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The Mardy Roux Obesity Treatment Project – Phase 2

In The Mardy Roux Obesity Treatment Project Step By Step on August 7, 2010 at 4:08 am

Phase 2 – True Alternate Day Fasting
If you’ve been following along on my Mardy Roux Obesity Treatment Project, then you’re already familiar with Phase 1 and the Set Day Fasting that forms the centrepiece of the first month. In Phase 2, which is the second month of the MROTP there are twin elements at play. The first part is that you are now switching from three set fasting days per week (in Phase 1 I fasted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) to fasting on alternate days. This is true Alternate Day Fasting. If you fast on Monday, then you fast again on Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, until you get back to Monday two weeks later. You will be fasting for seven days out of every two weeks instead of six days every two weeks like you did in Phase 1.

Again, I applied the same rules to myself as I did in Phase 1. I never fasted two days in a row, I don’t want my body to start thinking it’s starving!. With true Alternate Day Fasting I found it a little trickier to organize my life, because I was always going to be fasting on either a Saturday or Sunday each week. I worked around this a little bit by allowing myself ONE time in the calendar month to enjoy two eating days in a row. That made all the difference for me.

Eating days stay the same in Phase 2
On eating days you should still eat whatever you want to eat and as much as you want to eat. If you want junk food, then EAT JUNK FOOD. For those critics out there who think I’m encouraging junk food consumption, please understand that I am not. I just decided that we have to deal with the emotional connection to junk food first. By ensuring we eat the foods we crave, especially the junk foods, on our eating days in the early phases of the MROTP we are teaching ourselves that this is food that will always be there. On our fasting days we are not having any junk food (I hope!) and so we’re slowly dealing with out emotional attachment to the junk food first. We’ll deal with the eating of the junk food after we have come to realize just how lousy it makes us feel. Once that realization hits us, nobody needs to tell us to stop eating it, we just discover our desire to feel good trumps the desire to eat something that makes us feel awful!

I want to emphasize that while I always planned that the MROTP would move me to a point where I was eating almost none of the food that is either not good for me or to which I have some kind of bad or allergic reaction, my goal has never been to completely ban any food from my life. In my LONG experience of “dieting” I know that to ban a food is a sure recipe for setting up emotional cravings. So even now, at the beginning of Phase 6 as I am (and I do think it may be the last or nearly last of the named phases too!) there is no food that is “banned”. There are just ways to deal with those foods!

Eating on Fasting Days
Yes! In Phase 2 I moved to eating some solid food on my fasting days, instead of the liquid diet used for fasting days in Phase 1. The calorie limit for fasting days in Phase 2 remains 500 calories. Still, I believe that the joy of the fasting days is to let go of the act of “chewing”, as much as it is to give the body a rest from metabolizing all the food we shove into it on a normal day, so no planning of extravagantly-conceived ways to make it seem like you have lots to eat! No! My typical Phase 2 fasting day consisted of my cups of coffee with full cream milk (as many as I wanted I would tell myself, but usually I had no more than about 250 calories worth of milk) and two soft-boiled eggs in the evening. I also stuck to drinking the slightly sweetened Nestle Splash bottled water (as many or few drinks of water as I wanted), because they just helped me get through the day. Once more, I believe that bottled water with sweetener is not a good dietary choice for long term consumption, but it’s such a useful crutch that helped me get through the early phases of Set Day and Alternate Day Fasting.

If you truly enjoy the “not chewing” that comes from fasting days, and want to continue with the liquid fast, then I see no reason not to do so. Continuing liquid fasting on the fasting days in no way interferes with the main objectives of the fast, which is to let your system rest for a day, provide freedom from “chewing”, allow some “white space” between eating days so you can start to see how the food you eat is truly effecting your wellbeing, reducing inflammation and other obesity-related ills and cleansing your system. So if you enjoy a day of liquid fasting, then I say, go for it!

The second part of Phase 2
There are a few more small things that I introduced in Phase 2 that have helped me tremendously in my weight loss and in my sense of overall health and wellbeing. Having spent a lot of time researching over the years, I came to the conclusion that there were probably thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of supplements, vitamins, special foods and other things that I could add to my life to ostensibly help with my weight and/or make me “more healthy” (a loose term if ever I heard one!). I’d be popping handfuls of pills all day long if I tried to take them all! Well, over time, I have tried lots of things out and found some help and some don’t. And for the moment I’ve boiled it all down to the things I believe are having the best impact. I chose to introduce things slowly, phase by phase, as I have always had trouble maintaining momentum if I have to take on too much at once, and when it comes to vitamins and supplements, most of us are not made of money and it’s just not realistic to think of going and spending a small fortune of bottles of vitamins and minerals unless you can be really sure they’re helping! So here’s the Phase 2 list, and then I’ll talk a bit more about why I included them:

•    1,000mg Vitamin C at night before bed
•    Melatonin at night before bed
•    1,000 IUs Vitamin D (preferably D3) in the mornings
•    Change to natural sea salt (this has a big impact!)
•    Laugh every day

OK. That’s the little additions to life in Phase 2, so let’s talk about them one at a time!

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is the mainstay vitamin in my MROTP. It is ESSENTIAL. And maybe not for the reasons you might think! The number one reason I introduced Vitamin C to my project is to act as a vital support to the adrenal glands. There is an upcoming post dealing with the adrenals where we’ll talk about the overarching process and thinking I have on the subject, but suffice it to say right now, I believe that there is a very good chance that if you’ve gotten to the stage of achieving obesity, or worse, MORBID obesity as I had, then you have fatigued your adrenal glands in the process. But let’s see, if you’ve experienced serious stress in your life, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, your children leaving home for the first time, or if you’ve been sexually or physically or emotionally abused at some point in your life, or if you’re in some kind of toxic relationship…just for STARTERS, then the chances are that due to stress alone your adrenals are fatigued. If you’re a MOTHER and you’re nearing or in or past menopause, you’re a good candidate for fatigued adrenals!

When your adrenals are fatigued you feel “flat” and lack vitality. The worse off your adrenals are the flatter you feel. You have no energy, your hormones, many of which are produced by the adrenals, become messed up (an even bigger mess than if you’re just going through menopause!), and you become unable to handle even the smallest amount of stress in your life. And you can GAIN a LOT of WEIGHT!! Adrenals are very involved in the way we gain weight, and they are the key to tummy fat! So you can see that it’s worth dealing with fatigued adrenals if you’re obese and want to lose weight, and specifically if you have a tummy “pooch”. But even more so, once your adrenals get the support they need to be allowed to HEAL, your vitality begins to return and life becomes worth living again!!! This is where I’m at now at the beginning of Phase 6. My adrenals are well supported for the first time in decades (many people do go DECADES with fatigued adrenals), and not only is my tummy fat starting to move, slowly, but I am getting my love of life back (trust me when I say we’ll be talking about this subject a lot on this blog). As a result of this thinking, a large part of my MROTP is about helping to build the adrenals back up, and this is why we don’t exercise until after we have done some healing, because when you already have adrenal fatigue, exercise contributes to MORE adrenal fatigue. With fatigued adrenals you need to rest (we’ll exercise for fitness later on when our adrenals are healing up nicely!). And you need VITAMIN C.

The adrenal glands have the greatest concentration of Vitamin C in the whole body. They use lots of Vitamin C and when they’re fatigued, you need to provide Vitamin C to support them. We’ll be adding more Vitamin C during further phases, so that over a period of months we build up to a very complete platform of Vitamin C. I have found that the impact of the Vitamin C on well being (because they are supporting my adrenals) has been profound! I prefer to take a timed release version of Vitamin C, and the specific brand I’ve been enjoying great success with is Swiss Natural Sources Timed Release Vitamin C 1,000mg, which I pick up in my supermarket.

While Vitamin C is the second pillar of the adrenal support we build in the MROTP (after REST), it is the FIRST pillar of THYROID support. Because all hormones are linked in one giant interconnected network of action in the human body, once you’ve compromised one hormone you are probably going to be struggling with a veritable domino effect of hormone issues. If you have fatigued adrenal glands, which produce many important hormones, then the next stop for problems is the thyroid. Compromised adrenals means your thyroid probably also needs support. And, if you live somewhere with fluoridated water, use fluoride toothpaste, or have even eaten a lot of bread in your life, your thyroid probably could use a little bit of support. Vitamin C is the first piece of support we’re moving into place for your thyroid. We’ll be talking about this a great deal in the future as well, but for the moment, you can relax, take your Vitamin C at night and know you’re helping both your adrenals and your thyroid in the long run.

The one other major reason I have made Vitamin C the mainstay vitamin of my MROTP is because it is a major player in the production of collagen, which is that thing they promise to help you build when you buy an expensive face cream. You want lovely skin with good elasticity? Take Vitamin C for starters. We’ll be doing more for our skin as we go along as well, especially trying to not end up with a big baggy, empty skin-pooch instead of a nice little tummy. Taking that nightly Vitamin C is starting to look good, huh? Yes, the bottom line is, not only will it be helping you to rebuild your vitality, it will be helping your pooch to GO AWAY!

It’s important to take this 1,000 mg of Vitamin C at night before bed. Your body is rejuvenating your cells as you sleep, and this is the perfect time to give it that timed release of Vitamin C so that all night as you sleep you’re drip-feeding Vitamin C into your body. Over time, you’ll start to realize what a great friend this vitamin is to the weight loss process if you’re obese.

Melatonin has been lauded in recent years for its alleged anti-aging properties, but the most important reason I take melatonin as a part of my MROTP is because I am over the age of 40, entering menopause, and I can pretty much count on my natural melatonin levels being very much lower than optimum, meaning that I have lousy sleep patterns. Which, without melatonin, I pretty much do. Some people who do Alternate Day Fasting also experience anything ranging from interrupted sleep patterns to downright insomnia, which I believe may be due in part to candida die-off in our systems as well as increased sensitivity to caffeine. Melatonin not only helps you to get off to sleep and to try to normalize sleep patterns, but it often helps people to achieve a nice, deep, restorative sleep. After my first week of taking melatonin I started to wake up in the morning feeling as though I had actually slept! That was a miracle for me! Of course I also experienced vivid dreaming for the first week, as many people do when they start taking melatonin, but that soon passed. It seems your body tries to make up for lost dreaming time when it finally gets a chance at a good night’s sleep!

Melatonin is also a precursor hormone to natural serotonin production in the body, so when you start losing natural melatonin production from your 40s onwards you can begin to become rather melancholy with it. I certainly find I am just a little more “upbeat” and clear thinking with melatonin. I also appreciate that it helps build a strong and healthy immune system. I would not be without it. Some people do fine on about 3mg of melatonin taken within the hour before going to bed. I take 6mgs and that works perfectly for me. I make sure to allow myself to slip into sleep as soon as I get drowsy. If I miss that first wave, I may be awake for ages. Take the melatonin and do not force yourself to stay awake when it calls you to sleep….go with the flow! And try to ensure you have a really dark room. Cover any little lights, even on your TV set (because you do have one in your bedroom, right!). The darkness of your room has a direct impact on how hormone production will work throughout the night. Melatonin and a dark bedroom will get you on the pathway to the right sleep that will make you feel better, support your tired little adrenals and help you lose weight.

My MROTP is basically designed for those of us women who are obese and peri-menopausal, menopausal or post-menopausal, and so most of us are likely to be over 40. If you’re under 40, you should not need to include melatonin if you’re trying to follow my MROTP. Unless you need to restore your sleep patterns.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D surprised me. It was not one of the vitamins I expected to be including in my MROTP. However, my doctor mentioned it to me and I started taking it, and could actually feel the results! The more I have researched it, the more I now understand that when we’ve been very stressed out in life it’s an important part of healing ourselves, which is what we’re doing when we try to overcome obesity. Unless you’re living in Florida and out getting plenty of sunshine (and even then…) Vitamin D is an important part of this project. One of the big players in obesity is candida overgrowth, and we’re dealing with this on a number of fronts. The first pillar of candida control is the act of fasting on set or alternate days. The fasting weakens the candida. Consider Vitamin D to be the second pillar!

Vitamin D helps your body to build a smarter immune system with less inflammation (it’s our second anti-inflammation pillar after “fasting”) by helping to increase production  of antimicrobial peptides. Antimicrobial peptides apparently have a broad spectrum of action within the body, and help you in the fight against viruses, bacteria and fungal infections. The dreaded candida is a fungus and when you take Vitamin D you are supporting your body as it struggles against candida, which we pretty much all have to some degree, but which, in obesity, is probably a serious issue we need to deal with, and which we will continue to discuss as we go along.

There is a clear relationship between Vitamin D deficiency and mood disorders and depression. Mood, of course, is very tied up with the way we feel stress, and stress further weakens our already weakened adrenals! I found that Vitamin D has helped me to feel “brighter”….no wonder we get it from the sun! My mood is just better, and that mood helps me to cope better.

I take 1000 IUs of Vitamin D in a liquid form each day, although I’ve also taken it as a plain tablet. And I feel the difference. I know diabetics who have been told to take 2000 IUs per day, and I see that some people are taking up to 5000 IUs per day. My opinion right now is that while I love the benefits of taking Vitamin D (and when possible I make it D3), I also understand that as a fat soluble vitamin, it IS possible to overdose. So I am currently remaining at 1000 IUs. You could get your doctor to test your Vitamin D levels to determine whether you need to take more than 1000 IUs, and I highly recommend that you include your doctor in the decision-making process!

Natural Unrefined Celtic Sea Salt
Salt is another one of those things I used to be ho-hum about before I understood that it was going to really help me. I’ve never had any intention of giving up salt, because I’ve craved it for years, and I believed my body craved it for a reason, but it always seemed like an immense bother to have to go to a health food store just to buy SALT. But that was before I understood that salt is intrinsically connected to the way we support our adrenals. One of the signs that you may have fatigued adrenal glands is that you crave salt. If people are always telling you that you eat too much salt, or like too many salty foods, then you are a “fatigued adrenal” candidate for sure!

When you have fatigued adrenals your adrenal glands may not produce enough of the hormone “aldosterone”. Aldosterone regulates sodium (salt) and potassium in the body (and thus water retention and your blood pressure), so when you don’t have enough aldosterone, you don’t have enough salt staying in your body. The word “salary” stems from the same root word as “salt” and refers to the days when people were paid in salt….if you were a good worker you were “worth your salt”. That’s how important it is to us. Salt is essential for human life, so if you are salt-deficient, you will CRAVE salt. But how’s this for a kicker…when you have a deficiency of salt it causes the metabolism to slow down!

The ordinary table salt we use these days is not very good for us. It’s processed up the yin-yang, and additives as enticing as ALUMINUM are added to keep it dry and pourable. And for added thrills, all the trace minerals are stripped out. I went to using natural, unprocessed celtic sea salt for my MROTP thinking it wouldn’t make much of a difference to me, but boy was I wrong! Only a couple of weeks after starting on the celtic sea salt I absent-mindedly used ordinary table salt on my dinner and I could barely eat the stuff. It felt like I was eating poison, and I was using so much more to get a salty taste (because it’s the salty after-taste we salt-cravers are seeking). Now, I’m not allowing myself to get all anal about this. If I go somewhere else to eat, I’ll use the salt they have. But at home, eating my homemade meals, which is most of what I eat, I have no desire at all to use ordinary processed table salt. And I know when something is working for me, because my sub-conscious reminds me to never run out, so when I ran low on celtic sea salt it stayed in mind until I bought some more.

The initial thing I’m noticing after a few months of using the celtic salt is that I’m using less salt now than I was before, and I sometimes will eat food without salt that I once used to salt copiously. Just because I now like that better. But I am not trying to get you to eat less salt (that’s between you and your doctor). The celtic sea salt is in Phase 2 to help shore up your metabolism, because all the trace minerals that are with the celtic sea salt seem to assist the action of the salt in your system, more like salt should do (instead of acting like a poison), and because using a high quality form of salt is critically important as a method of support for your adrenals first, and for your thyroid second. Celtic sea salt seems to appease the craving for salt that the body has. And by supporting your adrenals and thyroid, you are helping to bring your body back into balance, and you’re allowing healing to take place. When your adrenals heal, you lose weight, especially tummy fat.

I know there is a brand out there called “Celtic Sea Salt” but the salt I buy is in bins at my local health food store. I bought a tiny scoop the first time, and have now bought a second, larger scoop that will do me for ages.

Laugh Every Day
Laughter is fantastic medicine for your adrenals! Our adrenal glands become worn out when we’re under a lot of stress, and I don’t know about you, but my life gets very stressful at times. If you’re like me, and nearing menopause (which makes you female), then you might notice that you burst into tears very easily. My ability to tear up over basically NOTHING embarrasses my kids no end. Yes, it’s hormonal, but if you’re obese like me, then it may be linked to your overwhelmed adrenals as well. And laughter is a brilliant antidote. Laughter increases the strength of our metabolism, which is one of the things we’re trying to do here. Time spent laughing is time when we’re not feeling the weight of stress pressing down on our shoulders, and it gives our adrenals a little daily “pick-me-up” which we need if….you got it….if we want to lose belly fat! So an important part of Phase 2 of my MROTP is to have a minimum of a good half hour of time each day when you can enjoy quite a few belly laughs. And you’ll remember at that point that belly laughs help you to drop belly fat (by helping to heal your poor worn out adrenals)!

So it might be kicking back on the couch (another essential Phase 2 element) watching a rerun of Seinfeld if that’s what makes you laugh. It makes me laugh. I can count on belly laughs when I watch Frasier too. It might be Wolf Blitzer that makes you belly laugh for all I know…but I don’t get too many kicks and giggles out of him to be truthful. Whatever it is do it! You want to go out and have a glass of wine with the gals and tell old “war” stories? As long as you laugh a lot and it’s not a fasting day, go for it. If it IS a fasting day, then make it coffee with the gals. Really, in Phase 2, you could stay home on an eating day, hunker down on the couch, watch Will & Grace or Golden Girls reruns, have a cold brewski and a bowl of chips and know you’re losing weight (as long as you’re doing all the OTHER things you need to be doing in Phase 2…because if you don’t you will GAIN weight!)….which is why I think these early phases of the MROTP (with thanks to the concept of alternate day fasting) are so great! Oh god…I can see all the wowsers who believe that obese people must suffer for the sin of being obese coming after me for that! How can I be so EVIL as to suggest you could sit on the couch having beer and chips and watching the Golden Girls and lose weight! Where is the suffering and pain? Where is the redemption??? Oh the humanity!!!! Although let me warn you now: your relationship with beer and chips will change if you keep ON following the MROTP, so make the most of them NOW! In the meantime, LAUGH.

Relax, don’t exercise
In Phase 2 you will continue to relax rather than taking up any exercise plans. I’m in Phase 6 now and not exercising, but my energy is coming back so amazingly well now that I am enjoying just being more active in my life than I have been for years. I know my adrenals are not yet back to their normal selves after decades of being fatigued, so I am holding back, but my vitality and verve and energy is beginning to flood in with a vengeance. And after we’ve discussed all the phases on here, we’ll talk about the process of getting past the tired adrenals and obesity and finding our way back to being fit, vital, bright eyed, happy and energetic people. We can do it! In the meantime, rest! Rest! Rest! You want to walk? Walk. Go for gentle evening strolls. Don’t go over-doing it. Go shopping at the mall. Move, by all means, and then REST!

Slow Change
When we get to Phase 3 there will be more incremental changes. By the time we get to Phase 5, it’s looking quite different to the very early phases, but we will have dealt with some of the very important issues we needed to address and we’ll be well into the healing process. The weight will be coming off. The energy will be coming back. All you need to do for now is to follow the small changes in Phase 2, relax, and enjoy the process. You’re not weighing yourself or measuring yourself. You’re just enjoying the process and knowing that you’re dealing with the weight and starting to move yourself back towards being fit and healthy and svelte.

Mardy Roux

If you are reading this post and wish to know more about the MROTP, then please be sure to read the MROTP rules and the instructions for Phase 1 which you will find here on this blog.
Always consult your medical practitioner before beginning any weight loss program.

© Mardy Roux 2010