Lisa’s Weight Loss Journey

In addition to being my best friend for nearly 39 years and my wife for more than 35, Lisa Aase has been pursuing health improvement and weight loss with me since October 2016.

We started just after my middle daughter’s wedding, when neither of us felt good about the size of the fancy clothes we bought for the occasion.

I was at about my all-time max of 265 pounds. Lisa doesn’t know exactly what she weighed at the time, because stepping on a scale wasn’t a positive experience. She does remember one reading of 185.

So we both resolved to try a diet, which started by getting rid of all added sugar. I’ve been telling my side of the story through this series, and for the most part it was a continual path of steady loss. Some diets worked better than others, but anything was an improvement over how I had been eating.

Lisa had some extra challenges in being post-menopausal and also having thyroid issues. When we did the Trim Health Mama plan, I lost 15 pounds in three months, while she lost three.

That was really hard for her, because she knew that previously she would have had much more significant results. I suggested that we try a different plan, and had been reading The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris, so we next tried his “slow carb” diet. She got better results with this, something like nine pounds in three months. It still felt frustratingly slow to her, but at least she could see some progress.

That’s when I listened to The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung, and we began our 10-week experiment with alternate-day fasting. We learned that by having extended periods of low insulin through fasting we could enable our bodies to burn the ample fat we had stored.

Lisa and I found intermittent fasting (also sometimes called time-restricted feeding) both easier and much more effective than portion limitations. Instead of eating several small meals that never allowed insulin levels to decrease, we would skip breakfast and lunch every other day.

By the time we left for our 6,000-mile Wild West driving vacation in late July of 2018, we were both lighter than we had been for several years.

Having felt like we had accomplished our mission, for the next year or so we were not so diligent in managing our eating habits. I gained about 20 pounds, but was still almost 30 pounds below my peak.

Lisa probably gained a similar amount, but doesn’t know for certain. She had been scarred by her bathroom scale experience, so she didn’t weigh. But when she looked for a dress for our nephew’s wedding, she wasn’t happy with what she saw, and resolved to get serious.

This time she was confident that she knew what would work. Instead of alternate day fasting she would eat one low-carbohydrate meal a day, and to ensure that she wasn’t breaking her fast she switched to black coffee in the mornings starting in December 2019. Going low-carb also enabled her to get fat adapted, eliminating cravings.

She said she wasn’t going to weigh again until she felt good about how she looked, at which point the number on the scale wouldn’t matter so much.

Finally, on March 15 of this year she decided to step on the scale. She hoped to be under 160, which would represent a total loss of about 25 pounds.

She couldn’t quite believe what she saw. She weighed four times just to be sure. Instead of the hoped-for 158 or 159, the scale said… 152.6!

Since then, she’s lost 8 more pounds, and is under 145 for the first time in at least 25 years. In May, she began adding a little cream to her morning coffee without noticeably slowing her weight loss progress.

How does she know? Since May 19 she has been weighing every day, only missing once. A minor weight fluctuation that would have sapped her resolve three years ago is now just another data point in a long term trend that is going in the right direction.

And when our youngest son, John, was married on June 27, her dress was several sizes smaller:

Knowing how hard Lisa was working to lose weight four years ago, and how frustrated and disappointed she was at her slow progress, I’m so happy she has found that a low-carb diet with intermittent fasting gets better results with less effort.

See the whole series about my health journey. Follow along on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

My “Before” Pictures

At 6’6″ I’m blessed with a relatively large frame over which I could distribute some extra weight.

But when that extra amount became 40 pounds, it definitely showed.

Even under a sport coat:

Two weeks after my youngest daughter’s wedding, in August 2016.

Here are a few of pictures from June of that year, when I had the opportunity to visit China, along with one with my dad at a baseball game in Chicago:

And finally, one from Australia in 2015. You can definitely see where water had an opportunity to collect after a shower.

Readiness to change is an extremely important factor in improving health, but another is knowing what kinds of changes would be beneficial.

In my next post I’ll describe how I started to get some inklings that the path that would lead to sustained weight loss was different than what I had expected.