Reusable bag provided by Stasher – not a sponsored post, just letting you know 😉
There are so many wellness bandwagons to hop on right now, but it’s hard to tell what’s actually worth the effort. In an effort to slim down a little, I’ve been trying out a few new techniques. (You can check out my first post about my experience with apple cider vinegar here.) For the past couple weeks, I’ve been trying intermittent fasting.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
It’s a set period of the day or week when you don’t eat, or eat very little. For example, you can opt to eat regularly 6 days of the week, and fast on the seventh. Or you can get all your calories for the day in a 6-8 hour window, and stop eating overnight until later in the day.
What’s the Theory Behind It?
Scientists and nutritionists reason that as human beings, we haven’t always had constant access to food like we do now. It’s a good pressure on the body (like exercise) to use the resources it has – burning fats and ketones for energy – to gain energy. It both increases your metabolic rate, while also reduces the amount of food you eat.
Studies show that it also can have some other major health benefits, like reducing the risks of diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. It resists free radicals that attack protein and DNA, fights inflammation, and is good for heart health. It’s possible that it can even increase your lifespan. After hearing all these things, I thought it might be time for a try.
Since fasting for a whole day leaves me – ahem! – fairly cranky, the best option for me is cutting off my eating after a certain point, and starting again in the morning.
Different sources recommend different stretches of non-eating time, but usually anywhere from 12-16 hours a day. I opted to generally stop eating around 6:30 and start again at 10:30 the next day, so about 16 hours not eating in a day.
Water doesn’t count, and in the morning I would still have my cup of coffee with a splash of creamer. (I read somewhere that anything under 50 calories wouldn’t upset the fasting state.)
It’s been about a month. (I got a bit thrown off around Thanksgiving, but now I’m back on track.) I’ve been trying to do yoga twice a week and HIIT workouts three times a week, but again, that’s varied due to life.
What I Learned
1. Not eating anytime is a pain, at first…
It really forced me to be more mindful of what I eat and when. I do a lot of eating at night in particular. A snack with a movie, eating more dinner after coming home from yoga. It’s been a discipline to stop that random eating.
2. …but I got used to it.
Now I just don’t mind so much. My body has gotten used to eating at the times I’ve set. Once in a while I feel a little begrudged that I can’t have a late-night snack, but the benefits outweigh the losses. Again, it’s been a good discipline for me.
3. It reduced bloating quickly.
I noticed a difference in how bloated I felt almost right away.
4. Results take a while.
As far as losing weight goes, I haven’t seen a huge drop. I wouldn’t watch the scales while you’re starting this. But I feel different, and I’ve noticed my pants are a bit looser, at this point, after about a month.
5. Your diet doesn’t have to change, unless you want it to.
I haven’t really changed my diet. It’s tricky to keep track of what you’re eating with littles. So it’s cool to know that results happen even without a huge diet change. Although I’m sure big results would happen if I would restrict sugar, dairy, and carbs.
6. Be careful not to restrict calories too much.
Because you’re limiting the times when you eat, it’s easy to cut a lot back on what you eat. It’s important not to starve yourself – that’s not the point.
Have you ever tried intermittent fasting? Do you have any tips? If not, is it something you think would work for you?