It’s been an interesting week on the alternate day fasting front. Not my favourite, it has to be said.
Firstly I have found it very hard work this week. VERY hard work, which was a bit of a kicker, having found the previous two weeks so easy.
There have been several factors at play. Firstly, having my period did not help at all. I have been more tired, more hormonally up and down and more hungry. I have been less motivated and less energised by exercise.
I have also been feeling more stressed by external pressures, and this has added to the feelings of tiredness and general lack of well being.
Having said all that, I stuck to my three fasting days and my five hundred calories. I also stuck to my exercise every day mantra. I know myself, and I know that if I cut myself some slack at this early stage, first it would be some slack, and then it would be all the slack, and then I would be back to square one. It interested me that I was motivated enough by how I felt in the first two weeks not to want to go back to square one. This was good.
Thursday was my absolute nadir with the whole thing. Firstly it was a fast day. Secondly I had had such a fantastic day on Wednesday (more of which in a later blog) that I think I was on a come down, and thirdly I just went a bit mental.
It is fascinating how much of how I view myself and feel comes entirely from what is going on in my head. It is a very salutary lesson and I think I’m lucky to be reminded of it, even though the way I seem to have chosen to remind myself is fairly painful. It reassures me that my perception of my body image is pretty flawed, and reminds me that when I am feeling like this, the best thing I can do is reach out to people who are not mental and ask them to give me a stern talking to.
On Thursday I was incredibly hungry for most of the day, and very tired and lethargic. I was also very down, and made myself more down by popping on the scales and realising I had not shifted a single pound since my first week’s weight loss. I then started obsessing about this, and decided that I needed to a) increase my fasting days, b) eat less food on my non fasting days and c) exercise more. I then decided that this would be terrible, and further decided to throw the whole thing to the wall and abandon it altogether as I clearly couldn’t be trusted to do anything sensibly.
I then made myself cry, and finally spoke to two friends who have been doing this ADF thing for a long time and have managed to adapt it into their lives without going off the rails.
Firstly they pointed out that my initial loss was so huge it wasn’t really surprising I wasn’t losing pounds and pounds. Secondly they pointed out that because I was exercising too, as well as the fasting, that my body was probably actually in need of more calories on my non fasting days, and maybe even on fasting days. Given the fact that my metabolism is pretty speedy, this actually makes sense. The whole point of the ADF way of life is not to confuse your body into thinking it is starving so that it doesn’t go into lock down mode.
They also pointed out that the scales aren’t the only way to measure health and happiness and as long as I was feeling great and my clothes fit, who cares?
I knew all this. Especially the last point. I knew I was being mental, and I really couldn’t find a way to talk myself out of it. I’m just very lucky that I have excellent friends who talk sense and are patient enough to support me through the bouts of nuttiness.
Well, on Thursday night I put the scales away and they’re going to stay away for a good few weeks at least. I have upped my calorie intake on my non fasting days, which is no hardship whatsoever, and I have decided to be slightly more generous on my fasting days in terms of calorie intake. I have decided to choose to concentrate on wellness and exorcise the demons that say thinness is the same thing.
My fast days last week were Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. My next fasting day is tomorrow. I’ve spent the last three days eating well, exercising well and shushing the demons in my head that still whisper that I should be suffering for my art.
It’s a great improvement.