*Disclosure: I am not a health or fitness professional. Always consult a doctor before altering your lifestyle and remember that what works for one person will not necessarily work for another.
The following post discusses fasting, caloric intake, and weight. It could be potentially triggering to those with eating disorders. Please proceed with caution.*
For the past few months, I haven’t been too kind to my body. I’ve been spending quality time with salt and vinegar chips and too much wine. I’m bloated and tired, and wake up wondering why I feel terrible. Like, oh, I don’t know, perhaps because you are nourishing yourself with piles of garbage, girl.
I knew I needed to make a change. And with summer quickly approaching, including a trip to Palm Springs literally around the corner, I wanted to kickstart a new lifestyle.
And listen, I can’t pretend it’s all for my health. There’s absolutely a level of superficiality that I’m embarrassed to say motivates me. But it does. It’s there. I have clothes from high school I can’t bring myself to throw away.
I read about intermittent fasting and thought it seemed interesting. It’s a fairly simple premise. You eat between the hours of 1 pm and 8 pm and then fast for 16 hours, some of which you are sleeping. I know, I know, we’re always being told breakfast is the most important meal of the day, blahblahblah. But the thing is I’m rarely hungry first thing in the morning. To me, eating breakfast feels like a chore. Waiting until 1 pm was an enticing idea.
So, I made myself a deal. I would try it for one week, but also allow myself the option to back out at any point if it was making me miserable. I want something that makes me feel better, not like I’m dying.
Not eating until 1 pm was easy as hell. Like I said, I’m not hungry in the morning so listening to my body instead of forcing myself to have something was wonderful. I had a cup of black coffee at around 10 am. 1 pm, I was hungry, but not ravenous. I had gluten-free toast with lox, chives, and goat cheese.
I go to the gym most days but I work out like an old lady. I hop on the treadmill and power walk for 30-45 minutes. I am not putting in major work. I’m doing the bare minimum. But I am moving my body. And that counts for something, right?
Believe it or not, I was already feeling more energetic, something others had mentioned as a positive side effect from intermittent fasting. To be honest, I’m not sure if my shift in energy was because of the fasting or more to do with the fact that I wasn’t downing multiple glasses of wine at night. I really wasn’t drastically changing other parts of my diet; I tend to eat fairly healthy. …I mean…you know, excluding the alcohol and late night snacking. The 8 pm deadline for eating was a good reminder to eat only when I’m hungry. Not at midnight when I’m bored and can’t sleep.
My appetite felt really regimented, in a great way. I would get hungry at 1 pm, 4 or 5 pm, and 8 pm. Cravings were disappearing. I was SLEEPING BETTER? As a life long insomniac, this is honestly revolutionary. I’m not saying I’m 10/10 a good sleeper now. But it has improved.
I did get hungry at 10 pm and because this was never really about depriving myself, I had a cup of berries and half a grapefruit. Snacks can still be healthy! Woohoo!!!!
I DID IT. And, not going to lie, I lost some of the fluff I had been storing since winter.
Combined with relatively clean eating, lots of water, and my very underwhelming work out routine, I lost 6 pounds and felt more like Me again.
Do I recommend it?
Here’s the kicker, IF might not be good for women. Hormonal changes seem to be much more drastic in women doing IF than in men. A study of female rats doing IF showed a possible link to infertility. Y I K E S. As a hypochondriac who spends hours on WebMD, this fully freaked me out. I DON’T WANT TO BE AN INFERTILE RAT.
The best thing to do, as always, is to listen to your body. I personally enjoyed my experience and while I’m not going to do it all the time, I could see myself occasionally implementing it. And I’m going to continue putting the kibosh on mindless late night snacking. And maybe not so much wine.
God, I love wine. Someone invent a zero calorie wine, please.