Have you heard of intermittent fasting? I have been conducting a little experiment with it the past month or so, and now I want to share what I’ve learned!
I first learned of intermittent fasting when I ventured into the Paleo lifestyle five years ago. It was just beginning to be a “thing,” and I found the concept interesting but didn’t ever try it.
Up until the last few years, I have been one of those people who HAD to eat within 15 minutes of waking up. It wasn’t a preference, it was a physical need. If I didn’t eat right away, I got sick.
Naturally, breakfast became a big part of my life and still is. If you follow me on Instagram, you know the majority of my posts have been breakfast or bread/baking.
Over the past 6 weeks, I have been intermittent fasting 5-6 days per week and now I want to share with you what it is, why I chose to try it, and how it’s been for me!
What is it?
Intermittent fasting is a routine change, not a caloric restriction or diet. It’s altering the hours during which you consume food, and then refraining from eating for 12-16 hours (depending on what you decide works best for you).
Some think it’s starving yourself, but that is simply not the case. You are giving your body, and most importantly YOUR GUT, a significant rest. We all know how I feel about gut health and its importance in healing and disease prevention. So when I read more into intermittent fasting a couple of months ago, this is the part that rang true to me.
Our digestive systems are on CONSTANT “go” mode. Often we eat late into the night and then sleep for 6 hours and wake to another meal. When reading about this idea of giving our system that long recovery period, I knew it was something I wanted to try.
Besides giving your digestive system a serious break to run effectively, fasting this way also puts your body into a “fat adapted” state, which means your energy increases because you are now burning stored fat instead of carbohydrates.
Intermittent fasting can also increase growth hormone (especially when combined with exercise), which helps with health, fitness, and the aging process. Inflammation is suppressed and damage from free radicals is also reduced by fasting.
Why try it?
I decided to give this a try because it made sense to me, and I love experimenting with new things so that I can share them with others! I get a lot of questions about different diet plans, exercise programs, etc, and I don’t like to recommend anything before trying it myself first.
Something that happens when you fast this way is more control over weight management, and weight loss. I don’t like to tout that at the beginning, because then your eyes go all blurry and you don’t listen to anything else I say. But yes, weight loss.
It’s important to note that you can’t eat a high-processed, junk food diet and use intermittent fasting to your advantage. The benefits are based upon a whole foods, clean diet. Lots of veggies, clean sources of protein, and lots of healthy fats!
Keep that in mind if you want to try it. It was easy for me to transition because all I was doing was not eating first thing in the morning. My diet didn’t change much.
What I Found . . .
I have been very pleasantly surprised with this little experiment. I haven’t missed my early morning meal at all, because I am just eating it a few hours later. The schedule I chose to follow is eating from around 11 AM and 7 PM.
This works for me because my family has dinner around 5:30 or 6 p.m., then I have time to clean up and be finished eating with them and I don’t miss out. In the mornings I make my children breakfast before school, I come home, work out, and make myself a huge breakfast/brunch (which also serves as my two littles’ lunch).
I am eating A LOT during my three meals. It was a little difficult to adjust to eating so much in only 8 hours – you don’t realize what it’s like until you try only eating in a certain number of hours!
During the “off” hours, I drink a lot of water and tea. Drinking plenty is suggested and I feel I have actually been drinking more since trying this out, because I am not snacking as much in the evenings.
There have been a few days where I eat later at night or want a treat with my husband, so then I push back my first meal to later in the day. As long as it’s been at least 12 hours, I feel good about it.
Have you tried intermittent fasting? Tell me about it! What else would you like to know?