The Power of Intermittent Fasting

John Walter Raney 1st
Photo of Author at age 57Images are from the Author — John Walter Raney 1st

I’ve been an athlete most of my life running Cross Country and playing basketball up to the collegiate level, so I’ve been in pretty good shape as I grew older through my 30’s and 40’s, keeping active enough to maintain my body weight between 200 to 215 pounds at 6’2” tall. But when I was 49 years old, I suffered through an accident that left me bedridden and required a 14 hour operation to save my left arm, requiring 6 pins and screws to save my shoulder during that major reconstructive surgery, and most of the muscle in my front left deltoid was removed, this resulted in me being incapacitated for two months in which time my weight ballooned up to 280 lbs not just because of the inactivity but also the many anti-inflammatory and corticosteroids the were giving me to help heal, but I was aware that I was losing muscle and becoming, well to be honest, I was getting fat to the point that I could see some cellulite forming on my inner thighs.

As I lay there I knew that this weight gain would kill me eventually if left unchecked, so I had the idea not to just follow any diet, but try to find the diet that people with unlimited funds and time were following, I thought this would be some sort of multi-million dollar secret, but I soon discovered it was not, it just was not well known yet. . And as I excitedly planned my foray into the world of intermittent fasting, I discovered that it not only transformed your body, but also could extend your life (longevity), improve cognitive functioning and stave off cognitive decline, increases cell survival, enhances metabolism ( through better glucose and cholesterol maintenance) , increases mitochondrial functioning and thus energy production and increases brain derived neurotropic functioning, which also improves overall brain functioning. But first things first, I was heavy, I wanted not to be heavy anymore, and I’d think about the other benefits afterwards, so I planned a modest exercise program around my injuries, and started my intermittent fasting program, which at its core is a form of caloric restriction, followed by a period of overfeeding during the same day. So my program went like this, with the goal to increase the fasting period throughout the day, and the great thing about waking up to begin fasting is the fact that your sleep gives you 6 to 8 hours of fasting right out of the gate in the morning, and my first modest goal was to make it to 1:00 pm without eating (I did have one coffee, not regular sugar laden whipped cream coffee, lol, because that would of ended the fast, one Coffee, no sweetness, not a lot of calories, and without advertising it here, or getting off track, it’s called BP Coffee, abbreviated but I know a simple Google search will tell you all about it, some of the aforementioned stars also used it, so I included it in my program) So if I woke up at 7:00 am, and let’s say you slept 7 hours, if you made it to 1:00 pm that would be a 13 hour fast, and my ultimate goal was to make it to 5:00 pm. So after two weeks of pushing my fasting time back to 3:00 pm, I noticed that I had an incredible sense of focus and clarity, which made the task at hand, not eating, which sounded hard but became not as hard I thought it was going to be, the harder part was the eating after the fast, the overfeeding part, not on crappy food by the way, but I myself had chicken, sweet potatoes , broccoli, and other healthy foods, and I had to get my caloric intake in the three hours after the fast in between 3000 and 5000 calories, so I ate a whole lot, and I was so focused on nailing down the fasting and felt so surprisingly good mentally and physically that I forgot to even weigh myself until I noticed that my clothes started to fit better, it was the fifth week when I went on the scale and saw, somewhat incredibly, I had gone from 280 lbs to 264 lbs, a 16 pound weight loss, and I didn’t feel or look weak, there seemed to be a metabolic change to my body that was happening without the pain of usual diets.

I was emboldened by those results and, as long as my family and Doctors didn’t see any negative effects or changes, which they didn’t, I was going to tighten it up and really throw myself into it, and as I hit the third month of fasting until 5:00 pm, I was amazed not only about the fact that I was losing weight, but I looked healthy, the diet was somehow maintaining or even adding some lean muscle, so I wasn’t just becoming a “smaller fat person” for lack of a better term, but my modest by any standards weight training ( mostly body weight, because of the restrictions of my injuries) program was actually toning my muscles and preventing muscle wasting in the face of a caloric deficit, which flew in the face of everything I ever learned about building or maintaining muscle. Losing fat and gaining or maintaining muscle is somewhat of a “sweet spot” or holy grail of any fitness enthusiast, and for the first time in my life I was nailing it, I couldn’t quite believe it myself, so I took a deep breath and really delved into the science behind what I considered kind of amazing, intermittent fasting, and here is what I learned, that when your body is in a fasting state for awhile it uses the fat stores and several key metabolism processes ramp up to keep you strong because our bodies have survival mode when we used to hunt for our food, BUT before you think just fasting will help you achieve this goal more quickly, you should realize the secondary survival mode kicks in after a longer period than 16 hours without food, ( and that’s what the 16/8 model for intermittent fasting is based on) and the body thinks you failed in the hunt, and your body starts to hold on to the fat to help you survive the night, and that’s where the magic lies and makes intermittent fasting so incredibly effective, because if the hunt was successful , there would be a period of overfeeding which releases, well in technical terms it’s called “mammalian targeting of rapamycin” or mTOR in a thankfully well known abbreviation ,“Fasting along with exercise during your fasting state can also help your body put on muscle. The human body has a special protein called mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR for short)”.

So back to my results for a moment, I went from 280lbs to 205 lbs in six months on my first try with Intermittent fasting, and I was clearly in the best shape of my life at 50 years old, now a few years down the road, I look at that discovery as a turning point in my life, physically, cognitively and in terms of longevity and putting not just more years on my life, but more life in my years. If you’ve never tried this, what do you have to lose( besides weight) and think of all you could gain.. my greatest hope is that you too feel that incredible power of Intermittent fasting, and the ability to work out less and gain more, God Bless you and happy hunting as you move forward to find your best self, hopefully I’ll see you on that path.

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My mission is to grow as a writer, take my already somewhat prolific knowledge base and apply it here to Newsbreak. I have a unique writing style and a unique voice that has a following, I'd like to expand my audience and create articles that people will want to read as they see my name attached to them. I'd rather die of passion than boredom across many different life paths and areas of interest. Father, Son, Brother, Lover, Teacher, Learner - In a world that's thirsty for words I've got plenty to drink .

Setauket- East Setauket, NY

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