Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Phase 1 - Day 3

Today was supposed to be Day 4, aka Yoga X, aka Meg takes the day off 'cause she has yoga class every day anyway, but yesterday morning my brother slept through his alarm and we didn't go to the gym, so I counted yesterday as Yoga X and today as Shoulders & Arms. This workout was less challenging than the others have been so far; I think it's because the movements are so isolated to a certain group of muscles, so my arms and shoulders were on fire but the rest of my body wasn't really working at all. Other than that, though, I liked the workout and felt that the exercises were pretty creative. I need to seriously work on my deltoids. Anything that involved a deltoid lift required me to drop from my usual 10-12.5 pound weights to 7.5, and max out at 6-8 reps instead of 12-15. WEAK. Thankfully, I have faith that this will change with time.

On the eating front, I've been gently experimenting with Intermittent Fasting for the past couple weeks, and today is my second full 24-hour fast. Basically, yesterday I ate lunch at 2:30, and I haven't eaten since. At 2:30 today I'll begin eating regularly again. IF has been shown to have all sorts of benefits, including reducing inflammation and insulin sensitivity, as well as improving mental clarity and sleep patterns (reasons why monks have been doing it basically forever). Also, it's yet another long-lost evolutionary custom; our bodies evolved to go lengthy stretches without food if we couldn't find any to hunt or gather. A quick google search on the subject will net you loads of articles, research, and information, as it's rapidly gaining popularity in the fitness and nutrition world. Anyway, I started a few weeks ago by doing 6- or 12-hour fasts, and then did my first 24-hour fast last Tuesday-Wednesday. It may sound crazy, but I actually enjoyed it. I didn't really feel hungry or shaky (this is probably helped a lot by the low carb/high fat diet I've adopted--my blood sugar is way more stable than it once was), and my brain was noticeably sharper in class the next morning, even without caffeine. I even felt a touch euphoric during the last few hours of the fast. My sleep the night of the fast and the night after was deep and restful. All in all, it was such a success that going forward I'm doing two 24-hour fasts per week, one from Tuesday-Wednesday and one from Friday-Saturday. I picked these days because they coincide (in theory, my brother's faulty alarm clock notwithstanding) with the mornings we don't go to the gym. After switching the gym morning to today instead of yesterday, I considered not doing the fast until this afternoon, but then I just went ahead with it, and working out on a completely empty stomach this morning honestly felt no different than usual. I think the key is stabilizing the blood sugar before moving into fasting; I used to get shaky hungry every few hours, but that was when I was eating loads of grains and sugars, and very low fat. Since reversing this paradigm, I've noticed improvements in almost every aspect of my heath and fitness. GO FAT!

In conclusion, I nearly shrieked with joy this morning when I stepped on the scale and saw that I've dropped five pounds since last week (and last week's weigh-in was itself really good, confirming that I'd successfully shed all my Christmas weight and was back down to where I was in November). I know, I know, it's all water weight, but I haven't been this weight since before college! Encouraging to the extreme.

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