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My wife and I have been teaching internationally since 2010 and in 2017 we moved to Qatar. We decided to improve our fitness and so I controlled our diets by counting calories and exercising. Our diet consisted of home cooked, high carbohydrate vegetarian food with the occasional take away. We exercised most days with running, swimming and cycling. The weather was always good and we spent lots of time outside so the exercise was a natural part of our lifestyle. My weight dropped from its high point to 74kg within one year, however the diet was difficult to maintain. We felt hungry all of time and were never full even after meals. We kept going because we wanted the weight loss but after 18 months we were applying for other jobs and a mixture of time constraints and a lack of certainty caused us to lose focus on the diet and we slowly put the weight back on over the next year.

In 2020, at the age of 42, I had a routine medical exam and was informed I was at risk for Hypertension and Diabetes. I was medicated with Metformin and Amlodipine and I lost a small amount of weight. I am 173cm (5’8”) tall and at my heaviest, my weight was 93kg (14.6st) which put me into the obese weight range. I am, and always have been, vegetarian and, since university, I have eaten mostly processed and high carbohydrate food. For the past 15 years I have also eaten a significant amount of restaurant/take away food. At university I was 57kg (9st), although my diet was not particularly good. I tended not to eat very often and I did not snack much. I also exercised most days.

At the end of October 2021 I stopped working and so had plenty of time. We were living in Shanghai and knew that we would leave at the end of the academic year. My weight was back up in the mid 80 kgs and my other health metrics had deteriorated. I decided to use the nine-month career break to do some research and come up with a new plan to improve our health. Through watching various YouTube videos, I learnt about low carbohydrate and fasting as ways to lose weight and improve metabolic health. I decided that a diet lowering carbohydrate, and in particular sugar, was something that I could do and so thought about how to approach changing our diet and lifestyle in a sustainable way. These were the stages we went through, although this was not a specific plan at the beginning but more of a natural evolution over time.

Start of January 2022

1. Stoped eating out / getting take aways. Remove sugar, rice, bread, and potatoes from our diet. Eat as much and as often as we wanted.

After 2 weeks

2. Limited fruit to berries and time restrict eating to an 8-hour window (14:00 – 22:00).

After 1 week

3. Changed eating window to 6 hours (15:00 – 21:00). (21-1-22)

Reduced the quantity of carbs by eating more olive oil, eggs and fake meat whilst reducing the quantity of starchy vegetables.

After 4 weeks

4. Reduced to One Meal a Day (OMAD) for 2 or 3 days per week. Tried one 48 hour fast (First was 24-2-22)

After 2 weeks

5. Started OMAD

After 1 Week

6. Added in first 48 hour fasts once per week (14/3/22) 6 big and 4 small meals each week.

After 1 week

7. Added in a second 48 hour fast each week

After 1 week

8. Frist 5 day fast. (Started 31/3/22)

After 2 weeks

9. (Start of week 15) Started alternate day fasting with one meal every 48 hours.

In contrast to our weight loss in Qatar, we felt very little hunger. We ate large meals, particularly in the beginning, and the increase of fat and protein meant we felt more satisfied. On fasting days around mealtimes, we did feel hungry. However, salt water and apple cider vinegar helped and these feelings went away once past the normal eating times. It was not always easy, particularly on days 2 and 3 of a 5 day fast however it was nowhere near as bad as our calorie restricted diet in Qatar. I passed my Qatar low point after 10 weeks and this was before adding in anything more restrictive than OMAD in terms of fasting.

During these first 14 weeks I have measured a range of health metrics. At different times these have include blood glucose, weight, waist size, ketone levels and bloodwork consisting of A1C, insulin and lipid tests. Over this time my numbers have improved and weight reduced by 14kg.  

I have continued to lose weight and am heading towards a goal of around 60kgs.

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"There was no one near to confuse me, so I was forced to become an original"

Joseph Haydn

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