Over the last two months, I’ve been intermittent fasting daily. Intermittent fasting (IF) is the process of going without food for a period of time with a multitude of ways to complete fasting.
Some people go 24 hours without eating for once or twice a week. Others restrict calories to fewer than 500-600 calories/day once or twice a week. The most popular way, and the way that I fasted, was going without food for a straight 16-20 hours and only eating during a certain period.
This trend is believed to work based on our evolutionary characteristics. When our bodies go without food for 16+ hours, we start burning our fat stores. Burning fat = good for weight loss.
I had heard about IF several times before, but never had any interest in trying it. However, I absolutely HATE breakfast. Like cannot stand it. When I go without breakfast, I can definitely tell a difference in my mental capacity throughout the morning, but I always seem to have to force myself to eat breakfast.
One morning I was late to work, so I skipped breakfast and grabbed a banana on my way out the door. I got to work and immediately started on my bagillion tasks I had to complete. When I looked at the clock, it was noon.
I had made it the entire morning without food and still didn’t feel hungry.
I did the math and realized I had gone 17 hours without food since my dinner the previous night at 6. I decided to go for it and try out intermittent fasting.
I'm not a doctor and I have done absolutely zero clinic research on this topic. So I'm not going to claim any benefits to IF that I didn't experience (some people claim it can prevent Alzheimers, prevent Diabetes, etc... It very well could, I just don't know). Without further ado, here are the benefits I experienced:
1. Weight Loss
This one is obvious. It's the main reason people try IF in the first place. Over two months, I lost a total of 5 lbs. I wouldn't necessarily attribute this to IF though. During my two months, I restricted myself to 1200 calories a day and exercising 5 days/week (pretty standard of any weight loss plan for a woman).
2. Better digestive tract
On certain weekends, I wasn't the best about fasting. Occasionally I would have 3 full meals/day. On those weekends and when I officially stopped fasting, my colon had NO problem moving food through my digestive tract.
3. More energy
Believe it or not, I have MORE energy with fasting than I do with simply dieting and exercising. And trust me, I have a LOT of exercise when I eat and play right. Since having started fasting, my body's clock is naturally waking up earlier and making it through the ENTIRE day without hitting that mid-afternoon slump. Going from waking up at 9 am naturally to 7 am gives me 2 extra hours a day to get stuff done.
4. My workouts were much more intense
I have no idea why or how, but my workouts are much more intense now. I'm talking, longer sets, more reps, and heavier weights. Plus, I'm able to jam pack my one-hour workout with many more exercises. Personally, I think it has something to do with having more energy.
5. The food I did eat tasted 10x better
Spinach. Eggs. Grilled Chicken. Carrots. Cake. Cookies. Bananas. EVERYTHING I ate during my 4-8 hour period of eating tasted sooo much better.
One last thing before I sign off, I am NOT a doctor. I have had ZERO medical training (unless you want to count 3 years of high school biology classes). What's right for one person may not be right for another person. If you are thinking about fasting, PLEASE consult your doctor first - don't just research a bunch of websites and go for it. Some people, like my hypoglycemic boyfriend, can't go more than 6 hours without food. So, obviously, IF is not for everyone.