In this episode of the Intermittent Fasting Stories podcast, host Gin Stephens speaks to Russ Shanahan from Pennsylvania. A long-time health data gatherer, Russ is developer of the popular “Happy Scale” app and has tracked his weight daily for over 12 years. Having spent most of his adult life around the 300 lb mark, he shares that emotional eating has been his downfall in terms of achieving sustainable weight loss. He admits viewing past losses of 40-50 pounds as a kind of loan to himself, creating space to gain again when emotions or stressors flared up. He never truly believed that any diet was sustainable and simply powered through restrictive diets feeling determined but deprived. He describes himself in the past as either “100% focused” on his diet, or not focused on it at all.
This changed in late 2017 when Russ heard Dr. Rhonda Patrick talking about intermittent fasting on YouTube. He spent a little over a year in research mode, gathering information and listening to podcasts, including The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. During that time, he dabbled with fasting but was not consistent. He got serious about clean fasting in January 2019, starting with a 16:8 then whittling to a 5-6 hour eating window. Russ was quickly amazed by the energy and mental clarity he achieved. He was also thrilled not to be hungry or plagued by food thoughts. He settled on OMAD, a big meal within 1-2 hours, and increased his focus on nutrition for the first time. He admits that past dieting efforts were never connected to nutrition or health in any way. Now, he’s finally listening to his body.
At this point, Russ has dropped 61 pounds in 29 weeks, 2 days. Because of his meticulous tracking, he easily reports that this is “about 2.1 pounds of weight loss per week.” He says that frequent feedback from an app can be a useful tool, but also recognizes the scale isn’t everything and there are other important markers to observe. Though he appreciates what research can teach us, he believes in the power of anecdotal stories and personal testimonies. He encourages listening to podcasts or doing whatever is necessary to find the motivation to start. He also urges people to give themselves time to establish a fasting habit before expecting or looking for tangible results. Once the habit is fully “installed,” IFers can proceed to tweak the details until they find a workable, sustainable regimen.
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