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Does intermittent fasting work?! Well, to be honest, I dunno. It has some pretty legit success stories and science behind it. Thing is, with diets and diet culture, we miss the fact that not every diet works for everybody. Our bodies are made up of unique compositions of different minerals, genes, antibodies, blood types, conditions, enzymes etc. Basically, we’re all super exclusive compounds of science and star dust therefore as a result our diets, nutrients and needs are different for each and every single one of us. So to make a broad statement that intermittent fasting works just doesn’t vibe for me.
I decided to give it a go though! When I lost my previous weight (which I have successfully gained back most of… if not all of it in the past 2 years.) I pretty much used intermittent fasting. I cut off any eating after dinner, now my dinner hour would change so it wasn’t your typical intermittent fasting plan where you stick to a certain ratio.
This time I’m doing things a little different. The behaviour nerd in me knew my motivation was SUPER low. So I needed a little more gentle start. I’m two “rounds” in. Here’s what I have been doing:
My Intermittent Fasting Plan
Well first, for some reason it seems that upcoming weddings motivate me. So when my BFF’s wedding came up, I was like "oh hey, now’s the time to start" (and I started like the week before #procrastinatorforlife). I decided that I would fast for the next 4 days doing a ratio of 16:8. I allowed myself to eat between 10 am and 6 pm, the rest was water, black coffee or tea only. I did this for 4 days and then “rested” for 4 days. I chose to do 4 on and 4 off so that it wouldn’t always been the same days that I was fasting. I’d have to do some weekends, some weekdays. For me, it sounded less terrifying to do 4 days instead of Monday - Friday or everyday like some hardcore, committed, amazing human beings.
My Intermittent Fasting Results
My first round was 4 days from Saturday - Tuesday. It was a long weekend for us, and weekends you think might be harder given all the free time for snacks, but we actually typically eat breakfast pretty late in our household so this made it less work in my mind.
Here’s some of my thoughts during this time:
Evenings were sometimes hard as I usually enjoy a little weed (legal here in Canada) and get the munchies really bad...
I certainly had a few moments of hunger, but surprisingly not as much as I thought I would
I must get Skinny Girl sweeteners for my morning coffee. I cannot function on work days without it
Definitely felt sluggish
I experienced shorter sleep periods, troubles falling asleep and sleeping in
I had more energy
Day 3 and 4 were the hardest
The first day back to “baseline” or non-fasting was my BFF’s mini bachelorette so obviously I dove right into eating. And honestly, my stomach felt smaller, I wasn’t constantly thinking about food. Which made me realize how much I think about food, about my relationship with food. I eat not for sustenance but for joy. Perhaps it’s the European in me, or perhaps food has become an inappropriate way to experience joy. Am I attached to food? Do I need food to feel happy? I'm on that journey.
I felt smaller after my 4 days, but I was a bad scientist and didn’t record any data pre-fasting about my weight or other measurements like waist inches. I cannot speak if I actually lost anything, the only thing I can say is I felt like I wasn’t bloated. One friend of mine did compliment that I looked thinner when she saw me, however we haven’t seen each other in awhile (see there I go, always looking for the negative/barrier/supplemental reason/excuse to justify why a positive isn’t true). I lost my “thinner”and smaller stomach feeling by the last day of baseline/non-fasting.
My second round of fasting was… harder. It was from Sunday to Wednesday, Thursday (the very day I’m writing this) was the first day of non-fasting. I think some of my troubles were akin to PMS symptoms and being very grumpy. I was in a really bad state of mind this round, I wasn’t sleeping well, I missed my morning coffee. I tend to nurse my coffee in the morning so waiting until 10 am meant I barely finished it by noon when I would have lunch and change my drink to something cold. I tried getting some Skinny Syrups but they had troubles delivering to us (we have two postal codes, it’s weird). I even bravely ventured into Winners (wearing my beautiful floral mask btw) to get some. I grabbed a mocha flavoured one as the other option was ‘smores. Neither flavour appealed to me but I was desperate and it was only $5.99! Compared to almost $20+ on amazon. Even with Prime that’s too expensive for my wallet.
Back on track here. I was miserable this time. I hated the fasting. I hated my body. I kept checking the time for when I could go to bed and sleep through it, or when I would be able to have non-black coffee and food. I am on some medications for anxiety that make me extra drowsy in the morning, but my mind was wired when I woke up. It made for some really difficult mornings.
I also allowed myself to bend my rules bit this time. Bad bad bad Rebecca, I know. I did it due to work meetings that required me to be focused for an hour right at the time I could start eating or our dinner wasn't ready right on time, as my fiance comes home right at the end of my interval. Sure I could modify the times I eat but then I'd be waiting until 11 and I just couldn't see myself being successful at that yet. So some of these days it was more 15.5:8.5 ratio.
Drinking water certainly helped, keeping busy and doing something with my hands also really helped. Moving away from the fridge/couch where I typically snack in the evenings also made things a little easier.
Things I think I’ll have to do for the next round of fasting:
Find a syrup that tastes good in my coffees. I'm open to suggestions! Please send help!
Drink more plain water, less carbonated
Exercise in the mornings if I have the energy, something light like a walk for now
Get a buddy system in place, anyone in?!
Have you fasted? What was your experience like? Any tips for me? Comment below!