My name is RaDiah, and I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia (USA), a place many consider a ‘tourist destination’.
After two rounds of the Data-Driven Fasting Challenge, I’ve lost 20 lbs, and my body fat has dropped from 36 to 30%.
This is my story.
What’s Your Why, or Why Did You Decide to Make a Change?
In March 2022, my beloved mother was diagnosed with stage 4 bile duct cancer, which is very rare. Many people—including my mom—have little to no symptoms. Sadly, my mom passed away within 11 weeks of her diagnosis.
I was already struggling with my weight and health and using food for comfort at the time. As you can imagine, the situation with my mom pushed me over the edge. I used food as my solace from the day she was diagnosed in March 2022 until March 2023, all while simultaneously ‘intermittent fasting (IF).’
In December 2022, I went in for a regularly scheduled physical and learned that my A1C had gone up, I was nutrient deficient, and my weight was at an all-time high. This forced me to press in harder with IF. However, I was eating constantly for comfort in my six to eight-hour eating window, and nothing was off-limits.
In March 2023, we took a family trip to New York, and I was horrified at how I looked in the photos. I was always tired, and stressed about feeling helpless—but too stressed to give up my vice and do anything about it!—and living in constant fear of my genetics and developing bile duct cancer.
It was time for a change, and I knew I needed help!
What Approaches Have You Tried in the Past?
I don’t mind sharing that I am 50 years young; I share this because I was considered obese as a young adult.
In 1995, I successfully lost 75 pounds through Weight Watchers (WW). I was able to keep it off for two decades, too! However, something changed in my mid to late 40s, and my body would not release the extra pounds that had been slowly creeping back on, no matter how many times I followed the WW program. I don’t blame the program; it was something that changed with ME.
In 2018, I moved on and learned about keto. For me, keto was a horrible experience! I initially lost a couple of pounds but then began gaining weight—the complete opposite of my goal!
In the summer of 2019, I learned about IF and read and listened to everything I could to learn more. In July 2019, I started IF, and something was finally working! It was hard—gruelling at times—but my body was responding!
Because it was working, I took on the theory that ‘more fasting is better’, so I started doing One Meal A Day (OMAD) and a bit of Alternate Day Fasting (ADF). But for me, OMAD and ADF were not sustainable.
By 2021, I would do IF for a week and give up. I was technically doing IF; however, I ate constantly during my eating window, gaining even more weight!
Most of what I was eating was tons of fat, which was meant to keep me full; something I have since learned is a fallacy. Additionally, I was comfort-eating foods with the hyper-palatable fat-and-carb combination I’ve since learned is the most dangerous macronutrient combo. Needless to say, I was unhealthy and, by March 2023, weighed more than I had in the mid-1990s, despite all the deprivation and effort!
How Did You Find Optimising Nutrition?
In July 2021, I found Optimising Nutrition (ON) through a podcast that featured Marty Kendall and his book ‘Big Fat Keto Lies.’ I bought the book and was like, ‘Wow! It makes so much sense!’ I signed up for emails and even did the nutrition assessment, but that is, sadly, where I left it at that time.
I would say to myself, ‘I should try this; it is low cost and makes so much sense, but it will probably be another epic fail like everything else I am doing.’
So, I carried on, and on 15 March 2023, I received an email from Marty after my trip to New York with the subject line, ‘Karen’s Chart-Topping Nutrient-Dense Vegetarian Diet.’ So, I bought the Nutrient-Dense Recipe Book and paid a small fee to join my first DDF Challenge that began on 8 April 2023.
What Did You Learn That Surprised You?
What surprised me most was how my blood glucose (BG) levels responded to high-fat ‘healthy’ foods.
I have a nut allergy, so my go-to foods after 16/18 hours of IF were pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Sometimes, I would add raisins or an apple, pile two bananas high with sunflower seed butter, make a low-carb or wrap an avocado in bacon and load it with cheese.
During baseline training in my first DDF challenge, I learned that high-fat foods elevated my BG levels for many hours. In DDF, your mealtimes are guided by your blood glucose ‘trigger’, calculated on your personal readings throughout the program. As you wait for this number to fall below this value to eat, it becomes a little more challenging to reach. Because these high-fat foods skyrocketed my blood glucose, eating my ‘go-to’ foods as my first meal made it difficult to reach my trigger again. It was an eye-opener!
What Was Most Memorable During Your Optimising Nutrition Experience?
So far, the most memorable experiences for me have been the weekly meetings Marty hosts during each challenge. I love his involvement, humility, and passion for helping others! I also love and respect Marty’s hands-on experience with Type-1 Diabetes (T1D) he’s gained through his journey with his wife and son.
My son was diagnosed with T1D at four years old, and his son was diagnosed with T1D at 18 months. So, it means a lot to me that Marty truly understands the relationship between our blood glucose and nutrition choices and how foods can affect people with T1D differently than those without it.
What Was Your Favourite Part of the Process?
My favourite part of the process was—and still is!—learning about how my body responds to different types of fuel. I am learning to make better choices based on data related to my body versus arbitrary information that worked best for others.
Do You Have Any Results You’d Like to Share?
To date, I’ve done two rounds of DDF, and my unofficial weight before the 8 April 2023 start date of the challenge was 173 pounds. My official DDF start weight was 171 pounds.
As of today, I reached my first goal of 150 pounds! However, I am not stopping here! When I started, my body fat was considered in the ‘obese’ range at 36%. Now, it is 30%.
My waist measurement started at 35.5 inches (90.2 cm) and is currently 32.5 inches (82.6 cm). In addition, my waist-to-height ratio (W:H) has gone from 0.55 to 0.50.
I am still working on my blood glucose, but I am SO happy to note that my waking BG has been within the normal range since the end of May, most of the time! I’ve noticed that any spikes I experience relate to what I ate the night before. So, not to toot my own horn, but I would say I’ve done pretty well in these past three months!
I’ve included some screenshots from the DDF app to show my journey and how my weight, body fat, waist, waist to height, and waking glucose throughout it.
What Were Non-Scale Victories?
Personally, non-scale victories are related to how I feel physically and mentally. I can now do cardio without a burning sensation in my chest, and I no longer get back, knee, or hip pain. It’s truly amazing! I am no longer stressed or overwhelmed with the hopeless feeling of doom about my health.
A few bonus non-scale victories include being able to play on the floor with my sweet doggy without excruciating pain in my knees, putting on clothes and feeling comfortable wearing ones I never thought I would fit into again, and EATING!
While I am still doing a form of IF using the DDF program, it is with purpose and not just pressing through hours of not eating day after day without results.
Which Tools Helped You Understand the Course Materials, and How Did You Apply Them?
The DDF manual, DDF FAQs, DDF community, and the DDF Live Q&As helped me the most. If I had a question, I would look at the table of contents of the list of questions in the DDF manual and FAQs and find the answer nine times out of ten.
While this was a great and convenient resource, the community and the live Q&As were just as crucial because the community shares advice and experiences and asks and answers questions others find helpful.
The live Q&As provided opportunities to learn about expectations of the upcoming week and a way to put faces to the names of people within the community.
What Was the Time Commitment for You to Get the Most Out of the Class?
On average, I spent around 1.5 hours each day, with some days being more and others being less. I used this time to read posts in the community, respond to questions, participate in discussions, and educate myself about the program. I could also enter and review my entries in the DDF app.
I was eager to learn and devour all the available resources. But at its essence, DDF is simply a matter of checking your glucose when you feel hungry to validate and calibrate your hunger.
Why Did You Choose to Join DDF?
I chose the DDF class because I was already doing IF and really enjoyed it, but I knew I needed help if I wanted to make it a sustainable part of my life.
What Is YOUR Next Step?
After several weeks into my first DDF challenge, I purchased the All-Inclusive Lifetime Membership that includes access to all DDF future challenges and masterclasses. It also comes with tons of nutrient-dense recipes and loads of research, data, and data analysis I can look at any time.
Throughout my years, I have picked up quite a few erroneous mindsets about nutrition, as I’m sure some of you who are reading this may have as well. With DDF and the masterclasses, I can finally start the process of ‘unlearning’ faulty nutritional information that has never served me well—and have the science and data to back it up!
What Will You Do Differently Now?
I plan to fast according to my maintenance blood glucose trigger in between DDF challenges. DDF is not something you can just do and walk away from, especially if you’ve experienced the changes that I have!
I still have about 10 pounds I would like to lose, but—for me, at least—this is MY new lifestyle. I see no point in rushing to move on. I look forward to more positive health changes and retaking my blood tests in December 2023!
What Advice Would You Give to Someone Just Starting?
Follow the process! Set time aside to read the material so you can invest in educating yourself about how DDF works and why it works. Have an open mind and be willing to let go of some (or all) of the things you have previously learned about IF, and commit wholeheartedly to the 30-day challenge. You will not regret it!
If you’re ready to take back your health and make progress on your goals, sign up today! Our Welcome checklist here will help you navigate the free resources and group courses.
Join Radiah and many other incredible Optimisers who are changing their health one day at a time. See you on the other side.