3/4/19 intermittent fasting
Hi guys! I’ve been wanting to share a bit more about my fasting journey because I know it’s a little new/odd or maybe even scary to some people… in the least, confusing. So, first, let’s get down to basics for those new to IF.
IF = Intermittent Fasting. While there are many different types of fasts, I am going to focus on time-restricted feeding.
Commonly, you will hear of people doing a 16:8. This means they are fasting for 16 hours and eating over the course of an 8 hour period. The most common (and easiest IMHO) version of this is fasting from 8pm – noon the next day. And I’ve gotten this question a few times, yes, sleeping is fasting! That’s why the first meal you eat in the morning is called break-fast.
20:4 is a bit stricter. While you can eat lunch and dinner easily in the 16:8 style of fasting, 20:4 is typically associated with OMAD (one meal a day) where you fast for 20 hours and eat in a 4 hour period. Some people may choose to eat in a one hour period and do 23:1 which makes overeating much harder.
36hr fasts are also popular, but it is not recommended to do more than once a week. Same goes for anything longer. I notice keto peeps love IF. Extended fasts can be used to get back in ketosis after a cheat day and give you a refresh before jumping back into strict keto. I think of my extended fasts as a cleanse.
So what DO you consume during a fast? Water. Water. Water! I try to get in at least a gallon of water during any fast that I do. You can also consume coffee & tea. One of the things you will regret not doing is drinking electrolytes. I do purchase electrolytes, but lemon juice and himalyan pink salt makes for a cheap and easy boost in your day. Some people choose to include bone broth in their fasts, others still do their BPC in the morning, but how you fast is up to you. I personally, do not want my body to lose that fasted state, therefore, I consume zero calories when I fast.
I started dabbling in IF about a year ago. I wasn’t following any specific diet plan, but I had heard about the benefits that a 16 hour daily fast could provide. I read that it would help me lose weight and gain a mental clarity. I figured, what’s the harm? I usually skip breakfast anyway, so a dinner-to-lunch fasting period sounded possible.
One thing about me is that I love to indulge in food. I appreciate great food, as do many I’m sure, but for me it became an issue with my weight and my opinion of my overall health. Because my brain is constantly thinking about my next meal – “What is it going to be? Where is it going to come from? What time will it be here?” I found myself snacking much more often between meals or ordering a little too much off the menu when I went out to eat. Another issue for me is that I cannot waste food. I don’t enjoy wasting anything to be honest, I use everything until the last drop. But I just have such a pet peeve with wasted food. To think of people who cannot access fresh food, I just cannot stand perfectly good food going to waste. If I order too much I finish it or I take it home. That being said, I eat, even when I’m full — hence, the problem.
When I thought about fasting, I thought, okay, here’s an idea. In my mind, I figured if I’m fasting then I will let my mind focus on other things since I will know exactly when my next meal is coming and I won’t be over-buying/cooking more than I can chew. Wrong.
Two things that are difficult for me. 1. Planning my grocery shopping around my fasts. 2. Pretending food doesn’t exist. I don’t want to be on an extended fast with a fridge full of fresh food. Therefore, my freezer is PACKED! And I cut back on buying fresh vegetables…having to throw out a bad avocado hurts me the most. With extended fasts, I have found the mental clarity that is sort of promised with fasting. I do find I can think less about food and focus more on work during the day and on hitting my water goals. But there have been days where I am fasting and I do decide to break early because my body just isn’t having it. And that’s okay. If you do start fasting, remember to listen to your body. Challenging yourself should be uncomfortable, but only you know what is right for your body and what is too far.
One major question that I have seen most is does fasting help lose weight more than just a caloric deficit?
I am not a doctor, I have not done extensive research on this, but I have tried both and can offer my thoughts on what works for me.
Eating at a deficit = weight loss. We know that to be true from every case and study, but I think that doing it through intermittent fasting is much more sustainable. Having 5 small meals a day sounds great in concept, but every time I eat I get that blood sugar response and that sensation that makes me want to eat until I’m full. If I only have one 4-hour period to eat, there is more of a chance that I will hit my calorie goals, or come out under them because I will get full in that meal, but after I digest, I won’t be able to eat again until after my next fast. I also make myself full with my water intake during my fasts, so that when I am ready to break, it will be with a well-balanced meal. Since I am keto, I try to plan out a meal that is high in fat, low to no carbs, and moderate in protein.
One more issue for me is that I am a stress/emotional eater and I’ve found that when I’m in a fasted state, I have a clearer mind and sense of how I am treating my body. Once I take that first bite of food, if I’m not in a good place mentally, I can’t promise that I’ll stop. Being fasted has helped me curb that issue. There are times when I overeat after breaking my fast, but I have been working to eat slowly, drink a lot of water during the meal, and just try to think of other ways to occupy myself after I finish my planned out meal to avoid grabbing a snack.
I think every body is different, but I truly enjoy the way I feel with intermittent fasting. If you’re thinking about it, feel free to message me!
12/27/18 current foodventure – keto!
I am a chronic fad dieter. I’ve done the skinny teas, Whole 30, the maple syrup diet (thanks a lot, Beyonce). I’ve fasted, tried eating every other day, and even just *gasp* tried to eat well-balanced meals! Nothing ever worked. I will give Whole 30 a bit of credit for the instant de-bloat that the diet offers, but do you think I’ve made it all the way to Day 30 on my four attempts? And even then, you know my next bite of mac + cheese throws those ten pounds I lost, right back on!
I read a post on Thought Catalog that says “Nothing kills a dieter’s spirit more than waking up to the smell of cooking bacon and knowing you can’t have any.” Well Blogger, you may want to look into keto, or, the “eat fat lose fat” diet.
Did I ever think I’d be doing a meat-based diet? Not in my wildest nightmares. I think I may be under a spell from dating/living with a meat-loving lad… and working with a coworker who makes his own jerky (organic!). But after four years of being vegan and two years of having no idea who I was, I have started a somewhat-ok attempt of the ketogenic diet.
There are times when I really miss the vegan community. I want to swear off animal-based products everyday, and yes, this makes me the biggest hypocrite in the world, but I do have a place in my heart for animals and I would like to see a world that better utilizes our grains and beans. Or just one that gives a damn about our carbon emissions, but that’s for another day.
This is the world I live in and I’ve given into taste/temptation. Moving on.
My first mistake with trying keto was starting the week before a trip to Miami. Things got a little out of hand at a drag brunch with some mimosas and mac + cheese, but I started clean the very next day on December 3rd. After two weeks of headaches, I am in ketosis!
The morning of the 3rd I weighed myself which quickly became a daily morning ritual. I lost 11 pounds almost immediately. Water weight, yes, but I really can’t take the non-bloated stomach for granted. The good feeling got me to push through the headaches and lose another 3 pounds in the last 5 days.
To be clear, my daily habits do not feel healthy. I work out twice a week for a half hour. I sit at my desk and stare at a computer 9 hours a day. As you can see, the math is not in my favor. While I hope that the diet alone will help me lose the 25 pounds I am ready to say goodbye to, I fear that a diet based on foods complete with the “bad kind” of cholesterol will not benefit me in the long run unless I add in cardio and kale.
If you aren’t completely familiar with the keto diet, well, same here. But I do know that I need to stay under 20g of net carbs a day which means carbs from fiber are safe (hello, avocados). I need to base an entire day of food around fat and protein, but to actually lose weight, I still need to maintain somewhat of a calorie deficit. My staples are fish, shrimp, chicken, turkey, farm-raised eggs, and way too much cheese (yes, you can eat cheese! Lots and lots of low-calorie, zero-carb cheese!).
My problems seem to occur on the days that I crave for more options. I haven’t had steak since before I was a vegetarian. I am talking like 2010. Things have changed. Something about being on this keto plan has caused me to not only want meat, but enjoy it. Maybe it is because meat feels like the only thing I am allowed to eat without my Carb Manager app having a hissy fit. Yes, my first full steak was soaked in butter and cajun seasoning, as is most of my food these days, but I didn’t just want it. I requested it!
Ok, full disclosure my first steak was last night and I am clearly still processing. I felt three things. 1. That I am the sole cause of global warming. 2. That I was going to have a heart attack. & 3. Yum.
Of course, the calories in that zero-carb steak pushed me up a pound this morning. I am told that your weight will still fluctuate on this diet. You can’t start anything for three weeks and expect it to be a miracle cure, but I can still get a little down on myself when this happens. Today, I took a refresh. I am paying attention to every bite that I consume and just trying to drink water and keep breathing. A hot yoga class also seems necessary this weekend as I’ve paused my workouts with my trainer through the Christmas/New Year holidays.
Truth be told, I have absolutely zero credible advice to give to anyone looking to try keto. I am just beginning and I text my cousin who is on it every single day for mentor-ship. If there wasn’t a significant weight loss involved, I would not have started keto. Having to count the carbs of fruits and vegetables just confuses every single thing I have ever been taught about health and wellness. It’s a big change to make for someone who lived on ramen and tabouli (I love my Lebanese food, but really, salad with grains in it? carb city!!), but I have promised myself six months of strict keto and the fact that I am already seeing changes in my body keeps me going. Also, I got through Christmas!
I am just about at my one month mark, but I am curious to see how my next month will go as I try to better adapt to a meal plan that suits me. More fish. More water. And low-carb salads!