Ripped from my blog post “Weight Log: 10 - 125 days of Intermittent fasting”
Let us start with the basics, what the heck is intermittent fasting? Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them. In this respect, it’s not a diet in the conventional sense but more accurately described as an eating pattern. Thought being that patterns become routine, routine becomes second nature.
Now there are many ways to do this and I think the most heard about variant is 5:2 diet. The 5:2 diet is a form of intermittent fasting that involves (healthily) eating regularly for 5 days and eating very little for 2 days. Works well for some but I wanted to try something more regular, something daily. Those who know me from my teens will know I used to LOVE breakfast but nowadays I value more snooze time than a sugar boost. Lunch is something I used to forget often while working simply because I’d get lost in my work and oh bugger its 5pm.
So for my flavour of fasting I decided to go a little hard and go for 18:6 - 18:6 involves fasting for 18 hours out of the day, leaving you with a six-hour eating window. This could mean eating lunch at 2:30 pm, a snack at 6 pm, then finishing dinner by 8:30 pm… and for 125 days this is what I have done. Fasting like this is fairly flexible time wise, for example if I finished dinner later one day I would just start lunch later the following day. About three weeks in, I began to really notice a change in my appetite. I was beginning to eat smaller and smaller portions because I was naturally full. Unheard of for me!
On the flip side, fasting like this isn’t without challenges or concerns. Both my weight psychologist and dietitian showed concern when I told them. Mainly about my struggles with binge eating and type 2 diabetes. Any form of intermittent fasting, since it’s so strict, could potentially be a trigger for unhealthy behaviours for those with a history of eating disorders. I assured them I have been checking in with how my body is feeling, looking for signs this is doing more harm than good. My diabetes is under control and has seen a positive effect so far (although this was last checked early on).
While the fasting window itself is forgiving, what you can have while fasting is not. Pretty much stuck to water, no thrills black coffee (BLESS THE POWER OF COFFEE) and zero calorie drinks. Makes for a boring day. The early weeks of the fasting I struggled from 1pm onward not to eat as well as late night snack. I still struggle now someday with over eating in my food window, an issue I am very aware of. This regime has taken a good chunk of willpower and is not perfect but I have learnt control food cravings better while also harnessing distraction techniques discussed with my weight psychologist.
Well it depends if you think it can work for you rather than you to working to fit with it. If you are interested in trying it out I can recommend an app called Fastic which has been great for me to track and visualise a healthy fasting habit. Drink black coffee, carbonated water, and plain water to fill you up during your fasting window. Start with a 12-hour fasting window, then gradually work your way up to 14 hours, then 16 hours. This does not replace a well rounded diet. Just because you’re only eating six hours out of the day doesn’t give you the green light to eat as much as you want during your feeding window. Intermittent fasting is not easy, not some cheat code, but I feel it has helped me tame my appetite and control my eating habits more.
Could it be a placebo? ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Looks to be working for me so I’ll take that win.