In this episode of the Intermittent Fasting Stories podcast, host Gin Stephens speaks to Leah Comerford, a retired graphic artist from Fredericksburg, Virginia. Starting with the admission that she’s been “dieting for 60 years,” Leah shares her struggle with weight, food and body image back to childhood. Over the years, she tried a number of diets, finding it easy to lose 30-40 pounds on any of them, but not maintain it. While grieving the death of her first husband, her weight “zoomed” from 135 to 275 pounds over four years. She felt things spiraling but says in her grief, she didn’t care, developing sleep apnea severe enough to lose her driver’s license.
Being forced to walk instead of drive got Leah moving, and as she re-engaged with the world, she began the search for the next diet, finding it in Dr. John McDougall’s low fat, plant-based plan. Vegan food agreed well with her body, a sharp contrast to the original meat-heavy Atkins diet that made her feel “sludgy” like her blood was too thick. With McDougall, she successfully lost all but a few stubborn pounds. Following the plan cured her sleep apnea but didn’t quite free her from a restrictive mindset.
Eventually, she learned of Dr. Jason Fung, which led her to Delay, Don’t Deny. After adapting to daily fasting, she first tried a window of 2 hours, which didn’t allow enough time to eat her food comfortably. She ultimately settled on a 4-5 hour window. She still eats plant based and low fat, but feels the freedom to add things like fried falafel on her salad in a restaurant.
Leah has reached her goal weight of 125 pounds, and more importantly, she has overcome a diet mentality that gripped her since childhood. She has a special interest in evolutionary psychology and understanding how ancestral hardwiring affects our eating behavior.
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