This new way of eating that I speak of is intermittent fasting. Simply put, I "skip" breakfast and consume my daily calories within a specific time window. By waiting until later in the day, I allow my body to operate in a fasted state for a longer period of time. While in a fasted state, your body is able to tap into fat stores versus running on blood sugar. As we sleep, we enter into a fasted state, once we have break-fast, we supply our bodies with fuel. That's what our bodies use as energy. So our fat stores remain untouched.
|swapping out breakfast for an amazing lunch|
Intermittent fasting (IM) is NOT about starving yourself. The end goal is still to consume your ideal amount of calories each day (in my case, it's between 1100-1300). But since I start eating later in the morning, I can enjoy higher calorie meals versus if I were to spread out 1200 calories between 3 meals and snacks. As an experiment, I opted to eat a non-healthy diet to see if I could still lose weight. While IM I feasted on chips, ice cream, and various other unhealthy foods. But as long as I stayed within the ideal calorie range, my progress continued.
Now that I know this method really works for me, I'll tweak my eating habits to incorporate healthier foods instead of taking advantage of knowing that I can eat poorly and still win. I should also mention that downloading MyFitness Pal was a huge strategy in my success. Before, I had no idea about how much I should eat a day to maintain a certain weight. But with this app, I gained clarity and was able to adapt quickly. Around the time I decided to loose weight, I choose the easiest form of exercise I could think of. Once I started walking again regularly, I knew I'd eventually make it back to the gym. And that's exactly what happened. Daily activity is a HUGE part of this strategy because it allows me to consume more calories and stay on track. I used to view exercise as a chore but now it has become my ally.
Intermittent fasting is great for me because I was never a big breakfast eater in the first place. So eating a little later in the day was no big deal. I wouldn't recommend this lifestyle if you tend to binge eat because being hungry by lunch time could cause you to make undesirable choices. That's what happened to me in the early days of intermittent fasting. By the time I had lunch, I'd gorge on whatever was in front of me. But once I got used to this new pattern, this was no longer an issue.
This way of eating isn't for everyone. If you are prone to eating disorders, fasting could potentially make it worse. IM isn't about starving yourself, it's about eating your normal calories but starting later in the day. In fact women who take IM too far may mess with their hormones and could eventually miss their periods. If not eating every couple of hours makes you dizzy or light headed, then IM won't be your solution.
Since I want this to be a way of life, I wasn't to rigid with IM. For instance, if I'm hungry at 8:00 am, then I eat at 8:00 am. Other days, I have my first meal of the day well after 11:00 am. Sometimes I go over my calorie allotment for the day. I don't constrict calories even more as a form of punishment. I just get back on track the next day.
My weight came off a bit slowly (6 lbs in 2 months), but I'm perfectly happy about this. If I was more rigid with IM, I'm sure I could have lost the weight more quickly. But I wanted to be easy so I could stick with it for life.
Ultimately, losing weight is a matter of creating a calorie deficit. So if I stick to around 1200 calories a day, it really doesn't matter what time I start eating. But intermittent fasting allows me to enjoy higher calorie meals which makes me feel more satisfied overall. For some people, eating 5-6 small meals a day works better for them as a weight loss strategy. Or you can follow my friend's tip of drinking detox juice before each meal. It's a matter of what works best for you. I'm able to fit into my old clothes again and it doesn't feel like I'm on a diet. It just feels like I'm living my life and the weight is easily coming off.