Eating within 15 min of waking
Don’t eat before working out
Fast for 12-16 hours for great fat loss results
Eat right after working out
Truth be told, all and none of these concepts work. Bear with me a minute while I explain.
Several years ago I was introduced to intermittent fasting. It really was a matter of convenience for me, to try intermittent fasting in the first place. I truly hate cooking and making tons of meals and always having to think about my next meal.
I am skeptic by nature, not sure of anything till I try it out. And not eating for 12- 14 hours is just crazy talk… Yet what could it hurt to try it out, I was taking so much extra time preparing food all the time and eating every 2- 3 hours just didn’t work for me anymore.
A lot of my colleagues in the industry were finding it worked well for them as well as some of their clients. It was helping them maintain a healthy fat loss lifestyle, without making it so labor intensive (making and eating food all the time).
Then I tried it, (with my skeptical “open” mind) making sure I had an exit strategy. Thinking in the back of my mind, no way, I am always hungry and I have to eat as soon as I get up, etc., etc. Besides the idea of being super hungry scared the crap out of me.
What I learned about intermittent fasting, like everything else, you can make it your own. I SURVIVED and actually thrived (for a little while at least).
I was actually able to eat later in the day, exercise on an empty stomach and to my utter surprise, I actually felt good.
I faced one of my biggest fears, being so hungry I would eat 10 lbs of food in one sitting just to make up for fasting for 12-14 hours. I was hungry but when I ate, I ate just enough to fill me up and I stopped to just before being over full.
This is how my day works when I am intermittent fasting.
3:30 am I have a cup or two of coffee and BCAA’s (branch chain amino acids), IsaGreens (vegetable powder), and Ionix Supreme (a drink high in B Vitamins)
10a-1pm Workout then I have my first meal (big salad with protein, veggies, maybe with beans my starch)
3pm 2nd Meal (protein and veggies)
5-6pm Final meal
8-9m Snack (if needed)
I eat when hungry until at least ½ hour before bed (usually around 9pm). All in all I get maybe 3-4 “meals”, prioritizing proteins and green veggies, moderately adding in fats, and taking in my starches right after my workout and just before bed.
Then something changed and I forgot to eat. I was not only intermittently fasting, I was all out fasting, not on purpose, though. That is where the tide changed and it didn’t work anymore.
When I was under an extreme amount of stress. I was so busy working that I would go many hours and forget to eat a meal.
So by the time I realized, ready to pass out, too tired to make anything, I would throw down whatever I could get my hands on. Surprisingly enough I even prepared myself by having Protein shakes and bars just in case of this circumstance.
Yet I have to be honest, sometimes I would forget to bring those options with me, so I would go without.
Would you call that intermittent fasting? No, it just became restrictive controlled eating. If I didn’t have anything that was on the “approved diet” with me or around me, I just wouldn’t eat at all. It became a problem for me and my thyroid in the long run.
This gave me great insight, that under extreme stress, I took myself to the extreme. Such as my intermittent fasting and my “rules” around eating the “right” foods. As much as I wanted to be perfect and hold it all together, I lost control of the purpose of why I was intermittently fasting.
Hence is why it takes trial and error to learn the victories and pitfalls of any plan. As I had believed prior to trying it myself, intermittent fasting has its problems, especially if you have a hormonal imbalance.
I personally failed to listen to the warning signs that my thyroid was imbalanced and how the intermittent fasting was contributing to my hormonal imbalance. It wasn’t the fault of intermittent fasting that I was hormonally imbalanced, I just didn’t listen to my own warning signs.
What were the warning signs you ask?
Well it started with me not being hungry at all, sleeplessness, extreme mood swings (more reactive and sensitive to everything), and weight loss (which meant loss of muscle mass I worked so hard to achieve over these years.)
Then I got extremely sick around the holidays, which hasn’t happened in several years. And when I would eat, it was totally mindless, hence the pounds were starting to add on quicker than normal. With the mindless eating came the guilt and shame, knowing that I wasn’t myself or feeling my best.
My regularly scheduled blood work showed my thyroid went into a hyper state.
WHAT!!! I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism more than 15 years ago, and now I am Hyper?!
Looking back at the severe dramatic shift in my stress levels and my failure to eat regularly or properly, it really was to be expected.
So I took a break from intermittent fasting, to bring my hormones back to a more balanced state.
I had to go back to eating more regularly and get in my workouts when I had the energy to do them. My comfort with the extra lbs. I gained, was not resignation, it was understanding that my body was not running properly and I needed to give it some maintenance and down time to heal.
It was really liberating though when I let go and let my body heal. I exercised my right to be less than perfect. It is true, it takes some self-compassion and empathy for yourself in order to be better for the people around you.
After a few months of recovery and healing my thyroid bounced back. So I am back to my intermittent fasting. I also know in the future if I should see the signs again, I will stop and regroup to let my body heal.
Wow what another eye opening learning experience for me.
Not enjoying and savoring food for me is out of the norm and should always be taken as a red flag.
Don’t get me wrong there is absolutely nothing wrong with going a little hungry, just as long as you are feeling good and healthy.
It is not normal to become obsessed about holding out long periods of time till my next meal, making myself feel sick and extremely lethargic; or wait so long I couldn’t control my eating when I did eat.
I still believe in the benefits of intermittent fasting.
I don’t believe in the white knuckling method though.
And I know that not everyone should be following this way of eating. Which is why it is important to listen to yourself and know what you are capable of handling.
There is large amount of science to back this methodology.
However what we are talking about here, is a personal body science, if it doesn’t make sense for you and doesn’t work for you, don’t force it.
If you want to feel and look healthy then do what works best for you.
What you need to remember when it comes to intermittent fasting and eating for you
If you are white knuckling through a “plan”, looking forward to it ending, then that is not a long term solution.
Intermittent-fasting is not a long term solution if you are unable to sustain it, and it is causing more problems than solutions.
In other words if you are not getting the long term “results”, the physique and health you want it, it is not the solution for You
Even though someone else may be doing it, does not mean it is right for you.
I can’t emphasize it enough, everyone is different. I personally found out the hard way that I needed to take a break from my intermittent fasting. And in the long run, if I didn’t ever go back to intermittent fasting because it was not helping me maintain my healthy results that would have been just fine also.
If you are struggling with all those “plans” or “quick fixes” and want to stop, but just don’t know where or how to start? Join my email inner circle. Every week I explore all options out there; give you some tips and tricks that I have learned and put into practice. Sign up here