Hey. Hi. Hello! It’s Friday again, which means the work week is coming to a close for most humans. I work Monday – Saturday so one more day until I get a bit of a break. BUT, I’m actually writing this on Valentines Day and let me tell you it’s a struggle and a half to not pig out on comfort food today. Ya girl is out here trying to shed some lbs so I’m trying to be good. Speaking of eating, today we’re going to talk about IF, or Intermittent Fasting.
I started Intermittent Fasting at the beginning of January, so just over a month ago. Right off the bat, it sounds a LOT more complicated than it really is. So what is IF? Intermittent Fasting is NOT a diet, but rather a change in eating pattern. The basic rule of thumb is, out of the 24 hours there are in a day, someone who is doing IF would eat all of their meals within an 8-hour time-block, and then “fast” for the rest of the 16 hours. The most common eating block is from noon to 8:00 pm, but obviously, this can be adapted to each individuals lifestyle. For example, my schedule at the gym is a bit sporadic each day, so sometimes I’m up at 7:00 am, and other days I can sleep in later. Plus, I only get one 30 minute break each day I’m at the gym to eat. Both of these factors mean that on certain days I’ll adjust my eating periods to be like 11:00am to 7:00pm, or 9:00am to 5:00pm.
When I explained this new eating style to someone, they asked, “Well isn’t that just like how a normal person would eat?” And the answer to that is maybe. It’s quite possible that someone has the luxury of waking up late and eating their first meal around noon, and then naturally eats their last meal around 8:00pm. However, for me, that wasn’t the case. Usually, I wake up around 9:00 am and head up to the gym for my workout. I would then come back down and have breakfast around 10:00am. Now if I’m following that same pattern, I would come downstairs from working out and wait until noon to have my first meal.
I’ve read some sites that say IF is eating only one large meal or two larger meals in a day. However, I don’t subscribe to that style. Like I mentioned in my last Fitness Friday post, I’m working on increasing my daily caloric intake in order to help my metabolism. In order to do that, I’m not going to be able to eat one 1400 calorie meal or two 700 calorie meals in a day, because for me that’s not safe or healthy. Rather, I have three larger meals during my 8-hour window. I typically eat my first meal at noon, my second meal around 3:00pm, and my third meal around 6:00pm. I like to eat my last meal a little earlier because it gives me time to digest and fit in a little snack or dessert in order to reach my caloric and macro goals for the day. I’ll be honest with you though, I am still struggling to hit the 1400 calories each day, simply because my body isn’t used to eating large meals at the moment. So, while I should be averaging around 460 calories per meal, most days I’m getting 200-300 per meal and trying to supplement with snacks.
So, what is the purpose of Intermittent Fasting? Well, the biggest draw for this change is that it claims to help with fat burning. When you eat, your body utilizes that food as readily available energy sources, so with a normal eating plan you may be feeding your body three meals throughout the day and supplementing with snacks between those meals. Your body learns that it will have energy sources throughout the day so you will burn calories this way. However, with Intermittent Fasting, you’re only providing your body with readily available and digestible energy for a small period during the day. During the other 16 hours when your body doesn’t have food to consume for energy, it goes into a “fasted state,” which is where it becomes more likely to pull from fat stores to burn as energy. I would say this is the biggest draw for this eating change.
Of course, there is more science behind IF than just the fact that it claims to burn fat more than a regular style of eating. However, it’s science that I don’t quite understand yet, but there are plenty of sources online to help you learn about this if it is something you’re’ interested in. Now I want to share a little about my experience with it.
I’ve enjoyed this change so far. At first, I was really rigid in my eating from noon to 8:00 pm, but now I’ve learned to listen to my body and if I happen to be starving at 9:00am when I know I have to sit in a lecture all day then I’ll adjust my eating window. I didn’t have a hard time transitioning into IF, mainly because I started this change when I wasn’t working and was just hanging around my apartment all day. That certainly made it easier to not feel tempted to eat because I wasn’t being active so my body didn’t need energy. BUT, have I noticed any huge changes yet? Absolutely not. But I’ll be honest with you, I think the way I’m treating my body could be a factor into that. I work out every day, I eat way less than I should, so until I can implement healthier practices like getting those 1400 calories a day and giving myself days off from the gym, I’m not sure I’ll notice any tremendous changes. But, that’s not to say that you won’t see changes on this. If you decide to start IF let me know how the journey goes for you! Until Monday, xoxo.