Traditional diet & food philosophy has been to make sure you’re eating enough that you’re sated, but still in a calorie deficit. There’s the whole idea of eating every 3-4 hours, breakfast as the most important meal of the day and the fear of your body going into starvation mode if you aren’t eating enough.
Fasting goes against all of this, but I started looking into it when I realized I was hungry ALL THE TIME. I would wake up, workout and eat breakfast only to feel like I needed to eat again less than two hours later. It seemed like a waste of calories, especially when I was tracking my allotment for the day.
Intermittent fasting isn’t a diet, its a pattern of eating. There are many ways to fast but the most common, and probably the easiest is the 16-8 fast. This means you fast for 16 hours, and eat during an 8-hour window. This seems hard to do, but you’re actually sleeping for most of that 16 hour period.
Ex: If you eat dinner at 7 PM, you would not eat your next meal until 11 AM the following day. Your body is in a fasted state during this 16 hours window, which has a number of benefits, including increased HGH (Human Growth Hormone) which aids in muscle building & cell repair and lowered insulin levels, which let your body burn fat more efficiently– more info on this here.
I’ve been following this 16-8 pattern for the past few months and have seen a number of benefits
- My hunger is more manageable. I’m able to stay full longer when I do eat.
- I feel more sated because I’m able to eat larger meals during my eating window. This makes things like going out to eat much easier because I have more wiggle room as far as calories. I still try to make good choices, but this pattern allows me to be more relaxed with my diet. I don’t really need to have a “cheat meal” because I’m splitting up a full day of calories into two meals– roughly.
- I’ve been able to maintain weight when eating poorly, doesn’t sound good but its true. I’ve gone on vacation & indulged and just have had weeks where I haven’t been great with my nutrition, but I haven’t gained any weight.
- When I have buckled down on my diet, I’ve been able to lose weight that I really haven’t been able to lose otherwise (the “last five pounds”)
I’m not super strict with my eating window. I just make sure I wait 16 hours from my last meal to eat again, so If I go out to dinner with friends and don’t finish my meal until 9, I won’t eat the next day until 1 pm.
- Time your workouts so that they’re at the tail end of your fast, which is in the morning. You’ll be working out in a fasted state, which burns more calories.
- The first days are tough, but stick with it and your body will adjust. Coffee, tea & drinking tons of water helps.
- It’s easier to eat earlier in the evening so you can eat earlier the next day, even though 16 hours is 16 hours, eating lunch at 2 still feels late.
So now that I’ve been the fasting guinea pig, anyone interested in trying it? Let me know on IG or in the comments below!