Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eat. Stop. Eat. Update and Questions

Okay y'all.  So, I got a lot of different responses from you all when I announced my participation in Eat. Stop. Eat.  I'm talking WIDE variety of opinions.  It was pretty amazing to see how many of you were supportive, curious and also how many of you are already on the program, or some other eating style where you incorporate fasts.

On the other hand, there were a few readers who were skeptical, unsure, and some of you were downright against the idea.

I want to talk about a few things today.  First, I'm gonna give you a little update on the program and how it's working for me.  Secondly, I want to talk about restriction in eating plans, and what's the deal with that?

So.  Update.

I started out really well with the "Eat" part of Eat. Stop. Eat.  I mean, I kicked ass at it.  I ate and did it well.  Big salads, a hot dog, some delicious ice cream, chicken, milk, cereal, whole wheat bread.  I didn't restrict my eating and it was amazing.  But then I realized I'd forgotten something crucial after a few days.  The "Stop." part.  I was enjoying eating freely, and forgot I was supposed to schedule in my stops.  HA!  So.  I did my first 24-hour fast on Tuesday and it was amazing.  9pm-9pm, y'all.  (I have a really late schedule, so for most of you normal people that'd be more like 6pm-6pm, dinner hour.) 

I didn't feel cranky, light headed, or shaky.  I felt sort of hungry after being awake for three or four hours, but the feeling passed.  I got another slight wave of hunger another four or so hours later, but for the most part it wasn't bad.  I drank water and diet soda and I was fine.  Then, 9pm came and it was time for dinner, and I had chicken, a little bread and some mashed potatoes.  (Had no salad in the house and it was too late to go to the salad bar at the grocery store.  I'll be better prepared next time.)

So!  Overall I'm looking forward to my next fast (which is right now, actually.  No food until 10pm tonight.)  It feels amazing.  I feel empowered and freed.  Which leads me to my next topic:  Restriction.

Here are some of the comments I got on the post I did:

Fasting two days a week is not sustainable.  Why?  Lots of people do it.  Dan's grandfather has been doing it for 30 years.  I have stacks of books on the subject.  It might just not be sustainable for some people, and that's cool. 

It seems like a modified version of anorexic behavior.  Anorexia is not a behavior, it is a sickness.  This program is specifically for healthy adults, and is not for anyone who has eating disorder issues.  Fasting has been practiced for centuries.  We're just not used to it here because we think we are supposed to eat three to five times a day. Breakfast (break-fast) breaks the fast after we sleep, right?  Well, the word dinner actually ALSO means "break fast."  And lunch?  Didn't even exist until ladies tea became "luncheon," became a full meal we eat sitting down.

I wasn't aware that restricting your food was criteria for a healthy diet.  It absolutely is.  It's scientific, actually.  Eat less, lose weight.  I don't get why people are so freaked out by the idea of food restriction.  It's not a BAD thing.  (If you have eating disorder issues or tendencies, obviously I'm not talking to or about you.)  But for those of us who struggle with weight... restricting food (and exercise for those who exercise) is the only way to lose weight.

Not fasting to allow us to make poorer choices on the days we can eat. It just doesn't sound healthy to me.  For me, it's not about "poorer" choices.  It's about freedom from food psychotic behavior (which is a term I apply to myself and my obsession with numbers, calories, carbs, and the guilt and head issues I get about food.)  This week for the first time I actually felt GOOD.  I didn't feel guilty when I ate mashed potatoes.  I had a Subway sandwich and didn't feel like crap afterward because I ate bread.  I made Dan banana bread, and I actually had some of it myself.  This program is about allowing me freedom to enjoy food, instead of feeling guilty if I "mess up."  It frees me to live my life and not worry about what I'm going to order at a restaurant, and if there's a dry chicken breast and steamed broccoli available or not.  It allows me to not sit and loathe and be jealous while I drink a bottle of water at a baseball game as my friends have hot dogs.

The entire time he was knocking other diets and counting calories and such saying that "they wont work."  I'm pretty sure he wasn't.  In fact, I'm pretty sure he said any of those ways can be good ways to lose the weight, and that there's not a "right way" or a "wrong way."  He DID point out how frustrating those other programs can be, and I personally agree.  I do not want to be counting points for the rest of my life.

Not once in the video you linked did it say "how" it is supposed to work, only that it will.  That's because if he explained all of the how, he wouldn't be able to sell the program.  I bought the e-book and I have all the information I need.  Can't fault him for not giving it away, can we?

I think you will be upset if it doesnt work and/or you come off of it, and gain it all back.  Absolutely!  Just like I've been disappointed when I've gained weight back after Atkins, counting calories, doing Weight Watchers, and being a Vegetarian.  But all of those options are also fully valid, fantastic eating programs that are totally sustainable and life-changing for some people.  It's all about finding the program that works for you as an individual.

I hope this is an april fools joke. Of course a diet like this will work since basically you will eat less, a lot less.  ... No, not an April Fool's joke.  And yes, diets where you eat less, are the ones that will work.  That's the point.  Eat less, lose weight.  Calories in, calories out.  If you think the formula is different from that, you're mistaken.  It really is that simple.

I sincerely hope I am wrong in thinking this diet is a great way to start a serious eating disorder.  This has actually given me freedom from food issues, and I've seen that feedback from several people who fast.  Fasting does not equal anorexia.  Seriously.

If you don't like calorie counting then try weight watchers?   Weight Watchers IS calorie counting.  It's just modified into points.  The numbers are smaller but it's the same idea.  It's great for some folks, but it just didn't work for me personally.  :)

Umm.... why not just eat what you want to eat in moderation and exercise??  I did that for five months and lost five pounds.  Literally, was under 1700 calories a day and worked out for an hour three to five days a week.  My body needs a little extra boost.  Oh, and I hate working out.  That too. :)

So for me, here's the thing.

I don't understand why someone who counts calories or points all week, digs into their little bags of celery or noshes on their delicious rice cakes... can say they're not on a restrictive diet.  Ummm, you are.  In fact, you're restricting your eating all week.  AND you're counting numbers while you're doing it.  In fact, it doesn't even have to be that kind of an example.  Do you sometimes want to eat chocolate cake at a restaurant after your dinner?  Do you sometimes say, "Nah, I probably shouldn't." ?  That's restricting your intake.  That's saying, "Yeah, this probably isn't the best choice for me." 

This is just a different approach.  It's more flexible so I do NOT have to count points or calories or carbs.  I simply cut two days out.  So instead of watching my intake all week, counting calories, skipping desserts, staying away from bread, and at the end, having cut 30% of my calories for weight loss... I'm eating what I feel like eating when I feel like eating it (yes, still in moderation,) skipping food for two 24-hour periods, and coming away with a 30% deficit of calories at the end of the week.

Personally, I like option 2 the best.

On another note, I'm going to be in Denver for the next week but I'll try to do a few updates while I'm there!



Jordan E said...

I might have to take a deeper look in to this Eat Stop Eat for myself. I think it's fantastic to try lots of options to see what can become a lifestyle of keeping the weight off for you. Every person is different! Props to you for not giving up and continuing to test out options that make you feel better and allow you to eat a healthy, balanced diet that best fits your life.

Later Never Exists said...

Yeah I gotta come in here and throw you a little support.

It is NOT uncommon for people to fast, in fact various religions and cultures around the world fast on a regular basis.

I personally haven't tried it, but I know people that do and they love it. They love how they feel during their fast and just as you said, a certain amount of freedom is allowed because you realize you don't NEED to eat all of the time.

Hang in there and keep us posted!

Anonymous said...

People are not often supportive of fasting. They automatically equate it with anorexia or some other type of eating disorder. The fact is that we, especially in the US, are OBSESSED with food/eating and not feeling hungry. Ever.

If you think about it, every diet program out there includes the promise of never experiencing hunger somewhere in their promotional marketing, i.e. "Lose weight WITHOUT FEELING HUNGRY!" Like a growling stomach is something horrible to be avoided at all costs. But maybe that's the problem. We're so preoccupied with always having access to food and avoiding hunger that we've forgotten what true hunger actually feels like.

ESE is a very useful tool for doing just that. Getting back in touch with your hunger signals.

I find that after a fasting day I am much more aware of my true hunger and also much more aware of WHAT I am eating. I don't graze or snack absentmindedly, and I don't crave anything (no head/emotional hunger). I make solid, deliberate choices in what I eat.

If people are uncomfortable with fasting, then they don't need to do it. Simple.

- Beth

Rachel said...

Ok, so I almost never comment on your blog because you have like a million comments a day so I figure you won't see it, but hopefully others will, and to them I say LEAVE HER ALONE!!! You are the whole reason I eat the way I do now. You introduced me to the raw detox, which I tried and failed at miserably lol. But it made me want to know more about the raw lifestyle, and while I'm not there yet 100%, I feel really good about what I eat on a daily basis. (Lots of green smoothies and salads, YUM.) And people can be so unsupportive about it, asking ME, who is eating a smoothie filled with fruit and greens, how I get my nutrients while they are sipping away on a Diet Pepsi. I think there are good and bad ways to eat to lose weight, but since it seems that on the days you eat, you are getting a variety and not going overboard, I don't see the issue. So many cultures fast, just we as Americans like to throw back overloads of calories that this becomes a foreign concept to us. I have to say, (sorry for this being so long, and) I think this is a GREAT idea. I have a degree in health where I learned a lot about nutrition, and it sounds perfectly healthy to me. Be sure to let us know how it goes!

Elisabeth @ said...

I am a wholehearted supporter of intuitive eating. I don't believe in diets (of any type). However, I had to LEARN how to eat intuitively.

You have to remember that people generally always feel great during the first week or two of a new eating plan. It's the honeymoon phase. When things start to get goofy is when reality sets in and you figure out whether this is something you can maintain for the rest of your life. I'm not saying that you can't, just making an observation.

You're right, people have been fasting for centuries. Fasting has been used to heal diseases and ailments, and is often more helpful than conventional medicine. I haven't read the research behind the program that you're doing, but I think that it all comes down to what makes YOU feel good. The majority of people aren't going to support fasting. It's a holistic approach to eating and health, and Americans don't really subscribe to many Holistic approaches to life in general.

I think you should do what makes your body feel right. We're all different, but if we keep a realistic attitude while still listening to our bodies, we'll all benefit.

rach said...

I love that you see beyond all the "fad" angles of diets - it really is about calories in, calories out. It's just that different ways of managing that work for different people. Fasting would not work for me and actually neither would your low-carb diet. Funny how people get so indignant, though, isn't it!

Crystal said...

Preach it girl. Those are all good points to the questions and opinions people had. It makes sense really.

Morgan said...

It sounds very interesting. My question for you is are you exercising on the days when you are fasting? If so, how does that work out for you? Are you tired or dizzy? Just curious, as I am getting very interested in this method.

karen said...

I still think 24 hours with nothing but fluids wouldn't work for me ... but I'm SO glad it's working out for you so far and I'm quite jealous! I think the biggest reason it would probably be a no-go here is that my little guy is used to us eating together and I'm afraid if I don't eat, neither will he. Although ... his dinner is normally 4-4:30ish, typically at least starts breakfast before I get home from work in the morning, and lunch is right when he gets home from preschool and sometimes I'm not even up from my post-work nap yet.
Another set of excuses flushed down the toilet! Maybe I'll see about that e-book after all :)

Anonymous said...

I think this can work but the question is: Can you follow this program for the rest of your life? Diets are not supposed to be for short periods of time, they imply a total change of your eating habits, for good. I don't have serious weight issues right now but when I started eating healthy about two years ago I knew this was the way I would eat for the rest of my life. I limit the amount of process food I eat and try to avoid pop and sweets. I do indulge once in a while, but I feel no guilt about it because I know I'm eating well most of the time. Now, can you call this a restrictive diet? I don't think so. It's just eating well, giving my body natural food. I do not, however, count the calories. I try to eat smaller portions and more veggies, that's all.

I ask you again, can you keep this up for the rest of your life? Because chances are that if you stop, you will gain the weight you lost, or even more.

JourneyBeyondSurvival said...

I fast once month for religious reasons. I go 24 hours without food or drink. As long as one does not go overboard it is an amazing thing to do.

I use every hunger pang as a reminder to think about what I'm fasting for. When I'm finished I'm definitely more at peace with my body. I can feed it and stop it's cravings. I am in command.

brookelynn said...

I have been doing my own modified version of this diet for about two weeks. I have seen great results. I think that its a lifestyle that works for me. It helps me know when i am truely hungry and when i just want to eat because i am bored or emotional. I don't like the fact that many people have a negative opinion about this style of dieting. I have personally had an eating disorder and its nothing like it. keep up the good work and i hope it works out as good for you as it does for me.

Claire Dawn said...

Yay for you!

I personally have no interest in diets whatsoever. I eat reasonably healthy naturally, and unless a doctor puts me on a special diet, I just eat what makes me happy. And even then, I might consider ignoring the doctor and dying. Not because I care what I eat so much, but more because I don't. Eating is something I do to live. There are enough things in the world that are more compicated than they need to be and I don't care to add eating to the list.

That said, I'm abnormal in that I don't really like chocolate, can't stand cheese cake, and only consume ice cream if I have to socially. lol. No food issues here whatsoever. Not looking for any either.

Jen, good luck. With this eat. stop. eat. bit. It sounds healthier than a lot of the madness out there masquerading as dieting.

carla said...

and it really really is all about finding what works for us as individuals.
what we can do for the longlong haul


Dee said...

I like your logic. What you say makes sense. i will continue to ponder it.

The Holwerda Family said...

Personally... I prefer this idea over starving your body of carbohydrates. I believe you'll be able to keep at this diet a lot longer without feeling like you're dieting.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

you know.. fasting is part of some religions.. Meant to cleanse the body of both yukkiness in the body but also in the mind.
I personally cannot wait to hear how things go for you. I cannot attempt this though because of thyroid disease and Insulin problems.
Good Luck! said...

I have to say that I have fasted before in conjunction with some different diets that I have tried as well as on my own. There are benefits to periodic fasting to be sure. Twice a week sounds like a bit much for me, but if it is something you can do, that's great. It really comes down to the individual. My only concern with this would be how it would affect my blood sugar levels. From my own experience, if I go too long without eating I get very moody and cranky. Then when I finally do eat something I feel kind of buzzy and high. You're a smart lady though, I have every confidence that you will excercise good judgement based on how YOUR body reacts to this plan. Good Luck and keep us posted!

Rob Dyess said...

Don't think that this will work for me.... but hey, viva la difference! If it works for you, cool.


Kristin W said...

Browsing through some of the new comments on this post, it seems people had the same idea that I did. We want to show a little support for you! My situation is that I LOVE food. I absolutely hate going out to a restaurant and not be able to order what I want. I like "indulging" when going out to eat or eating at friends'. I think Eat Stop Eat may be a good alternative for me. I still try to make healthy food options at home and work out (inconsistently usually because I'm not the biggest fan as well...but it does assist in making me feel a lot better about myself). I did notice that the plan suggests you should implement strength training.

But thank you for sticking up and providing more information about it. Can't wait to hear more about how it works for you. I think it's worth trying! I'm continuing my research on the program myself.

Member of the Justice League said...

Is it designed for weight loss or weight maintenance? I guess I'll go check out the site.

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree that it's your life/body, and your choice. You seem like a smart, reasonable woman, so I'm sure you did a lot of research before starting. My only question is about when you reach your goal weight. I'm assuming that this diet isn't meant to be a forever thing, because obviously you won't need a 30% calorie deficit once you reach your goal weight. Do you have a plan when that happens? Or is there a modified version of the program? And if so, is this something you see yourself doing for the rest of your life?

I guess I have another question regarding exercise. You've said that you hate it. Does that mean you don't plan on doing any? Because... and this is just science, not specifically aimed at you... hypothetically you could reach your goal weight and still have a very unhealthy body fat percentage because of the lack of exercise. Is that something you've considered?

I really don't want any of this to come off as criticism, I'm just curious about your thoughts. :)

Baking with Melissa™ said...

I am sure you are already well aware of this, but most people won't be...every single person that talks about this program on youtube or via articles on the internet have a link to the website where you can buy the book...every single person that has this link is going to make a percentage of money from each book sale. My question to you is: Did you buy this book? Or was it sent to you? How much money will you make if I buy it after clicking on your link? Is it working? How is the fasting going for you? Are you tired? Are you working out? I am so interested in this diet and want to know as much as I can about it.

Erin said...

Are you working out at all? How often and what are you doing? Did you lose any weight this week?

I think the program sounds awesome and even talked about trying it on my own blog, but I couldn't do it. I do much smaller fasts several times a week and that works much better for me.

Great job and keep it up!

Anonymous said...

People can alter how they eat all they want. Try new things, like fasting, if it turns your crank. The FACT remains that one MUST exercise; if you not for weight loss or maintenance than for the prevention of disease and illness. Exercise does not have to be "working out" or running if you "hate working out". Do anything you enjoy, but you HAVE to do something - it is a vital piece of the WHOLE. The NY Times had a great article today you should check out.
I cringe to think that people truly believe that any diet or change in eating alone can result in a lifetime of weight control.

Amy said...

boo to the haters.

you rock.

that is all.

@emllewellyn said...

I'd like to high five you in real life.

Celia Houck said...

Good luck!! :) I couldn't ever do the fasting as I love food way too much and must eat whenever I feel like it :P - but like you said, I still restrict myself. So instead of eating the whole cake like I would like, I may just have a bite or two. ;)

Marilee said...

Ugh I'm such a super slow blog stalker!! We have totally fasted numerous times at my church as more of a social experiment and I thought I was going to die. I'm so proud of you for this!

Also, I'm anti-weight watchers lol! Two of my friends (sisters actually) have lost a combined 125 pounds on it, yet I gained. Don't ask me how!

Anonymous said...

I;m glad its working for you. Diets are like fashion, what works on me may not work on you. Live & Let live. You have lost a significant amount of weight obviouslly you know what you are doing and its working for you. I'm a point counter...I know that and it works for me.