I am a big believer in trying different things and making changes to your lifestyle to understand your body better, because we are all different. With my vegan detox that I tried last year, it became evident that dairy wasn’t my friend so whilst I’m not vegan, I have cut down on my dairy intake and it has done my body and skin so much good.
When I first heard about intermittent fasting, it was from a gym-freak friend of mine so I immediately dismissed it thinking I would never be able to do it. But then I knew someone more normal who started it and lost weight, that was enough to motivate me.
So what is intermittent fasting – to break it down and simplify it, you eat within a 8 to 9 hour window and fast for the rest of the day. So in theory, if you start eating at noon you have to stop by 8pm. Most women find a 9 hour window more feasible and still effective. The argument is that whatever food you eat is used as energy by your body for the next 12 hours, and only after those 12 hours does your body actually start burning fat. If you want to read about on intermittent fasting in more details, I found this resource extremely easy to understand.
How hard did I find it – Ok so I LOVE food, and breakfast especially so. Therefore, I must admit the first few days were a struggle but water and tea became my best friends. Fasting taught me the power of drinking a lot of water to sustain the initial hunger pains. The trick is to keep busy and mornings at work are usually packed with meetings and finishing documents, so that wasn’t too hard to do but I did find myself looking at the clock more frequently. But like with most things, after the first few days your body starts to adapt to the new norm and after the first week, it became second nature to miss the gym. The days I did find it extremely hard however, was when I went to the gym in the morning.
What to eat and how to exercise– Intermittent fasting is more of a change in habit than actual diet. You don’t have to cut all the bad stuff out, allow yourself a cheat meal once or twice a week. However, meal prep will make sure you are ready for a great meal at lunch time (this can even be a breakfast meal if you miss that type of food, which I did), a snack in between and then dinner. I did require slightly bigger meals for lunch then usual, but it would keep me full for a long time.
In terms of exercising, if possible, workout just before your first meal. I find so much energy when working out on an empty stomach, again, water is your friend here. If you do have a morning workout on your cards, then keep it light.
What were the outcomes? – Within just two weeks, my mum had made a comment that I had lost weight after she hadn’t seen me for a few weeks, I also noticed my energy levels increasing and that I would stay full for longer periods of time after meals, instead of constantly craving a snack. I am not into the habit of weighing myself, because I find it sometimes demotivates despite actual progress. I am all about the body pics, visually seeing more definition and a slimmer waist and face.
My verdict? Intermittent fasting works, but not on it’s own. You can’t pig out for 8 hours and not eat for 12, nutrition is still vital and eating healthy is key. I aim to have perfect days on Monday to Friday, avoiding refined sugar, and then let my body have a break on the weekend.
Everything in moderation, even moderation