15 June 2020

Intermittent Fasting - My Thoughts & Findings

Time Restricted Eating, TRE, blogger, lifestyle, food, flatlay
Intermittent fasting (or time-restricted eating) is always something I have been curious about as it seems like a simple way to change eating habits without restricting the foods you are allowed to eat. Intermittent fasting is essentially an eating pattern where you eat or fast within defined windows of time. It appealed to me as it has many benefits such as inducing cell repair processes (autophagy) and reducing insulin resistance, as well as it being a powerful weight loss tool. However, it is important to stress that intermittent fasting is not suitable for everyone, so please do your research and consult your GP if necessary before trying this.

Before lockdown, it seemed too difficult to fit IF into my lifestyle, as I would need to eat before I left the house for work at 7.30AM and would have my last meal after I got back from the office, which wouldn't be until 6.30PM earliest. So whilst in lockdown, I decided to try the most popular type of IF - the 16:8 method - where you fast for 16 hours and eat within an 8 hour period. I started this mid-May so I've been intermittent fasting fairly consistently for around a month now.

I have been using the Zero app which tracks your fasts, sends a reminder when you can break your fast, and allows you to log your mood and progress. In general, I aim to finish eating by 7PM which means I break my fast at 11AM the next day. Sometimes I go over the 7PM deadline, but this just means I eat later the next day. During my fasting period, I drink water and black coffee (no sugar) only.

In terms of exercise, I walk in the evenings which is the beginning of the fasting period and I do yoga in the morning when I wake up. I tend to listen to my body so if after yoga I feel like doing more of a workout, I'll do some pilates or cardio. I'm a big believer in listening to my body and recognising it's needs so my portion sizes, exercise and snacking behaviours all revolve around this.

How do I feel now?
I do feel slimmer especially around the stomach area but I have also not been drinking alcohol and exercising more during lockdown which may have contributed to this. I don't weigh myself as a rule so I haven't been monitoring weight loss/gain during this period. Not eating into the evening or first thing when I wake up makes me feel better both physically and mentally as well, because I'm not eating unnecessarily. The 16:8 method has been fairly easy for me to fit into my current lifestyle, so I will continue with this during lockdown, but when I go back to commuting I'm not sure if I will be able to keep it up. Nevertheless, I think it has been a useful tool that I hope I'll come back to in years to come.

My tips for fasting:
- Aim to maintain the same time window for your each of your fasts (e.g. 7PM-11AM) so you can adjust your daily routine to fit this.
- Ensure you stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- During your eating periods, choose healthy, energy-sustaining and nutritious food and stay away from high-sugar foods. My Superfood Oats and Go-To Salad recipes have been great choices that worked well for me.

Let me know if you have tried intermittent fasting and what your experience was in the comments below. Also if you have any tips when fasting then please share as I'd love to know!

References/Resources:
- Intermittent Fasting 101 - The Ultimate Guide for Beginners https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/intermittent-fasting-guide
- Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting
- Intermittent Fasting: Everything you need to know https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/intermittent-fasting-health-benefits-explained-by-nutritionists-a3968246.html
- Zero https://apps.apple.com/us/app/zero-fasting-tracker/id1168348542

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