EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT INTERMITTENT FASTING + MY PERSONAL RESULTS
Well Hiii there!
Okay so INTERMITTENT FASTING. Let's talk about it.
First of all, leave me a comment below if you've ever tried it and let me know how it went for you! I did intermittent fasting (I.F.) for my very first time like 4 or 5 years ago and I LOVED IT. I actually also thought it was super easy. I remember adjusting to it quickly and being able to stick to it for longer than I had initially planned...like MONTHS.
Haha - not quite the story this time around.
Okay so first of all:
What is intermittent fasting???
Most people won't call it a diet as much as it is just a new way of eating or an "eating pattern". There's a few different ways that you can do it but the idea is that you allow yourself to only eat for a certain period of time and then you FAST for the rest of the day.
For example, if I eat dinner at 8pm and then go to sleep, then have breakfast at 10:00am the following day - I technically just fasted for 14 hours. So a lot of us are already basically doing it!!
The reason I wanted to try it again though was because I work late nights at a cocktail lounge and sometimes (okay a lot of the time) that leads me to snacking late at night. I'll nibble on some bread or some little cookies if I'm bored so I just wanted to really try and cut myself off from that in a way that would last.
I figured if I did I.F., that I would start eating at Noon, stop eating at 8pm, then fast for 16 hours. (This is probably the most popular method). So - this is the method I went with and girrrrl it was rough haha.
Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy?
YES. YES. YES. Like I mentioned before, a lot of us are already DOING it. Studies have shown that even people who fast every OTHER DAY still lost 2.5% of their initial body weight and 4% of their initial body fat percentage over the course of 22 days. (Study here).
That's 3 weeks!!
When we fast, our levels of HGH (human growth hormone) sky rocket - which is a GREAT thing! When our levels of HGH go up, we are more likely to experience weight loss, increased energy, increased mental clarity, improved sleeping patterns and a stronger immune system...just to name a few.
Also while fasting, our insulin sensitivity improves which is always a plus because when our insulin levels are LOW, access to our fat storages is HIGHER.
Studies also show that fasting reduces inflammation within the body, it may reduce LDL's (unhealthy cholesterol), (study) supports brain health by increasing a brain hormone called BDNF and also may help prevent Alzheimer's (study).
Moral of the story - YES, INTERMITTENT FASTING is HEALTHY, and SAFE, for the most part.
The only time someone should avoid I.F. is if they are trying to become pregnant and are having problems with fertility, or if they are pregnant or breast feeding. Also if someone has had serious eating disorders in the past then it's probably not a good idea to do I.F.
Also - if you have diabetes or low blood sugar then fasting would not be ideal for you.
Anyway! You can drink coffee or tea, work out and take certain medications WHILE fasting but always talk to your doctor first. Personally, I would drink a small coffee in the am with some almond milk and that would get me through my workout!
Although - "work out" is a relative term. I know my body so I pushed myself to MY personal limit, and if I felt like I was getting too low on blood sugar to be doing a tough workout, then I would opt for a hike instead.
Always do feel what feels right for YOU and not what other people say they do or say is "right" or "wrong". You don't want to take the risk of passing out during an exercise, right? RIGHT.
More of The Benefits
You might be wondering the same thing that I was before I started which was - Does I.F. slow down my metabolism?? I mean, there's so many people out there who are stuck on the idea that WE MUST eat every couple of hours and we can never skip breakfast or we'll go to hell soooo what's the deal??
While fasting your cells also undergo repair, you eat less, you lose weight, and have the opportunity to try and help prevent yourself from cancer! WINNING.
Okay so like, where the fuck do you even start right?
How to actually DO Intermittent Fasting.
Like I said before you can do the 16 hour fast where you just pick 8 hours in the day where you will be eating. It doesn't have to be Noon - 8:00pm, it can be 10:00am - 6:00pm, or whatever, just do something that work best with your sched. (This is where I messed up lol, we'll get into that).
The other 2 popular ways to practice intermittent fasting are:
1. Mini Fasts - This is what I like to call them. This means that you fast for 24 hours once or twice a week. My only suggestion with this is, don't do it on a busy day when you have like 899 things going on. Do it on a day where you're going to be alone and unbothered so that you can be in control and not go all hangry on someone.
2. The 5:2 Method - This is where you eat normally for 5 consecutive days, and then for the last 2 days, you consume 500-600 total calories for the day.
1 FOR SURE WAY iNTERMITTENT FASTING WILL NOT WORK:
At the end of the day, this isn't magic. No one has figured out how you can have your cake and eat it too MEANING, during the hours that you ARE eating, you still need to be reasonable with your caloric intake.
The big reason that IF works is because you are on a CALORIE RESTRICTION. If you just don't eat for 16 hours and then go and eat even MORE calories during your 8 hour time window than you would on a normal day - then you will not lose weight. You might even gain weight lol.
So be smart about it.
Start with the 16 hour method and see how it goes. If you get to a point where that no longer feels challenging to you or your results have plateaued, then try the Mini Fasts, then move on to trying the 5:2 method.
An even less direct way to begin 'fasting" would be to just skip dinner or breakfast if you aren't hungry!
My Intermittent Fasting Results:
Hokay - soooooo. I think alternating days of fasting will be something that I try nextt!! Because the 16 hour back to back fasting didn't really do it for me BECAUSE my schedule is so insane.
For most people the fasting is somewhat easy because they eat dinner around 8 and hit bed around 10 or 11pm like a normal person, and then get up at like 8 or 9 and then only have a few hours of conscious fasting.
ME ON THE OTHER HAND. I work until 12 or 1am and then have to wake up at 5:30am, train someone at 7, then go to school from 8am-11am, and then workout from 11am - noon AND THEN I would try to break my fast.
My Intermittent Fasting Schedule:
Day 1 : I didn't get a coffee and wanted to die during my workout, then went home and had the biggest salad in the universe with 2 pieces of chicken. I was full for literally HOUUUURS, Like did not get hungry again until maybe 6:30pm? At which point I realized I had under 2 hours to eat before I had to start it all over again.
Day 2: Woke up at 5:30 after closing last night and went straight to starbucks for a small capp. Felt better today but still noticed really low energy throughout the morning. I had the same chicken salad for lunch again and then wanted to take a nap because I just felt SO tired but I managed to pull through.
Day 3: Same ish, different day...except, I actually wasn't starving at noon so I ended up not even breaking my fast until like 1:30! This was nice because then I let myself eat until later in the evening. I personally enjoyed some wine and included those calories in on MyFitnessPal to make sure I was still in my 1,200-1,400 calorie range for the day. I also noticed by day 3 that my stomach was flatter and my waist felt smaller.
Day 4: Started to realize I hate intermittent fasting this way haha. Also realized that not having anything to eat for 16 hours after 2 glasses of wine was a dumb idea so I caved on this morning and bought a Power Crunch Bar. I almost felt like it didn't even do anything haha.
Day 5: I waited until noon to eat and then I decided that I didn't want to fast anymore so I don't know when my last meal was on this day.
Basically what I learned was that:
1. My schedule is too insane right now to be doing the 16 hour fasting.
2. I would eat such a big meal at lunch that I would end up having a smaller dinner which would screw me over because then I would end up eating MUCH less than what I wanted to which is why the mornings were so difficult.
3. I wasn't prepared with snacks at school for when my fast broke. Honestly, I didn't bring them because I knew that if I felt like I was super hungry around 10:00am and I knew I had a bar in my backpack, I would have eaten it haha so it was better for me to not even bring it.
All in all i'm really happy that I gave this another shot and that I was able to learn SO much more about it along the way. I'm still super interested in the benefits of IF which is why you'll see me on Instagram over the next few weeks playing around with Mini Fasts :)
Try intermittent fasting and let me know what you think!
Until next time!!!