(This is the Introduction to the Weekday Fast Plan – free download by clicking the link.)
I am sure many of my friends who are reading this and know that I am a computer guy are amused that I’ve suddenly started giving health advice. The truth is, after being overweight for 25 years, when I finally found something that works that also happens to be the easiest way to lose weight I’ve ever heard of, it was impossible not to share it. Being a computer guy, I am pretty good at is aggregating large amounts of data, testing different methods, trying different things in tandem and observing what works. It’s a work in progress, and your mileage may vary, but I am absolutely convinced that if you adapt the Weekday Fast lifestyle, you will improve your health and lose weight.
You see, I have been overweight for most of my adult life – until now. When I was in college I was in pretty good shape, but once I got in the workforce and started spending most of my days at a desk, things went downhill fast. At one point I got on Nutri-System where they give you the food and you meet weekly, and actually lost around 60 pounds! But after I went off the program, I gained it all back.
When I got married in 1999 I was tipping the scales at nearly 280. Thanks to my wife’s healthy cooking and not eating out so much, I got down to around 250 over the course of the next few years. (Unfortunately, that still put me in the “Obese” category according to my BMI. The top end of the “Normal” scale for someone my height is 194, so I’m shooting for 190 now.)
Over the next 25 years or so I tried the Atkins, South Beach, The Zone diet, Fit for Life, Slow Carb and a handful of others. Not to mention the half dozen fad diet books I bought and then never even started. Maybe if I had stuck to one of these diets forever I might have had lasting results, but every one of them had something in common – I had to abandon some of the foods I love to eat. That might work in the short term, but before long, I would miss my favorite foods and the willpower to stay on the diet would evaporate. Some diets didn’t work, some did, but in every case, as soon as I stopped the diet, any lost weight came right back. That’s why I now firmly believe – Diets Don’t Work!
What about exercise? About ten years ago, I decided I just needed to exercise more. I re-joined a gym for the first time in a couple decades and began to work out regularly. Then I got back into running, which I had enjoyed in my 20’s but abandoned when I got into the workforce. I started running 5ks, then a 10k, and eventually a couple half Marathons. Yet no matter how much or how far I ran, I didn’t lose any weight. I asked my doctor about that and gave me the grim news – after the age of 35 or so, it is nearly impossible to lose weight through exercise alone. You have to change what and how much you eat. (I now know the third and most important part of that equation – changing WHEN you eat.) There ARE other reasons to get some regular exercise, and I believe it is part of a synergistic healthy lifestyle – but “You can’t exercise yourself thin.”
In March of 2016 when we returned from our Spring Break family vacation, I realized I had put on a few pounds, so I stepped on the scale and discovered that my “normal” weight of 250 where I had been stuck for twenty years had ballooned to 265! Enough is enough. I told my wife I was getting serious, and I started hitting the gym three times a week, walking every day and really watching my carbohydrate intake. A month went by while I felt better, I had only lost a few pounds and those had all come in the first week.
Then my stepdaughter Jackie sent me a Facebook message and said “Mom said you were trying to lose weight. I’ve been doing this and it works!” Curious, I checked out her link and it was a BBC special by Dr. Mosley. At first I was incredulous – but the more I studied it, the more it made sense. I tried it, and between June 1st and Thanksgiving, I dropped to 215, where I maintained for almost a year. Meaning – for the first time ever, I kept the weight off!
Over the course of the past year or so, I’ve gotten into several conversations about “How I did it”. Naturally, I was enthusiastic about my success after so many years of failure, so I would explain what I did. After a few times, I got pretty good at the speech! And then a funny thing kept happening. A few months after I had told someone about my plan, I’d run into them again, and they said something along the lines of “Hey, remember that day when you were telling me about how you lost your weight. I started doing exactly what you told me, and it works! It’s awesome! I’ve lost ___ pounds!” After the third or fourth time, I started realizing – this can’t be a coincidence. This doesn’t just work for me…it works for a lot of people.
I decided if I was going to challenge all of you to try the Weekday Fast, I should have some skin in the game too. Not to mention, it would be more fun to have some friends doing it with me. My original goal was to get to 190, where my BMI will show that I am no longer “obese” – for the first time in over 25 years! I’m just about to go back on the weight-loss version (as opposed to maintenance mode), and I know when I start dropping weight again, people are going to notice and ask me about it. I decided to write it out and share it, in hopes that it will help you too. I even started a Facebook Group, so if you’re interested, please join. Whether you join the group or not, please let me know how it goes! Shoot me an email or share with everyone in the Facebook Group. We can all support each other, compare experiences, and I’ll answer as many questions as I can. All of this is completely free.
Finally, I want to be clear that I did not “discover” Intermittent Fasting or nearly any of the information in this plan. I have assembled bits and pieces of a few different methods and after testing a bunch of things, can recommend a pretty good, simple program that definitely works for me and those I’ve shared it with.
Giving credit where due, I originally heard about this idea through Dr. Michael Mosley. He started the entire “Fast 5/2” movement. You can watch the BBC special that started it all on YouTube, and I strongly recommend his book, The Fast Diet. It’s only $10 on Amazon. The Weekday Fast plan incorporates many of the Fast Diet principals, but there is much more to it. But Dr. Mosley’s book is a great resource and reference to the science behind intermittent fasting. If you’re interested in the nitty gritty details of how and why it works – grab a copy of his book! Since then I have read several more books and spent many hours researching on the web, but for a quick intro and foundation, his book can’t be beat.
I hope you enjoy this document, I hope you enjoy the blog, I hope you’ll join the Facebook Group, and I hope you’ll give Weekday Fast a try. If you have any questions at all – reach out to me, I want to help!