Intermittent Fasting... What? Why?
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, and this post is not meant to be a substitute for professional care. This post is based upon personal experience only. Please do your own research and speak to a medical professional before making any major changes to your diet or lifestyle.
As most of you would know by now, I have taken part in Intermittent fasting (IF) on and off over the last few years of my fitness journey! After receiving hundreds of questions about IF from you guys, I thought I would give you the lowdown plus an update on my IF journey!
For those of you who are unsure what IF is, it’s a popular way of eating which has become quite trendy within the health and fitness community. Though it may seem that IF is a trend, it’s not. People have been fasting for centuries for cultural, religious, and health reasons.
IF basically allows you a window of time to eat throughout a 24 hour period, while the rest of your day is spent fasting (not eating). For example, a common IF rule is to spend 8 hours eating, and 16 hours fasting (the 8:16 rule is the one I tried!). But that’s not the only method, there are other methods of intermittent fasting such as:
5:2 method. You restrict your calorie intake to 500 calories for 2 days out of the week
24 hour fast: You fast for an entire 24 hour period (1 day) per week
The warrior diet: Eat small amounts of fruit and vegetables during the day and eat a huge meal for dinner
While fasting, you give your body a break from digesting food (one of the body’s most energy-draining jobs). This may help promote cell regeneration, give you better digestion, regulated your energy levels, improve your skin, lower your glucose and insulin levels, lower your risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease and lower your risk of diabetes.
BUT I know what you’re thinking… what about weight loss? You can definitely find research out there that says you can lose weight from intermittent fasting, however for me it was the above health aspects that attracted me to IF.
Why I tried IF
Before experimenting with IF, I was eating and snacking all day. I would always be thinking “what will I eat next?” I was constantly thinking about food because I was never satiated. I also noticed I constantly struggled with gas and bloating. So when I had heard about IF, I just wanted to try it for myself to see what it could do for me and my health.
The Benefits I Noticed
My digestion was ON POINT. Before IF, I felt like my body was constantly trying to digest food (because it probably was) but while doing IF, I felt like my food would digest easily without any discomfort.
I noticed I had a lot more energy. I was feeling energised and happy throughout my WHOLE day and didn't experience my usual afternoon energy dips.
I loved having to think about one less thing in the morning and only worrying about 2 main meals to prep for.
I would feel so clear in the morning before I ate. I was that person who use to say “I cannot think I am so hungry” in the mornings, but I noticed it was actually opposite.
I also loved that my main meals were BIG (as I was still eating the same amount of food just in a shorter time period) and I love big meals.
Lastly, I did notice I felt ‘leaner’ in the mornings but this could have been because I was less bloated and my food was digested better.
Cons I experienced
To be honest, I couldn’t find a lot of cons with IF except sometimes my body wouldn’t feel like fasting and I felt hungry. When I was first experimenting with IF, I would push through until it basically got to the point where I didn’t feel hungry anymore.
Who shouldn't try IF
It is recommend pregnant women should not fast.
Additionally, anyone going through an extra stressful period or adjustment stage in their life should not fast. IF is a stress. If you are not in a good place in your life, fasting may not be the best idea as it can increase your cortisol and add to the stress and pressure that you are already under.
People who may currently have or be recovering from an eating disorder shouldn’t try IF. Personally I have had unhealthy issues with food in the past. While I was trying IF I did have the thought that this habit could easily take me back to destructive habits. I suggest you be very honest with yourself before trying IF and make sure you currently have a healthy relationship with yourself and food.
What do I do now?
I get asked all the time if I am still doing IF and my answer is yes, but intuitively. I do it most days but then some days I just know my body wants food in the morning, and so I eat. I know that sounds too simple but that is how I like it. If you want to try IF, I suggest you test, adjust and repeat that process. Your body has all the answers you just have to listen to it.
IF has worked wonders for me, but it’s important to remember that it’s not for everyone and this is just based off my experience. I have had people message me and say how crappy they feel doing it and ask me what to do… My response? If it is not something that fits your lifestyle and that you don’t feel good doing… don’t do it! Simple as that.
If you want more information, I documented my IF journey on my YouTube channel and even made an IF video… check it out here.