September 2, 2013 by jeliwobble
I am a fat person. There. I said it. I used the ‘f’ word.
I have ‘watched my weight’ for most of my life, courtesy of a year or so in my childhood where what I ate was scrutinised and controlled by a ‘trusted’ adult, and how ‘chubby’ I was became a source for topic of conversation in our house. While our time with this adult was fairly limited, it occurred at a point in my life that was in flux, so had a profound effect on my self belief and, to some extent, my sense of self worth.
Now I’m all grown up, I don’t really care what size I am, to be very honest. But, with children, I do worry about the health consequences of being fat.
The thing with being fat is that I don’t have much else, vice-wise. I enjoy alcohol but not to excess. I don’t smoke, don’t gamble, don’t drive fast cars. I don’t go to the theatre, don’t take illicit (or otherwise) drugs, don’t partake of ‘interesting’ sex. I don’t collect things, don’t follow fashion, don’t buy handbags and shoes (much). I am not remotely coordinated so can’t do most sporty things.
What’s left? The enjoyment of food as a pastime.
Even in that, I’m not a gourmand. I like plain, tasty fare, made from few but often fresh ingredients. I enjoy ‘making it up as I’m going along’ food, finding out if the flavours ‘go’ or clash so horribly the result is inedible. I like sugar. Oh, dear God, I like sugar*. Ice cream, cakes, biscuits/cookies, chocolate, candy, whatever it is, I will usually eat it. And, right there, is the crux of the matter. Right there, is the yellow brick road to Type 2 diabetes…
If there was ever a magic bullet for eating whatever you like, at least most of the time, and not suffering the consequences, the 5:2 Fasting Diet looks like it was made in heaven just for me. Two non-consecutive days a week, you restrict your calories to 500 for the day (600 for a man) and the rest of the week you eat normally, whatever you want to. It’s not a diet to lose weight. It’s a diet to gain health.
The scientific research behind intermittent fasting shows a lowering of blood cholesterol with a consequent lower risk of heart disease, a lower chance of many cancers for reasons that they haven’t quite sorted out yet, and, the Holy Grail, the sort of reduction in risk of Type 2 diabetes that would normally come with losing a lot of weight or bariatric surgery.
Him Indoors saw the Horizon program and was convinced to give it a go. Fasting days (Tuesday and Thursday), he eats a bowl of oatmeal in the morning and an omelette with salad leaves at night, with an awful lot of black coffee in between. He lost 15lbs in the first month without really trying, though his weight has now plateaued, four months into it. But the diet isn’t really about weight-loss. It’s about having your cake and eating it. Well, on the days that you’re allowed to! He looks better – skin clearer and whatnot -, he feels better, his ‘beer belly‘ has mostly disappeared, he is a poster boy for the ‘diet’.
While I am still nursing Smallest daughter, I won’t fast, but, once she’s all weaned, then I will be giving it a go. There’s definitely something in it for this 40-something!
*Please read ‘Pure, White and Deadly‘ by John Yudkin for more information into why sugar (and now high-fructose corn syrup) is the bane of most fat people’s lives. Bear in mind it was written in the 1970s and was out of print until very recently…