I recently shared a quick Instagram Story about how I’d begun Intermittent Fasting and it spurred a lot of questions, so I wanted to elaborate on why I decided to start intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting, or as it’s commonly referred to, IF, is cycling between periods of eating and fasting (restricting food). I’ll further detail the form of IF I’m doing and why below.
What brought me to Intermittent Fasting
I wish this was an easy answer, but it isn’t. After years of near-abuse to my body by restricting calories and over-exercising, I got pregnant with my oldest child. When I returned to work full-time, I was able to semi-maintain some balance with food and exercise without going overboard. But I never got back to my pre-baby weight or jeans size.
Fast-forward to one job-loss and two additional babies later, and I have basically spent the last 4.5 years as some sort of baby incubator or feeding-machine. It took a toll on my body, physically and mentally. I tried Weight Watchers, with some success, but I was still tired of limited results and calorie-restricting.
During my time breastfeeding babies over the last few years, my husband would mention intermittent fasting. He had success doing an 16:8 fast (fasting for 16 hours and having an 8-hour eating window). I couldn’t participate because I knew that doing this was not conducive to my milk supply.
Well I am happy to say that I am completely finished breastfeeding and will not ever again be pregnant. Hooray! This whole ‘finished nursing’ thing is relatively new and came as quite a shock to me. But when I sat down and thought about it I realized that it meant I could finally get back to feeling like ME (physically, emotionally, and mentally).
Seeing results in-real-life
About a year ago my mom started her Intermittent Fasting journey. I’ll admit, I was an almost immediate naysayer. I told her she was starving herself and that this practice of over 18+ hours of fasting was detrimental to her health.
But I watched her flourish. She never had much (if any) weight to lose, but she did tone and seem much more full of energy than before. I watched her break her fasts and her diet (meaning food, not the typical term “diet”) seemed completely unrestricted. She navigated the holidays with ease and zero stress.
So I asked her for more information. And she invited me to join this Facebook group she belonged to. Then I was hooked.
Delay, Don’t Deny
The Facebook group “Delay, Don’t Deny: Intermittent Fasting Support,” is based on the book of the same name, by Gin Stephens. Upon approval into the group, I tried to absorb as much knowledge from the participants as possible. After a few days of reading testimonials and questions from other members, I decided to listen to the audiobook Delay, Don’t Deny. It answered every question I had about the process.
Note: Gin Stephens, whilst having her doctorate, is not a physician, nor is she a nutritionist. But she backs up her book with data from scientists and nutritionists and puts it into laymen’s terms for the rest of us. I would like to also note that I am not a physician nor a nutritionist. For questions regarding your health journey, please consult your physician.
The entire premise of the book is as follows: Calories in/calories out is not a successful way to maintain weight loss. Science shows that prolonged fasting will train the body to enter ketosis. Ketosis, or the metabolic process in which the body burns fat instead of glucose for energy, happens naturally and gives our bodies the training they need to develop sustainable eating habits.
This blew my mind. The science backs it up and I immediately felt free from all of the years I obsessed over calories-in, calories-out. Additionally, the idea of working out to ‘burn calories/earn food’ is basically discredited. Working out to be healthy, build muscle, or simply, for fun, is really the idea she explains in her book.
The idea is to do a Clean Fast, meaning that during the time you are fasting you are only consuming unflavored water or black coffee. No food or sugar-free drinks are ‘allowed’ during the fast because it will trigger your glucose and prevent your body from entering ketosis.
Breaking The Fast
Breaking your fast, or what Gin refers to as “opening your eating window,” happens at a time you deem right. During your ‘open window’ you shouldn’t deny yourself certain foods. Naturally, during appetite correction, your body will crave foods that are good for you. But if you want wine and french fries? Have wine and french fries! Diets don’t work because they require restricting ‘bad foods’ for long amounts of time.
This is a lifestyle change, not a diet
Another quick note regarding diets — If someone recommends a program you have to pay for (Keto Coffee, Faster Way To Fat Loss, Beachbody Shakes, or Herbalife Shakes), it is a gimmick. You don’t need any paid program to take control of your health and your eating.
After reading Gin’s book and fasting for two weeks now, I can say I’m committed to this lifestyle change. I haven’t had to give up the foods I love and I’m still getting almost immediate results. The scale is slowly moving in the direction I want it to, but I’m also experiencing increased mental clarity, clearer skin, and more restful sleep!
I know you may be saying “but it’s only been two weeks,” and you’re right. But for the first time in my adult life, I feel FREE. Free from diet culture, free from restrictive eating, and free from anxiety regarding health and weight loss. Everyday I witness the transformations of people in this Facebook group and it encourages me that I am on the right path.
I realize that this can seem completely foreign for many people. Heck, it was to me for a very long time! But I am so excited to continue this lifestyle. I promise to keep you updated!
Do you have any questions for me?! Want to know what my typical fast looks like?!