This post was originally written back in February of this year. After a recent visit to the doctor, I’ve started intermittent fasting again. This seemed like a good time to revisit this series. I hope you enjoy it.
Healthy Pursuits #2
As part of a commitment to a healthier lifestyle, I recently began to explore the idea of intermittent fasting. If you are unfamiliar with this practice, it is essentially consistently fasting for a shorter period of time.
Whereas a traditional fast maybe for 24 hours and you only do it once in a while, intermittent fasting is usually a daily practice in which you fast for around 16 hours and then eat during the remaining 8 hours in the day.
Its advocates tout the benefits, such as studies indicating longer life, getting a leaner physic, etc. but I’m’ not interested in what the advocates have to say. I’m only interested in what my experience of the exercise will be.
To help document my experience, I thought I’d write about it and hope that maybe others can find value in hearing my experience.
Why Intermittent Fasting
So why did I choose intermittent fasting? Turns out this is what I’ve always done, without even realizing it. I generally gain and then lose about 15 lbs over the course of a year or 18 months. When I hit a certain weight, I know it’s time to watch my eating habits.
Historically I’ve skipped breakfast and eaten a more reasonable lunch and dinner while cutting out the sugar substantially. Within a couple weeks I’m generally within the weight range I’m most comfortable at.
However, in the last year, I’ve noticed the weight hasn’t come off quite as easily as it once did. As it turns out, your metabolism slows down when you get older.
I was in the process of tackling this new wrinkle in my plan when my brother-in-law mentioned that he’d been studying intermittent fasting in medical school. After our conversation, I did a little research on my own and realized it is a more extreme version of what I had already been doing for years.
So, why not give it a shot. I’ve committed to trying the following routing for a month:
1:00-2:00pm: eat my first meal of the day, which is usually a salad and a handful of raw nuts.
5:00-6:00pm: eat a normal dinner with the family (only if I’m hungry at this time, otherwise push it off until I’m hungry).
9:00-10:00pm: Eat a small snack (usually yogurt and granola) – Ideally I’d like to skip this snack, but usually can’t sleep if I’m hungry.
I’m usually fasting for between 15-17 hours, half of which is happening when I’m sleeping.
Observations After A Week
Thus far I’ve been on this schedule for about a week, with 3 more weeks to go before I reevaluate. This is what I’ve observed so far:
- I’m a lot colder. I’m not sure if this is related to intermittent fasting, but I’ve noticed that I am usually pretty cold. Granted the weather hasn’t helped that, maybe I should have attempted this in a warm weather month.
- The waking fasting hours have gotten easier. My bodies hunger signals have incrementally shifted to be later and later. Whereas I would usually get pretty hungry around 8am when I started a week ago, I’m now not getting hungry until closer to noon. This shift has made it a lot easier.
- The first 4-5 days left me feeling pretty weak throughout the afternoon. But the last couple of days haven’t been bad at all.
- I’ve lost about 5 lbs. Not too bad. While I think I would have lost double that a few years ago, I’m definitely not going to complain about shedding the extra weight.
- Kicking sugar is so much easier when fasting. I’ve had almost no sugar cravings, which has generally been my Achilles heel when trying to cut back on my calories.
As of right now, I’m not convinced this is a lifestyle I can adopt permanently, but I’m glad I’m doing it. I’ll update you at the month mark and let you know my conclusions.