This story is from Jane Rodgers who lives in the United Kingdom, and shows how intermittent fasting and some simple dietary changes helped her to lose weight, get rid of stomach bloating and symptoms related to menopause!
Here’s how she did it.
Tell us about your weight loss journey:
A month before I turned 50 in June – on 11th May – I took a long, cold, hard look at myself in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw.
I was overweight, with a bloated stomach and I felt tired and sluggish all the time. I have 4 horses but felt too heavy to ride them, although I do poo-pick their field every day! I’m 50 year old, 5’6″ and I was weighing 13st 2lbs.
I wanted to lose 3 stone – ideally to weigh 9st 13lbs (who doesn’t want to tip just into the stone below?) but it felt like a huge mountain to climb!! However, I told myself that I wanted to be Fifty and Fit, not fifty and fat… and took myself to task.
I have yo’yo’d for years, losing weight and then gradually letting it all creep back on again, but I never really reviewed my eating habits, to be honest.
I also decided that I needed to take an additional form of exercise so I started thinking what I could do that was cheap and available to suit my spare time – and running came to mind. Now I had never run a step in my life…. even years ago when I was at school I would avoid physical activity like the plague!!
A chance comment on Facebook, the following day led me to the Couch to 5K programme, which I threw myself into eagerly. The programme is 9 weeks, so I signed up for a Race for Life, in 9 weeks time, so that I had the motivation to stick to the programme, but I surprised myself by falling in love with running. So much so that at week 7, when I developed a minor hip injury and had to stop running for a couple of weeks, I was quite bereft! Who’d have thought??
In the meantime, a few weeks later, I was already a stone lighter and starting to feel good. I was, as they say, “in the zone” – motivated and feeling determined.
I was still tired a lot of the time, but I put that down to running three times a week and being menopausal. I was having night sweats hourly which disturbed my sleep patterns.
I’d discovered the 5:2 fasting and decided to make 1st July my first fasting day.
I’m one of those people who LOVE their breakfast so I was worried about skipping it, but I had a “brunch” planned in case the hunger got too much for me.
Well, lunchtime came and I was still fine…. and I sailed all around until tea time whereupon I pounced on a healthy 500 calorie modest dinner, glowing with self-virtue and righteousness!!
It turns out that for me, if I don’t eat anything during the day, my stomach stays asleep and I find fasting very easy.
I did try fasting through for 36 hours, ie, from evening meal til breakfast, but I found I didn’t sleep well and my stomach really did feel very empty, so I went back to a small healthy evening meal on my fasting day. I’ve never cheated or failed.
I’ve also got to be honest and admit that I started fasting initially for the weight-loss advantages. I didn’t get round to watching the Horizon show for a couple of weeks after I’d started and that pretty much cemented it in my mind that it’s the way for me to go.
At my age, the potential health implications are very important and I like to think that I will be able to grow old healthily and not be a burden on our creaky health system or my family.
Although I’m a classic “pear” shape, I’ve always had a bit of a pot belly... I thought this was just my shape but I decided to give up carbs for a few days to see what would happen. Well the result was pretty instantaneous…. my tummy flattened to a washboard and suddenly I was zinging with energy!
Over the course of the next few weeks my night flushes started reducing, to the point that I maybe get one hot flush in the night maybe once or twice a week now. Certainly not enough to get me up out of bed, I disturb slightly in my sleep to fling the duvet off…. then again later when I feel cold again, but that’s about it.
Initially I swapped to complex carbs, wholemeal bread, wholemeal spaghetti, brown rice…. but then I discovered the delights of cauliflower “rice” and courgette “spaghetti” so I swapped to those and I find them FAR more tasty than their starchy counterparts.
I still occasionally eat a small wholemeal roll with some homemade soup for my lunch and rarely I might have some new potatoes in their skins but I’ve pretty much given up white carbs.
I try to eat low-carb and low fat and I log everything I eat and drink onto MyFitnessPal (iphone app). I weigh myself every morning, noting whether I’m fasting or not and whether I have done something out of the ordinary the day before (visited a friend, etc) I like lists, number and statistics and it works for me.
I also recognise that weighing daily can sometimes give false results so I don’t throw myself on the floor wailing if there has been a small gain!!!
My clothing size has gone down from a 16 to a 10 and I’m happy with how I look now (even if I do still have body dysmorphia – “Those tiny bottomed jeans SURELY won’t slide up onto my own ample backside!!!” 😉
But there is still something about being in the nine-stone somethings that is calling me… why the heck not, eh? I made a conscious decision to change my life and my eating habits for good, something I have never done before and I will never go back to how I was before.
What method of Fasting do you do:
5:2, Monday and either Monday, Thursday or Friday, depending on my week’s committments.
When did you start fasting?
1st July 2013
What weight were you to start with?
At the start of fasting I was 12st 2lbs (170Lbs or 77.1kgs) but I’d already lost a stone before I started.
What was your goal weight?
9st 13lbs (139Lbs or 63kgs)
What is your weight now?
10st 5lbs (145 Lbs or 65.7kgs)
What do you do for your fasting routine now?
I fast for 24 hours from evening meal to evening meal.
What exercise do you do regularly? Did you do this exercise before you started fasting?
I run 5K two or three times a week. I started running on 11th May, when I committed to losing my weight.
What do you eat on your non-fasting days?
I eat low-carb, low-calorie healthy foods on my non-fasting days, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and I calorie count.
What is your advice to people thinking about starting intermittent fasting but are not sure about it yet?
- Watch the programme – the evidence speaks for itself and the health implications are not to be ignored, especially if you are getting older.
- Don’t panic about not eating for a day – you WILL survive – and probably a lot better than you think. Hunger comes in waves but doesn’t get worse as the day progresses.
- Drink lots of water and keep busy, that will distract you from eating, particularly between 12 and 4 as in my opinion, this is the worst time of day. Once you get past 4 you are home and dry!
- Be prepared to feel chilly in the evenings on fast days, it is a phenomonon that affects some people.
- Eat a healthy meal for your 500 cals…. you can get a LOT of veg for that – and savour the taste.
- Once you have completed your first fast day, then the rest should be so easy as you know you CAN do it.
And don’t pig out on your normal eating days!!!! You don’t have to play catch-up!!!
* After this interview, Jane did manage to reach her goal weight (as seen in the photo below). Congratulations Jane!