Many of you are probably wondering if my title is mere hyperbole and probably not grounded in reality. If someone had told me this a few weeks back, I would have felt the same disbelief. If hear me out and try it yourself you will see equally dramatic results — I lost12 lbs in 16 days with a few simple changes to diet and lifestyle. I should note that when you are making drastic changes to your diet and lifestyle, you should always work with expert supervision — so I am not advocating you go try this home immediately but rather realize how much misinformation is masquerading in the form of fad diets and processed diet accomplices (snack bars, protein bars, what have you..).
To put it simply, what I did was not a crash diet or fad diet but something you might have heard of — intermittent fasting but combined with a healthy diet and moderate exercise. I knew of this concept but was not applying right.. and I was fortunate to get some good guidance for this and it worked. I should add more dramatically than I expected. However, I should warn there are three prerequisites that are needed to follow this diet:
- A reasonably strong will-power to resist the physical and emotional craving for your favorite (but potentially) unhealthy food.
- A strategy for dealing with your hunger gremlins (the hormone in the body that makes you hungry is Grehlin — kind of close to gremlin )
- Having an Open mind (with experimental mindset)
It reminds me of Steve Jobs’ best advice in his Commencement address to Stanford graduates: ‘ Stay hungry and stay foolish’. With this diet, you will definitely feel hungry in the initial phases of this drastic change in your lifestyle..
Rewinding back, a few months back, my dear friend Akash introduced me to Stanford SSATHI center and suggested I get a comprehensive cardio checkup since I am in the profile of South Asian Indian in middle age (and getting older!). The test results came out as slightly overweight but developing insulin resistance due to above-average sugar in my blood. This was a bit of a surprise to me as I usually go to the gym regularly and eat reasonably healthy food.
Dr. Vijaya at the Stanford center looked at my current diet with two meals a day and suggested I cut out all sugars, processed foods (read carbs) adding more healthy fiber along the way. I was already skipping breakfast for more than a couple of years now and believed I was eating balanced meals. After my lab results, I saw that whatever I was doing was not sufficient so I took the advice and I decided to ratchet up intermittent fasting and do it precisely with absolutely no sugars and processed foods.
From the very next day, I started applying the elimination of sugars and processed foods as well as reducing carbs. In addition, I started on one meal a day routine skipping lunch as well. I put a good amount of effort into this one meal to ensure that it was balanced and had no processed food. Period. I also went for an extended walk right after the meal to help reduce the insulin levels after a meal.
During this time, I kept my usual gym routine (nothing fancy — just an hour per session for few times a week) and also took care to stay hydrated by having at least 2 liters of water.
The result: the excess pounds kept dropping by the day and my fitness/mood keep better by the day. It was simply amazing to see this action! After 5 days of this, losing a pound or 0.5 every day didn’t surprise me all and was expecting it.. When I finally weighed before my next meeting Dr. Vijaya I had dropped at least 12 lbs and counting in about 16 days !! It was simply amazing — no amount of time spent in the gym in 16 days would have helped me lose this kind of weight. Not that there is no benefit in spending more time at the gym — it is just that we have to apply the 80:20 rule for staying healthy. Focusing 80% of the effort in eating right and the right time with the right frequency per day!
The principle is really simple (though not easy to follow!): Eat less frequently per day and cut out all sugars and processed foods/carbs. Depending on how well you are equipped with pre-requisites I outlined in the beginning, you can go as ‘hardcore’ as you can ..and based on this Your Mileage Will Vary (YMMV). Habits are not easy to break but somethings are worth striving for.
Finally, if you are South Asian/Indian and reading this .and in the Bay Area I strongly suggest you check out: Stanford SSATHI center and you will know ‘what lies beneath’ the apparently healthy and fit body. Thankfully I discovered this center before things got worse.