A few weeks ago I wrote an article for Sun Life Go Well on Intermittent Fasting. I purposely saved that article for last in the series I did for them because I wanted to make sure I could incorporate my own personal insights into the piece. In the past, while I would occasionally skip meals - such as after having an incredibly heavy brunch or if I had no time to eat breakfast before rushing out for work in the morning -- I had never really made a conscious effort to observe how it went or how I felt during and after the fast. So this time I actually scheduled some fasts and took notes on the experience.
I did four 16-hour fasts over the course of 1 month. What I find works best for me is a late lunch (1pm to 2pm) and then my next meal is breakfast the next day at 6am, which is when I usually take breakfast anyway. In between I had nothing but water every couple of hours. At around 9 or 10 in the evening I would get a bit hungry but by then it was close to bedtime anyway so it was ok.
In the mornings I worked out before breakfast: twice I went for a fasted 5K run, just taking it easy and sticking to my Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) pace, and twice I just did 30-45 minutes of yoga. Felt really good. I wasn't even that hungry when I finally sat at the dining table for breakfast.
After just the 2nd session and without changing anything else about my eating habits and fitness regimen I lost half an inch off my waist. I was so pleasantly surprised. Even my husband noticed a difference.
My energy levels were great throughout and I felt very productive everyday. Can't really say if that's a direct benefit but I guess what I can confirm is that fasting will not slow you down.
How was the experience?
Here's what I observed:
The fast itself is not so bad at all and it's likely because I've been eating primally for a while. I was a little hungry, but at no point did I experience gnawing hunger nor even a grumbling stomach. Carry lang. :) In fact, if I wanted to, I think I could have extended the fast for a couple more hours after my workouts. But of course, breakfast with the family is way more important. :)
I can't imagine going through this if I wasn't already fat-adapted. I would not recommend IF for anybody who is still in sugar-burning mode. Years ago when I was still a bread, chips and dessert girl I couldn't even go two hours without my stomach complaining. 16 hours would have been horrible.
Intermittent Fasting helped to make me more cognizant of when I'm REALLY hungry and when I'm eating just "because it's mealtime".
I'm liking the results I'm seeing, so my plan is to work in a fast every now and then: when my husband is on a boys' night out, for example, or when my lunch is later than usual and I'm really not hungry at dinner anyway. Nothing forced. Let's see how this goes.