About a month ago I added intermittent fasting to my daily routine. My weight loss had slowed down and I needed to change things up! My weight loss coach mentioned that another client had tried intermittent fasting and was seeing good results.
I decided to do a little research and see what it was all about. I have been doing Ideal Protein for a while now and I am down to my final push to get to my goal weight. Maybe this was just the change that I needed?
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a term that describes eating cycles that include times that are fasting (don’t eat) and times that are non-fasting (eat). Technically, we all intermittent fast to some extent because we sleep! During your sleeping hours you aren’t eating, thus you are fasting. Intermittent fasting just takes it a little further and extends the time in which you don’t eat.
You are able to ingest things during the fasting period, they just have to have no nutritional value. So, you are basically just drinking water, coffee, and tea.
Using intermittent fasting to lose weight is an interesting concept. Instead of restricting calories all day. You are restricting the amount of time you have to eat in a day. Personally, I do really well when I have a plan of what I am eating and when I am eating it. So, adding intermittent fasting to my daily routine has been pretty easy.
However, for weight loss purposes people usually combine intermittent fasting with some sort of healthy eating plan AKA calorie restriction. I don’t think eating a whole pizza for dinner but still fasting is going to help you! These choices really end up needing to be a mind/lifestyle change if you really want to see results.
What is the benefit of intermittent fasting?
There has been a lot of research on intermittent fasting. The Journal of Translational Medicine featured an article that found after 8 weeks of fasting there was a decrease in fat mass.
In The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a study states that those that fast have improved glucose tolerance/insulin action, reduced blood pressure, lower rates of kidney disease, and reduced neuron degeneration – amongst other things. Not only can intermittent fasting be used to help lose weight, but it might also make you healthier in the long run.
Are there different types of intermittent fasting?
There are many different variations of intermittent fasting. This is nice because you can pick which works best for you. Here are some examples:
- 16/8 = fast for 16 hours, eat for 8 hours.
- 24 hours = fasting for 24 hours, 1-2 times per week
- 5:2 = 2 non-consecutive days eat 1/2 the calories you normally would. Eat normally the rest of the week
- 20/4 = fast for 20 hours, eat one large meal every night
Which one do I use?
I find that the 16/8 is the easiest to follow. You can move the times around to whatever works best for your lifestyle. I eat from 12:00pm to 8:00pm and fast from 8:00pm to 12:00pm.
But let’s say you really like breakfast? You could eat from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Or if you like to start eating mid-morning you could eat from 10:00am – 6:00pm. You can pick whichever schedule works for you, as long as you fast for 16 hours.
What does my schedule look like?
Here is what a typical day looks like for me when I fast:
How does fasting and working out go?
So far it has gone well. Throughout the week I typically workout in the evenings so I have at least eaten something before I go run or spin. However, on the weekends I try to get my workouts over with as early as possible. The first few times I really paid attention to my body to make sure I was feeling ok and I haven’t had any problems. I workout early, make sure to drink plenty of water, and just wait for lunch to eat.
What has been the hardest part of starting the 16/8 fasting schedule?
For me there have been 2 things that are really hard:
- Only having 8 hours to eat all the food I need to and drink all the water I need to. 8 hours seems like a long time…but it’s really not! In the beginning, if I wasn’t paying attention I would forget to eat my first snack. Then, I would remember right before dinner. There were a few dinners the first week where I wasn’t really even hungry but I had to eat to get everything in!
- Weekends! Specifically, Saturdays! Saturdays are usually the only day of the week where I don’t get my full 16 hours of fasting in. It usually ends up being more like 14 hours. It’s hard to make plans with friends and be like “We can eat at 5:00, right? We will get the early bird specials!” Haha! So in these cases, I extend my eating window until about 9:00-9:30 and it hasn’t hurt anything so far.
Have you seen any results?
Yes! I sure have seen results! My weight loss has picked back up and I am starting to see myself thin out a little more…to the point other people are even noticing. People have really been noticing my shoulders and arms looking better. I mean…look at those clavicles! 🙂
I think the results are in part caused by the fasting, but also in part because I am really paying attention to what I eat and when I eat it. Being a little more mindful seems to always provide positive results!
Also, I have noticed that I am sleeping better and have more energy. Falling asleep has always been an issue for me, but lately, as soon as my head hits the pillow I am out.
So, there is my story on intermittent fasting. I plan to keep it up until I meet my goal weight…which I am hoping will happen around my birthday in August!!
Have you ever done intermittent fasting?
What other questions do you have about it?
Let me know in the comments!