Updated: Jul 25, 2020
Intermittent fasting has become hugely popular in the last decade and boasts benefits including improved mental clarity, weight, and body fat loss, increased growth hormone, improved fat burning, reduced inflammation, and increased life expectancy.
I have always been interested in manipulating my diet for increased health benefits; for the last six years, I've mainly eaten a dairy-free, gluten-free diet. But the idea that by fasting you give your body space to recover and rebuild your cells has always been appealing to me.
Some scientists warn women to be careful with fasting because sometimes fasting can throw off hormones and send the body into starvation mode causing fat storage. But I didn't experience any problems with my mild fasting schedule. My grandparents used to do the "every other day diet" which is literally what it sounds like- eating every other day, for ten years. And they had great success with it.
Until recently I've agreed with the science that tells us to eat six small meals a day. I enjoy grazing on healthy snacks, and I've been into tracking my macros, so it worked for me.
I decided to use December to experiment with my body. I used the 16-8 model for fasting (16 hours fasting, and 8 hours feeding) I was eating from about 11 AM to 7 PM. And I was using the Zero App to track my hours. I did do two full 24 hours fasts, but those were a little too brutal for my liking. Here were my findings:
It is super nice to fast around the holidays. Fasting allows time for your body to rest away from all the treats and sweets. I found myself eating fewer calories overall, just because I just couldn't seem to fit that much food in.
I didn't find myself hungry at all. Really I started the morning with my coffee and busied myself with work. I hardly noticed any hunger until right before 11 AM.
I have always been a morning person. When I fast, from the time I wake up until 11 AM my mind felt razor-sharp. And that is when I was able to thoughtfully meditate and do my best work and writing.
Overall, I felt like my stomach was flatter and my pants were fitting better. I lost a total of 1 fat % point, but overall I'd say the body composition benefits were minor-- that being said, I only did it for a month.
To sum up, I enjoyed it. It wasn't earth-shattering or something I would like to do forever. But I was impressed with some of the benefits. I think it's something I'd like to implement each year following Thanksgiving, just to give my body the time and space it needs to recover and be in its tip-top condition.
Have you tried intermittent fasting? I'd love to know your thoughts below!