When it comes to diet trends, you’ve probably guessed by now: I’m a skeptic. I don’t jump on the bandwagon much any more unless it truly suits me. I really just prefer to wave to the trend parade as it goes by and maybe I’ll come back to it later. So it’s not surprising that it took me so long to take a second look at intermitten fasting.
It’s probably been over a year since I first heard about IF. And if you don’t know what intermitten fasting is I published a full post on IF last week. For me the idea of fasting never really just clicked. I didn’t see myself as someone who would have an eating window or who would enjoy a fasting window. Nevertheless, here we are one month later.
If you want to see the play by play, I vlogged weekly and it’s up today as well. I’m so glad I did because there are quite a few little things I don’t think I would remember if I hadn’t recorded it. But today’s post is really dedicated to everything I learned along the way. At lot of posts I read initially, people only did IF for a week. So my hope is that with a month under my belt, I’ll have a bit more to share. Let’s get started!
THE DETOX IS REAL
I consider myself a fairly healthy eater. Over the last year, I’d say my diet has only gotten better. Most of these changes came from wanting to heal things in my body. But on the regular, I do fairly well. What I wasn’t prepared for in my first week of Intermitten Fasting? The detox.
There were a few videos I watched or articles I read before deciding to jump on board. And the one thing people said consistently was that day 2 was awful. You feel like crap but if you can stick it out, you’ll feel so good come day 3. Here’s the thing though. Everyone’s body is going to adjust differently. It took me a solid 1.5 weeks to really get to a good place. But I had to get through the headaches and mental battles that came with it.
FOCUS ON WATER DURING YOUR FASTING WINDOW
When it comes to liquids during your fasting window, you have to decide what works for you. For me, I ditched the coffee option during my fasting time really quickly. I know that my body tends to crash when I drink caffeine before food. And despite trying to make it work, I learned quickly that having coffee just made me more tired. It’s said that coffee, tea, water and BCAAs are allowed during fasting. But if you’re adding anything into your coffee, you’re breaking your fast. So if I really want my daily cup of joe*, I just wait until after my first meal of the day.
Now I focus on drinking lots of water, la croix or green tea. On a good day, I’ll have consumed at least 1 or 2 full hydroflasks of water by the time I break my fast. And by upping my water in the mornings, I discovered how much more I really needed water when I’d be reaching for food. My body has been in desperate need of water but I just didn’t know how much until fasting.
SOMEONE ELSE’S IDEAL WINDOW ISN’T NECESSARILY MINE
This was a hurdle that took me some time to jump. I’ve never been a massive fan of going to bed on a full stomach. It just doesn’t work well for me. And while I don’t mind skipping breakfast, I can only go so long before food is my only thought. Initially, I wanted to be one of those girls who’s eating window was 1PM-9PM. But I’m not her and I’m okay with it.
For me, I’ve found I do best when I break my fast between 9AM-1030AM. Typically I try to shoot for 1030 because then I don’t have a crazy gap before bed. I’m still able to give my digestion time to work before I fall asleep without being up so long that I’m hungry again. Overall, the middle day window keeps me happy and works well for my lifestyle.
MY DIGESTION NEEDED A BREAK
One of the biggest reasons I finally decided to try intermitten fasting was to give my digestion a break. Based on conversations with my esthetician, I knew I needed a change. And prioritizing a time where my body could rest was important to me.
It took me some time to really notice the difference. But on the days I was traveling, I could really tell how my body responded. After a weekend constant snacking and not giving my body an extended break, I could feel and see the difference. I felt bloated, my skin freaked out and I was just sluggish. Giving my digestion the time to really work was one of the best things I’ve gotten from IF. And one of the main reasons I’ve continued doing it.
I’m More Aware Of My Food Sensitivities
Every since I read Body Love by Kelly Leveque, I’ve tried to make a conscious choice to avoid constant snacking. And while I might notice little things before, IF really helped me to see how my body responded to food in a new way. Giving my digestion time to work has allowed it to be more sensitive and really communicate with me. I can quickly feel when I’ve eaten sugar and my blood sugar is out of whack. If I eat something that my stomach doesn’t love as much, I see the bloat and know within minutes. I don’t have to guess as much because I’m more attuned to by body that I’ve ever been.
Flexible Fasting Is My Best Choice
Did you really think we could get through this post without my healthy lifestyle approach soap box? I should probably have one bedazzled for my office at this point. But a lifestyle approach will forever be my favorite way to do anything. And it’s the reason I’ve opted for a more flexible approach to intermitten fasting.
I’ve fallen in love with the benefits of IF. I love feeling more energized, less foggy and having better digestion. However, I don’t like feeling trapped or limited by my diet. Ever. Which is why I’ve taken a more flexible approach. As a woman, I know that my hormones are more sensitive to fasting. I also know that more than anything my goal is to listen to my body and to do my best to take care of it.
If I’m traveling, my priority is always going to be to try to maintain a balanced diet and eat nutritious foods. I don’t always get to pick the times they are available. Or I might be home and have a full day of errands or appointments. I would much rather break my fast at 9 and eat a balanced meal at home. Rather than wait until 1 when I’m done with everything, starving and more likely to eat whatever I can get my hands on.
I always say that you have a build a healthy lifestyle that works for you. It’s not like a test you study for and then don’t think twice about after. This journey is a marathon. So discover what works for you along the way. Somedays I fast for 16 hours and other days I fast for 14. There may be some days where my eating window is 12 hours.