Why and how I use intermittent fasting

It’s currently 5.45am and I have the time to sit down and write this because I’m going to be skipping breakfast today – one of the perks is not having to make any or have to clean up anything. Of course, that’s not why I do it, but having some more time to do something else or just enjoy a quiet moment before a busy day is certainly a welcomed treat for me.

The idea here is not depriving my body of nutrients it very much needs, this is a way for me to help cleanse the digestive system because digestion is always a bit of an issue for me and time my food to smaller ‘feeding windows’ – time between your first and last meal.

Intermittent fasting will also help stabilize blood sugar levels therefore reducing the risk for diabetes and in my personal experience, stabilizing blood sugar had a dramatic effect on my mood – for the better – as opposed to a heavily carbohydrate dependent diet. Intermittent fasting has been found to boost brain health, decrease signs of aging (neurologically speaking), ease symptoms of depression and has also been found to increase life expectancy (again by slowing down aging process) and a whole host of health benefits readily available to everyone and anyone simply by going without food for a few hours.

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Here’s a bit of context for why I tried intermittent fasting, why I coupled it with a fat heavy diet, how I implement both and the results I’ve achieved – both physical and otherwise – so far.

I LOVE carbs, I can eat bread and pasta and risottos all day everyday, which is why for quite a while, I did just that. Not only did that make me gain a ton of weight, over exposure to wheat made me intolerant to it. This is quite common in many people; if you eat a lot of one thing for a long time, eventually, it starts causing digestive issues because overexposure to the same thing, for weeks, months and even years on end, it makes our bodies create antibodies against it.

Moreover, I find it very difficult to maintain a healthy weight, even more so to lose any weight, when my diet is carbohydrate heavy, even when I consume healthier carbs. In my experience, many people, especially women who have a shape similar to mine (pear shaped i.e. bottom heavy, wide shoulders and heavy frame) tend to have the same issue.

So, when I came across the Keto diet, I thought I’d give it a try and half implement it myself to see what would happen. I say half implement it because a true keto diet does not allow the consumption of fruit and certain carbohydrate dense veg and frankly, regardless of what a diet promises, I refuse to miss out on essential nutrients and always opt for balance and health over weight loss.

Despite the negatives associated with not consuming certain fruits and veg, the basic idea behind the keto diet is using fat as opposed to carbs, as fuel. The biggest selling point here is that when your body is in a calorie deficit, it will more readily use up body fat to burn as fuel and will become efficient in doing so. Now the truth is, having a diet heavy in fats will help shift weight, but it’s important to consume plant based fats mainly as opposed to large amounts of animal fat for obvious health reasons that by now we are all aware of.

Now, most traditional weight loss diets will consist of between four and six meals daily, spaced three hours apart. So when you think about it, these diets advise eating all your meals, (up to six meals spaced three hours apart) within a maximum twelve hours, effectively fasting for twelve hours daily.

If you wake up at 6am and start with breakfast, then go throughout the rest of your day eating here and there, have a good meal in the evening and then find yourself sitting of the sofa, still nibbling at 11pm, your eating window is now 17 hours a day. This is not ideal and yet a lot of us do this, myself included. Our bodies are not meant to be digesting food for 17 hours a day. It’s not ideal for anyone. So, sticking to a tighter feeding window, regardless of what diet you consume, is advised.

What  I did initially, was skip breakfast three times a week and start eating at around noon; if I consume my evening meal at say 7pm and start eating the following day at around noon, that means that I was fasting for 17 hours. To be totally honest, this wasn’t the easiest thing for me; I LOVE BREAKFAST, but I was determined to try it and see if it would have any effect on my digestion, mood and weight. I never fast on days when I have a heavy workout and would not recommend anyone fast if you have a hectic, physically demanding day. I coupled this with a lower intake of carbohydrates and a higher intake of fat, coming from plan sources mainly, such as avocado, nuts, seeds, nut butters (yum), eggs (not plant based of course but very nutritious and healthy in moderation) and found that I was very full for longer periods of time.

This was a while back and nowadays, while still following this sort of diet framework, more than anything else, I listen to my body. So if I wake up hungry, even if I don’t have a gym session planned or a hectic day ahead, I eat. If I’m not hungry, I don’t. Sounds simple enough right? But honestly, I personally have found that in the past, I was not as in tune with what my body needs as I am today so that is a definite plus.

I did manage to shift quite a bit of weight doing this, I also found that my moods improved ten fold  – I used to get very irritable throughout the first part of the day when I didn’t have the time or the means to eat every three hours or so, which is no longer the case today. If I do have breakfast and avoid carb heavy foods, I find that I’m full until lunch and don’t have to worry about snacking in between when I don’t have the time to do so, or carry 5 containers of food with me daily.

Finally, since I have a feeling that this post is already far too long (it’s remarkable that I manage to ‘talk’ too much even when writing), I will conclude this by saying that a healthy lifestyle is not a one size fits all. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. There are not good foods and bad foods and no such thing as the perfect diet, so don’t bother trying to achieve it. Everything in moderation. If you’re curious to try this out, go ahead, just make sure you don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right. What I mean by this is that if you try fasting and start getting lightheaded or don’t feel well, stop.

Furthermore, the best diet you can implement, is one you can stick to long term, so if eating every three hours and meal prepping is not something you thing you can stick to long term, don’t do it. Try something different and keep in mind that we need certain nutrients that come from a variety of different foods, so make sure you consume enough veg, fruit, nuts, pulses, protein, whole grains, fat etc.

If you’ve enjoyed this post and would like to see more posts like this from me, please like this post and follow the blog 🙂 I was thinking of writing a ‘what I eat in a day’ post, let me know if you’d like to see that, or anything else for that matter, in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and be here ❤

Until my next post, be well x X x

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