I’ve been having trouble managing my weight ever since I gave up cigarettes. And that was in 1992! Or perhaps I should say I’ve been having trouble managing sugar since I gave up cigarettes?
It’s kif-kif as they say in Algerian Arabic .
When I gave up cigarettes I started to eat a lot. I put on eight kilos within a year. And without really noticing I lost my mojo. I moved from being a relatively successful teacher training professional to being a simple teacher, luckily with tenure. It could have been worse.
After twelve years in the doldrums (where I replaced professional success with wife and family so all was not lost) I managed to slim down again in 2006. The reward was immediate. I felt bright again and started behaving brightly once more. The new self confidence led me to become head of my university department. But then I got fat and once more I slowed down mentally and mediocrity returned with a vengeance.
I’m happily retired now but still struggling with my demons.
The other day I bumped into Nicolas Trub, severally a friend, colleague and an ex-student of mine, and founder of a design company called Stilic Force.
With maturity he had become roly poly. Now he was thin once more and radiating personal energy.
“I’ve been fasting”he said. “You should too. Here’s how.”
The method he described is called intermittent fasting. Basically you don’t eat for 16 hours straight everyday . This includes sleeping time so it’s really not that difficult. You then eat normally in the remaining eight hour window.
“16/8 : look it up.” I did.
And since then I’ve been looking into it. It’s all about insulin.
Here’s how it works, put simply:
When you eat your insulin levels rise and your body uses the food you have eaten for energy.
When you stop eating your insulin levels fall and your body uses your body fat for energy.
Up till now I’ve been trying to reduce calories and sugar intake and keep up an active life style in order to lose weight. This demands a lot of personal sacrifice . And the results have never been great over the long term (in my case anyway).
I’m no longer trying to limit my calorie up-take but rather to limit my eating time, thus allowing my insulin system to do it’s job properly. I stop eating at 22:00 every evening and start at 14:00, or a bit later, the following day. My liver and guts get to rest a bit.
I feel much more energetic, especially in the mornings.
I often go to bed a bit earlier and in a more sober state since I stop drinking at 22:00 . I still have plenty of time to socialise with my friends. If there’s a party I just go with the flow. My objective is to create a healthy habit not forge an immutable discipline.
I’m slowly but steadily losing weight. And this without trying.