Welcome to my 30th month of intermittent fasting! If you’ve been interested in fasting for health I hope that my experience here is useful to you. This post is part of a series, so if you want to start at the very beginning, click on over to Intermittent Fasting for Autophagy and Designer Denim, Month Zero – I’ll wait.
My last update was all about July 2021; my 20th month of intermittent fasting.
I started posting less frequently about my progress because it was so slow.
I thought that if I added more time, I could provide better updates if I just focused on sharing every ten months instead of each month.
This has a huge benefit for you because I can share my plateau AND how I am overcoming it. It’s funny – I almost didn’t see the plateau until I was gathering my notes and data for this blog post. I just noticed that my fat loss had stalled, but I was too stressed to see that I was at a set point for TWO ENTIRE YEARS. That’s crazy! That just shows how stressed I’ve been.
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Welcome back, friends!
A lot has happened in the past ten months, let’s get to it.
Month thirty was May 2022 for me.
I prefer one meal a day (OMAD), but will definitely eat lunch if I’m hungry that early – so lunches are unusual; not forbidden.
My last few fasting updates definitely mentioned stress, and that I suspected that cortisol was hindering my progress. That was partially true. Turned out that I also have ADHD, and that its lack of treatment was giving me anxiety. The constant stress and anxiety convinced my body that I needed alcohol to overcome the constant cortisol, so I drank a lot of wine. Also, there’s a pandemic going on. And my toddler stopped napping. It was a perfect storm.
Somewhere along the way I stopped getting into ketosis during my daily fasts, but I didn’t notice because I was too stressed about everything all of the time.
☑︎ January 2022 (26th month fasting) I had a metabolic panel drawn. My fasting glucose was officially pre-diabetic! Upon closer inspection, my fasting glucose the year before (14 months fasting) was also triple digits, which is still pre-diabetic to some doctors. Definitely a little hinky for an otherwise healthy 37 year old (low blood pressure, non-apple shape, low triglycerides).
☑︎ April (29th month fasting), I was diagnosed with ADHD and finally medicated. The psychologist suggested that my anxiety was caused by unmedicated ADHD, and he was absolutely correct. I refer to my ADHD medication as my “anti-anxiety medication” because that’s what it has been doing since day one. It calmed my brain, and removed my crushing anxiety. It’s amazing.
Once my brain didn’t feel like it was on fire, I started working to repair my impaired fasting glucose before my doctor puts me on metformin. I bought a bottle of Thorne’s berberine.
Berberine did two things right away – 1. almost immediate feelings of ketosis, and 2. it makes plain water taste sweet because it is so incredibly bitter. My berberine dosage changes depending on what part of the month it is. I’ve learned that it’s easier to fast before I ovulate, and harder as I get closer to shedding my uterine lining – but not always. I am finally learning to work with my body’s cycles. It’s still a work in progress though, I’m far from perfect.
☑︎ May 2022 was my 30th month of fasting, and also when I had a more recent metabolic panel drawn. This time my fasting glucose was 90mg/dl, but my hbA1C was 5.4% (first measure on record). This shows me that my average glucose was still high overall, but that I’m doing something positive to bring it down. It’s definitely the berberine – but to increase & maintain my new positive feedback loop, I have also drastically cut refined carbohydrates, and started drinking diluted vinegar before or after meals.
If my two-year long plateau was the result of many things, then I am going to turn it around with many things.
So, the big summary is that I was plateaued for two years. I was stuck in the low 140s which isn’t terrible, but that’s still overweight for my body. The plateau was caused at minimum by extreme stress, unmedicated ADHD, increased alcohol intake, and impaired fasting glucose – it’s impossible to tell which happened first.
I finally broke the two-year plateau by medicating my ADHD (which reduced stress), drinking less wine (easy because I don’t need alcohol to relax anymore). Plus working on my fasting glucose by taking berberine, cutting back on refined carbs, and drinking more vinegar.
These active changes helped me drop 10lbs from the scale, and 20mg/dl glucose in about five weeks. I’m finally in a healthy BMI for my height, and I haven’t been down here in four years!
What has been the same the past ten months – My body size has mostly been the same; until very recently. The berberine-induced ketosis has produced a significant drop in body fat just in the last…several weeks.
I still prefer one meal a day. Morning meals make me nauseous, and noon-time carbs make me lethargic (this can definitely be related to insulin resistance). I’ve learned that I can handle a protein-only snack midday if I want one. As usual I stick to whole foods, so I go for a boiled egg or maybe a can of tuna.
My diet is the same. I still avoid industrial seed oils (so I rarely eat out), and I prefer to cook my whole foods at home. I am drinking diluted vinegar after some dinners.
I still can’t fit into my engagement ring, but my Oura ring is feeling loose. Not so loose that it’s falling off, but not loose enough to wear on a different finger. For the record my fingers were the first to expand upon pregnancy, so I expect them to be the last to “get back down to normal.”
What has changed between months 20 and 30 – I’m down one ambiguous pants size! Mediums are starting to get too big, and smalls are fitting better. This shows me that my body is feasting on the ample fat stores between my waist and knees. FINALLY.
My older soft bras are feeling a bit loose too.
I’m officially SMEDIUM; between the sizes of small and medium!
The size changes are definitely the result of addressing my insulin resistance.
I’m not out of the woods yet, but I’m finally on the right path again.
➤ ➤ Goal Pants, two pairs
➤ ALLSAINTS, 30″ waist.
➤ Denizen by Levi’s, size 3.
If you want to see me shrink, check out my Outfits of the Day Index – I highlight one photo from each month each season.
Q. Any new plans for the immediate future?
A. More berberine for another bottle, and I’ll continue to reduce sweets and refined carbohydrates long term or until confident that insulin sensitivity is restored. I might do a little carb cycling, but I’m hesitant of that just because I want my glucose to bottom out and stay super low.
I’m comparing continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) because I want data about how different compounds are affecting my body at different times. They’re a bit costly, so I need more time to research and make sure that I can justify the cost.
I would like to get more information about my own body composition. I only have data from a BodPod in Kansas (so that was pre-pregnancy, but I recall being 30% adipose tissue – THIRTY). I need to find a product or service that can give me body composition data so I can start comparing regularly. If you know of a great nation-wide option, leave a comment below.
I’ll be back in ten months!
If you can’t wait that long, check out Lady Jupiter Podcast – I talk about all sorts of little things including fasting. Here’s the internet player if you want to dive right in (opens new tab).
☞ Ready for more? “Intermittent Fasting, Month 40” will be published in 2023.