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May 14, 2019 by Dr. Varner in Intermittent Fasting

I can tell you, there’s nothing more frustrating than when you lose weight and put it straight back on.

You feel like all your hard work was wasted, and you’ve got nothing to show for it except a closet full of ‘skinny’ clothes that don’t fit.

It’s called weight cycling, and it’s one of the biggest issues for people who want to slim down and get healthy.

People follow fad or ‘crash’ diets, lose weight and then return to their old habits. Lo and behold, they return to the size they were very quick.

It’s why I’m so adamant that weight loss isn’t an event, it’s a lifestyle. It requires consistency, and incorporation into the way you live.

I recently completed a 21-day fast in Thailand. By this logic, a prolonged fast is such an event.

I lost a total of 14 pounds in this period. Pretty neat, huh? But surely I’ve put it all back on since I came back to the US of A?

Well, yes, actually, I did!

But not for the reasons you think…

The scales trick you

When it comes to weight loss, we like to obsess over the numbers. But those numbers don’t always reflect progress.

What we really want to lose is fat. But thankfully, we have other things in our body that make up our total weight.

I skipped down the road after I weighed myself when I finished my fast and cozied up to some Thai food for a couple of days. I then went to Korea and enjoyed Korean food.

As I’m sure you’re aware, Oriental cuisine is rather rich in carbs…

When I finally returned home, I weighed myself again. Those 14 pounds were back.

I initially freaked out. Was all that effort for nothing?

In response, I switched back to my standard keto diet immediately. Keto has always been kind to me when it comes to weight loss, and I wanted to get rid of this weight as soon as possible.

After four days, I’d lost 12 pounds again…

And then it hit me. None of that was fat…

I facepalmed in embarrassment. Fat loss and fat gain don’t happen that quickly, it was all fluid retention.  

Carbs love water. When you eat carbs, insulin converts a good portion of it into glycogen which it stores in your muscles. Glycogen holds onto water like no tomorrow, and insulin makes your body store more salt.

Those two things are a surefire way to hold as much water as possible in your body.

But keto is the opposite. It’s why you need to drink salty water to stop yourself from being dehydrated. It’s also why alcohol hits you quicker on keto.

What’s next for fasting

Once I’d got back into my routine, my weight loss stabilized at 14 pounds. Pretty good for 21 days.

I also feel completely normal. No catastrophic organ failure that I know of. I feel fit and ready to get back to normal life.

But I’m not going to lie, it was a challenge. There were plenty of temptations, and moments where I nearly quit. I don’t think it’s something I could do with a full-time schedule in medicine, which is why I took the time off to do it.

At this point, I’ve turned my attention to exercise. Bariatric surgery, keto, intermittent fasting and prolonged fasting have been my main tools to lose weight. When one plateaued, I incorporated the other.

It’s time I started to build muscle. It’s not just about fat loss, it’s about body composition. It will also tighten up any loose skin from the fat loss, and keep me active.

But fear not, I’ll still be keto, and I’ll do the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan. I might even throw in a few 24 or 48-hour fasts if I’m feeling adventurous.

Conclusion

Fasting works. Period. The numbers don’t lie, once I’d given my body time to sort itself out, I was noticeably lighter than when I started.

I’m still motivated and excited to continue my journey with keto and intermittent fasting. They’ve already dramatically changed my life.

I can’t wait to see what I’ll do next.

This information is intended to help readers be more informed about their health options when speaking with a professional, but it should not be used alone to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Be sure to speak to a qualified doctor before taking any action to make sure that your choices reflect your actual health situation.

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