#TFMsuccess Story: Sandra Bender’s Incredible Weight Loss Journey
By Jason Fung, MD
On January 15th, 2018, I began reading The Obesity Code, based on the recommendation of my own GP here in Winnipeg, Dr. Rowland Hayward. Dr. Hayward is in his sixties, but fantastic for staying on top of the latest research and he told me about Dr. Fung’s work and suggested that I read The Obesity Code. At the time, I was suffering from an intensely high-stress job, and my doctor wasn’t sure if I was genuinely prediabetic or if my cortisol levels, which were astronomical, had just increased my insulin levels severely. Either way, I weighed 335 lbs, which shocked me to learn. While my health was generally in good condition and I wasn’t experiencing a lot of the typical co-morbidities of obesity (no hypertension, high cholesterol, heart problems, fatty liver, or kidney issues), I was experiencing asthma-like symptoms that lung specialists kept dismissing as anxiety-based, back pack, joint pain, depression, very low energy, and very irregular periods that I now suspect were the beginnings of PCOS.
I had never tried actively losing weight before, long believing that it wasn’t really possible for me. I’d always been fairly active, and thought that exercise was the key to weight loss, and since I exercised and nothing really changed, I just thought that I would continue to balloon indefinitely. I had already started to panic about what was going to happen when I sized out of even plus-sized sections, as I was wearing size 24 jeans at that point. It was a massive source of fear and helplessness. I dubiously set my goal to lose 135 lbs, putting me at 200 lbs, simply because it was a nice, even number. I had doubts that I could even lose 10 lbs. My doctor had suggested that I see what I could do on my own for six months, and that if it wasn’t shifting, then we could discuss bariatric surgery.
Not having read The Obesity Code yet, I decided to start with a 1200-calorie/day version of the Mediterranean way of eating and dropped all added sugars and refined carbs. Within three weeks, I’d read far enough into TOC to adjust my methods, dropped my carb intake even further, shifted to keto/lchf, read Dr. Fung’s excellent article on bariatric surgery, which confirmed my decision to absolutely not pursue it as an option, and committed myself to introduce fasting three months into my new way of life, right after Easter.
I reached my goal of losing 135 lbs exactly one year and 26 days after I started. I’ve had blood work done semi-regularly (about every 3-4 months), and have never been in better health. I no longer experience any sort of asthma, joint/back pain, have energy for days, work out regularly, fast regularly, and feel twenty years younger. I’m 39 now and feel better than I did in my twenties at any point! My go-to fasting protocol is 3×42, but I frequently do longer fasts of 60-72 hours, typically. I’ve lost 23 inches on my waist line now. I don’t measure my ketones and have never had a dexa scan, but I know from my measurements and weight both that I’m losing consistently. Once I had lost about 30 lbs, I added another 50 lbs to my ultimate goal, and I’m confident that I’ll get there. I have a large bone structure and am quite muscular, so I don’t plan to go lower than 150 lbs – I’ve already had people ask why I’m still losing now!
It’s an amazing feeling, and this has been life-changing. I owe you and Dr. Fung and everyone at the TFM program my enduring thanks and gratitude for your work. I was a moderator on the facebook group for TFM for a couple of months and still mentor people in a casual fashion, which helps me reinforce my own commitment to this lifestyle day after day. Thank you so much for what you do. It’s so important!!
By The Fasting Method
For many health reasons, losing weight is important. It can improve your blood sugars, blood pressure and metabolic health, lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. But it’s not easy. That’s where we can help.