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.