Last week we read an article online (that for the life of us can't think of which one it is now) that talked about intermittent fasting and the pros and cons of it. We had never heard much about IF (intermittent fasting) before even though, we found out, it's pretty big in the health and fitness world (no wonder we've never heard of it ;) ).
But what is IF? Essentially it's a pattern of eating that cycles between periods of fasting and periods of eating, typically fasting for longer than you're eating. Many people probably already do this and don't even realize it. Surprisingly, PJ does this every day! He typically doesn't eat breakfast and won't eat his first meal until around lunch time.
Meanwhile, Thomas usually eats first thing in the morning because he's STARVING and can't function. Because he gets up so early (5:20a), he also eats a mid morning snack, and then lunch in the afternoon. So, because PJ already does IF on most days without even thinking, this post will be told from Thomas' POV. Let's get right to it!
I decided to do the 16/8 type of IF which is where you fast for 16 hours of the day and eat for the other 8. You can choose whatever time period works for you, but since you shouldn't typically eat after 8p anyway, I chose the (pretty standard) 12p-8p window for eating, and fasting from 8p-12p the next day. Something to note: I did still drink my coffee in the morning, and lots of it. I remember the article we read mentioned how they upped their coffee intake to take the place of no food and to make sure they still had enough energy. I usually drink 1-2 cups in the morning at most, but I was up to 3 cups for the first couple of days.
Alas, here is my day by day journal on how IF went for me:
The fist day turned out to be surprisingly easy (said in my best Cady Heron voice), or at least a lot easier than I was expecting. I didn't really start getting hungry until around 10a and at that time i made more coffee. I tried to distract myself with my work but my stomach kept reminding me that it wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. So then I began counting the minutes and by minutes I mean seconds until 12. I started to think maybe this IF wasn't for me, but decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and stick it out because it was literally only the first day. So, I decided to persist and give it another day.
The second day was absolutely miserable. It was a lot harder than the first and to be honest, I almost caved 30 mins before 12p. I didn't, though, and I made it to lunch in the nick of time. Again, I just drank a lot of coffee which sort of helped, and sort of didn't. Besides being hungry, I was also kind of dizzy, bewildered, and weak. It was obviously due to the lack of food and energy I had, which resulted in me being very out of it and thinking about food WAY more than usual.
This was the hardest day so, by far. The article we read said that around day 3 or 4 you start to lose the hunger you have and your body adjusts to not eating for so long, but I guess my body wasn't trying to adapt to anything like that because it just kept grumbling, LOUDLY. I wanted to eat so badly and I almost did, but my coworker talked me off the edge #thankGodforher.
Did I say day 3 was the hardest? Well, it was. Up until day 4. I almost gave in TWICE. How could I go on for 3 more days? Again, my coworker had to help keep me in line and not give in to the hunger. I noticed I was very, very out of it that day, even more so than days 2 and 3. However, once you finally eat that first bite at 12, it tastes so good and it's very much worth the wait. It might be the best food you've ever tasted, even if it's just peanut butter and crackers.
So I mentioned earlier that one of the reasons it felt so hard the first couple of days is because I start my days at 5:30 each morning, giving me plenty of time to get hungry before I eat my first meal at 12p. However, because day 5 was a Saturday, I took the liberty of sleeping in until 9! Which meant I only had 3 hours until I could eat! I had a small headache but overall this was the easiest day so far.
Pretty similar to day 5. I slept in even later, I'm ashamed to admit (10!) but, we did stay up until 1a the night before and I kind of slipped and ate after 8p, so I didn't eat lunch until around 1p.
Still very hungry. Still pretty delusional. Still pretty out of it. I figured I would be used to it by now but I really wasn't. And I found myself missing breakfast food pretty bad. I missed it so much that I had toast and oatmeal with banana for a snack after dinner. I might even have breakfast for dinner some time this week. Maybe for some people (me) it takes longer than a week to feel not so hungry before lunch (it does)?
Just for kicks, I did one more day and see how it would go. Surprisingly, this was finally the day that I wasn't very hungry before lunch, and I only had 1 cup of coffee! This was by far the easiest day and has given me the moral boost I've needed to get through this whole trial. I plan on continuing it through the rest of the week, at least.
So that ends my IF diary. Have I seen any changes? Physically, I can't really tell a difference. I do notice that I'm hungrier faster after I eat each meal. Used to, I would be good to go for at least 4-6 hours after eating, but now I feel hungry about 2 hours after eating, so it must be affecting my metabolism? I'm not sure yet. I plan to keep doing IF and I'll keep you posted on how it progresses over time.
Below are a few helpful links, written by actual health professionals, if you want to learn more about IF and the benefits of it. We found them helpful and would like to further our knowledge on the subject in case we want to make this a long term thing. Have any of y'all tried IF before? What's your experience with it? We would love to hear your take on it!
Also, it's important to note: please be safe and take care of yourself when fasting for any length of time. If you feel like you're getting too lightheaded or dizzy, eat something. Just remember, your health is the most important thing!