Episode: Is intermittent fasting a magic bullet?

Is intermittent fasting a key to sustainable weight loss?

What’s the key to your weight loss goals this year? For the past year and half, I’ve been trying different weight loss techniques–all with varying success. Might intermittent fasting be the key to finally getting the last few pounds off and keeping them off?

In this episode, we take a look at intermittent fasting along with several other diet plans. We’ll look at what makes intermittent fasting effective for weight loss and how it can be sustained. Who knows, maybe it’s the right plan for you to achieve your weight loss goals this year!

Episode 2.2: Is intermittent fasting a magic bullet?

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Episode transcript:

Is Intermittent fasting a magic bullet?

  1. This is the Bad-Ass Dad Pod
    1. The podcast for upping our games physically, financially, and relationally
    2. And living a great life, no matter what age we are.
  1. Do you, like me, have a goal to lose weight this year?
    1. I’ve had that goal for about 12 years running.
    2. I’ve made little dents into that goal… but haven’t completed the quest so to speak.
    3. So in this episode, I want to explore the possible magic bullet of my weight loss dilemma: intermittent fasting.
      1. Is intermittent fasting the weight loss solution I’ve been weighting–and you’ve been waiting for?
      2. Is intermittent fasting making this year the year I hit my ideal weight?
      3. Let’s find out!
    4. Thanks for joining me.
      1. I’m Ryan Dunn
      2. A fellow sojourner on the way to awesome.
      3. Seeker of the mighty dunk.
      4. Cruncher of carbs
      5. Calorie miser of the middle Tennesee
      6. A level 7 relationship ranger
      7. Level 4 debt mage
      8. Level 7 (at-home) gym warrior!
      9. And your lawful good podmaster.
      10. [Music out]
  2. At the age of 43, I weighed more than I ever had before.
    1. I guess that’s not uncommon.
    2. Most of us tend to pack the weight on as we age…
      1. Might be a slow process
      2. Or might come in spurts…
      3. I definitely was on a weight-gaining spurt when I decided to make a change.
    3. I weighed in at about 230 pounds… at a height of 6-foot three.
      1. Definitely in the over-weight category
      2. Especially since the weight I was carrying was far from being all muscle.
      3. Much of that weight sat in a big ring right around my section.
      4. You hear people talk about carrying a spare tire.
        1. I personified that metaphor.
        2. My body-type was the spare tire body-type.
        3. I had this literal ring or excess ringing my waist.
        4. It was like the old Michelin man
          1. But without the gradual ease of rings towards the head.
          2. It was, traveling in rings from head to toe:
            1. Normal
            2. Normal
            3. Normal
            4. Normal
            5. Ballooned tire
            6. Normal
            7. Noral
            8. You get the idea… probably.
      5. I cooked up this idea that I would try to dunk a basketball.
      6. In order to do that, I definitely needed to shed the excess tire hanging on to my waistline.
    4. Without any consultation, and really without any kind of research, I went on a self-designed diet program… and it worked!
    5. I maintained a simple simple program of cutting calories and working out.
    6. And within a few months I went from 230 to about 209 pounds.
      1. And I thought, man, this weight loss thing is super easy
      2. I’m going to be cut like Captain America in no time.
    7. But then things started to slow a bit. 
      1. I hit 209 after like there months.
      2. It took me like another three months to hit 205.
      3. Then I struggled for a year to hit 202.
      4. And every time I got near that threshold, I’d shoot back up.
      5. Often, I would shoot back up to dang-near close to 209
      6. Often this happened around a holiday, a family trip, or, you know, some kind of special occasion–like the end of a school year, my dog’s birthday, a completed podcast… national hot dog day…
      7. You get the idea: I was making up ways to cheat off my dietary plan.
    8. And that really takes us to today. 
      1. I want to get down below 200… I think the 196-198 range would be ideal for my dunking goal. 
      2. And, of course, the amount of that which is muscle of that which is fat is pretty important.
      3. I have put on muscle in this time.
      4. And, to be fair and honest on my own behalf.
        1. The 205 I’m carrying now is a bit more muscular thant the 205 I carried a year ago.
        2. BUT, I’m still struggling to get down to that more jump-friendly 196.
  3. I tried working out more.
    1. That was my initial reaction to being stuck in 205-town.
    2. I extended my workouts and added in extra cardio.
    3. And what happened was that I got super-hungry.
      1. I felt a constant need to consume when doing my self-prescribed two-a-day workouts.
        1. Often I was doing a weight session and then a separate cardio session.
        2. My body kept telling me that 2500-3000 calories wasn’t enough to sustainably fuel my body for that amount of work
        3. So I was hungry… all. The time.
        4. And then, I started playing little mind games.
          1. Mr. Dopamine would get activated and focused on getting more calories
          2. And he would start telling me:
            1. You worked a ton today maaaaan.
            2. You can eat whatever the hell you want because you’re a beast.
          3. There’s a dietary adage that says “you can’t outrun your fork.”
        5. My experience became a living realization of that adage.
          1. Because I kept working out more, eating more, and then trying to compensate by working out more.
          2. And, essentially, nothing was happening.
          3. I ended up spinning my wheels on my workouts because I was simply focused on burning calories (not really on getting stronger–which is probably a lesson for a whole other episode)
          4. AND, I spun my dietary wheels on weight loss because I was consuming too many calories.
        6. And, eventually, what happened was that I overtrained.
          1. And I got hurt.
          2. This cycle has repeated a couple times.
          3. And most recently it meant shutting down my legs for close to 2 months to allow my strained calf ligaments time to heal.
          4. And now, I have to slowly ease my way back towards the gains I had reached previous to injury.
          5. So, in essence, I’ve taken a step backwards.
        7. So that was the attempt to outrun my fork in pursuit of losing weight.
        8. Doesn’t work.
    4. If one is going to lose weight, then a change in diet is needed.
    5. No way around that.
  4. So, next I tried regulating my macros
    1. That means I started logging everything I ate, keeping close track of the amount of carbohydrates, fats and protein and I was consuming.
    2. I convinced myself that I wanted to limit carbs while consuming over my weight in protein.
      1. So, as an example, if I was weighing in at 206 pounds, then my daily protein consumption should be at least 206 grams.
      2. And I needed to do this while maintaining a caloric deficit
      3. And so everyday I was wading into these deep math equations trying to straighten out my macro numbers while making sure I would maintain a 500-calorie deficit for the day.
      4. And often, what happened, was that I’d get close to the end of the day and my deficit was coming up short…
      5. And my that, I mean that I often found I needed to burn about 700 more calories to get my 500 calorie deficit.
        1. OK… maybe it wasn’t that bad… on most days.
        2. But there were several like that…
        3. And several where I would bust out a late night jump rope session or run in an attempt to get my deficit on
        4. And, you can probably tell where this goes… I’m right back into the trap of trying to outrun my fork.
        5. Don’t go there. You can’t outrun your fork. It’s a trap!
      6. In short, this willy-nilly, mix and match of macro tracking and calorie deficit was super-hard to maintain.
    3. And what ended up happening was that I lost weight during the week, then gained it right back during the weekend when it got harder to maintain good diet practices
  5. The next I tried is called carb cycling
    1. In carb cycling, you do a couple days of super-low carb consumption, then have a day of high carb consumption
      1. Generally, the high-carb day falls on your toughest workout days.
      2. You can probably tell where this goes…
    2. Because it’s really a repeat of the macro tracking I was doing…
    3. And it Worked while I did it.
    4. But was super-hard to maintain when I’m not living alongside a family who is observing the same dietary restrictions.
    5. And I know how this sounds: like I blame-casting–like… if wasn’t for this unsupportive family I’d be rocking a Captain America bod…
      1. That’s not what I mean to do.
      2. I just got worn out by constantly either demanding they do what I do, or needing to reject meals prepared (with love) by someone else so I could keep on my meal plan.
      3. Somedays, in the midst of parenting and husbanding and all that, it’s not altogether reasonable to maintain a strict macro-controlled nutrition.
      4. I think there are probably ways around that.
      5. Probably it would require a lot of future meal prep.
        1. Like, I hear of people making their dinners for the week each Sunday.
        2. And maybe that would work.
        3. If you never want to share food with your family.
        4. That just wasn’t sustainable for me.
        5. But I do see a way around it.
  6. ANYWAYS, Eventually, I decided to try intermittent fasting.
    1. What is intermittent fasting, enquiring minds are asking…
      1. Intermittent fasting shifts our focus from what we eat to when we eat.
      2. It’s a plan through which we switch between fasting and eating on a regular schedule.
      3. Most commonly, intermittent fasting practitioners fast daily for 16 hours… then have an 8 hour window to eat.
        1. Of course, there are all kinds of variations of this…
        2. But most plans center around the 16/8 divide.
    2. The idea which drives intermittent fasting is that after an amount of time, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat.
      1. This is referred to as the metabolic switch.
      2. So your body burns up all the short-term energy reserves… and it switches to your long term energy reserve–which is fat.
      3. This is also a good way to regulate some insulin levels.
      4. AND it has some positive effects on blood pressure.
      5. All that on paper sounds pretty dang awesome.
      6. And the fasting period hasn’t proven to have negative effects on athletes
        1. So for those of us engaged in regular physical training
        2. We don’t see a lot of negative effects from the intermittent fasting… 
          1. You know, as long as you’re eating enough in your eating periods
          2. And eating well enough nutrionally to fuel your exercise.
    3. So I’ve given intermittent fasting a go…
    4. And it worked for me like this…
      1. I can’t speak authoritatively to the metabolic effects
        1. Too many variables involved there to decipher anything from a purely observational level…
          1. Like, I think we’d need to be taking blood tests or something to see if it was really doing the metabolic thing and was solely responsible for fat loss.
        2. During this time I was still tracking macros… still striving to keep some carbs down while upping proteins
        3. AND, of course, I was working out a ton.
      2. What I found was that fasting made it much easier to limit my calories.
        1. I had little trouble maintaining a caloric deficit while fasting. 
        2. And that’s because, essentially, I was eliminating a meal a day.
        3. For me, I did the 16 hours of fasting to 8 hours of eating.
        4. I generally ate between the hours of 11am and 7pm. So I basically, I was skipping breakfast on the daily.
        5. Which greatly limited my calories.
      3. BUT, I struggled to get enough protein.
        1. Again, I want to eat my weight in grams of protein.
        2. I struggled on a normal day to get that much protein.
        3. I def struggled to cram it all into an 8-hour period.
      4. AND, eventually, I fell into the same issues I held on every other dietary program:
      5. It works while I’m on it. But I struggle to maintain consistency, Then I gain it all right back.
    5. Again, the big trap is weekends… when I want to share some breakfasts with my loved ones.
      1. And, admittedly, often times they are not the healthiest of breakfasts.
      2. And some days I got super-hungry during the fasting.
        1. That sometimes led to overeating when I broke the fast.
        2. I got all gluttonous and overate…
        3. Much of the time I was overeating on some bad foods, too. Nutritionally speaking.
    6. So sustainability was again the big issue for me.
  7. Now here’s the Bottom line: Intermittent fasting works… if you’re able to stick to it.
    1. Research shows this: Intermittent fasting works… but it’s really no more effective than any other dietary plan.
    2. The big issue is whether or not it’s sustainable.
    3. I haven’t succeeded in making it sustainable.
    4. Now that Doesn’t mean you can’t make it work
    5. In fact, If I sound like a weak-willed whiner… then intermittent fasting might just be the program for you.
      1. If you’re angry that I struggled to make something so simple work.
      2. You’re the kind of person who can really rock an intermittent fasting program 
      3. Go rock that thing!
      4. I’m just all over the place on it… and probably need to find something I need to consistently stick to.
  8. The bottom line to weight loss is this: you need to consume less calories than you burn.
    1. There are a lot of ways to accomplish that.
    2. Intermittent fasting definitely is definitely one of those ways.
    3. The trick to dieting… the magic bullet… is whatever plan works in helping you accomplish the goal of consuming less than you burn.
    4. For me, it’s super-simple… Eat at least 206 grams of protein while consuming fewer than 2500 calories.
    5. That means I need to track what I eat.
      1. What I’ve discovered, is that when I don’t track I’m generally trying to hide something
      2. Meaning I’m eating crap.
    6. So I’ve tried to gamify a bit 
      1. I’ve made a wager with my family that if I track my macros and calories for 21 straight days then I get to buy a new record (or two). 
      2. As of compiling this podcast, I’m 7 days in.
    7. My progress: started at that bad ol’ number: 209.
      1. Now I’m hovering around 205… say “hovering” because weight fluctuates a lot.
      2. And I offer that as encouragement for the daily scale-steppers. 
      3. Some days you’ll retain some water or have some bad rest and the scale moves in the wrong direction.
        1. It doesn’t mean your nutrition is broken.
        2. Give a couple days to take hold again.
        3. If you’re up for a week… then it’s time to review stuff.
        4. But just take the long view and be patient.
  9. [Music  in] So you might be a faster!
    1. OR, you might be tracker, like me.
    2. If you’re serious about losing weight, you simply need to get serious about figuring how you can consistently eat fewer calories than you use up.
    3. There’s your magic bullet
    4. Which isn’t so magical, is it.
    5. I’d like to hear if it’s working for you, though.
    6. Or, whatever dietary slash nutritional plan fuels you.
    7. Email me at ryan at the badpod.com
    8. That’s all there is this week.
    9. I’ll be talking at you again soon.
    10. Please smash the subscribe button on whatever platform you’re listening to this episode. That would be super helpful.
    11. For more ideas and stories about being a bad-ass middle-ager, check out the BADPod.com.
    12. New content there every week.
    13. Music here is by Eyoelin.
    14. Again, my name is Ryan Dunn.
    15. You’re awesome.
    16. OK Bye.~

Published by RyanDunn

Ryan Dunn has a bunch of certificates on his desk. A few are awards for content production and marketing. Another marks his ordination as a minister. One says he’s earned a BA in English from the University of Iowa. The certificate next to that says he earned an MA in Christian Practice from Duke (with honors!). Ryan is most proud, though, of the things he’s created: The Compass Podcast, some deep content on RethinkChurch.org, a series of practical spiritual advice videos, a long-lasting marriage, and fantastic little boy. (He enjoyed A LOT of help on all of those projects, especially the last two.)

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