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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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?

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8 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Lewerentz

    July 17, 2018 at 1:05 am

    I tried it (on the same schedule of yours) during 6 months. I was surprised that it was so easy – and I’m used to have a good breakfast, too ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Energy wasn’t a problรจme but I didn’t loss weight.
    Now, I’m back with breakfast but lighter, and I’m fasting for 1-2 days once a month.

  2. Avatar

    Svitlana

    July 17, 2018 at 2:53 am

    Thank you Erin! ๐Ÿ˜Š I was just thinking about trying it out in order to loose some weight, so you article came out just on time and answered all my questions. โ˜บ๏ธ I will give it a go for a month or so – we’ll see how it will work out for me. ๐Ÿ˜

  3. Avatar

    Paul

    July 17, 2018 at 5:37 am

    Fasting is just another tool. Used appropriately, itโ€™s fantastic, inappropriately it can be very damaging. As you said, consult your doc, and listen to your body.
    One way I use it with clients, is a tool to discover the difference between real hunger and cravings. For my clients who over eat, a 24hr fast will let them experience cravings, and then have those cravings dissipate. Then by the end experience real hunger. Thus bringing awareness to the unhealthy habit of emotionally eating.
    But as you already know, starving (fasting) yourself for extended periods of time in an attempt for quick weight loss will ultimately backfire by throwing your metabolism and hormones out of balance. And possibly nurture a poor relationship with nutrition (ie. eating disorder)! Use with caution, and preferably under the supervision of a nutrition coach.
    Keep up the good work Bad Yogi!

    1. Avatar

      Erin Motz

      July 17, 2018 at 3:11 pm

      “awareness to the unhealthy habit of emotionally eating.” this was huge for me. i definitely noticed how often i’d want to snack out of boredom or just habit (i wasn’t actually HUNGRY at 9:30pm, but i was in the habit of snacking with a glass of wine). and i also want to put that last part on a billboard! “starving (fasting) yourself for extended periods of time in an attempt for quick weight loss will ultimately backfire by throwing your metabolism and hormones out of balance. And possibly nurture a poor relationship with nutrition (ie. eating disorder)!” everyone should read that a few times ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Avatar

    Caroline

    July 17, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Please please please don’t take this the wrong way, I only mean this to be informative, not critical, but…
    As a registered dietitian I’m used to explaining BMR to clients and patients as “the energy you’d be expending in a coma” or “the energy it takes to keep your organs function at a basic level” so I never like to see anyone going below that number with their calorie intake!
    Also, thank you for specifically mentioning that people with diabetes should NOT try IF. I’d add pre-diabetics into that group too as it tends to raise HbA1c levels. Your comment that it helps improve insulin sensitivity may seem a little contradictory to people in those two groups though. I hope they read the whole post!
    Thank you for sharing, I love reading about people’s experiences with different styles of eating!

    1. Avatar

      Erin Motz

      July 17, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      I am so with you on BMR! I definitely don’t think there’s any reason to drop below that. Thank you for your input as well! Always great to hear from RDs on matters like this ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Avatar

    Kat Johnson

    July 18, 2018 at 1:26 am

    I’ve been trying IF lately on a suggestion from a friend.
    I downloaded an app to help me keep try and was on the same plan you tried for a little while but quickly discovered by the last hour or so of my fast my blood sugar felt way too low and I felt a little I’ll.
    Luckily with the app I was using I was able to change it so I eat from 10am-8pm and it seems to have been working. About a month in now and I’ve lost almost 3 inches off my hips!

  6. Avatar

    emily

    July 8, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Also think it’s important to note that IF is not a good idea for anyone with a history of disordered eating!

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