I neglected my end-of-year check-in this year. So here it is, three months late. Here's the chart for the weight. Weight is a crummy metric for Metabolic Syndrome: it's analogous to cholesterol -- we rely on it because it's easy, and gives us a spurious but scientific-feeling accuracy. You can see the major contours below, though: I lost weight steadily from May 2017 to August 2018, going from 220 to 150; then I gained back ten pounds; for the two years thereafter I've held pretty steady at 160.
Below is the graph of my waist measurement over the same time (sorry, I don't know enough about the charts and PNG formats to get the scales to look the same: but they really are over the same period of time)
From this you get a better picture of what the changes in weight meant, and what I was trying to do. The year I gained ten pounds, I did it deliberately, and I did it without increasing my waist measurement, which I've been able to hold pretty steady in the 33" to 34" range. Waist measurement is fussy and inaccurate and frustrating, but it's actually a direct measurement of what I was most eager to do: reduce my visceral fat. So the ten pounds I gained was mostly muscle mass: something devoutly to be wished. Not because it's decorative, but because muscle means you can get up off the floor and carry groceries, etc.; and because it provides an excellent glucose sink for people (like me, like at least half the American population) that have difficulty managing glucose in a healthy way. The glucose that doesn't end up in your muscles lands in your liver, and the liver has to flail about trying to store it in various generally unhealthy ways.
The attentive reader will see that over the past year and a half I've tried repeatedly to bring my waist down another inch or two, with no success whatever. (That's where the blue line, which describes my intention, goes jagged, as I revise it over and over.) I had thought the same strategy I used for my original weight loss would work again: why wouldn't it?
Well, it wouldn't because within a week or two of cutting down my calorie intake, I would find myself binge-eating, just like the bad old days. God knows I don't want to start that up again. It was during one of these binge-prone periods that I had my blood lipids done, which showed a mild deterioration, and inspired my doctor to urge statins, and made me take the project of further reducing my visceral fat, and improving my metabolic health, more seriously. (Yes, yes, I know that cholesterol is a crappy metric for metabolic health, but it's not totally irrelevant, either. A happy liver just doesn't crank out that much cholesterol.) Hence the reduction of saturated fat -- the switch from the nightly hamburger and ice cream to herring and turkey (which is going fine!) Hence also the time-restricted feeding, also going fine, with a quite roomy ten- or eleven-hour feeding window: the idea of that is making sure that my insulin actually has time to fall for a reasonable amount of time. (Calling thirteen or fourteen hours a "fast" seems a bit overblown to me. "Not snacking" seems nearer the mark. But it makes sense that if you want to burn fat you'll have to stop flashing the "don't burn any fat! we've got sugar to burn!" signal at some point; i.e. let your insulin levels fall.)
And also I'm interested in real fasting, fasting for a day or two or three -- partly because of the the autophagy and senescent-cell-clearance speculation, which is fascinating but not really settled health science yet, and partly because it seems at least possible that it works for burning fat without lowering metabolism, which in real-life terms, may mean without kicking off binge-eating.
I'm interested too for what you might loosely call spiritual, or psychological, reasons: I've been hagridden by obsessive attention to food all my life, and I long to shake loose of it. I have never, in 63 years on the planet, gone a full 24 hours without food. This seems rather immature to me: not because I think I should have the will power -- I don't believe I will ever have any more will power than I have right now, or that I have, or should have, particularly more or less than anyone else -- but because I'd like to practice managing my endocrine reactions better. I would be a better person if I didn't get cranky and unreasonable at missing a meal, or at even the prospect of missing a meal. And I think with practice I might get a handle on that.
So that's the current project. Still pushing to get that waist/hip ratio down to 90%. And tomorrow is the next fast: 24 hours this time. (Or put another way, skipping lunch and dinner.) Wish me luck!