Possibly you have been reading along on this blog and thinking, Amanda is just incredible. Her writing is transformative. I want to be just like her. 

This seems likely to me.

But possibly you might have just overheard me talking recently (I have a voice that carries, I grew up with a bunch of loud-talkers) and thought, Gosh, her voice is loud. How does anyone get a word in edgewise around her? Poor Brett.

This also seems likely.

In any case, I want to concisely share my experience doing intermittent fasting because it’s a weird thing I’m doing right now and so when people ask me about it I can say, “Uh, check the blog” and ignore them. (Kidding.)

Intermittent fasting is the practice of regulating (or rather re-regulating) periods of feeding and fasting. It can be implemented in several ways, most popularly every other day fasting, fasting twice weekly, or establishing a daily restricted window of eating, usually 6-8 hours. I’m experimenting with the restricted window, because I’m not a CRAZY PERSON.

I read a few articles before starting my self-experiment, because even though my agenda was to try it out for myself (regardless of what research I found) I though it would be a good idea to see what kind of side effects I might expect. I linked to those articles in a previous post and I found them helpful in getting started. Yesterday my friend Courtney sent me this article from a recent study and it was the bomb.com. (Warning: It is SUPER SCIENCEY. Read only at your hour of optimum brain capacity.) (By the way, for me that is like 8:45 am and I still skimmed like 30% of it.) (Actually here’s a summary for you: prolonged periods of fasting will help you live forever. The end.) (Ok, it doesn’t really say that. Just read it.)

My eating window is usually right around 8 hours. I have coffee every morning, or tea, or sometimes a Diet Coke and usually, a small handful of almonds. I intended to start my experiment with a trial week wherein I just allowed myself to see how far into the morning I could wait to eat and it turns out, I can pretty easily just wait until lunch, which I typically take at Noon. I probably break my daily fast between 11:30 and 12:30. I’m a morning person so I keep busy and haven’t noticed any fogginess or loss of focus (beyond the typical Facebook wander.)

But what about BREAKFAST?! you ask. Indeed. If you are a breakfast purist, then maybe this isn’t the best practice for you. But there’s recent science that indicates that breakfast might not have a lot of influence over weight-loss at all. I KNOW RIGHT? Regardless of all the other implications of breakfast, by skipping a morning meal and the inevitable snack that follows a few hours later, I’m probably cutting around 500 calories daily. That is a good thing for this gal.

I eat lunch and usually an afternoon snack-something like string cheese or an apple and almost always one Hershey’s Kiss. I eat dinner between 6 and 7 pm, depending on if I workout or have a meeting after work. And once I eat dinner, I’m done. I’ve never been a late-night snacker (except DESSERT, HELLO) so it’s a pretty natural schedule for me.

My favorite part of IF is that you can still have BRUNCH which is far and away the best meal of the week. Weekends are probably the easiest time to try IF because Brett and I often sleep in, have a big breakfast around 11 and then do dinner around 5 or 6. You might be doing IF on Saturdays and Sundays and not even know!

I did experience some stomach cramps in the afternoons during my first week or so, but that side affect has since gone away. I try to stick to a whole-foods, vegetable heavy, wheat-light diet when I eat, but reducing my overall caloric intake allows some flexibility that I appreciate (and have taken a little too much advantage of. I ate a whole bunch of SOUR CREAM AND ONION POTATO CHIPS LAST NIGHT. Bless.) Overall, I try to abide by the 80/20 rule, so 2-3 meals a week, I eat with a little less discipline. It happens. Here is what I know: you can’t outrun a bad diet. IF is an intuitive strategy for me to cut my calorie intake. It’s one less healthy decision I have to make everyday. It’s a tool to help me lose weight.

If you think you’ll try it- let me know! If you think I’m a crazy person, well . . . At least I’m not fasting EVERY OTHER DAY! Who could do that?!

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5 thoughts on “

  1. I’ve experimented with IF in the past, and it’s amazing how our bodies adapt. Skipping breakfast was super hard at first, but got a lot easier!

  2. Courtney says:

    I ❤ this post! I'm on day 2 of the IF experiment in my life and I'm just gonna tell you that I thought day one was great. Overall not hard as I'm super busy in the mornings and a cup of joe will get me through to lunch just fine. I will add that I've read that your body can remain in the fasted state as long as you don't consume more than 50 calories… which means a dash of cream in my coffee isn't killing the progress. Great info… thanks for sharing your journey with the world!

  3. A friend of mine did a variation of alternate day fasting with great success for her health. She combined it with weight watchers and had 6-8 points on fast days, and however much of healthy food she wanted to eat on non-fast days which worked out to about 32 points. So her average intake was 20 points per day, which is fewer points than if she were just dieting.

    I have also found that if I’m eating the right foods, I can go all morning without eating and not feel uncomfortable. Lately my routine is to go to the gym, then come home & eat a substantial breakfast, or brunch if you prefer, mid-morning, and my next meal is supper. (I snack though.)

    You’re right, that breakfast itself is not the key. It’s the quality of your food, not the timing. Your hershey’s kiss is perfect because it has less than 4 g of sugar which is the minimum to trigger a detectable insulin surge. If that is the only sugar you are eating you are basically doing the no-sugar thing. A bunch of people in my life are suddenly doing that. I get to feel a little bit smug because I started that a few years ago, but not too smug because I have ‘quit’ sugar SO MANY TIMES. (I quit sugar yesterday, in fact, and at Day 2 I am still on the wagon!!) But when I did quit sugar, and reduced carbs, I discovered that I just don’t get so ravenously hungry.

    A healthy diet habit is a tricky, elusive thing. We all know what we ought to do, it’s just so darn hard to do it. Good luck to you and me both!

    • Have you read Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss? Seems up your alley- I’ve come across it recently and considered reading it!

      The tricky thing with cutting things out of a diet is that it requires so much thinking! I’m not doing no-sugar, but it would be a worthy experiment. It limits so much though! IF is good for me because it’s simple in implementation.

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