The Alternate-Day Diet

This is a book on the alternate day diet or alternate day calorie restriction. A recommended reading material before you embark upon your successful journey. The Alternate-Day Diet is based on scientific and clinical studies that show how restricting calories only every other day activates a gene called “SIRT1″ (the skinny gene) which results in reduced inflammation, improved insulin resistance, better cellular energy production, and releasing fat cells from around the organs to promote weight loss.

The original intermittent fasting plan: easy to follow, effective, and science-basedThe Alternate-Day Diet is based on scientific and clinical studies that show how restricting calories only every other day activates a gene called SIRT1?the ?skinny? gene?which results in reduced inflammation, improved insulin resistance, better cellular energy production, and releasing fat cells from around the organs to promote weight loss.

This easy-to-follow two step plan will enable readers to enjoy these remarkable and measurable benefits:

? Lose fat easily and quickly without deprivation, discomfort, or stress
? Improve fat metabolism and avoid regaining lost fat
? Slow the aging process
? Find relief from symptoms of asthma, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, and menopause-related hot flashes
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My DD dinner

Alternate Day Calorie Restriction

I came across this article by BBC Horizon on alternate day calorie restriction in 2012. It triggered off my interest in weight loss again. After showing signs hypertension and borderline diabetes, I decided that it is time for me to do something for my health. Putting exercise aside first for this article, I am just going to talk about the diet and how it helped me to lose weight.

After watching the documentary, I went to search for more information on CRON and alternate day calorie restriction. In my personal opinion, CRON is too extreme. I wouldn’t be able to do it for life. Besides, there is a recent research paper showing that daily calorie restriction did not extend the lifespan of the lab monkeys.

On the other hand, alternate day calorie restriction or fasting sounds doable for me. Alternate day calorie restriction/fasting is also known as intermittent fasting. Fasting not only causes the body to go into repair mode, it also reduces the IGF-1 and prevents Alzheimer’s disease. Lowering the IGF-1 level reduces the risk of diabetes and cancer. So it is not just about losing weight. It is also about keeping the body and mind healthy.

I started the plan with alternate day calorie restriction. Limiting my Down Day (DD) to just 500 calories and my Up Day (UD) intake is not limited ie. eating as per normal. The picture on top of this article is a typical dinner I eat when I first started on alternate day calorie restriction. As the weeks passed, I slowly reduce the calories during DD while maintaining the UD intake. I was able to completely fast during DD after around 2 months from the start of the plan.

Fasting completely doesn’t mean I don’t eat or drink. During the DD, I drink plenty of water and unsweetened tea. The amount of fluids I drink during DD is more than my UD. This is because food I eat during UD contains water as well. So, if I am not eating, I need to drink more to replace the fluid I missed out.

I have 3 UDs and 4 DDs in a week. DDs are usually on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. If you notice, I have 2 DDs back to back on Mondays and Tuesdays. I plan it this way because I usually eat a lot on Sundays. After 2 DDs, I feel much better after that.

I lost 20.5kg (100kg to 79.5kg) from September to mid December 2012. I felt healthier, my clothes became too big for me. I had to reduce my pants’ size from a whopping 40 to 34. I have to buy new shirts as well.

I will continue in another post what difficulties I came across and the ups and downs of the diet.

Obesity, Dieting, Fasting, Weight Loss.

Weight loss has always been a challenge for me. When it comes to obesity, it is definitely something that runs in my family. I am 1.64m in height. My ideal weight is around 56.5kg (BMI 21). I have only come across 57kg once in my life. And I have never looked back since. ROTFLOL.

The maximum weight I have reached is 110kg (BMI 41) which puts me in the super-obese category (if there is one). I was extremely unhealthy then. I feel tired most of the time. I believe I had sleep apnoea then as my wife was complaining that I snored very loudly when I sleep and I do not feel fresh despite having enough sleep. Sometimes, my wife also feedback to me that I am totally dead silent for periods of time during my sleep, only to be shocked by me coughing loudly to break the silence. She has been nagging me to do something but nagging seldom results in weight loss.

It is not that I am happy to be fat/obese since young. I have my fair share of dieting and experience of weight loss products. When I was young and still in school, I was on a diet on and off. It was the type of diet where you try to eat as little as possible, making yourself miserable. Well, I never wanted to be miserable for long, so every time I stop the diet, my weight would return with a vengeance and I hit another peak. (Yeh!) It was only later that I realised this is called the yo-yo diet and weight loss is not sustainable. Of course, you can argue that CRON-diet is sustainable, but that is another topic.

Then, I tried turning vegetarian. Again, I don’t want to be miserable and miss out the meat! I was feeling very weak as well. Maybe it was because I was in my teens and growing. Weight went back up after that.

Before my enlistment into the army, I tried my best to lose weight and to build up my muscles. During the training period when I was in the army, my weight went down to around 70kg (BMI 26), not normal range, but definitely some weight loss. After the training period, due to an injury to my knee, I was no longer able to run and train as before. My weight went up, as expected to 80+kg.

The weight goes up and down throughout my whole life. I have some weight loss, but I always find it back again some time later.

How heavy you weigh is directly related to how much you eat and how much you burn. If you eat more than what your body requires, your weight goes up. If you eat less than your body’s needs, your weight loss will be successful. But if you were to starve yourself or doing prolonged fasting, your body’s natural instinct is to prevent itself from being digested away, therefore, it will lower its metabolic rate. The moment you eat more, your weight goes up and higher than before because your body is burning less than before.

For a while, I gave up trying to lose weight. I am married, busy working, there is no time to exercise (common excuse), there is not need for weight loss (I am already married). Or at least, that was what I told myself.

But then, there is a family history of hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes. Being overweight/obese puts me at a higher risk of these 3 chronic diseases. How can I convince patients to lose weight for health when they are staring at an obese doctor? I monitor my blood pressure, fasting glucose and lipids once a year. My lipids have been well-controlled. But I find my blood pressure going up with my weight, especially so once I am closing in to 40 years old. My fasting glucose was borderline too as I approach 40. I was at my wits’ end. I know weight loss is important for me and I have to do it fast. I know I have to increase output and reduce input. But it’s easier said than done!

Here comes the point where I introduce to you the greatest thing since sliced bread. The perfect, no sweat solution to lose all the weight. Dream on! There is no such thing. I repeat again, how heavy you weigh, is directly related to your intake and output.

The only thing I can direct you to is to go google for “alternate day fasting” or “alternate day calorie restriction”. There was a BBC Horizon video regarding this topic in 2012. That was the video that triggered me to lose weight. My current weight is 75.9kg while I am writing this. I will write in details in another post on how I did it.

Happy dieting in the meantime. :)