I grew up despising orange marmalade…now I can't get enough…
The concept of intermittent fasting initially appealed to me because I love eating, but I’m not in my twenties. Extra calories transform into pounds that don’t melt away with a run anymore. I despise counting calories, prefering to look at what I’m eating in general terms. Intermittent fasting is easy, no calorie counting required, and allows me to enjoy eating well: appetizers, a main course, bread, and even dessert if I feel like it. The caveat is that you eat within a certain time frame. You can choose your window, as long as it doesn’t exceed 8 hours.
I have been fasting intermittently for at least 2 years now, and here are some things I have observed about trying out the various windows of time. Eating within an 8 hour window is great for weight maintenance, if you’re comfortable where your weight is. If you need to lose weight I suggest you restrict your window to a 4 or 6 hour limit.
I drink black coffee for breakfast, which I love, and have been drinking all my life. I eat a robust midday lunch, and then skip dinner. This schedule might not work for everyone, but it fits my lifestyle. I find that eating in the middle of the day keeps me full until I go to bed, which is important if you don’t like to sleep in a state of hunger. I lose about .5 to 1 kilo a week when I use a very small window, but I only do it to get back in shape from vacations, holidays, childbirths, illnesses etc. Once I’m back to my normal weight I usually use the 6 hour window. I also allow myself a cheat day, usually Saturday where I don’t restrict my eating whatsoever.
I recently had blood-work done, and everything is in a normal range. I probably should have had tests run when I began this new lifestyle, but instead I gauged my health by how I felt. I felt and do feel better than I’ve ever felt in my life. I have tremendous energy, I’m more creative, productive, and happier than I was either eating at all hours, or on a diet. I have tried multiple diets before, but this is the one that has stuck with me because I have made it a part of my life. The most depressing aspect of a “diet” is that you have nothing to look forward to, and for someone who really and truly loves food, if you can’t enjoy your meals then life has considerably less meaning….perhaps that sounds melodramatic, but I take my appetite seriously.
This lifestyle took about a month to get used to. At first I used the 8 hour window, but then it got easier to shorten it further. I noticed that when I limited my carbohydrates while fasting intermittently I experienced regular insomnia. When I introduced a full range of carbs back in, the insomnia went away.
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola “Intermittent fasting or “scheduled eating” is one of the most powerful interventions I know of to shed excess weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. These health benefits are more or less beneficial “side effects” of shifting your body from burning sugar to burning fat as its primary fuel.”
Intermittent fasting is great for foodie moms who want to get back to their pre-baby bodies, but don’t want to consume salads for a year. I’m tall and athletic with a normal weight range of 72-74 kilos at 17-23% body fat. I was 100 kilos at the heaviest with my first child, and 114 kilos with my second. I’ve lost the excess pounds after both pregnancies using various strategies, but again, intermittent fasting has been the only thing I have been able to stick with.
There has been some debate about intermittent fasting, and its effect on womens’ fertility. I was able to conceive twice in the two years I switched to this lifestyle. Though both pregnancies ended in first trimester miscarriages, once I became pregnant I stopped fasting, so, according to my obstetrician, intermittent fasting was not the contributing factor. I would like to see more studies performed on women who fast regularly to determine if it really does effect fertility in the long term.