If anyone had asked me about intermittent fasting a few years ago, I would have looked back at them with a blank stare.
For me, depriving myself of food, or fasting was a big no no. Balance was the key for me, you know, three square meals a day, breakfast being the most important part of it. As a nutritionist, this was the mantra I lived by.
But then we embarked on a big move, all the way out to Montreal, buying a house that needed way more work than myself and my husband Bob ever envisioned.
The thing is I didn’t even notice the pounds piling on. I blamed my expanding waist line on being generally “windy” and bloated (eating on the go will do that to you). I just got looser clothes to compensate. Needless to say, I developed a blind spot where my scales where concerned, avoiding it at all cost.
If you take a look at the picture below, you will see me at my heaviest. Hubby snapped the picture of me larking around on the beach having a whale of a time (no pun intended).
I am not kidding when I say that when I saw myself, I didn’t even recognize the person looking back at me. I had perfected scale dodging, and mirror avoiding for so long, in my mind I had literally created another version of myself. To be honest I just thought of myself as a sassy slightly curvier woman who still (pauses to snap fingers) “had it going on”.
I couldn’t possible be this saggy, dumpy person with a burgeoning pot belly – could I? But the evidence was right there in front of me.
I went back to dieting
Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking being a bigger lady. But the fact of the matter was, that weight wasn’t right for me. The truth was, I didn’t feel good about what I saw in the mirror, how I felt when I put on clothes. I also felt disconnected from my body, the smallest efforts leaving me breathless.
So I did what I usually would do, I got down to business. First of all I began portion controlling, I stopped eating sweets, takeouts, I did all the things I had done before to lose the weight. But… it didn’t seem to be working.
What had worked a treat in my twenties and early thirties just wasn’t doing it any more. Bad habits and time had wrecked havoc on my metabolism.
…So in truth, when the diet didn’t do anything, I began hunting around the cupboards, searching for those comfort foods, the same ones that had made feel so uncomfortable.
But things changed when I returned back to the UK…
My return home after the failed diets
Three days into my return home, I ran into an old friend. She looked incredible. Her skin was tanned, her body slim, toned and she radiated good health and vitality.
I looked on filled with a mixture of embarrassment and awe.
We sat in a cafe for hours, sipping green tea and chatting about everything under the sun – but weight. I was relieved she hadn’t mentioned the noticeable changes in me. Funny thing was, I had always been the “thin one” while she had always been the one that struggled with her weight. But there we were…
As we finished up, a thought came to my mind; I could either jump back on the plane and never discover what this once portly woman had done to get so gorgeous and svelte, or I could swallow my pride and just ask.
Although she never mentioned my weight gain, lovely as she is, the moment I asked how she became so slim, she was falling over herself to tell me.
That’s when I found out about intermittent fasting…
I was full of questions; what was the intermittent fasting diet? what is intermittent fasting? Apart from weight loss what are the intermittent fasting benefits? We spent remainder of the day taling about intermittent fasting. I was so fascinated by everything I found out, I knew it was something I had to try.
I am so glad that I did, below is me at my current weight.
Now go forward 2 years, that’s how long hubby and me have been doing this intermittent fasting thing, and I couldn’t be happier. Yes, my hubby joined in and with no cajoling from me.
Soon after I started, he was watching me swish around in a new summer dress, and says; “I refuse to look like some big ole bear next to you, while you get slimmer and even more beautiful”. I think giggled, and told him welcome on board.
I wasn’t going to discourage him. Much as I love my big ole bear of a man, I was thrilled to have a partner crime…
How we do intermittent fasting
Goodbye the idea that breakfast has to be the most important meal of the day. Hello skipping breakfasts – every day, along with this, eating 2 meals a day, the 1st at around 1pm, the second meal at 8pm. Hubby and I then fast for 16 hours until we start eating again the following day at 1pm.
I was surprised to find that since intermittent fasting I have actually increased muscle mass while decreasing my overall body fat ( from 31% now 23%).
And while before I would do at least 5 hours training per week if I wanted to get my weight down, now I have cut down my training routine by a couple of hours and still see results! The same goes for my hubby, who has watched his pot belly disappear, while I’m glad to finally see the back of my back fat!
Simply speaking, I am leaner, stronger AND more energetic. I have cut down my gym less AS WELL AS eating less.
So how is this all possible? Why would anyone skip food for 16 hours every day? Is skipping breakfast bad for you? is there any kind of science behind this? is intermittent fasting dangerous? are there any benefits of intermittent fasting?
Whoa, slow down there! Let me answer the questions that are probably buzzing around your head. In my time, I’ve done many crazy things, but intermittent fasting is not one of them – it’s legit. One of the great things is that it’s effortless, anyone can implement intermittent fasting in their lifestyle IN ADDITION to receiving loads of health benefits.
Here I will break down intermittent fasting AND all that’s involved.
What exactly is intermittent fasting AND why you should it?
Intermittent fasting is not actually a diet, it’s a way of eating. It is also a good way of scheduling your foods so it works for you in the best possible way. Intermittent fasting is not about changing how you eat, it’s about changing what happens to your body after you eat.
It needs mentioning that this is a fantastic way to get lean muscle without any crash diets or calorie cutting. Instead, when you eat (in the eating phase you can eat as much as you like) you will discover that your appetite naturally decreases and you won’t want that extra piece of chicken or another scoop of ice-cream.
And let’s cut to the chase, the primary reason anyone tries intermittent fasting is to lose lose fat. We’ll discuss how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss in a moment.
Intermittent fasting is also an incredible way to handle your eating habits. For a lot of people, and I include myself in this, there’s a freedom in knowing you can eat whatever you (if you choose) with nothing off limits.
The understanding that this is a lifestyle, rather than a diet, really takes the pressure off, because I can plan ahead. I also love how this simple idea has produced some big results.
How does Intermittent fasting work?
To grasp how intermittent fasting enables fat loss, my hubby and I initially had to recognize the difference between fed state and a fasted state.
Whenever your body is digesting, it is actually in a fed state. This is essentially whenever it is absorbing food. The fed state starts the moment you begin to eat IN ADDITION TO another three to five hours after where your body is still digesting what you have eaten. When your body is in a fed state, it is very hard for it to be able to burn fat because insulin levels will be higher.
After that time, your own body enters into what is termed as a post–absorptive state, which is just a fancy way of saying that it isn’t processing food. That post–absorptive state starts 7 to 12 hours after your very last meal, this is when you enter a fasted state. This states makes it much easier for your body to burn fat as your insulin levels tend to be lower.
When your body is in a fasted state it now can burn fat. This fat would have been inaccessible in the fed state.
A majority of people who start intermittent fasting will lose fat without adjusting the amount of food they eat, they type of food they eat, or how often they are exercising. Fasting forces your body into a fat burning state that would not occur on a normal eating schedule.
Do you know what the best thing about Intermittent Fasting is?
The fat loss is great, that’s a given, but it isn’t the only reason to begin intermittent fasting.
1. Intermittent fasting makes life simpler.
Hands up, I’m fan of making life easier. IN ADDITION TO a reduction in stress, intermittent fasting has allowed hubby and me to have a life that we can really enjoy. In the morning we get up, we don’t worry about breakfast, we simply grab a glass of water AND begin THE day.
Now we love cooking, but intermittent fasting allows me to eat one less meal, plan for one less meal, cook one less meal, AND worry over one less meal. This doesn’t just make life way easier, I can actually spend more time with my spouse, which I like – a lot.
2. Intermittent fasting helps you live longer.
For years scientists have known that restricting calories may increase an individuals lifespan. Logical speaking, this makes sense. Whenever the body goes into fast mode, it finds ways to extend your life.
Back in 1945 it was found that intermittent fasting lengthened the life of mice, (your can find the study here). In addition to this, research has shown that alternate day intermittent fasting leads to longer lifespans.
3. Intermittent fasting could reduce risks of cancer.
This one is still be debated since there isn’t a whole lot of research into this area. However, early reports are positive.
A study of 10 cancer patients suggests that side effects associated with chemotherapy reduced via fasting prior to treatment. This received support through another study which considered intermittent fasting could result in better cure rates IN ADDITION TO less deaths.
AS WELL as disease, fasting seems to diminish issues with cardiovascular disease.
4. Intermittent fasting is less difficult than dieting.
The reason diets tend to fail isn’t just a nutrition problem, it’s change in behavior problem.
That’s where intermittent fasting stands out because its remarkably simple to implement. Studies have found that people usually feel happier and much more in control when intermittent fasting. Research with obese adults found that “subjects quickly adapted” on intermittent fasting routines.
Some weight loss before and after pictures with intermittent fasting
I’m so over those crash and burn diets
If you are anything like me, and are done with diets that work for a second before those pounds come rushing back, then I highly recommend intermittent fasting.
Does that mean it will it be for everyone? In short, no. Some people will never be able to eat in such structured way, and may feel weird eating at different times to others. All I can say is it worked for me, and lots of other people. Give it a go and see, hopefully you will get the same fabulous results as I did.
For a more detailed guide on getting started with intermittent fasting, check out Eat Stop Eat: This book is a step by step guide to starting, and more importantly succeeding with intermittent fasting to lose weight.
I look forward to seeing where this way of eating will take you.