At the beginning of the year in my Continue, Start and Stop plan, I wrote down that I wanted to explore the idea of trying intermittent fasting and currently while we’re on lockdown, I thought now would be the perfect time to try it so that’s what today’s post is all about.
As a disclaimer, I understand that talking about food can be a trigger for some because I will be talking about my own diet and restricted eating (in a time restricted sense) in this post. If that’s not for you, that’s okay!
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If you’re not sure what intermittent fasting is, it is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It doesn’t specify what foods you should eat, it’s more focused on when you should eat. I found this really great article by Healthline (which I’ll link here) that has everything you need to know about the process. It includes the type of fasts there are, what scientific evidence there is to prove the benefits and the important side effects too.
For someone who craves routine, I was pleasantly surprised that I wanted to try something new with my diet but because it’s not been the greatest over the last year, I thought having a change up would do me the world of good. Another reason for trying this practice out was because I have been looking at the weight loss side of it; based on my last post about weight loss (which I’ll link here) it’s something I do think about, for the good of my own health and I wanted to see if this would steer me in the right direction. I’m not a fan of taking a complete food group out of my diet so this was a much healthier alternative for me.
I didn’t really know what to expect when I first started this process so over the last few weeks, I’ve been taking some notes on how I’ve been feeling and decided to talk about the four most important points for me.
I was surprised how fast I adjusted to not eating in the morning.
I’m a breakfast girl and the last time I didn’t eat breakfast was when I went to University so I’ve been doing it religiously for quite a few years. Now don’t get me wrong, while the week progressed; I started to become hungry at around 11am but at that point, I only had to wait an hour to start my eating for the day so that didn’t bother me at all. I was really surprised that I was able to adjust quite quickly because it was something that I was slightly worried about at the beginning.
It’s surprisingly helped me with my water intake.
I believe one habit that helped hugely was my water intake; every morning I would make a large cup of mint tea and I would also have a steel bottle full of cold water too so that equaled four glasses of water, half of my daily intake. If I did this twice before lunchtime, I had hit my water intake for the day. I think part of my problem before is that I was instantly eating a snack because I thought I was hungry but during this period, I drank more fluids and I realised that it was thirst problem rather than hunger.
I understand hunger from boredom.
I would say a lot of us have been there where we go into the fridge or the cupboard but we’re not really that hungry, but we think we need something to eat. I’ve done it and it’s part of the reason over the last few months I have gained additional weight. From doing intermittent fasting, I can understand hunger from boredom, and I haven’t actually eaten out of boredom once because the boredom time normally comes a few hours after dinner, but because I stop eating at around eight o’clock, I don’t experience that boredom hunger anymore.
Navigating my period around it was difficult.
Periods are rough, there’s so doubt about that, but with increased hunger and the emotional side of your hormones that come into play too, that makes intermittent fasting a little difficult. With this month being my first month of IF, I really wasn’t too sure what to expect when it came to my period. The very painful cramps didn’t help in the slightest but I noticed increased hunger for two days from about 9:30am. Now, I know that IF is about working your eating times around your schedule and not the other way around but I wanted to roughly stick to the same time schedule so I chose to stick it out until 12:30pm. I would say that this was probably the only negative of IF but in a more positive light, it really showed me that you can work this lifestyle around you and when you want to eat.; I just chose not to do it this time around.
Will I continue it?
For me, intermittent fasting has been a positive experience and I don’t see any reason not to continue practicing it daily. I don’t see it as restrictive (even though it’s giving you a restricted eating window) and it’s giving my body a message of when I should be eating; in the past, I found myself eating when I was emotional or bored, but this process has really taught me on how to listen to my body. I find the concept of intuitive eating hard to get my head around (there’s quite a few avenues to go down with that one!) but giving myself cut off points for food felt very intuitive because I’m training my body that I don’t need to eat at all times of the day.
The one exception during all of this and was actually quite an eye-opener was the experience around my period, as I’ve already explained. Because it’s the first month of this new way of eating, I wanted to keep to the same schedule throughout the month to see how I dealt with it, but I know that when this time comes around again, it will be easy to move my timings differently and I’ll still be gaining the benefits, but I’ll still be helping my body with that increased hunger and cravings.
Thank you, as always for taking time to read today’s post. I’ve really loved the intermittent fasting experience a lot more than I thought I would and I’m looking forward to learning more about it over the next few months. For any comments or feedback, feel free to let me know over on my Twitter and Instagram channels. Have a great week! ☀️