I Tried It: Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is all the rage right now. I’ve seen it in fitness magazines, blogs, on TV news shows, in the yoga community, the body building community, and pretty much everywhere else you can think of.
And yes, I tried it.
What is it?
It’s a style of eating where you cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting. Some people also combine it with calorie restriction for weight loss. For example, you might eat all your allotted calories between 10am and 6pm so you’re fasting for at least 16 hours.
Why do it?
Well, weight loss is a big one. A lot of people do IF to lose weight, but beyond that, it’s also a great tool for slowing the aging process. When you fast, it gives your cells the chance to renew because your body isn’t using that energy to digest. Fasting increases insulin sensitivity, reduces the risk of heart disease, and *may* even slow the progression of cancer.
How do you do it?
There’s a couple ways to do it:
– Eat only during an 8-hour period (combine those 8 hours however works for your schedule)
– Fast for an entire 24 hours once a week
Who shouldn’t do this?
Anyone who struggles with fertility, who is pregnant, or has diabetes or other preexisting conditions probably shouldn’t do IF. If you have questions, talk to your doctor!
I tried it…
I’d heard a bunch of hype about IF and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Here’s a simple breakdown of what I did.
How I did it:
I ate from noon to 8pm every day for 3 days and kept my calories at 1300. I arrived at that many calories based on my goals, body composition, activity level, and general health. Every person’s caloric intake is different, so please don’t take this as a rule to follow! My BMR is only 1380, so this wasn’t highly restrictive for me.
What did I eat?
Everything I normally would! I tracked my macros to ensure I was getting all the nutrients my body needed. I had a normal, healthy level of protein, fats, & carbs every day. I ate full fat yogurt, lean meat, lots of fresh produce, lots of green tea, coffee, and WATER!
Did I workout or do yoga?
I only went to the gym once and did yoga once. I personally didn’t find I had a ton of energy, so I kept my exercise to a minimum.
How did I feel?
Like I said, I personally didn’t feel a burst of energy. I felt kinda grumpy in the morning because I’m used to eating breakfast as soon as I wake up. But on the third day I felt normal again. I’m not sure if it took my body some time to adjust or if I knew I was nearing the end of my experiment and the excitement energized me haha! But I did feel lighter!
What did I do when I got hungry during fasting hours?
I drank green tea, sparkling water, and coffee (in the mornings). Sparkling water really helped! I got creative and added lemon or lime juice, and even a couple drops of vanilla, mint, or rose extract. Super good!
What were the results?
Not surprisingly, I lost a little weight, felt SUPER lean by the end of it, and overall it gave me a nice confidence boost. I felt motivated to continue eating in a balanced way, just on a schedule that felt better for me.
Will I make this a habit?
For me, no. I think we need to listen to our bodies, and while I know sometimes eating well is challenging, I kind of felt like fasting wasn’t the right way to go at this stage in my life. It felt challenging in a way that didn’t feel right. For one, I want to have children at some point and maintaining a style of eating that nurtures fertility is important. I don’t think this is good for that, so I’m glad I tried it out, it won’t be something I stick with.
Later in life if I need to lose body fat or want to manage the threat of a chronic condition, I’d revisit it to see if it helps. But as of today, I’ll keep it as the experiment it was and get back to my regularly scheduled eating 🙂
Over to you! Have you tried IF? Do you like it? Would you ever try it if you haven’t yet? What are your thoughts overall?