disclaimer: I am not qualified to give medical advice, and this information is not meant to cure or treat any disease/health condition. Whenever you start a new dieting plan, it is important to notify your physician or healthcare practitioner!
I have decided to try an intermittent fasting style of eating for thirty days in a row to see the benefits it will bring to my body, athletic performance, mental cognitive state, and overall well being.
I’m excited to enter “nerd mode” for a moment and bring you guys all of the information and research I have done on intermittent fasting and how it can benefit your body.
I realize “fasting” may sound kind of scary and intimidating, but intermittent fasting does not require starving or depriving yourself. Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but rather, it is a style of eating. What you do is give yourself a window of eating throughout the day, but outside that window, you do not consume anything. The style of intermittent fasting I have been doing is giving myself an eight hour eating window, and for the remaining sixteen hours of the day, I’m fasting. There are many other styles of intermittent fasting, however. There is also the “Warrior Diet” which is when there is only a four hour window of eating, and you fast for the remaining hours of the day.
This article is a complete beginner’s guide for intermittent fasting, and has a ton of helpful information that I found useful. Another helpful guide can be found here, with more benefits and information.
So why would anyone do this? Surprisingly, there is actually a lot of research that has been been conducted proving that intermittent fasting is not just another health fad, but really can work. Here are the evidence based reasons.
- Your body initiates cellular repair processes during fasting. For example, your insulin levels drop, which lead to fat burning.
- Short term fasting can increase your metabolic rate, and can assist with weight loss.
- It can lower your risk for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
- Reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
- Extends your lifespan.
Sounds pretty awesome right? So did I see any results? I’m happy to report that after doing intermittent fasting for a full month, I can definitely report some benefits.
These are the eating schedules I have been following recently. I am including my schedule on weekends, as well as weekdays because I know many of you have jobs and other obligations during the week.
WEEKDAY EATING SCHEDULE:
9am: Bulletproof coffee (Bulletproof coffee allows you to remain in ketosis, but it is a personal preference whether or not to consume anything at all until you can break your fast).
12:30pm: Breaking my fast with lunch or a late breakfast
6:30pm: I get home and have a pre-workout snack
8:30pm: Dinner (last meal of the day)
WEEKEND EATING SCHEDULE:
9am: BCAA’s pre-workout
11:30am: Breakfast post-workout
7:30pm: Dinner (last meal of the day)
For both of the above schedules, you can see that my eating window is roughly eight hours and I’m fasting for the rest of time.
I did not weigh myself before/after doing this experiment, because I no longer step on the scale…ever. I find weighing myself to be a very unhealthy habit, as it leads me to have disordered thoughts and become obsessive. Instead of weighing myself, I like to go by the progress I can see in the mirror, for example, if my stomach looks flatter or my arms look more defined.
Here is a shot I took this morning, after my fasted workout before eating anything.
I definitely feel a lot more lean and toned than I did a month ago. In addition, I have a lot of energy in the morning and I find I can get pumped up for a workout before needing any coffee or food. All I do is drink some BCAA’s, which helps convert fat to energy.
The reason why I did not take before and after photos is because I didn’t do this experiment just to lose weight or make my body look a certain way. I wanted to experience other benefits outside of purely aesthetic reasons. The other benefits I experienced from intermittent fasting are the following:
- Better digestion
- Fall asleep easier and faster
- Improved mental focus
- Increased energy/better performance during workouts
- Better mood
Now, I will say that I was not perfect with this 100 percent of the time. There were days that I ate food outside of my regular eating window, perhaps earlier in the morning than usual or later at night, and I could definitely see the impact of doing this. I was more bloated and just felt “off” whenever this happened. My body has become more accustomed to this pattern of eating, so I feel so much better when I adhere to this schedule.
If you want to try intermittent fasting for yourself, I have a few tips that may help your experience. This tips will make it easier for you to get the hang of intermittent fasting, and be able to adhere to it long term.
Tip 1: Have a morning routine
Having a set routine in the morning will help you not be focused on food the instant you wake up. You need to give your body a few hours before having your first meal, so developing a routine in the morning of things you like to do, or things you need to get accomplished will help not only make your morning more productive, but before you know it, it will be time for your first meal. I like to meditate, get in a workout, plan out my day, and post on my Instagram all before breaking my fast, but this will vary from person to person.
Tip 2: When you do eat, consume healthy and filling meals
During your eating window, it is important to consume meals that are high in nutrition and that are filling, so that you don’t end up binging during your fasting period. When you are intermittent fasting, you may end up finding that you are starving by the time you can eat, which is not what you want. In order to prevent this, ensure that the dinner you have the night before contains healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and a good dose of protein.
Tip 3: To prevent late night snacking, implement a healthy bed time routine
As soon as you finish your last meal, brush and floss your teeth. I didn’t realize how much this little trick actually works until I got Invisalign last January. After I brush my teeth, floss, and put in my retainers I cannot be bothered to take them out and redo the routine again no matter how badly I want that piece of chocolate. If you feel like eating something at night, try to find other activities that will distract from your cravings. You can try taking a bath, listening to music, reading a book, or drawing. I would stay away from watching TV because most people want to snack while watching a show.
Remember that intermittent fasting may not be for everyone. Some people may find it too restrictive, or find it does not fit in with their lifestyle. That is fine! You need to do what works for your life and for your body. For me, I have found it relatively easy to fit intermittent fasting into my lifestyle, and reap the benefits from this way of eating. I hope these tips were helpful if you do decide to try it out, and if you have any more questions, please feel free to reach out to me!