Anytime I hear the word “fasting”, I think “starvation.” 🙂 So of course I thought intermittent fasting was some horrible, unhealthy diet fad that would make me miserable and hangry. The more I heard about it, the more intrigued I became. Once I decided I was willing to give it a try, instead of just relying on Google and jumping right in, I registered for a 28-day Intermittent Fasting Masterclass so I could receive professional guidance from a Functional Nutritionist as well as group support from others going through the same class with me. Dishing out dough also helped motivate me to stick to it, which I did for 30 days.
What is Intermittent Fasting? Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating that cycles between eating (the fed state) and not eating (the fasted state). If you think about it, unless you are getting up multiple times to eat at night, most of us are already doing some form of intermittent fasting because of our sleep/wake cycle. But committing to do it consistently for an extended period of time is what makes it intermittent fasting. When I took this class late last summer, I was sleeping A LOT more than I am now, so it was actually even easier for me to commit to it!
The most popular intermittent fasting schedule is the 16:8 fast, which means 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. This is the one I did, so I was eating from noon-8pm and fasting from 8pm-12pm. There is also a 18:6 fast, 20:4 fast, 14:10 fast, 24 hour fast (yeah I don’t see myself EVER doing that one), and really just any combination you want to track consistently. I used the Zero app to track my time, and still use it today when I’m trying to get back into an intermittent fasting schedule…which is almost everyday, though unsuccessfully.
What do you get out of intermittent fasting? The most popular reason people fast is weight loss. When given a shorter window to eat, most people will generally eat less. The key is to not fill your fed state with unhealthy food choices. A license to eat is not a license to unhealthy eating! But most likely if you are committed to intermittent fasting, you are already on board with trying to eat healthier. In addition, when you are in a fasted state, your metabolism increases as your body uses your fat reserves for fuel. So both eating less and increased metabolism will usually result in some weight loss.
Not everyone will lose weight, and some will lose more than others. I personally lost 6 lbs. over 30 days! I know we’re not suppose to put a lot of emphasis on the number on the scale, but this analytical girl likes hard facts. And seeing the number drop on the scale is a cold, hard fact in my analytical mind that something changed. Unfortunately, once I stopped intermittent fasting, most of the weight came back, hence my constant effort to revisit intermittent fasting.
Another thing intermittent fasting did for me was to break some of my habits and cravings. During the fasted state, black coffee is “approved” and, since coffee is a very important start to my day, I pushed through 30 days of coffee without creamer. I added a little cinnamon to my daily cup of joe to give it a little something extra, and after 30 days of this, I’m happy to say that I have reduced my craving for sweetener in my coffee. I do still enjoy a splash of sweetened creamer in my coffee every once in a while, but for the most part, I have transitioned to using Nut Pods French Vanilla creamer (0g sugar, unsweetened, non-dairy) instead.
Another habit intermittent fasting helped me break was after-dinner snacking. I didn’t realize just how much I had partaken in after-dinner snacks until I couldn’t! That alone was probably a big reason I lost the weight that I did. It’s not that I was eating huge desserts after dinner, but a bowl of ice cream here, a bowl of popcorn there, really adds up. Now, even when I am not actively intermittent fasting, I hardly ever snack after dinner.
For more benefits of Intermittent Fasting, check out this article.
Was intermittent fasting hard? I’m not going to lie….it’s not a walk in the park. Habits are hard to break! Starting my fast after dinner wasn’t the hard part, but waiting to eat in the morning was definitely challenging. The later I allowed myself to sleep the better. Most days I wouldn’t get hungry at all and, before I realized it, it was time for me to break my fast. But there were a handful of days where I honestly watched the clock constantly and put food in my mouth the minute my fasting window was up. Honestly what made everything easier for me was the fact that I had this Intermittent Fasting Masterclass as a resource. It included virtual meetings focused on various topics, allowed for any questions we had and offered tips and tricks to help us along the way. The class also came with some good, healthy recipes to keep us fueled. So if you are like me and need a little hand-holding when trying something new, you may want to consider finding a resource you can turn to if you are trying intermittent fasting for the first time, whether it’s a class, a nutritionist or a friend who has done it before. And of course you can comment here or reach out to us and I’d be happy to share more of my experience!
Would I do it again? Absolutely! In fact, now that we are about 4 months away from summer and short season and beach vacations, I am jumping back on the intermittent fasting train and committing to a 16:8 fast again. My Zero app is up and running and tracking my time as I type. So if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to go eat!