What is IF?
Are you thinking about the phrase “As IF” from the movie Clueless?! Close, but no, it means Intermittent Fasting. There are a ton of variations, but essentially, it means limiting the window in which you are eating in a day, also called Cyclic Fasting. One way to do it is to set your ‘eating hours’ for an 8 hour window such as 11am to 7pm. Another way, is to fast for 2 whole days a week (not back to back days). This way of eating is not for everyone, so be sure to talk to your doctor about it and do your own research.
What are the benefits?
The benefits are potentially astounding. It may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by stabilizing blood sugars, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by improving brain function, and generally slow the aging process. Many people notice an increase in energy and their immune system. It allows your cells to focus on regenerating and cleaning themselves instead of processing food constantly. It is possible you will lose weight doing IF, if you don’t make some of the common mistakes such as overindulging after your fast or eating high caloric foods during your eating window.
How did I do it?
I have been doing IF for over a year at this point. When I first started, it was a bit challenging to be real honest. I started by making my window a 10 hour period of time from 9am to 7pm. And yes, at first, I was uber hungry once 9am hit. Over time, I was able to move my window back bit by bit 11am to 7pm. I started to notice that really, I didn’t have time to eat after 6:30pm, so now my typical window is 11:30am to 6:30pm. However, I don’t beat myself up if my time wavers in either direction by 30 minutes or so. Typically, I don’t do IF 7 days a week, so if there is something special going on, I may not do it 1 day a week. However, after listening to Dr. Steven Gundry on the School of Greatness podcast, Ep. 772 (Lewis Howes), we try to extend the fast on Sundays into Monday by stopping our eating by 5pm on Sunday and not eating until our typical start time on Monday (which for us is around 11:30am). Dr. Gundry notes that this additional cleansing time allows your gut to fully process the food you’ve eaten which requires more blood to flow to your guts. That way, when you go to bed, your body’s blood is available to fully flow to your brain for cleaning up those cells.
What changes have I noticed?
I’ll be real honest with you, for me, I haven’t lost weight. However, I do notice that I generally have more energy and clarity of mind. I am less likely to hit that afternoon slump I used to come up against. I definitely feel like IF helps me to recalibrate faster when I get off schedule for an overindulging weekend away. Also, not eating until later has me relying on my water and coffee more heavily. While the coffee may not be a total winner, upping my water consumption surely is.
Possible mistakes with IF
As I just mentioned, I may drink too much coffee to help keep myself satisfied. There’s great debate about how much coffee is too much or too little. Also, most days I add collagen powder to my morning coffee and this does contain calories. Certainly, another mistake I’m apt to make is drinking adult beverages after my window closes. Doh! Taking in extra calories outside of your eating window does impact the benefits of doing IF even if you’re drinking those calories. When I first started doing IF, I had trouble slowing myself down when my eating window opened. I was ravenous and I wolfed it all down so fast. Now, I’m able to slow myself down. It’s also important to consider what you are actually eating. If you’re having a free for all every day of burgers, fries, and pizza, you may not see as many benefits. Just sayin’… don’t shoot the messenger.
Have you tried Intermittent Fasting? What schedule works best for you? I can’t wait to hear your tips for a successful IF journey.