With everyone in search of a magic pill in order to lose a couple extra lbs, tone up, and get in shape for the summer, I decided to also give something new a try. In this blog post we will be looking at the protocol I followed, as well as how I felt during this fasting.
Although there is much conflicting evidence on this topic, this is my personal experience and how I felt during it.
First off, Intermittent Fasting isn’t so much a diet as it is a way of restricting the food you consume into a certain time frame. Many people refer to this as time restricted eating. Time restricted eating typically has 3 main methods:
1. 16:8 method – 16 hours of fasting a day and 8 hours of eating (typically I would begin eating for the day around 11 am and be finished eating around 7-8 pm)
2. Alternate day fasting – one day you eat your normal calories and the next you eat a fifth of the calories as normal (don’t like this idea, but I also haven’t tried it).
3. 5:2 method – 5 days of normal eating followed by 2 days of extreme calorie restriction (personally I don’t recommend. They say to only eat 500 calories per day on the 2 days, and this just doesn’t sound like a good idea to me, especially for someone living an active lifestyle).
The method I followed was the 16:8 protocol. This meant that I would eat all my calories in an 8 hour window and fast for 16 hours. I’ve been following this protocol for roughly 2-3 weeks and here is my experience with it.
Day 1 and 2: I’m HUNGRY.
The thought process for this is that we become addicted to constant blood sugar spikes. I would find myself getting up to train clients and be super hungry. I would also find myself hungry every 1-2.5 hours. I found myself a lot more aware of how often I would actually get hungry. Much like this squirrel, I found that I would be eating most of the day.
Day 3-5: Feeling a lot better in the mornings.
Throughout day 3-5 I noticed something different. Although I wouldn’t say that I had more energy in the morning per se, YET…what i would say is that mentally I felt as if I had already been up for a couple hours (much more clear/focused). When speaking with a client to try and find the words for it, we described it as being much less groggy after initially waking up.. Interesting.
I also found that in the mornings I wouldn’t be getting hungry till about 10 am.
A big part of morning hunger is that it is part of our routine. We’ve grown up being taught that we need to eat every couple hours. To note, I do believe for those under 16-18 years of age, they should absolutely be eating in the mornings, they are in a huge growth phase of their life and it’s important to be supplying the body with enough energy to grow strong healthy bones and body.
Day 6+: “Wow this isn’t bad!”
Say what you want about intermittent fasting. We’ve all had great experiences with some things, and bad experiences with others.
My personal experience with intermittent fasting has been a very positive one. After about 6-7 days of intermittent fasting onward I found myself not getting hungry till past noon (I would eat because I know I have to rather than because I felt like I need to). I also found that my body composition has improved. I was initially about 233-235 lbs and have been following this restricted eating for about 2-3 weeks now and have recently weighed myself at 227, this is all while having no decrease of strength in my workouts.
Lastly, I consider myself a realist. Although I am a avid preacher of a healthy diet and proper exercise, I’m also not a controlling freak about it. I realize that there are days that we can’t exactly stick to this plan, whether it’s due to logistics such as being at a social event for the weekend, or simply because we give in and decide we want a morning breakfast sandwich at 8 am (nothing wrong with that, however it will break the fast early). The results I got were those that would be similar to any of you trying this method. I didn’t set a timer saying that ‘ now my fast is broken, I have 8 hours to eat or anything intense like that. I simply would get my morning workout in around 9-11 am and then eat afterwards, by this time, it was right around when I would need to eat according to my 16:8 methodology anyhow.
RESULTS – In hindsight, this is what I found after following the 16:8 methodology:
° Increased mental clarity (hard to describe)
° Increased Motivation
° Increased Energy – even while following a strict volleyball training schedule of training
° Decreased Weight
° Better Sleep – likely due to not eating immediately before bed like I had been doing prior.
For those looking to lose a couple pounds, this could be something to try. As many health professionals such as myself suggest, the best diet/workout/health regime, is one that you can stick with. I found that this worked much better for me compared to a strict meal plan simply because I do live a super busy life running from place to place starting in the early morning. My schedule consists of balancing my business, my volleyball workouts, baseball schedule, and likely school come the fall.
For any of you who have tried intermittent fasting, what are your experiences with it?!
Written By Owner of Your Future Fitness | Andrew Blakey | At Home Personal Training Toronto