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Today marks the completion of my first week on intermittent fasting! I’m sitting here waiting for my eating window to open, so I figured I might as well hammer out a blog post. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, go here to read about my intermittent fasting experiment. Here’s a quick rundown on my week:

How it went:

It’s been a little rough, to be honest. I’m starving in the mornings waiting to eat, pretty much no matter what I’ve eaten the night before. My hunger was a little better when I hit my macros perfectly (or darn close) the day before. At the beginning of a day, it feels impossible to be satisfied once I start eating, then I find myself stuffed with only two hours left to go in my eating window. Then I’m feeling like I should eat because my window is about to close and I know I’ll be starving in the morning if I don’t eat. As I am generally a promoter of intuitive eating (creating an eating schedule based around your body’s own natural hunger cues), this is totally backwards to me. I’m not eating when I am hungry, and I’m eating when I’m not hungry. Not to mention the fact that when I’m starving, I’m much less likely to choose healthy options. For me, my desire for Cajun tots and nachos with cheap, plasticky cheese is directly proportional to the length of time I’ve been hungry. Thus, I struggled to stay within my fat goal. Hunger cues are adaptable, so I’m curious to see if these issues improve in the next two weeks.

I haven’t been hungry most evenings, even though I stop eating at 6 pm and don’t go to bed until around 10 pm. That’s not too much of a surprise, since I’m typically hungry every 4 hours or so normally.

One pleasant surprise: working out while fasted has not been that tough. I like to work out in the mornings and did not want to change that schedule even though I was fasting, but I was worried. I get low blood sugar, especially when exercising, so I was really concerned about completing my normal workouts while fasted. Turns out, working out actually distracted me a bit from my hunger. I did schedule my workouts to end right at 10 am as my eating window opened, because I’m always extra hungry right after my workout. That part has been going great!

What I’ve learned:

Intermittent fasting is probably a great option for a certain type of person – an intermittent fasting “candidate,” if you will. This person is probably not used to eating breakfast or can easily skip breakfast without too much notice, likes to eat larger meals, doesn’t have issues with high or low blood sugar, and has irregular or non-existent hunger cues.

On top of that, a good fasting candidate has a schedule that can work with their fasting instead of against it. Because I work from home, I am mostly able to eat when my window opens, but I have thought about the fact that if I were working my former full-time job, it would be very difficult to follow intermittent fasting. I can’t imagine waiting any longer to eat than 10 am, and 10 am would not be a realistic time to eat at my desk job.

It’s also possible that this person has a sedentary lifestyle so they do not need to eat often to meet their energy needs. I often teach about matching energy needs with energy intake throughout the day, which is tough to do if you’re active for 12 hours but only able to eat for 8.

If these characteristics describe you, you may be a great candidate for intermittent fasting.

How I did and what changed:

  Goal Week #1 Week #2 Week #3
# of days 16-hour fast was achieved 7 6    
Average daily protein intake 90 grams 85.4 grams    
Average daily carb intake 225 grams 209 grams    
Average daily fat intake 60 grams 73.2 grams    
Weight change   0 lbs    
Body fat % change   -.5%    
Waist measurement change   -1″    
Hip measurement change   0”    
Thigh measurement change   -1″  

 

Even though my weight stayed the same, I did lose an inch from my waist and another from my thighs during this week. One of the claims of intermittent fasting is that it will promote fat loss, particularly in the abdominal area. My scant week on the diet shows that could be the case! Keep checking in for more updates on what the research says about intermittent fasting.


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Emily Arger, Certified FASTer Way to Fat Loss Coach

For some, intermittent fasting can mean a significant lifestyle change that can have challenges to implement. I myself have struggled a bit with hunger and fullness at inconvenient times throughout my few days on intermittent fasting. I chatted for a few minutes with Emily Arger, Certified FASTer Way to Fat Loss Coach and creator of the 7-day Whittle Your Waist Mini-Course. Emily coaches women on following an intermittent fasting lifestyle and also provides 25-30 minute home workout plans to these ladies. Check out her answers to some of my questions about intermittent fasting:

How did you first learn about intermittent fasting?

I actually heard about it before I had my kids – I read a book called Eat, Stop, Eat by Brad Pilon about the benefits of fasting. It’s a great book, but it was actually a bit different from what I teach now. I read it and it was intriguing, it was different. At first it was never something I intended to coach. I thought people might think I was crazy, because we are so ingrained with the idea that we need to eat 5-6 meals per day. It wasn’t until much later that I actually picked it back up again, after my kids were a little bit older.

What made you want to teach intermittent fasting?

I had done a lot of measuring and using containers to portion foods and I was so over that. I kept asking myself if that was a lifestyle that I wanted my clients to live forever, and the answer was no. When you master the intricacies of intermittent fasting – making sure you get in your macros and eat enough – and once you adapt to [intermittent fasting], there is so much freedom in it. That’s why I wanted to start sharing that with the ladies I work with.

What is your favorite thing about intermittent fasting?

Honestly, the ease. The ease and freedom of it. The ladies who go through the first few days of Whittle Your Waist start off thinking that they can’t do it, but once they adapt to it, they love the freedom of it. They say, “Hey, I’m not that hungry and I’m not spending my entire day thinking about food anymore.”

What do you see as the biggest challenge of intermittent fasting?

I think it’s definitely making sure you’re getting enough. I know that sounds crazy, but once you get used to it, it can be tempting to get to 10 am or noon and say, “Hey, I’m not hungry yet” and they try to push that window a little bit farther, but when they start so much later, it’s a big challenge to get say, 1800 calories in in only 6 hours. It’s important to plan things out, especially at the beginning, and get a coach if you’re struggling to meet all your macronutrient and micronutrient needs in such a small window.

What’s your #1 piece of advice to someone wanting to try intermittent fasting?

I would say to seek out the scientific-based research on it, because we’ve been inundated with these myths like “you have to eat every 2-3 hours” or “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It’s important to read the research yourself to understand the benefits of intermittent fasting and how it’s good for you. Otherwise, you’re going to read a magazine or something that tries to tell you that what you’re wanting to do isn’t right and it gets confusing. It’s important to ground yourself in the research so you can really understand why intermittent fasting works and what it does for your body.


Yesterday was my first day following an intermittent fasting lifestyle. I’m using a 16:8 protocol – if you want to know more about that, you can read my last post here. I chose to make my eating window from 10 am to 6 pm. Read on to see how the first day went!

6:30 am Woke up. Usually this is when I get my breakfast ready, but not today! Got my boys sent off to school.

7:00 am Made and drank some green tea. Since I’m a big breakfast eater I was a little concerned that waiting until 10 am would be a struggle. I made genmaicha green tea because it’s made with toasted rice and has a bit of a savory flavor – I thought maybe it would help trick me into thinking it’s a little more substantial. Then I got to wondering: genmaicha has actual bits of toasted rice steeped in it…does it have calories or carbohydrates?? Had to look it up. Good news – it has neither! Genmaicha is good to go during my fasting window.

7:30 am Had my first teeny desire to eat. Drank more tea.

8:00 am This is my normal workout time. I decided to postpone it half an hour so that I could eat right after my workout. In the past I haven’t done well working out on an empty stomach. We’ll see…

8:30 am Workout time. Tummy is growling big time…I’m 32 oz. of tea in. This not eating has been great for my hydration!

10 am Food! Finally! Toast with avocado, poached egg, curry, and garlic.IMG_3796

10:30 am Still feeling hungry – I went ahead and made my typical post-workout protein smoothie and drank it. Still not totally satisfied.

11:45 am Ate lunch – leftover salmon, stuffing, and salad. Still not satisfied…this is getting old already. I need to work on adjusting my portions to fit a smaller eating window.

2:30 pm Feeling hungry, ate a yogurt.

4 pm Realized I have to start dinner soon if I’m going to get it ready, take my son to practice, and eat before 6 pm. That will take some getting used to!

5:30 pm Ate dinner – whole wheat pasta, chicken breast, and roasted vegetable sauce. I got a little panicky about the thought of not eating until 10 tomorrow so I overdid it a bit…I had two bowls of pasta then chased them with some apples and caramel sauce. I ended up hitting my protein goal for the day but being a bit behind on calories (200 calories), carbohydrates (20 g), and fat (12 g). I felt stuffed.

7:30 pm I’m still stuffed, but it’s nice to be all done with worrying about cooking, cleaning, and snacking so early in the night.

 


Thanks for your votes! You have selected my next diet – intermittent fasting!

Starting Monday, I will follow the intermittent fasting lifestyle for three weeks. There are many possible ways to implement intermittent fasting, and I will be researching and detailing them in the days to come. Stay tuned to learn more about this popular diet!

 

We have a winner!