One year ago, I would have been thrilled to have lost 20 pounds this past year. Never would I have considered a 35-pound loss with a 22 BMI reasonable at 70 years old, but here I am. And at a weight I’ve not seen since the early 1980s!
Julia’s “deep dive into the study of health and nutrition” began in 2006 after treatment for breast cancer. After a few years of being near-vegetarian and reaching 225 pounds, she read Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories, followed in August of 2010 by The New Atkins for a New You, and switched to a very low-carb diet (VLC). But as she ruefully observes,
Low-carb works until it doesn’t. Over this past decade, like so many of us, I tried 20 g total carbs, eating fatty proteins, restricting vegetables, adding dietary fat, fasting, you name it. I felt like I’d tried everything in every book in the low-carb/paleo/keto/nutrition space. I reached a healthy BMI range at 169 pounds but ‘stalled’ and never saw my original goal of 160 pounds.
Weight loss was important to Julia. Studies show that a BMI of under 25 reduces the risk of cancer recurrence, especially breast cancer in postmenopausal women. And she wanted improved glucose control.
I have been eating a very low-carb diet for over a decade and am the poster child for flat-line, but slightly high, blood glucose. I understand adaptive glucose sparing is typical, but I still wanted lower ‘normal’ glucose readings.
Although Julia had been reading the Optimising Nutrition blog for years, it was the Want to lose fat? DON’T aim for stable blood sugars! (Why your CGM could be making you fat) that convinced her to try something new.
The LOW ENERGY DIET prioritises whole foods and avoids REFINED DIETARY ENERGY, such as REFINED CARBS (sugar, flour), REFINED FATS (oil, butter), and ALCOHOL (also pure refined energy).
I used Ted’s Protein to Energy Calculator to find protein without too much fat, then added veggies, carbs, and fat as appropriate.
A LOW ENERGY DIET provides higher satiety per calorie with more protein and fibre and less energy from fat and/or carbs. It allows you to store less energy for the same satiety and still get the protein and other nutrients your body requires. This means you can eat intuitively to fullness and still lose excess body fat.
But I lost focus in October, so I signed up for the November Data-Driven Fasting Challenge. The community made all the difference.
I now weigh 153 pounds with a BMI of 22! My blood glucose is still flat-line but at a lower level. It consistently allows a 12 noon and 6 pm meal. As a 15-year cancer survivor, I’m happy, healthy, and take no medications, not even aspirin. Here’s a graph of my DDF weight loss journey from August 2020 to August 5th 2021, showing 35 pounds gone!
This chart shows her weight loss chart in the DDF app. We find people always stay more motivated when they break their ultimate goal down into milestones and celebrate the tiny wins along the way. Seeing the projection of where you might be in four weeks based on your current progress is also super motivating.
It was a bumpy ride down – not a straight line, but a downward trend that could be labelled as “practising maintenance”. It shows the times between challenges or a self-selected pause and year-end holidays. I moderately go off the rails between challenges but can restart with minor damage and quickly regain momentum. Nevertheless, the lessons learned on how true hunger feels, and the nutrient-dense meals that provide satiety, stick with me.
The following chart shows Julia’s glucose across the day. Premeal blood glucose is an excellent guide of when to refuel and when to wait. Higher waking glucose is typical for people on a low-carb diet, and Julia’s post-meal glucose is always in the healthy range. But it’s her premeal glucose that makes all the difference. She found a sustainable routine by waiting until she was below her trigger, eating around 11 am and 6 pm each day.
This chart shows Julia’s premeal glucose and trigger from the Data-Driven Fasting app that we use in the challenges. Although her blood glucose rises when she takes a break between the challenges, she continues to drop to lower lows during each round as she moves towards her goal weight. These short breaks between periods of weight loss are critical to long term progress and maintenance like Julia’s.
Julia believes it’s this flexibility that makes Data-Driven Fasting different from other weight loss plans.
Just like any intelligent fitness training routine balances exercise and recovery to ensure positive adaptation, Data-Driven Fasting ensures that short periods of energy deficit are balanced with nutrient-dense feeding to achieve long-term progress.
I look forward to my second Nutritional Optimisation Masterclass and to joining this new group of nutrition nerds. I’m undecided about setting a new goal; we will learn much more about optimal nutrition.
Marty and Alex have done an incredible amount of work developing this program, and every day will be an opportunity to learn something new together.
It turned out my inability to imagine my new life was only a deficiency in my imagination.
Congratulations, Julia, on your fantastic progress. Thank you for contributing so much to the Data-Driven Fasting Community, now as a moderator, guiding others to follow in your footsteps.