#IDMsuccess story: Colleen nearly gave up on losing weight before fasting

I had given up on ever losing weight after years of ping pong dieting. Every time I tried to lose weight I ended up gaining more weight. Then I saw integrative physician, Dr. M. Christopher Link, and he recommended the work of Dr. Jason Fung. After watching Dr. Fung’s YouTube video “Therapeutic Fasting – Solving the Two-Compartment Problem” I finally understood why all those diets had failed. Long-term calorie restriction (i.e. dieting) leads to decreased metabolic rate and increased hunger hormones that drive weight back up to a set point. From Dr. Fung’s books and videos, I learned that eating a low carbohydrate diet and fasting will lower insulin levels – and that this is the key to losing weight without decreasing the metabolic rate or increasing hunger hormones. Liberation! Finally – a way out of the excess fat that I felt imprisoned within for so many years.

Feeling real hope for the first time in ages, I began working with IDM coach Rachel Primo and lost 50 pounds in 15 months. With a height of 5 feet 5 inches, I have dropped my weight from 249 pounds to 199 pounds – and I continue to lose weight. My hemoglobin a-1c dropped from 5.8 to 5.0 and C-reactive protein dropped from 31 to 18. I have completed one 7-day fast, several 5-day fasts, and many 72-hour and 48-hour fasts. I think of Rachel as my “accountability buddy.” There have been times in the last 15 months when I would get busy and go for weeks without fasting. But knowing I had an upcoming appointment with Rachel gave me the fuel I needed to get back in the groove. I also felt encouraged by listening to the experiences of other folks attending the meetings with Rachel.

 

The other thing that has been most helpful to me in losing weight is breathing exercises. Doing a daily practice of Xi breathing (learned from Robert Peng) and coherent breathing (learned from Patricia Gerbarg, MD) has given me “wind in my sails.” The breathing exercises help me feel the joy of being alive. And they also decrease my appetite and feelings of hunger when fasting.

 

For me fasting is a spiritual journey as well as a health journey. Fasting is a special time when I slow down and live fully – meditating, resting, reading, journaling, spending time in nature. Fasting helps me enter a silence where I am connected with my deeper self.

I had completed medical school and psychiatry residency training without learning much about nutrition or weight loss. I continue to work as a psychiatrist and now share with my clients and colleagues this wonderful information learned from Dr. Fung and from Rachel Primo.

 

At age 61 I feel better than I have felt in decades as I continue the adventure of losing weight and gaining health. My primary motivation is increased longevity – I want to be here to enjoy life with my wonderful family. My heartfelt thanks to everyone at IDM!

 

Colleen Loehr, M.D.

2019-04-04T12:06:37-04:0026 Comments

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Chantele
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Chantele

How inspiring and you look fantastic! I also work in the medical field, training residents/fellows and it drives me crazy that there is ZERO nutrition taught.

colleen.loehr
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colleen.loehr

Thanks for your comment, Chantele! I certainly agree that it is very frustrating that health professionals are not taught about nutrition – or worse – taught harmful information like the old food pyramid.

Colleen Barton
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Colleen Barton

This is very inspiring. The therapy of fasting is also spiritually uplifting, so eloquently put!

Donna Rose
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Donna Rose

Thank you for sharing your success story-I feel increased confidence, in hearing the experience and thoughts of a seasoned medical professional, that the low carb + fasting approach can not only be effective, but healthy, so diametrically contrary to all I’d been taught and tried over many years. I appreciate you making the connection to fasting and spirituality as well.

colleen.loehr
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colleen.loehr

Thank you, Donna Rose. Increased confidence and hope is the wind beneath our wings! I feel the diet is very healthy. Some of my favorite foods now are fresh arugula with olive oil, and sliced red cabbage with sesame oil and tamari. I enjoy these nearly every day when I am not fasting.

colleen.loehr
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colleen.loehr

Thanks so much for your feedback – it is so encouraging!

Lakshmi E Modipalli
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Lakshmi E Modipalli

Awesome Doc! Proud of you!

colleen.loehr
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colleen.loehr

Thank you, Lakshmi!

Sally
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Sally

Bravo Bravo an inspiring and life changing approach …👏

colleen.loehr
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colleen.loehr

Thank you, Sally! So wonderful to receive your kind message.

Linda
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Linda

Thanks for sharing your story!!!! Best of luck into tomorrow and forever.
I am on my own journey and have had some success but need to fast more regularly. It is hard when you entertain lots.

colleen.loehr
Member
colleen.loehr

Thank you for your comments, Linda, and I apologize for the delay in responding. I didn’t even realize the story had been posted. It is difficult to fast when you entertain a lot. Wishing you the very best in your adventures in health!

Lucie Florentin
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Lucie Florentin

I want to start fasting but have been eating rubbish n drinking wine as I’m unhappy im work…should I start clean eating before I fast?

colleen.loehr
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colleen.loehr

Hi Lucie – I hope things get better at work or you can find another job. You might want to consider going on a “Fat Fast” before you fast. This will help prime your body for burning fat, and also make the fasting process more comfortable. Here is some info: https://idmprogram.com/what-is-fat-fasting-and-when-should-you-do-it/ Good luck!

barbara Carroll
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barbara Carroll

That is so encouraging Colleen. I know what you mean re completing medical school and no nutritional knowledge. I trained in RN program in Chatham ON (grad ’65 class) and we learned nothing except Canada food guides (had a handout) and fed patients cereal, gruel, mashed potatoes, mushy root veggies, and milk, and lots of desserts, of course ice cream most days and cookies all the time. I remember our kitchen cupboards always had white bread and peanut butter and boxes of arrowroot biscuits for eve treats. Staff and Doc’s ate too as we had the toaster out all the… Read more »

colleen.loehr
Member
colleen.loehr

Hi Barbara, I relate to your experiences very much – thank you for sharing. It has been hell trying different diets that only seem to increase the set point in the end. All that effort and suffering to only worsen the weight problem rather than lessen it. Thank goodness we are finally on the right track. I didn’t have the lab results when I wrote the post, but my fasting insulin level has decreased from 16 (severe insulin resistance) to 5 (which is almost normal – no insulin resistance). I am sure that your insulin level is decreasing and this… Read more »

Abiola
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Yay!! Keep up the amazing work. Super inspiring. I am so proud of you!!

colleen.loehr
Member
colleen.loehr

Thank you so much, Abiola, for your validation and feedback – your words are wind for my wings. 🙂

drheja
Member
drheja

I too am a psychiatrist who has struggled with her weight. I am just starting to explore this lifestyle. Thanks for the inspiration and tips on breathing.

colleen.loehr
Member
colleen.loehr

Hi Dr. Heja, I learned coherent breathing from two outstanding psychiatrists: Dr. Richard P. Brown and Dr. Patricia Gerbarg – here is a link to their website: https://www.breath-body-mind.com/ They present every year at the APA annual meeting and I highly recommend attending one of their programs. They also offer outstanding workshops at Kripalu and other places. I love the Xi breathing and you can learn this from Robert Peng’s online course on Yi Jin Jing. Here is link to his website: http://www.robertpeng.com/ I was also fortunate to attend a live workshop with Robert and I also highly recommend this. I… Read more »

GoMedii
Guest

Thanks for sharing with us

colleen.loehr
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colleen.loehr

You’re welcome – and thank you for your comment!

Val Dudley
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Val Dudley

Way to go amazing sister! You look fantastic.

colleen.loehr
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colleen.loehr

Thanks, Val!

Lori Ross
Guest

You’re looking great! Keep it up!

colleen.loehr
Member
colleen.loehr

Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments!