Last week I experimented with Intermittent Fasting (IF). I’ve been trying to find a way to give my body a little boost when it comes to burning fat as fuel, along with the added benefits of weight loss, reduced inflammation and increased hydration (When you don’t eat, you drink a lot more water!). I think this method may have some merit, and after doing some research, I am willing to continue this experiment. While reading up on IF, my main concern was my body going into starvation mode – because we’ve all heard that theory before. Don’t skip meals. Eat 6 small meals a day… and so on…. well turns out, there are new studies that show our bodies could actually thrive and reduce stored body fat by skipping a meal here and there. Who knew? Apparently your body uses its stored energy for a temporary fast (16-24 hours) and the body doesn’t actually go into this “starvation mode” until around 60 hours without food. Ok, so with that understood, my worries were set aside and it was time to just take the leap. I initially wanted to try IF one day a week, for about 18-24 hours at a time…. but after about hour 17 on Wednesday, I started to really fade – and the hunger got the best of me. All wasn’t lost though, I managed to fast for 17 hours and record how I felt every hour during the experiment.
7:00 AM – It’s strange to not snack on my usual nuts/dried fruit while getting ready for work. Good habit to try to break.
8:00 AM – This is when I usually eat breakfast. Not eating was tough, but not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Having the bulletproof coffee helped.
9:00 AM – Felt pretty great, slight hunger but nothing a little water didn’t fix. Knowing I was going to be hungry really helps with the “feelings” of hunger. Visualizing the end goals right now.
10:00 AM – Feeling about the same as an hour ago. I’m still slightly hungry, but nothing unbearable. I drink water a lot faster when there isn’t any food around. I occasionally have urges to reach for trail mix or think “What could I eat?” – then I snap myself out of it and remind myself of what I am doing today, and why. It’s so interesting to see how the body is on a timer for snacks and food when it’s bored or is used to a routine.
11:00 AM – Hunger is a relative term. We “think” we are hungry, but in reality we WANT food more than its needed for energy. I am sitting in a cubicle today, not expending much energy at all, but I often feel sudden urges to eat…. Then I think “Am I REALLY hungry, or do I just WANT food for comfort?” — turns out its mostly comfort. Crazy.
12:00 PM – Lunchtime challenge. This is usually when I start to think about eating my lunch. I bring my food, and heat it up in the canteen area of my work. Today, my lunch is water with some BCAAs in it. Mmmmmmmmmm
1:00 PM – Went to the gym at work on my lunch break. Did some SMR and stretching. Was nice to relax. It is surprisingly hard to come back to my desk with no food. My mental triggers for hunger are STRONG at this hour. My body wants lunch. Crazy. Water water water. I may have some afternoon tea for a change of pace.
2:00 PM – Starting to struggle a bit with cravings. Seeing food posts on Pinterest and IG are giving me major cravings and for the first time I am counting down the hours until my meal today. I’ve already consumed100 oz of water today, so apparently IF works well for re-hydrating. 🙂
3:00 PM – CRACKED. HAHA. I broke into my stash of trail mix and had a couple handfuls, then a ½ chicken breast.
4:00 PM – Meeting at work, so I was away from my desk (and temptations).
5:00 PM – Prepared dinner: Salmon and broccoli. Snacked on a Quest bar and trail mix. Dessert was a protein shake. (Honestly, I think I binge-ate a little because I was subconsciously over-compensating for the day of fasting. Something to try to avoid for future fasts.)
This experience was very eye-opening to the habits I’ve created with eating, and how they’re not necessarily associated with hunger, rather than a routine trigger. I surprised myself, but I actually enjoyed this fast (most of the time). According to the articles I’ve read, there are multiple ways to fast: 1 day a week for 24 hours, or multiple days a week for about 16 hours (aka skipping breakfast).
After my initial trial of IF on Wednesday, trying to go for 24 hours, I think the 16-hour fast might be more my speed. Most of my workouts are right around lunch time, and I don’t think I will feel as deprived. I can make it through a workout at noon, and eat immediately afterward. I am going to try this multiple days a week and record the results.