Why Intermittent Fasting?
A little over a year ago I joined Reddit, and it has quickly become my favorite online platform.
In my main “popular” feed, intermittent fasting weight loss success stories began popping up left and right. I quickly took an interest.
I began browsing two of my favorite subreddits to this date — r/fasting and r/intermittentfasting pretty quickly. While I admired the strength and success of posters, I told myself “I could never do this, I love food too much”! And laid the idea to rest.
Over the past year, I’ve tried so many different things to lose weight.
I started with a discounted personal training package at my gym but didn’t get the results I wanted.
Next, I tried the Ketogenic diet for a month or two.
When I failed at that, I went back and blew more money on a bigger personal training package that also never really worked.
From there, I began doing Zumba 5 days weekly and it was so fun, but I over-exerted myself, injured my knee and had to quit.
Next, I watched a few of those Netflix documentaries that make you hate the meat industry, and went vegetarian.
I went on a 10-day vacation (where I stayed sober, yay!), ate everything in sight, and that was the end of that.
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From there, I challenged myself to 20 fitness classes during the month of February. At first, this was fun. I explored all the offerings at my new gym. But by the last week, I was pissed, exhausted, and had lost zero lbs. Which leads me to now.
Most recently, I began a 12-week weight lifting plan but by week six was miserable and had only lost TWO POUNDS. I know, I know “muscle weighs more than fat”, but I still had too much fat on top of that muscle. Yeah, no.
Yo-yo dieting, diet pills, juicing… everything I tried led to burnout and disappointment.
When I took 100 days off drinking I effortlessly dropped a couple pounds and was so thrilled! It seemed like maybe that was the thing responsible for my size. But once the newness of sobriety waned, sugar cravings kicked in and they were rough.
In early sobriety, I had a motto… “anything but alcohol”. I figured I’m doing this really huge, really hard thing and for a while, I’ll just eat All. Of. The. Sugary. Things.
I never did drink again, but I ballooned from 165lbs to 179lbs in 4 months of sobriety and I was not a happy camper.
Frustrated, exhausted and just ready for something new, I decided “what the heck” and chose to give this intermittent fasting diet thing a try. So, for the month of May, I’m going to see if I can lose weight intermittent fasting.
I figured it might be fun to share my experiment here on the blog!
I’ll update once weekly discussing highs, lows, revelations, and body changes. Then at the end of the month, I’ll culminate with a one-month review (and before and after pictures)!
Here’s update #1. This post contains affiliate links.
UPDATE: 1 Month Intermittent Fasting Results (with photos)!
One Week Intermittent Fasting – What I Did
I’m an all or nothing kinda girl. Go hard or go home. I started with a 24-hour fasting goal. I made it but felt it was too much, too soon. Since then I chose a more moderate goal of fasting from 8 pm or so until 12 pm the next day. Essentially eliminating late-night snacking and breakfast. I weighed myself daily using this really cool, cheap scale to get body fat, skeletal muscle, and other interesting metrics. And that’s it.
16/8 Intermittent Fasting One Week Results
Starting weight: 176.6 | Ending weight: 171.2 | Weight lost: 5.4 lbs
Starting body fat %: 38.8% | Ending body fat %: 37.3% | Body fat % lost: 1.5%
Interestingly, I had no hunger after day 1. A few stomach growls, but they passed quickly, within 5-10 minutes. My minimum fasting window is 16 hours, but if I’m not hungry and feel like going longer, I will.
As you can see, I usually did.
I never broke my fasts during hunger pangs. I waited until they left and I was no longer hungry, and then made conscious decisions about what to eat.
Whole foods, mostly vegetables with a few lean portions of meat were always the go-to.
I had no desire for bread, rice or pasta, so I abstained. This is highly unusual for me. Corn on the cob, baby carrots with salad dressing, salads topped with chicken or fish, peaches, pears, homemade hamburgers, sautéed veggies… that was pretty much my diet and it was so satisfying!
Something about not eating for a while – when you do eat, the flavors in foods are magnified and much better appreciated. There is no desire for anything packaged or processed. I have had zero meals outside of the home since day one.
7 Days of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Benefits
- Sugar cravings down to zero. After day 1 I have yet to desire any sugar and this is amazing. As I write this, I’m ten days in and have not once desired anything sweet. To be able to make such an outlandish-sounding claim as “Intermittent Fasting Cured My Sugar Addiction In Just 24 Hours” and have it be 100% honest is unreal. But oh, it’s real.
- Only desiring real food. Breaking fasts I crave veggies, salads, and not even meat but I eat it for protein. It’s like I go for nutrients over flavor.
- Discovering that “hunger” fades after 5-10 minutes. This allows me to observe that I’m not really hungry and I don’t have to eat a constant stream of food all day long. Knowing what I know now, I don’t think I’ve ever truly been hungry a day in my life.
- More time in my day. Because I’m not always breaking to eat, focusing on eating, preparing food, I have so much more time to get things done.
- My body very quickly adjusted to eating times. 24 hours was a little hard, but in comparison 16 is nothing. I don’t even feel hungry once by 4 pm most days. This is generally after 20 hours or so. I usually push it to 18-19 hours without issue.
- Tracking on the Vora app is really fun. It’s so cool to see how far I’ve come on any given day. And sometimes shocks me when I’ve passed 20 hours and still haven’t thought about food.
- I’m still getting enough nutrients and calories each day. Though I’m excited about finally having control over my food, it’s really easy to under eat. I’ve consciously been making sure I hit at least 1,200 calories per day during my feeding windows. I’m pleasantly full and completely nourished. It’s a dream!
- The weight is coming off. 5 pounds in one week is so motivating. I spent six weeks eating six times a day, taking protein powder, eating protein bars and lifting heavy weights, and lost 2 pounds, by comparison.
- It’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done. So far, it’s really simple, and that’s the beauty of it.
- For someone with moderation and addiction issues, it is freeing! I’ve always believed that my attitude with food mirrored the one I had with alcohol. I would eat emotionally, when I wasn’t even hungry, to cure boredom, and to excess just because I wanted to. And once I got started it would be hard to stop. Just like with alcohol. Intermittent fasting completely takes food off of my mind and it killed the obsession beast.
- It makes me drink more water. Since you only consume water, black coffee, and unsweetened tea during the fasting window, you naturally consume more water. Being effortlessly hydrated is a huge bonus!
- I feel stronger mentally. I’m a huge fan of mental strength and discipline as a personal development trait. Knowing I’m capable of powering through hunger signals for 24 hours makes me feel great! The discipline is such a good reward.
- I think if I ever do crave alcohol, abstaining from everything will help. I’ve been fortunate enough to escape alcohol cravings for a good, long while now. And I won’t be drinking to test this theory, but I believe wholeheartedly that intermittent fasting would seriously help with alcohol cravings and consumption. I wish I’d given this a shot long ago. Not only does refusing to consume anything for a while automatically guarantee you won’t be drinking but if it works on alcohol anything like it did on sugar, I bet it totally kills that itch.
Downside Of One Week Intermittent Fasting
Social stigma. My husband isn’t supportive. He thinks it’s unhealthy, that I’m starving myself, and that I need to be eating six times daily. Though I’d like to say it doesn’t bother me — it does. I know if I tell more people I’ll have to “defend” my choices. That is irritating.
I don’t really enjoy working out totally fasted. I’ve committed to jogging (or walking) at least 2 miles per day and have done it fasted on a few occasions. I do notice my time is a little slower, and I don’t like that. My goal would have been to improve my speed with each run, but I’ve had to give myself a break since I’ll usually haven’t eaten. This has not affected my weight loss, however. At least not yet.
2 Weeks Intermittent Fasting Plan
UPDATE: Week 2 intermittent fasting weight loss results are in!
So far, so good! I’m seeing good weight loss, I’m energized enough, I’m not hungry ever and not craving. I’ll continue the same plan – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The exact plan is to fast for at least 16 hours a day (but go as long as I can), then eat all my day’s food within an 8-hour window.
I will continue eating whatever I enjoy but make sure I don’t eat when perceived hunger is in effect. I’ll wait until all hunger pangs subside.
For exercise, I’ll continue my commitment to 2 miles per day, most days. And also I’ll do 20-30 minutes of strength training using this amazing adjustable dumbbell set 3 to 4 times weekly while watching TV at night with hubby.
The point is to keep it moderate and simple because moderate + simple = sustainable.
I enjoy intermittent fasting so much that I’m tempted to do another 24- hour fast, though I don’t see any reason to. Maybe if sugar cravings come back I’ll try it specifically for that purpose to see if it knocks them out again.
Or if I get the urge to drink, I’ll test it out then, too.
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