Fat Belly Challenge – Final Update (Day 90 ish)
This is the final post from my fat belly challenge where I have spent the last 90-days trying to lose weight.
The idea was simple. To hold myself accountable by posting embarrassing before pictures (and some people may say “after” pictures too!)
Starting and completing the last 90-days has really opened my eyes to a nutritional strategy that is simple to follow and importantly EFFECTIVE.
What is it? Simple, its intermittent fasting.
I am writing the final part of my 90-day fat belly challenge whilst on my second 40-hour fast.
How did I get on? Did I lose any significant weight and what’s the plan going forward? Let’s start with why I wanted to even do this in the first place.
Quick Background to the Fat Belly Challenge
The fact is the last few years I have been putting on weight each year and attempts to get into shape have failed. The challenge for me is having chronic fatigue syndrome makes exercising a more difficult option, although not impossible.
Ultimately, there is no excuse though. I mean who else has been stuffing my face with cakes, sugary drinks, fatty and high cholesterol local food (roti canai for example – Malaysian food is amazing) the last few years. But as I get older it’s getting more difficult to keep the weight off. A cliché that’s so true!
The fact I had quit drinking alcohol made following an intermittent fasting meal timing schedule easier. Friends have been more surprised at this than anything else, just goes to show the importance alcohol is eh.
It’s really not been difficult either. I have been out socialising too, and this has been no trouble either. It’s much easier saying you have stopped drinking than by saying you’re reducing your alcohol intake.
Often people will ask have you stopped for good or how long for. In all honesty I don’t know the answer to this. For the time being I am fine not drinking alcohol. It also makes intermittent fasting easier as drinking means I would be consuming calories late into the evening, which messes up the scheduling of meals the next day.
The other thing is, I NEVER get hangovers and boy is this a great feeling. When I wake up now, I maybe tired but no sore head and groggy feeling you experience after a night out on the sauce.
Links to the previous posts on my fat belly challenge:
Here comes the crunch time, what was the outcome of my 90-day fat belly challenge?
I have lost just over 4 kilograms in total weight and around a 1.5-2% decrease in my body fat percentage – all from intermittent fasting without any significant change in activity levels.
There has been a noticeable change having lost 4 kilograms. You can see from the before and after picture below that I have lost some , but not all, of my fat belly. My trousers and shorts certainly fit much better now although I still want to get a flatter stomach to fit into some of the t-shirts and shirts I bought a couple of years ago.
So, the moobs are still there and more prominent than I would like!
For those very observant readers who noticed my tattoo appears to have gone, I reversed the before image so the images were easier to compare – my bad there, I should have taken a better picture!
I don’t think there is any denying the pictures aren’t me though 😉
If I was going to use photoshop or another person I would have least had a six-pack and toned chest.
Weight loss plateau with Intermittent Fasting
After two-months I experienced a weight loss plateau where my total body weight was staying the same. I sort of expected this as you don’t continually lose body weight unless you mix things up a bit, whether that’s with your diet or being more active.
Considering my activity levels remained fairly similar throughout the 3-months then it stands to reason why my body weight levelled out.
In fact, I noticed that I put a little bit of weight back on again (around 1 lb / 450 grams). It wasn’t a lot, and only really noticeable because now I regularly weigh myself.
The modest weight gain was almost certainly from indulging in junk food, a common problem when intermittent fasting as it’s easy to justify eating rubbish when you are limited total calories.
Researching more about intermittent fasting (article coming soon chaps), it seems this is a common experience. Weight loss can become stagnant after a prolonged time following the same feeding period, and so it’s suggested to mix it up a bit.
Only during the last 2-3 weeks did I start experimenting with changing my meal timings.
I introduced 24-hour fasting periods once per week and even did my first two-day fast – you wouldn’t think so, but this was an amazing experience – I really recommend it!
It sounds daunting not eating for a day, especially when we’re so used to consuming three and sometimes more meals per day. The experience I found empowering as there is nothing like sitting at the dinner table (okay so local restaurant for the readers who know me!) feeding your kids when you haven’t eaten for 24 hours!
I sometimes believe that I eat more out of habit than hunger. It also is a great excuse to stop working and have a break eh?
Want to know more about Intermittent Fasting?
There is a lot of information out there on Intermittent Fasting and so it can be easy to overcomplicate it. The rules of what to eat, when and how much, is confusing as everyone seems to have their view on it.
My friend the other day said he fasted everyday, then I found out he drank apple cider vinegar with lemon in the morning – which certainly breaks your fast!
I am no fasting expert but simply follow the practice of only drinking water and black coffee for 18-hours each day.
If you want to read an excellent book giving you a complete guide to fasting has been recommended to me (I haven’t read it yet).
Check out this book on Amazon – The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting by Dr Jason Fung.
What didn’t go well?
Ultimately, looking at purely the metrics I failed the challenge. I didn’t achieve the goal of losing a total of 6 kilogram of body weight and decreasing body fat percentage from 27.5% to under 24%.
However, and this isn’t just massaging my ego here (well okay maybe a little!), I feel like the fat belly challenge was successful from what I experienced and importantly learnt. I lost weight and to be honest it was really fairly easy to do.
I know have a working strategy that’s straight forward, no gimmicks, no messing about with calorie counting, and yet works to decrease and stabilise body weight.
Intermittent fasting is a solution for decreasing weight and keeping my weight in check. It’s easy to follow at home or if away on holiday or business.
I didn’t need to count calories but also made me aware of what I was eating. Days when I ate more junk food than usual, I found the next day or two that I naturally gravitated towards healthier choices.
Follow a set intermittent fasting pattern regularly, like the 18/6 meal timing schedule I adopted, meant it was easy to stick to a routine. This took the guess work out what I could and where I could eat. Other diet plans restricted food choices making eating out really difficult for me and my family (well not so much my family but certainly for me).
Key Takeaways (not takeaway food!)
Here are the key things I learn’t during the 90-day fat belly challenge:
- Intermittent fasting works
- Can be a longer-term solution for reducing and stabilising body weight
- Easy to follow, no counting calories
- Helps productivity and decisions on food choice
- Stops me snacking in the evening
Could this be the new Adam in 2020?
Let’s be realistic here, this isn’t going to happen but I will certainly be looking to get a flat stomach and to lose my moobs!
It’s typical to revert back to bad eating habit after following any change in diet, and the reason why dieting in general never normally works. The caveat is when big lifestyle changes are made too.
The intermittent fasting schedule works for me and I intend continuing using it as part of my nutritional strategy for health and maintaining a healthy weight. I still have some way to go as I wish to reduce body fat percentage into the “healthy” range.
Going forward I am going to see the impact of weekly 24-hour fasts and monthly two-days fasts on my weight during the rest of 2019. The best case is that my weight continues to drop but otherwise it’s a great way to stop putting on more weight!
Although the New Year will trigger many people to push towards getting fit and healthy, I prefer to make the “New Year goals” just before the start of the year. So, next year will see me getting down to 60-62 kilograms and body fat percentage under 20 percentage. Don’t believe me? Then watch this space.