself is equally important, but it’s going to be challenging with the companies out there paying to make sure you read their research! Think about everything you read “Does this make sense?”, if it doesn’t, CHALLENGE it. I also urge you to watch What the Health, on Netflix. If you have questions or comments, please leave them below.
Fasting 16 Hours per Day (Stop eating at 6 pm, Start 10 am, 2000-2200 calories per day)
Fruits (as many as I can eat)
Rice (white, jasmine, fried)
Nuts (Cashews only – allergic to most everything else)
Water (3 gals/day, all kinds – flat, carbonated, flavored, caffeinated, all 0 calories)
Bread/Wraps (GF, on occasion, 1/month)
Minimal salt, zero sugar
Caffeine (90-180 mg/day) I don’t drink Coffee *update: I cut caffeine 1/1/2019
If I cheat, it’s w/ fish/crab/sushi.
If I drink alcohol, it’s Titos and water.
Better sleep (6-7 hours every day is plenty)
Better mental health and clarity (this was huge)
More energy and alertness
Amplified senses (vision, hearing, smell)
Minimal allergies (food/nasal)
Better hair and skin
Lower resting HR
Better digestive schedule
I’m not as “fun” (I don’t go out drinking or to dinners a lot)
Criticism for not eating meat
Criticism for being “skinny”
Going out to dinner is challenging (finding “clean” food to eat, and also eating for enjoyment instead of calories/energy)
p.s. I don’t consider myself a “thought leader”, I’m not a dietitian, nutritionist, or even a health expert. I do however have the education and experience that has helped me and others live better lives, so that’s why I continue to share my story.