I Tried Intermittent Fasting and Here's What Happened
I've heard so much the past 4 or 5 months about the benefits of intermittent fasting. Health benefits like better digestion, boosting your metabolism and even slowing aging. Hey-Oh! So I thought I would give it a try!
First, please know that this is not me saying to not eat for the sake of losing weight or to skip meals to later binge on junk food. This was purely a thing I wanted to try and see if it helped my digestion improve (struggle bus over here) and I did it with the mindset of aiding my body's function; not specifically to lose weight.
There's several ways you can do intermittent fasting:
1. Eat within an 8 hour window of the day (ie: 10a-6p or 8a-4p) then fast for the remainder of the day.
2. Fast for 24 hours once a week.
3. There's other options but these two are the simplest in my opinion.
I chose to begin my fasting at 4 pm. I find dinner the easiest to pass on and love my breakfast starting out the day. On the first day there wasn't much to note besides being hungry by 9 pm. But it was almost bed time anyway so I just headed to bed early that night. Which is definitely an added bonus for me anyway being that I ALWAYS go to bed too late. Day two I noticed that some of my typical bloat had gone down. My stomach is sensitive and I think sometimes even eating good foods in normal amounts can be too much for my system to digest well. On day three I enjoyed one of my favorite breakfasts: a 2 egg scramble with zucchini, spinach, avocado + salsa. I found that even just a few days into trying out intermittent fasting I was savoring the food I was having at meals more. I sat for every meal and took my time eating. I felt less hungry the third night as I was heading to bed.
Waking up on day 4 I had a good energy. I was actually enjoying the break from prepping and cooking all the dinner meals. It brought some simplicity to a busy evenings. Starting out the week I was worried I would be intensely hungry or miss sitting down to dinner with the kids each night and eating together. What I found though, was that I was actually able to sit and enjoy them MORE during dinner time because I was solely focused on sitting and taking in their sweet, funny conversations. Clearly, I want to sit and enjoy dinner with them in the future but for a period of time I was enjoying just sitting and being. All the mommas of little ones know there's always running back and forth for extra silverware, napkins, drinks, more food or a ridiculous amount of other random things they seem to need the second you sit down. The ease of simply being and not rushing to complete my meal brought an extra level of calm. Although, I did have the thought that I don't want (specifically) Raegan to note that I'm never eating when we sit down, so if I was to continue intermittent fasting long term I would definitely adjust the timing.
On days 5,6 and 7 I made filling meals for breakfast and lunch. I tried to stick to straight meals and not snack in between. But I'm a snacker at heart and found that as it neared 4 p.m. I was snacking a lot; knowing my fasting was about to begin for the evening. Nothing really terrible but extra things I wouldn't normally snack as much on like fat balls, the kids veggie straws or ab toast.That's truly the only downside I found during the week. Going forward, as I said before, I would adjust the times I was choosing to do the fasting. The whole point is to give your body a break from digesting so much food...over snacking towards the end of the week probably didn't give me as big of a break as I could have. This was an odd thing to try out as I really have come to believe in intuitive eating. This somewhat goes against that notion... BUT as an attempt to heal some digestion issues I think this was a really good experiment. It definitely aided my sluggish gut and in turn, bloating. I did feel clear headed and really had good energy through out the week. As far as weight loss, I'm truly not sure if I lost weird or not because I didn't weigh myself before, during or after. I can say that I felt better at the end of the week than when I started. I felt smaller but I think that was because I bloat not so much lost weight. That wasn't my intention so I didn't make a big effort to monitor it. Obviously, I didn't try it for a long enough period of time to see the big benefits like slow aging or a bump in my metabolism. I wouldn't doubt those to be legit benefits though after my experience.
I don't do the intermittent fasting continually but I do find myself at times now naturally fasting a meal throughout the day. Not super intentionally but being very aware of hunger cues and when I'm truly hungry. Doing the intermittent fasting, I did become a lot more aware that I was at times eating a big meal purely because it was dinner time or lunch time instead of actually being hungry/ready to eat. This to me is the biggest pro I gained! I think it's so easy to become accustom to eating out of habit and not true hunger. So even though "fasting" in any sense pretty much goes against intuitive eating (which I do somewhat believe in but it's also ultra trendy right now) I believe the intermittent fasting brought me some awareness to be more intuitive with myself. Win!
As always, DO YOUR RESEARCH, and decide if it might be something that would be good for you. If not, don't try it. It's not for everyone. I'm an amateur on the subject but would be happy to answer any questions I can/chat through our experiences!