I’ve read a lot about intermittent fasting. I always kind of viewed it as a fad diet. Plus I never thought I’d be successful. But then in my master’s degree nutrition studies I came across some compelling studies in favor of it. So as usual, I turned myself into a human guinea pig and decided to give it a try for 10 days. Before I tell you what happened, let me give you a disclaimer…when I hear fasting I think “starvation” and I will never try a plan that requires any form of starvation. I don’t believe in extreme dieting. I believe in health and being your best you at every weight.
I was actually attracted to this plan for the opposite reason. It felt like a solution to NOT diet. I know I am at a point in my life where I can’t handle making over my diet. I hate cooking. I don’t have time to go to the gym everyday. I want to splurge over the holidays. I can make healthy choices but if I have free time I want to lay on the couch covered in my weighted blanket. I have to work and take care of my daughter and donate to the Pismo Beach Disaster Relief Fund on a daily basis so frankly I don’t have the head space or the desire to be perfect.
Therefore… if I am going to try something…it is going to be something I have determined is doable and something I can sustain in my life…a period of not eating felt like a great thing to give a go…
SO…Here’s what happened…
Let me start with the good news…I feel amazing. It’s probably the first time the scale has moved in close to a year. And, I am going to keep doing this.
Now here’s what I did, I know there are different approaches. I chose to fast daily for 12 hours. Whenever I would stop eating at night, I’d wait 12 hours or more to eat again the next morning. I learned quickly that I needed to start fasting early in the night because I head out the door for work early and want my latte immediately. And since my latte has calories, it breaks the fast. Stopped eating early proved the most challenging for me since I am a huge late night snack gal. I eat dinner but then I like to snack until bedtime. I love to eat dry cereal or animal crackers or dark chocolate while watching TV….so not only was I not giving my body more than 9 hours of fasting…I was probably taking in an extra 400+ calories a night after dinner. This experiment did help me kick that habit and not gonna lie…it wasn’t as difficult as I imagined hence why I plan to continue.
For the past 10 days, I had to work backwards. For example there was one day I knew I had to be at the studio super early. Knowing I’d want to have my latte by 6:30 am, I needed to stop eating at 6:30 pm. That’s not easy with the insane schedule we all keep. Some days I don’t even walk in the door until after 7 pm. So that day, I actually ate my dinner at work.
On day 10, I decided to go big and try a 16 hour fast. I can’t lie to you…I felt AMAZING the next day. And surprisingly it wasn’t that hard…
But I never believe in doing anything to an extreme. Day 4 of this experiment happened to be my birthday and I had a party…and was still eating and drinking until 12 pm…there was no way I was waiting until 12 pm for breakfast or coffee.
But also, I never restricted in the 12 hours I was eating. If I wanted chocolate I had chocolate and if I wanted pizza, I had pizza. If I wanted 3 lattes I had 3.
In the coming weeks, with the holidays, this could be a good tool to use so you don’t feel deprived but minimize the damage of weight gain.
BUT the biggest lesson of all is and always will be to learn who you are as a person. It’s never about deprivation its about motivation for eating. I spent the past 10 days once again learning to be mindful of my eating habits. I was never eating past dinner because I was hungry, it was always emotional.
I have tried plans before where I was miserable. I have cut out whole food groups and wanted to eat my arm. I can never do a plan where I feel restricted. And no plan will ever be done with 100% accuracy. Its just not realistic.
Health will always be personalized to you and your lifestyle.
And give things a try. Let yourself try something for a week and see how it goes. See if its doable. Shop around for the right plan for you. I was shocked I enjoyed this. And then there have been times where I have been shocked I hated something which sounded so easy.
I wanted to share this post before January 1st because I know so many of us are going to be geared up to start an extreme diet. My advice would be to plan for 1 diet a week for the whole month of January. Shop around before you settle, it only sets yourself up better for success.
Here’s an example of a schedule I am talking about
Week 1 (Jan. 2- 13): Intermittent Fasting
Week 2 (Jan. 14- 21): Try meal prepping
Week 3 (Jan. 21-28): Consider removing 1 item from your daily diet..
SEE HOW NONE OF THESE ARE DIETS….they are suggestions for healthy tweaks…it may not seem aggressive enough, but aggressive has never worked in the past…try a different approach this year!