Operation Redefine Dad Bod
Updated: Aug 17, 2020
I wrote this about a month ago as I was coming out of an extended fast. As I am 21 hours into another extended fast today, I figured it was as fitting a time as any to start getting caught up on my backdated entries.
Today was a good day.
After 88 hours of consuming nothing but black coffee and water, food never tasted so good. I broke my fast with a meal consisting of broccoli, chicken, and rice, topped with some Miso dressing that I find on occasion at Costco (I could eat it by the spoonful...it's delicious...but I digress).
My wife has mentioned intermittent fasting (IF) numerous times over the years, and I shrugged it off as the next trendy whatever (If you know me at all, you know how I feel about trendy).
I was wrong.
I've always wanted to be lean, but, in the past, in order to even come close, I've had to kill myself physically. The pain in my feet and ankles and low back that occurs when I pound the pavement for 30 miles a week wasn't (still isn't) worth it.
Until now, nothing I've tried has been sustainable. I've yo-yoed between 230-185-230-185-225...you get the picture. And that 175 only happened once, 5 1/2 years ago. It's amazing the things you'll do to trim down so you don't look so much like the Michelin Man in your wedding photos (it's not just a girl thing).
By the time Ace was born, I was back to 225. I changed my diet dramatically at that point, and have been able to stay between 190-200 for the past 4 years. But even there, I've got a hand full of belly goo that I don't want.
On July 2, when the scale said 203 and I was back over 200 lbs for the first time in 4 years, I knew it was time to make a change.
Enter my father...
In my adult life, I have never outweighed my father, until now. I have witnessed his yo-yoing throughout the years. We both love food, and both of us have struggled to find a way to keep the flubber off in a sustainable manner...until now...theoretically.
After seeing his results over the past 6 months, and after listening to what he has learned about IF during his journey, I was sold.
I should have listened to my wife and done my own research years ago.
Alas, we can't do anything about should have dones. All we can control is what we are doing now.
So, on July 2, my IF journey began.
I eat what I want (mostly healthy, but I'm not afraid to throw a pizza or an ice cream or a burrito into the mix on occasion), and I fast for at least 18 hours at a time.
[* A month later, most of my fasts are between 19-21 hours]
After reading about the benefits of prolonged fasting in articles (like this one about The 5 Stages of Intermittent Fasting, and in Tim Ferris' book, Tools of Titans, I decided to try a prolonged fast of my own so that I could achieve the full benefits of the 5 stages. There was another reason that is less scientific. Keep reading.
***PS: I found the article on the fast tracker app I use called LIFE...also where I took a screenshot for the graphic at the end.***
Before you think too long about why I chose 88 hours, my primary motivation was self serving, no doubt. I did it so that I could re-calibrate my eating window to coincide with my final golf outing with the guys before we move out of California to start our next chapter. It was worth it.
There were certainly difficult moments, however, it wasn't unmanageable. My stomach was indeed confused when 3:30 came around, and I didn't put anything in it, but I battled through and came out on the other side feeling great. I even did my pushups each day with plenty of energy and strength.
At the end of the fast, an article from Ryan Holiday showed up in my inbox titled, If You're Not Seeking Out Challenges, How Are You Going To Get Better? (Interestingly enough, in a later post, he briefly discussed how he practices IF...you can read that one too if you'd like...It's Not About Routine, but About Practice)
How's that for timing?
Holiday's article reminded of this quote attributed to Mark Twain:
"Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain."
Starving yourself for 3+ days certainly falls into the something I don't want to do category. Not to mention, while it is not explicitly commanded, fasting is also a biblical principle. One that helps you to become more in touch with your spirituality, as Christ says after fasting for 40 days and nights (can you imagine doing that?!)..."Man shall not live on bread alone..."(Matt 4:4).
Maybe next time I'll go for 5 days [I don't intend to go 5, but I do intend to go longer than the 88 hours I went last time]. I'm pretty sure that 40 days isn't in the cards. At least not anytime soon.
On July 2nd, I weighed 203 pounds. This morning (7/16) I clocked in at 192.2 lbs. I don't have a number I'm shooting for. I just want to be lean and healthy.
[*Update: This morning (8/11), the scale read 188.4 lbs]
I urge you to do your research.
I haven't made it that far yet, but I'll get there.
It might seem intimidating at first, but it hasn't been nearly as difficult as I expected it might be.
Sure, sustaining it will require the discipline to say no to something delicious somewhere along the line, but it is helpful to know that if I plan ahead, I don't have to miss out on much.
Who knows, I might even have an ab or two someday. Maybe even six. It's a long shot, I know, but a guy can dream.
From what I have read, there is still much to learn from a scientific standpoint, but if the benefits of intermittent fasting and prolonged fasting are even remotely close to what they claim, it's probably a good idea.
Logically, it only makes sense. Early man had to scratch and claw and hunt for everything they could get. Nothing was processed, they ate from the land, when it was available. My guess is that they were intermittent fasters by default. And I'm sure that they didn't have a name for it. They did have a name for the people who ate more than they needed...those were the gluttons. I wonder what they would think of the vast majority of us.
And, if nothing else, the moral of the story is this: It's probably a good idea to actually listen to your wife. Right Joe?
In other news, in case you missed it, I published a children's book with the help of my 3 year old (he has since turned 4). You can buy it on Amazon (Click Here) if you want (and if you have an aversion to Amazon, you can also find it on most other websites that sell books. Just Google "When I'm A Big Kid Like Daddy book".