Intermittent Fasting is a way of eating where you have a “feeding window” of on average about 8 hours, and a fasting period of about 16 hours to give your body a break from digesting new food. I used to eat constantly all day long from about 6AM-10PM, mainly snacking and I ate clean and healthy, with the occasional treat. I like to stick to a 90/10 lifestyle: I eat clean 90% of the time, but definitely enjoy treats 10% of the time.
I wanted to try IF because I always had bloating issues, after almost every meal and even after cutting certain foods out of my diet I still had major bloat every evening.
I have make it clear that I’m (obvi) not a doctor and I’m not giving anyone advice to do Intermittent Fasting. I tried it, so I’m sharing my personal experience with you, but every body is different and what works for me may not work for you! Please do your own research and even talk to your own trusted medical professional before making a lifestyle change like this one :)
I started IF on August 15th, 2018 and have not stopped since. I have changed a few things, such as what I’m eating during my eating window and how long my window is, and that’s what I wanted to share today!
*side note: there’s a lot of controversy over the internet about what is technically breaking your fast, mainly around if you can have cream in your coffee in the morning. I found that the most average answer was to keep your calories under 50 and zero sugar! I use Nut Pods creamer because it has no sugar and only 10 calories per 1 tablespoon. I definitely don’t go near 5 tablespoons in a morning’s coffee, so I am not breaking my fast!
During my first three weeks of IF, I ate from 1PM-9PM (8 hours) and fasted from 9PM-1PM (16 hours). I was used to eating all day every day and snacking constantly, so the first week was pretty tough around 11AM-noon. By 1PM I was ravenous and ate a GIANT meal to break my fast: a mango, two scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, an english muffin with PB&J, and mini rice cakes. I would stay full until 7-8PM, when I would have a smaller meal for dinner and wouldn’t feel like snacking throughout the day.
This all worked out great for me and I really only felt hungry the first week before 1PM. I wasn't miserable, though, and I loved eating a huge lunch and not having to think about cooking breakfast and cleaning up before work.
However, during the third week of IF, I was 4 days late for my period, and that NEVER happens. After doing research, I learned that IF for females is a lot harder to do because our bodies think that it is starving when it has to reach into its fat stores (which is what happens while fasting for 16 hours) and can interrupt hormones and affect the reproductive system. The female body doesn’t handle an immediate transition into intermittent fasting if it has never done it before. If you usually eat all day and you’re a women in your childbearing years, it is smarter to only increase your window of fasting by 2 hours every week or two, working up to 16 hours if that’s your goal.
I ended up changing my window completely to 14 hours fasting and 10 hours eating, and I haven’t had any issues since! Now I eat from 11AM-9PM, and I also don’t feel as hungry… ever. I mentioned before that I was ravenous by 1PM during my first week. Now I just eat a much smaller healthy meal at 11AM, have maybe an apple with PB or some healthy popcorn in the afternoon, and eat a normal sized dinner like I always have and I’m satiated until the next day!
Over all, I’m super happy with my eating pattern now and have definitely noticed that I don’t get bloated like I used to! I also love the simplicity of waking up and not eating right away because I stay more alert all morning long and I don’t get as hungry as quickly as I used to. I stay more hydrated because I am much more focused on drinking water when I’m not eating constantly. I have learned to listen to my body more and truly know if I’m thirsty, hungry, or just bored (I’m a huge bored eater).
Let me know if you’ve been on the fence about Intermittent Fasting or if you also love it! Remember, it’s a lifestyle, not a fad diet! If you want to get breakfast with your grandparents before your eating window, please go eat with them and forget about IF for a day! Or just move your window up for that weekend if you are really worried about it.
I hope you got something out of this post and definitely let me know if you have any questions :)