I Tried Intermittent Fasting for 6 Months – Here’s What Happened
Intermittent fasting is one of the trendiest topics in health and wellness right now. And that’s no surprise since there are lots of potential health benefits associated with it, including weight loss, improved brain function and focus, and lower inflammation. These benefits appealed to me, so I decided to give intermittent fasting a try.
As a serial snacker and someone who loves to eat, I was skeptical about intermittent fasting in the beginning…I was sure I would be starving all of the time! But six months later, I’m still going strong and loving the benefits that I’ve experienced. Read on to learn more about what a day in the life looks like for someone who does intermittent fasting!
Instead of focusing on what you eat, intermittent fasting (IF) focuses on when you eat. There are several variations of intermittent fasting, but the main idea is the same: you only eat during a specific period of time. I have found the most success with the 16/8 method. This means that I fast for 16 hours each day and only eat during an 8-hour “feeding” window. My fasting period is 8pm-12pm, meaning I eat between 12pm and 8pm each day.
A Day in the Life
I wake up around 7am and start my day with a big glass of water—calorie-free liquids like coffee, tea, and water are permitted during the fasting period. I arrive at the office around 8:30am and continue to sip on water all morning. Sometimes I do feel hungry but drinking water (and some coffee!) helps to keep my hunger at bay.
By 12pm, I’m ready to eat! I break my fast with my first meal of the day at lunchtime. I’ve found that meal prepping my lunch saves me the hassle of running out to buy something, especially when I’m hungry! I try to make lunches for the week on Sunday afternoon. This week, I made chicken, roasted veggies, and sweet potato.
If I’m hungry in the afternoon, I’ll have an apple and peanut butter, a protein bar, or some crackers and cheese. I hit the gym after work a few days a week and I don’t want to be hungry during my workout! On my way home from the gym, I usually sip on a protein shake which helps me to refuel post-workout.
My last meal of the day is around 7pm. I try to eat dinners that are balanced and include lean proteins, whole grains and lots of vegetables. I’ve found that as long as I eat enough calories during my feeding period, I’m not too hungry when I wake up in the morning. If I’m still feeling hungry around 8pm, I’ll have a small snack to help tide me over until lunchtime the next day.
Between 8pm and bedtime, I continue to drink water and will often have a tea while I watch TV or read. I aim for 8 hours of sleep every night, so I head to bed around 11pm. Going to bed early also means that I’m asleep for more of my fasting period!
Benefits I’ve Experienced
- Simpler Morning Routine: Fasting adds simplicity to my morning routine. Without having to make time for breakfast, I can just quickly grab water and coffee and start my day.
- Better Diet Decisions: I find that I make healthier choices because I only eat two meals a day. Since starting IF, my cravings for sweets have been reduced. I do have a treat now and then after dinner, but I definitely don’t crave sugar like I used to.
- Hydration: Instead of reaching for food first thing in the morning, fasting allows me to focus on drinking more water every day.
Drawbacks I’ve Experienced
- Inconvenient Meal Times: It can be hard to maintain a fasting schedule while also going out for early weekend breakfasts or late dinners with friends. That said, I sometimes let my fasting slide to accommodate social plans. For me, having a social life is more important than sticking to a rigid schedule. It’s all about finding balance!
- Not Eating Enough Calories: Because I only eat two meals per day, it can sometimes be tough to ensure I’m eating enough calories. Planning my meals ahead of time has helped me to overcome this obstacle.
Overall, I love intermittent fasting for many reasons. I find it is less restrictive and more flexible than other popular diet plans, which has made it easier to stick to long-term. I love that it adds simplicity to my daily routine, and I find that I’m more focused throughout the day. IF has become part of my lifestyle and I am so happy that I gave it a try!
Have you tried intermittent fasting? Let us know in the comments below!
Megan French is a Merchandising Associate at Well.ca. She loves staying active and is currently training for a half-marathon!