#IDMsuccess Story – Chris Scott

I am an athlete and have been one since I can remember. Before high school, I participated in karate, soccer, basketball, and baseball. When I entered high school, I began weightlifting, jogging, and cycling. In my 30s, I added swimming to the mix with the goal of participating in triathlons. I have since completed more 1/2 marathons (13.1 miles) that I can remember, ran a full marathon (26.2 miles), participated in three 1/2 Ironman’s (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run) and trained for a full Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run). At my peak training, I was working out 18 hours a week. Regardless of my passion for fitness, I have always struggled with my weight.

In 2010, I participated in my first triathlon (sprint distance) – I was hooked. I signed up for a 1/2 Ironman shortly afterward, hired a coach and continued to expand my knowledge of the nutritional needs of an athlete. As I applied what I learned, and my training increased, my weight started to go up. I was alarmed. I did what most determined people do and what my doctors told me to do – work out more and eat less. I was exercising up to 16 hours a week, but my weight continued to increase, I was getting slower and was struggling with injuries. I decided to seek help.

I found a doctor that focused on athletes with metabolic issues like what I was experiencing. She took the time to get to know me and didn’t tell me what I had heard so many times in the past – exercise more, eat less. She spent hours analyzing the results of my blood work, talked to other experts, worked with my coach, and sought answers. She was driven to find why I could not lose weight. Roughly a year after completing my first ½ Ironman, 2012, I had gained 15 pounds and was diagnosed with insulin resistance.

My doctor and I spent 7 years trying to understand why my body wouldn’t respond to the latest and greatest science and medications for insulin resistance. At one point, I was on five different medications including one that required shots before every meal. Nothing was helping, and things continued to get worse. It was not a pleasant point in my life, but I was convinced that my doctor would find the right solution – eventually.

My turning point came early in 2018. I was training hard for another 1/2 Ironman and following the well-publicized and scripted nutrition plan of heavy carbs, quality protein, and limited fats. I followed the nutritional guidelines of fuel before, during, and immediately afterward training. Based on my body weight and exercise volume, I was taking in 300-400 grams of carbs of day and still being told I was not eating enough all while my weight was continuing to climb.

Race day came, and I had trained hard, but I was at my heaviest since 2005 at 227lbs and at roughly 32% body fat. I did what the experts told me to do, and nothing was helping – it was only getting worse. It was demoralizing, and I didn’t know where to turn. I had spent over $20K on my doctor and medications (insurance covered nothing) and spent years injecting and taking various prescriptions that were going to “fix” my insulin resistance. To this day I wonder what long-term damage these medications may have done to my body.

My wife, a former triathlete and one hell of a swimmer, had found Dr. Fung’s blog. She encouraged me to read it. To say I was hesitant is an understatement. I had followed one doctor for many years, and I was very reluctant to follow another. She continued to encourage me and one day I started reading through his posts. I was intrigued. I bought one book and read it nearly in a single sitting. Bought another book, read it within a week. What Dr. Fung had to say made sense. I knew a lot about insulin resistance and how metabolism worked but was new to fasting. What I loved about Dr. Fung’s approach is that it is supported by science, has been around for centuries, practiced by cultures all over the world, and best of all, it was free. After spending thousands of dollars on doctor’s visits and prescriptions, this was really encouraging. I had to try fasting.

In April 2018, I tried my first fast – 16 hours. I did this daily for a week and found it to be much easier than expected. The following week I tried an 18-hour and 24-hour fast. It was challenging, but doable. After a couple of weeks of following an 18/6 fasting schedule, I completed a 5-day fast and the following week completed a 6-day fast. The results were immediate and shocking. Symptoms of low blood sugar disappeared, the fear of needing to have food nearby “just in case” was gone, the weight started to drop, and I could visually see my body changing. I signed up for IDM coaching sessions to help guide my fasting schedules. Within a month, I had dropped 10 pounds, incorporated fasting into my daily life and switched to a keto/paleo lifestyle.

Working with my IDM coach, Rachel Primo, we developed my fasting and weight goals. My fasting goal was simple – 72-hour fast each week followed by an 18/6 eating window until I hit my target weight and body composition. When I eat, don’t count calories, eat real foods, and use Keto as my nutritional guide. I set three weight goals: 195, 185 and, in my mind an impossible goal of 175. I had an additional goal of becoming a fat adapted athlete. Something I didn’t think it would work for me, but I wanted to strive for it. After years of the triathlon and running community “educating” me on the right way to eat (carb loading, fuel every 15 minutes, etc.) the idea of going for a 2+ hour workout and only needing electrolytes were unimaginable to me, but I knew what I had done before didn’t work.

With the guidance of my IDM coach, Rachel, I learned what an incredibly powerful tool fasting and real foods are. Within six months, I accomplished all my goals, including what I thought was impossible – weighing in at 175lbs and being a fat adapted athlete. I dropped 15% body fat with no muscle loss. All the weight loss was fat.

It is now seven months since my first fast and the discovery of IDM and Dr. Fung. I am the lightest and fittest I have ever been in my life. I haven’t had signs of low blood sugar since late April, I train about 10 hours a week and only use electrolytes and water. I fast daily (usually a 16/8 or 18/6), follow a keto & paleo lifestyle and continue to drop fat and gain muscle. I literally owe my life (and thousands of dollars) to Dr. Fung and the IDM program. I can now look to the future and focus on continuing to improve my health, becoming a better athlete, and having a healthy relationship with food.

To other athletes, I highly recommend following Mark Sisson, reading Primal Endurance and listening to the Primal Endurance podcasts. Mark is an accomplished athlete and has written several very good books. Mark also has published several very good cookbooks.

 

My tips & tricks – your mileage may vary

  • Learn to love Apple Cider Vinegar! 1-2 tablespoons & water every morning
  • Exercise always in a fasted state
  • When you eat, enjoy it and eat real foods. Don’t count calories.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself and learn how to “cheat.”
  • Fasting can be very hard, more mental than physical. Stay busy, drink ACV, and Pique Teas. As my coach says – you are stronger than you think you are. In my experience, I have learned this is true. When I thought I would have to stop my fast because of hunger or the desire to eat, I went for a walk, raked leaves, did something to take my mind off it and I learned I could push through. Note: Any time I didn’t feel well (usually because of lack of electrolytes) I broke my fast.
  • There is not one right way to fast. Learn what works for you and your body.
  • This is my lifestyle – not a fad.
2019-03-07T19:08:04-04:0012 Comments

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Michele Steward
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Michele Steward

Fantastic results, very inspiring

Gill
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Gill

Well done on your success and on your wife setting you on the path to IDM and health.
When do you take your ACV and does it not break your fast ? Many thanks

Chris Scott
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Chris Scott

I generally take it in the morning and sometimes in the evening. From what I have learned, ACV does not break a fast.

Mohamed
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Mohamed

I am 53 years old with a BMI of 22. I have no weight issues but I am insulin resistant when I eat carbs. With a low carb diet and moderate intermittent fasting my HB1c is 59 and having been taken off all medication such as Metformin which yes caused me lows. My glucose is perfectly normal except early morning which is below 120. But should I eat heavy carbs my glucose rises quickly. Will fasting assist me to completely recover without losing weight.

Michele
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Michele

What electrolytes did you take?

Chris Scott
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Chris Scott

I had a hard time with straight sodium like Real Salt or electrolyte capsules (Salt Stick) so I use a product called The Right Stuff and that works well with me. It has stevia, so that is the downside but it is worth it for me.

Jo Grace
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Jo Grace

Thank you sos much for posting your success story. I’m like you do endurance sports, last year half marathons, marathon and triathlon. I did it on a carb based diet and lost no weight and felt ill all the time! I then had a series of chest infections which knocked me out of being able to exercise for 4 months. Every time I tried to I got another chest infection! I turned to carbs for comfort (yeah I know not smart) and piled weight on and got more sick. Finally in January I decided to go AF and then in… Read more »

Eva Götzsche
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Eva Götzsche

Dear. Chris
So exited to read your story, which is so similar to mine. I am a dressage rider, competing high level, and to succeed I have always worked out, run,exercised and eating according to every guideline my trainers have given me. Nothing helped, I gained weight. How often I have seen in their eyes that they thought I was cheating. I have recently started fasting/ Keto and I truly hope my results will be like yours. At least so far I have stopped gaining and dropped 8 centimetres on my waist. Thanks for sharing, well done! Regards Eva

Kathy Finch
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Kathy Finch

OMG this me, I have trained for 6 marathons and got fatter. I read your posts three days ago and decided to get in at the deep end, I am currently on my second 42 hour fast.

Thank you for sharing

Astrid
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Astrid

Chris, when you say, don’t count calories, do you mean it really does not matter if you eat above your BMR, as long as you are doing IF? I do OMAD, but I find that if I eat more than 1200 calories, I gain weight. I am wondering what I am doing wrong.

Chris Scott
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Chris Scott

Hi Astrid, I don’t worry about the calories, but do focus on eating lower carb. My diet has switched to lots of veggies, meats, eggs, and fish and I eat until I am satisfied. The days that I do eat more carbs I either time it around exercise (2+ hours) or follow it up by an extended fast. The EFs are IMO the key to shedding those stubborn pounds. I found that a 16/8, 18/6, 20/4 or OMAD routine is good for maintenance, but doesn’t help me lose any weight. When I include a 42 hour fast that seems to… Read more »

Amy M Haley
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Amy M Haley

Hi Chris, I’m seriously inspired by your story! Question: have you done any longer than 2 hour trains? If so do you supplement with a fat based fuel? Just curious. I’m mostly short track right now but once my weight comes down to where I would like I’d like to increase volume again. TIA!