Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Four Years of Intermittent Fasting

2010 is my 4th year of intermittent fasting (IF). Ever since 2006 when I kicked off my ‘belated’ fasting program, I love my new lifestyle. I have found a long term lasting and easy way to eat and stay healthy. I plan on feeling this great for the rest of my life!

Historic Eating Problem
My story all began with my historic eating problem which date back to 1989. This problem started bothering me soon after I turned 30. Perhaps due to slow metabolism, but no one could explain the reason. There has been a serious conflict between my natural desire for food and my body’s saying ‘no’. However I have been pleasing my mouth, and ignoring my body’s refusal of food. So my stomach is always full to overload like an airborne balloon. In March 2006, just before I turn 50, I took an important step in my life as to change my eating habit.

Lose Weight As A Result of Fasting

Actually over the past 20 years, doctors, dietitians and friends suggested hundreds of ways to correct my problem. Somehow I found only one way work for me – fasting. At the beginning, I went on a 6-day juice fasting. I lost six pounds out of that. And most of these six pounds were shed off from my belly fat. Over the course of the next six months, I lost a total of 20 pounds. My body weight has been stable since then. Fasting had greatly improved my appearance and made me feel great.

The Magic of Intermittent Fasting
At the beginning, I was thinking that I could resume my normal three-meal-day after the initial juice fasting. But I was wrong. The miracle feeling told me that ‘Anna, don’t look back; look forward, you’ve found the right way to eat!’ The feeling was just like I’ve been temporary disabled and got fully recovered. I would never want to be disabled again. As a matter of fact, I don’t really need that much food to survive. However I cannot give up food forever, so I target for one meal a day, just to balance my psychological and physical need of food. There marked the beginning of my intermittent fasting program.

I set up a food diary to record my eating history and at a later stage set up a food blog to record what I eat. On average, I skip 18 to 23 meals in a month as in some cases I cannot avoid eating due to business and personal social commitments. In some days, I replace a meal by snacks, a fruit or a glass of juice.

Overcoming Fasting Hurdle
Talking about my fasting experience, the most challenging bit was the first two days of juice fasting. I need strong determination to suppress my natural desire for food. I told myself its time to do something towards a better quality of life as I have been suffering for 17 years. From the third day onward, the feeling was really good. Though it was a bit tired but I still continued with my morning calisthenics and midday workout. These two sessions of daily exercise has been part of my life. Even now, I’m still doing them without breakfast and lunch and I’m still energetic enough to deal with my daily work.

While practicing intermittent fasting, the other hurdle to overcome is on the social side. I have to alert people of my change in eating habit and that they need to reserve my diary in advance, in case they want to eat with me. Luckily I have my family members’ and friends’ support by respecting my new eating habit. Food wise, I don’t really have any restriction. I just eat as usually, except not as frequent as before.

One meal every 24 hour is just good enough to keep me healthy and energetic. Unlike other weight loss program asking people to focus on low carb, low calorie, fat burning, ab exercising etc. intermittent fasting enables me to lose weight naturally and gradually. It is not an overnight weight loss program, but a long term lasting health program. I create this blog to spread this message and hope that more and more people can enjoy the benefits of IF and improve their quality of life and stay healthy.

More about intermittent fasting: Eat Stop Eat

Anna's Fasting History

Intermittent Fasting Success Report

Monday, January 25, 2010

My 24-Hour Diary of Intermittent Fasting

Have you ever tried or heard of a 24-hour fasting concept? This is what we call intermittent fasting (IF). I have been having this ‘eat once every 24 hour’ lifestyle for the past four years and have been doing well.

You may wonder how my life is and how I can survive by eating only one meal a day. My life is actually extremely hectic. Once I’m at my office, I keep multi-tasking through end of the day. A little background on myself – I have been in the executive search business for the past 11 years.

Here is a report on one of my typical working days while practicing intermittent fasting.

08:00 Wake up and a brief visit to the bathroom. I don’t need an alarm clock, because the sun and my body logic wake me up naturally on time.

08:05 Calisthenics at home for 20 minutes

08:25 Prepare to go to work

09:00 Arrive into the office. Make a cup of tea at the pantry – no solid food. Check email and take actions accordingly. There is one email which will keep me busy for the rest of the day. My boss has agreed with a client that a candidate will fly tonight from the Philippines into Hong Kong to do interviews tomorrow. I have to make things happen logistically. Of course this will override my other projects due to its urgency.

12:00 Swim at the Island Shangri-La pool for 30 minutes as this pool is just opposite to my office.

13:30 Arrive into the office, feeling groomed and energetic as to continue with my heavy workload. Make a cup of tea at the pantry – no solid food. Multi-tasking: Audio typed two reports which my boss dictated in the morning. Each of these 11-page reports have to be completed and approved by him and forwarded to client before end of the day. I have to wear two headsets as to interchange between my audio typing and phone calls, and at the same time watching out the email pop up window to monitor the progress of my Filipino project. Though I look like a fossil while doing audio-typing, but my mind is completely alert of things happening around me.

18:00 Make sure the meeting schedule, e-ticket/hotel booking reached the Filipino candidate before he shut down his computer and head off to the airport.

19:00 Make sure my two 11-page reports were approved by the boss, proof read, formatted properly and forwarded to client. Before I go home, I have to make sure all meeting schedules and documents that I completed today are properly log into the database.

20:00 Go home. I live nearby my office. I usually walk home and eat on the way. As this is the only time I eat in a day, I will look for a reasonably nice restaurant where I can sit down and enjoy a meal relaxed and peacefully. I have no restriction on the type of food, but generally a set dinner.

21:30 Evening activities at home. Multi-tasking among watching TV, taking phone calls, checking emails and updating my blogs. Click here for details.

00:00 – 08:00 Sleep

You may notice I go do swimming during lunch hour without eating before and after. In fact I have been doing this since 2006. Yes, I don't need to constantly eat to have energy. The beauty of intermittent fasting is not only to help lose weight in the short term, but it is a long term lasting way to help me stay fit and healthy. Read more about my current health condition.

More about intermittent fasting: Eat Stop Eat

Anna's 24-Hour Diary
Intermittent Fasting Success Report

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Workout During Intermittent Fasting

I swim for 30+ minutes everyday around lunch hour at the pool of Island Shangri-La Hong Kong. I do my daily workout as normal as anybody does. What you might consider abnormal is that I do it without breakfast and lunch, i.e., no food before and after. You may wonder how that can be. Well that’s the magic of intermittent fasting, I don’t have to eat three meals a day to support my daily activities. Only a meal every 24 hours will do.

This is the essence of my fasting blog. Many people know that fasting benefits weight loss, detox, cleanse and is a good thing to do. However their major reservation is on energy level. Can I do my daily workout as usual? My answer is of course ‘yes’.

Let me go into more details about my daily workout.

My Daily Workout and Fasting History
In the morning I do 20 minutes of calisthenics at home before going to work. I have been doing this since 1987. There is a background for this which I will explain in my future posts.

My lunch-hour workout started 1999 when I moved to work at Central Plaza Hong Kong. They have a mini gym and pool for the use their tenants. But the pool was closed in winter and in summer closed for all kind of reasons. I can swim only twice a week plus do gym on other days. But this happened seven years before I started my fasting program. So I was still having sort of light lunch after my workout.

A critical date in my recent life was March 11, 2006 when I kicked off my juice fasting, followed by intermittent fasting through now. Since midday workout has been part of my life, I just continued however without food before and after.

In 2007 I moved to work at Pacific Place Hong Kong where my office was just opposite to the Island Shangri-La. I then joined their Health Club and continued with my lunch-hour swimming session. This all-weather pool is much better than that at Central Plaza, as it is larger, more beautiful, well managed as well as opened year round.

Daily Swimming Schedule
Monday through Friday, you’ll see me at the pool around lunch hour, provided my work schedule permits. I might move my swimming session to the evening if necessary. Occasionally I swim on morning of Saturday and Sunday as well.

Why Swimming
Because I have leg and foot pain, many other sports won’t suit me, but swimming is fine.

Working After Swimming, Without Food
Hong Kong people usually ask ‘have you eaten?’ to greet someone in the afternoon. My colleagues were always shocked by my answering ‘NO’. I meant no breakfast and no lunch. They were shocked further that I always look more charm and energetic in the afternoon than in the morning. That’s why this photo was taken.

That day was January 18, 2008 when Asia was under snow crisis and Hong Kong had only 8°C.

Any reservation in kicking off your own intermittent fasting program? Let me know. I’m happy to share my fasting experience.

More about intermittent fasting: Eat Stop Eat

Anna's Daily Workout
Intermittent Fasting Success Report

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Fasting Diet – Just Eat As Normal

Talking about my fasting diet, I have been targeting one meal a day, since I started my intermittent fasting program in 2006. Of course this is a personal rule, not a law. It doesn’t matter if I break it. In fact, I eat as normal as anybody. What you would consider abnormal is I eat once every 24 hours. Then you may wonder what I eat. True, this is what my colleagues, friends and acquaintances all curious about.

Now here is the answer. Check my food blog, as it is a record of what I eat. I’ve taken all these photos from my dining table. Make sure to check the post of ‘Why I Set Up This Blog’.

In a nutshell, my fasting diet could be as simple as this.

I always have some porcini and sun dried tomatoes in my kitchen
to prepare a simple meal for myself.

And it could be as sophisticated as this when I attend social gatherings.

Amount of Food
When I attended my company’s annual dinner, I had shocked my colleagues by the way I eat. Many a time people asked me ‘Anna, do you really don’t eat? I notice you’ve eaten a lot!’ Yes, I do eat a lot. As someone who eats one meal a day, I do respect each meal and enjoy. I just eat freely and eat everything that I love to eat.

Type of Food
Regarding my fasting diet, I am going to upset many dietitians as I don’t care about the food pyramid. In Hong Kong, TV commercials tell us to drink eight cups of water a day, and for ladies two cups of milk in addition. Ten cups of liquid a day! What if I love a cup of tea, coffee or juice? 13 cups of liquid a day? No way. I never meet this target but I never feel myself dehydrated. I am at the maximum six cups of liquid combining all kinds of drinks, and I’m fine.

There is however a mini rule that I always stick to. I stay away from something that is high in cholesterol and extremely oily. And for personal reason I will minimize the consumption of potato sort of food and carbonated drinks as these will create gas in my stomach making me feeling uneasy.

Do you have any questions about my fasting diet? Feel free to ask me, I’ll be happy to share my experience.

You can eat as normal while stay fit and healthy, why don’t you going on a trial intermittent fasting?

More about intermittent fasting: Eat Stop Eat

Anna's Fasting Diet
Intermittent Fasting Success Report

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Activities During Fasting

Have you ever wondered how true the benefits of fasting are? As someone who has been practicing intermittent fasting for four years, one of the questions that I am being asked most is: Anna, do you have enough energy to support your daily life? Answer is of course ‘Yes’.

Energy is most people’s concern about fasting. Let me describe my daily life and see what you think.

My daily life is basically divided into three parts:
00:00 – 08:00 – sleep
08:00 – 20:00 – work
20:00 – 00:00 – variable

While I have no sleeping problem, I have nothing to report. I will describe my work in detail separately. Many think that I stay home lazily doing nothing after work, because I simply don’t have the energy. Here is a list of what I do during the evenings, provided I don’t have to attend corporate or private events.

20:00 – 21:30 – cooking/eating, either at home or outside; personal cleaning; running miscellaneous mini household errands
21:30 – 00:00 – multi-tasking
Listen/watch TV; check corporate*/private email; manage/update my blogs**

*You may wonder why I check corporate email during my private time. Because this is the time when I can have real time communications with my colleagues/ clients/ candidates in Europe and the US. This will greatly speed up my work the following morning.

**I have many blogs. Here are the ones that I update most frequently:
· My company’s team building blog
· My family blog
· My food blog
· My resume blog – I make some free-lance money from this blog by providing resume review services. So I have some minor administrative/marketing work to do plus the actual resume review.

This work list does not require a lot of energy physically. However I do need to have the appropriate level of energy psychologically.

Just for fun, you may write down a list of things that you do between 20:00 and 00:00 daily and compare yours with mine.

If energy is your concern whether or not to kick off your intermittent fasting program, I might have provided some insights for you. Feel free to contact me and ask about my fasting experience.

More about intermittent fasting: Eat Stop Eat

Anna's Activities During Fasting
Intermittent Fasting Success Report

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Health Benefits of Fasting

My fasting program started March 11, 2006. The first week was juice fasting, followed by intermittent fasting through now.

I must emphasis that I don’t fast to lose weight, I am fasting for health. However weight loss, detox and cleanse come naturally. I lost six pounds in the first week and a total of 18 pounds in the next six months. My body weight had been stable since then.

About the health benefits of fasting, you might wonder if someone on long term restricted diet is really healthy. Here is a summary of my current health condition. See if you think I’m healthy enough. From top down:

Thinning Hair
This problem isn’t so bad that I can still put up with. However comparing with 15 years ago, I might have lost 50% of my hair. Shampoo – no loyalty. Currently using Aisence which seems to have reduced the number of my daily hair loss.

Skin Condition
Excellent. Skin care products - have been loyal user of Shiseido for 30 years. Currently using their Revital line.

Neck and Shoulder Pain – since 1999
This is a problem really bothering me. I have tried numerous treatments without much success. As for my age, I'm afraid I can't get rid of it. Have to see my physiotherapist occasionally.

Digestive Problem – since 1989
Overcome by practicing intermittent fasting. This blog is to report my success story.

Leg and Foot Pain – since 1987
Overcome by acupuncture. However I have to give up my favourite high heels and cannot do exercises that are demanding on leg and foot motions.

Sick Leave History
I have taken a total of five days off in my previous job’s eight-year tenure. I have no sick leave record in my current job’s three-year tenure. My last time seeking medical consultation was May 2009.

While some of my younger colleagues take five days of sick leave every month, I have taken five days of sick leave in altogether 11 years of time. If this can be a health index, my number is a distinction. Of course this is not a result of fasting only. I have other health secrets. Subscribe my blog if you want to find that out and to follow up on my fasting success.

More about intermittent fasting: Eat Stop Eat

My Current Health Condition
Intermittent Fasting Success Report

Monday, January 18, 2010

Intermittent Fasting Success Report

I am a loyal follower of intermittent fasting and juice fasting. I have been practising one meal a day since 2006. My appearance and quality of life had greatly improved since then. I create this blog to answer questions from my friends, colleagues and people who asked me of why I had taken such action to change my life and with success.

To remind you, what I write in this blog are true facts of my life. Feel free to contact me if you would like to exchange ideas about fasting.

To kick off my blog, let's review a number of my photos pre and post of fasting.

I took this photo last week during my lunch hour work out session. My office at Pacific Place Hong Kong is just opposite to Island Shangri-La Hotel. I joined their Health Club and go swimming everyday. It is an all-weather pool. Water temperature is always 28°C, so I can swim year round.

Anna - January 2010
(4 Years of Intermittent Fasting)
No bad for a 53 year-old!
Photos taken from the pool of Island Shangri-La Hong Kong
Anna - January 2009
(3 Years of Intermittent Fasting)
Anna - November 19, 2006
(8 Months of Intermittent Fasting)
At this stage, I started to receive enquiries
regarding weight loss tips. But I didn't look well at all some 8 months ago!
Anna - March 25, 2006
(1 Week of Intermittent Fasting)

Anna - March 17, 2006
(1 Week of Juice Fasting)

Anna - March 10, 2006
The night before I went on fasting

Anna - October 11, 2005
(5 Months before Fasting)

Photos taken from my then office in Central Plaza Hong Kong

Did I look like a pregnant woman?
Yes, because people gave seat to me on public transportations.

Anna - October 11, 2005
(5 Months before Fasting)

I am not that demanding on my appearance, but there were certainly rooms for improvement. However my objective to go fasting was not to improve my appearance, but health. I will explain this in detail in my later posts. But if you are eager to find out now, read this post from my food blog.

More about intermittent fasting: Eat Stop Eat

Anna's Fasting History
Intermittent Fasting Success Report