After years of living a low-carb lifestyle, my body and mind had hit a plateau. At the same time, I began questioning what the long-term effects of consuming such a high-fat diet would have on my heart health.
Why Intermittent Fasting?
My philosophy with any lifestyle change is that it has to work for me. Sounds simple, but I know immediately when a friend starts talking about diets that involve counting points or only drinking juice that those things won’t jive with my lifestyle. Sure, all diets or lifestyle changes take sacrifices, but sticking to something means it can’t seem like mild torture (juicing) or a job (counting points). So when I was introduced to intermittent fasting I was immediately intrigued for a couple of reasons. In your “eating window,” you can largely consume whatever types of healthy foods you want. Plus, it was going to allow me to save money. I had nothing to lose (aside from the five pesky pounds of pregnancy weight), so I set off on my intermittent fasting journey and—spoiler alert—ended up in the best shape of my life.
Types of Fasting
Back in 2017, when I first started fasting, it wasn’t as popular as it is now. There wasn’t near as much info out there as there is today. I began my fasting journey doing the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan, which as it turns out, is one of the most popular styles of fasting for beginners. The concept is that you refrain from eating for 16 hours and only eat during the remaining eight hours of the day. This is what is referred to as your “eating window.” I decided to implement this for an indefinite amount of time and it became a lifestyle. I followed the 16:8 method religiously for over six months. If you aren’t sure in the beginning, you can start the practice once or twice per week. The DoFasting app offers a free quiz to help determine which fasting plan is right for you.
It’s important to experiment and pick the time frame for eating and fasting that best fits your schedule. The fasting pros at DoFasting recommend finishing your last meal a few hours before bedtime. For example: Finish your evening meal by 8pm, then skip breakfast the next day and start eating again at noon.
While your body adjusts to its new routine, it’s important to eat several small meals and snacks spaced evenly throughout the day so your blood sugar levels remain stable. This will keep your hangry persona from coming out. On that note, my biggest fasting hack was to stock up on soda water. Bubbly water is way more exciting than tap and I find that it fills me up way more than regular water. Anytime I had hunger pains in the fasting window, I reached for a bottle of bubbly (water).
Meal Planning and More: Tips and Tricks
Truth be told, cutting out breakfast wasn’t hard at all for me. In fact, it was one of the reasons I knew this lifestyle change was (personally) worth a shot. My normal breakfast was coffee and fruit or a granola bar, so eliminating those calories wasn’t a shock to the system. Lucky for you caffeine junkies, black coffee and tea are both acceptable during the fasting window. (And as long as you only throw in a splash of skim milk, you don’t have to cut out the cream entirely either.) According to DoFasting, a small amount of skim milk will not affect the benefits of fasting, unlike sugar or half and half.
Once your fasting window is over, be mindful of the foods you are eating. Don’t be tempted to think that just because you have been fasting it’s time to hit up the fast-food drive-through. Instead, incorporate foods that are high in fiber, (mostly) nutritious, but are things you still enjoy. Many diets are about eating foods that don’t bring much joy. However, fasting means you still get to still eat a salad for lunch, but don’t have to skimp on any of the “fun fixings.” I got into a habit of piling my lunch salad with croutons, almonds, and any dressing I wanted since I wasn’t counting calories.
For dinner, meal planning will prove to be a fun distraction during the day. Finding and utilizing an intermittent fasting app like DoFasting is a lifesaver for when you don’t want to have to think about approved foods. Their app has tons of meal plans and ideas for multiple types of fasting and other popular diets like the Mediterranean diet and Keto if you are combining your fasting with another eating approach.
The only hiccup I encountered in my fasting journey was my love of a morning workout. I had to adjust my workout to the afternoon or evening so I could still incorporate a pre-workout shake and a post-workout snack. Turns out, I have come to LOVE working out in the afternoon! It is one of the many lasting changes I have made in my life post-fasting.
On the other hand, if you only have time in the morning to exercise, you might consider an early dinner so you can still incorporate sleeping hours into your fasting window. Look at the bright side, early-bird restaurant specials will also help you save money.
The DoFasting app can help in this arena as well. Simply set your workout schedule, choose your fitness level, and start getting fit using DoFasting’s exercise suggestions. Professionally visualized training routines have everything you need to incorporate exercise into your daily routine: warmups, workouts, and stretching guides. Just 10-30 minutes a day can really make a difference in the way you carry yourself, your muscle tone, and the way your clothes fit. Plus, you’ll feel healthier because you are healthier!
Drinking Booze and Fasting
Any diet that allows for a glass of wine while I’m making dinner is a winner for me. During your eating window, having a drink is acceptable! But as with solid food, it has to stop once your fasting window begins again. I found my relationship with alcohol naturally decreased while fasting because of the time limits. Decreasing overall caloric intake since I wasn’t reaching for glass number two….or three was an added bonus.
Not only does your alcohol tolerance go down when fasting, but your overall appetite decreases—one of the best long term side effects of fasting! When I would go on vacation or take a break from fasting, I found I couldn’t eat nearly the same amount as I could pre-fasting. This meant that I wasn’t in jeopardy of a weekend binge ruining my progress. Fasting is genius because of the built-in guard rails it provides, even when you take a break.
Intermittent Fasting Round Two
Life and a pandemic got in the way of my fasting ways, but one of my New Year’s resolutions is to get back to fasting and back to the amazing results the lifestyle provided me post-babies. My fasting journey is about to resume. Follow along here as I partner with DoFasting to achieve my weight loss goals! Take a free quiz and get your personalized DoFasting plan today!