My thoughts on Intermittent Fasting
Sometimes to be able to fully understand something you must explore it for yourself. So for 14 days I carried out a little science experiment of my own of intermittent fasting. This type of eating wasn’t something we often covered at uni or college so the following evidence is my own. They all have their pros and cons so I thought I would draw my own conclusion to intermittent fasting. This is my own thoughts and experience on it therefore if you do it and it works for you then great I’m happy for you.
I started my experiment on a Saturday I thought it best to start at the tail end of my week when I wasn’t getting up as early and my days were not as full on. I started my first day fasting with my window of eating from 12pm to 8pm within those hours I ate my normal diet of foods I would consume when not fasting, everything else stayed the same. Day 1 went pretty easy I actually only really had two full meals that day as we went out for food I finished my last meal at 6pm and was full there after. As we were out I hadn’t really planned to make more food to eat before my eating window for that day closed. So from 6pm that was me until 12pm the next day. I didn’t need to get up as early on the Sunday because I didn’t have my breakfast to prep or eat so I had an extra 30mins to sleep in. Which was greatly needed from a very broken sleep of hunger throughout the night. My body was hungry and asking for food but I made it through to the next day as the hunger subsided and I made it to the next window of eating. Normally I would have the weekend off I would only fast Monday to Friday but as I wanted to do it for 2 weeks that was my start date.
I conducted my experiment for the last 2 weeks before we left to go on holiday I had one more crossfit competition a week into the experiment and I figured just now I didn’t need to be at my peak strength and any changes in my body wouldn’t be awful considering we were about to go on holiday and over indulge for 10 days.
Monday was HARD my job is very much me moving a lot and exercising, as much as I may not being physically doing the exercise all the time it does involve exertion. I started at 5.30am for our 5 Weeks 2 Fit Classes on Monday then head over to the gym for PT and classes in between I have spin. I was struggling I’m not sure if that was just mentally or physically so I cracked open a can of zero cal monster, something I don’t often do I’m not a caffeinated drinks person and very much not zero cal ones I feel they do have their time and place with weight lose etc but for me I would rather just have normal sugar. It gave me the perk I needed to teach my class and get me through till I got home for my first feed.
I moved around my day a little to make sure I could have time to eat I would normally head straight back out after class for PT but I pushed that back 15min to allow me to eat my last meal. If anything positive to take away for this experiment I started to make more time for me to eat to make sure I had food before I went out to my next place of work.
I found my appetite to be very different from normal I found I got to a point I wasn’t even that hungry any more. After that I went over to train, Crossfit is very intense and it’s not something I would do on an empty stomach in-fact the opposite. It was as if I had never had that meal 30min before I was full but empty at all the same time. I struggled I was slow the weights felt heavy, I was out of breath, everything. I get very mad when I can’t do things to the best of my ability so I refused to put my “shitty” time on the board. At CrossFit you would do the workout and put your name up for your time or weight depending on what that workout was.
Another reason for this experiment was to encourage me to eat before I went to bed, I normally have my last meal about 9.30/10pm and try get to bed not long after. For a while the later I’ve been eating the longer I’m staying up to do work which could be done the next day. I was finding with my normal routine I would wake up in the early hours of the morning feeling horribly sick because I was eating so much at the end of the day as I was so hungry and just going to bed straight after. I was finding no in between it was either a big heavy meal or cereal.
I felt a little all over the place more so than normal and my scattyness made me angry and my anger made me lash out I was every snappy and just couldn’t be f*&?!d sadly my family and friends got the brunt of this so I tried my best to stay away and go upstairs out of that way. Poor Aeden my partner was thinking what am I going on holiday with, I’m not always a pot of rainbows and sunshine but I especially wasn’t for those 2 weeks.
I can also be very controlling with things and these traits of my personality came across greatly when it came to my times to eat, a few days I was struggling but still had 15min before my window to eat and would find my self battling within me to eat or not to. I was shaking and my lack of concentration showed I needed something to eat but was more focused on getting to 12pm to do that regardless of how I felt.
Old habits began to come back binging started to become a thing more often, when I was in the shops picking up food for that day during my fasting period I was picking up all sorts to eat. On the drive home from Tesco I inhaled 4 full glazed doughnuts so when it came to actually having my lunch I could hardly touch it. The same happened a few days later but with mars bars I would raid the cupboards to grab something to eat because there was no other option (lies i just was not prepared to have anything but chocolate) I ate 2 mars bars then I saved my self enough time to pick up an ice cream. In particular mars bar ice creams (must have been a thing for that day) seen as it was sunny so I had 4 that day, all one after the other I even had a fully melted one.
Training got a little better the further into the fasting I got depending on the workout heavy weights sessions needed to be done mid afternoon and cardio gymnastics based where mid morning because I felt lightest then and moved well.
My honest opinions on intermittent fasting is that’s it’s just a glorified calorie deficit, instead of tracking foods to ensure you are in a deficit. Your eating window is much smaller therefore you don’t have as much time to eat. I can understand the benefits of digestion behind it, my food was very well digested for the next day of eating and I pretty much went the same time everyday to the loo too much info, sorry, but it’s for science.
It encouraged me to make time for bigger meals such as dinner as that’s something I normally push into later at night. It encouraged my to drink more too I was drinking a lot more water because that’s all I could have in my fasting period but it also made me drink a lot more zero sugar drinks such as Coke Zero and flavoured waters. A habit I don’t normally have it all.
I felt I had to move a lot more of my day around to suit it as well which is very much not what I’m use to. My diet I have currently is what suits my life rather than having a life that suits my diet.
Fitness is simple, looking after you is simple, but it’s so simple sometimes its boring to others so we like to add sprinkles of change names and bring out the newest best things in the market to help us reach our goals. I say we need to move more out side of the gym we need to integrate changes into our lifestyles that will suit our lives. We need to have a well balanced and enjoyable diet. Tracking food is boring it’s a food calculator but it’s what’s going to tell you if your eating too much or not because ultimately that’s what is going to help you achieve your goals.
Hopefully you start to lose track of the scales and measurements and become more in touch with you, I sound like some yogie woman but honestly I know when my body is hungry I know what I need more fibre, water, vitamins etc and when I feel run down I know when foods disagree with my body and I know when and what to give it. I’ve never been more aware of what goes inside of my body than I am now regardless if I have a 6 pack getting to that stage or not.
Intermittent fasting will have its time and place for other individuals but for me its not something I could sustain at with my lifestyle the way it is now. I always love to be able to go and doing something, during this experiment my steps dropped roughly 2000-3000 steps lower each day than my normal average because I was feeling lethargic maybe this was just mentally but i just didn’t have the energy to move as much. I am a breakfast, lunch and dinner girl with 3 snacks in between but ultimately thats what gives me all the energy I need to do my job well.
Fasting might work better for you if you have a much more sedentary job say you work at a desk for 8+hours and do not require as much energy. This is my own experience from it, maybe later on in life I might go back and try it for longer if my situation changes.
Thank you, next.