I started intermittent fasting consistently a few months back. For 5 out of 7 days a week, I have my first meal at around lunch time. (update: Now I do IF, about twice a week.) I know that people intermittent fast for a number of different reasons including weight loss, better health and more energy. For me the intermittent fasting benefits I was after was that of a simpler lifestyle.
My big picture goals in life are to be happy and healthy. A lot of things fit under that rather large umbrella. I already love exercise because of all it’s amazing benefits. It also makes me happy and helps me stay healthy.
What I struggle with the most, is eating healthy on a consistent basis. I’ve tried meal planning and doing meal prep, but in all honesty, the way my life is right now, I just haven’t been able to fit it in on a regular basis. But I also don’t want to be stressed out about food. Enter intermittent fasting and intermittent fasting benefits.
Intermittent fasting benefits and how IF works
But let me back track a little and tell you how intermittent fasting works. It’s not a diet and it doesn’t tell you what you should eat. Rather, intermittent fasting is more about when you eat. The most common type is fasting for 14-16 hours before having your first meal of the day. So if the last time you ate was at 9pm, then your first meal the next day would be between 11am-1pm.
Now, how much you eat during those 8 to 10 hours that you are not fasting is up to you. For myself, I track my macronutrients to ensure I am getting the right amount of protein, carbs and fats in my diet to go along with the exercise and workouts I do. (But that is a whole different post.)
For me I will eat a bigger lunch and dinner. Then I might have a drink or small snack in between the two meals. I will usually have a snack at night after dinner as well. I do this to make sure I’m getting enough food and calories in my body and to satiate any feelings of hunger.
Eating like this makes life so much easier for me! I don’t have to worry about breakfast (which is usually busy with getting the kids ready and out the door for school) and I don’t have to prep meals. I can eat much bigger meals that keep me fuller for longer. It also puts an end to mindless eating and constant snacking. And I actually end up eating less than I normally would.
There are usually 1-2 days a week that I will feel really hungry in the morning and if that’s the case, I will eat breakfast because I want to listen to my body and make sure I’m fuelling it properly. Also, in the morning, I usually drink a cup of warm water with lemon or plain green tea. Black coffee is a great option as well while you’re fasting in the morning.
Here are some samples of my meals:
Meal Example 1
– 1 can of tuna mixed with mustard, a little mayo, salt and pepper and chopped celery
– 10-12 triscuits
– greens smoothie
– vanilla greek yogurt topped with raspberries and chia seeds
Meal Example 2
– scrambled eggs (or omelette) with 1 whole egg and 1/2 cup of egg whites, with some veggies
– 1/4 cup steel cut oats, cooked in water and half cup of almond milk
– topped with banana, organic peanut butter, hemp hearts, chia seeds & blueberries
Meal Example 3 (eating out)
– Nandos quarter chicken breast, skinless
– casa salad with house dressing
– peri peri fries
– mandarin orange
– iced green tea lemonade with matcha, unsweetened (recipe in my IGTV videos)
Meal Example 4
– 1 cup of leftover chicken breast
– 1/4 cup grated cheese
– chopped green and red pepper
– tortilla wrap
(all put together and grilled in a panini maker)
– 3/4 cup of greek yogurt topped with 1/4 cup blueberries, 5 almonds, a sprinkle of hemp hearts and drizzle of honey
These are all large and filling meals that are also simple. And I don’t get hungry for quite a while after eating them. If I do, I’ll drink water, make myself a green tea or pick up a coconut milk matcha latte and that’s good for me until it’s time for dinner.
I can honestly say that eating this way has made life so much simpler for me and I feel happier. I can eat as much as I want at meals without overthinking it. I also feel like I have more energy during the day and am more clear headed.
I should mention, for the first week or so when I started intermittent fasting, I did feel tired, cranky and other similar symptoms and of course that is expected when you introduce a big change to your body. What I did try was to slowly introduce it. Maybe a couple days a week, try eating your first meal an hour later than usual, then two hours later the next time and so forth. Then when you’re ready, introduce intermittent fasting for one day a week, then two etc. That way you are slowing bringing it in and it won’t be a shock to your body and mind.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits for Weight Loss
I know a lot of people think about intermittent fasting benefits in terms of weight loss. That was not my reason when I started fasting, as a couple years ago, I decided to stop weighing myself. But for those of you who are interested in that, IF has been shown to aid in weigh loss.
The reason for this is, by having a smaller window of time for eating and skipping breakfast, you automatically end up eating less food. And of course when you reduce your calorie intake, it will lead to weight loss.
Also, the way your body works, it runs off of burning food you just ate as fuel. But once that food is tapped out, it’s turns to your fat reserves and this is another aspect of how intermittent fasting helps with weight loss.
Here’s a great article with scientist feedback on long-term intermittent fasting for weight loss.
Intermittent fasting benefits and other questions about it
When friends and acquaintances find out that I am intermittent fasting, I get a lot of surprised expressions and a lot questions about it. Here are some of the most common ones. And if you click on them, it’ll direct you to a link that answers that question:
1. Isn’t breakfast important?
2. Won’t it affect your metabolism?
3. 10 Health benefits of intermittent fasting
Whether intermittent fasting is the right thing for you, only you can decided that. For me, the intermittent fasting benefits of a simpler lifestyle make it right for me. You have to decide if it’s something that you want to try. And remember, IF is not actually a diet, it’s just a lifestyle choice that is sustainable for the long haul, as opposed to diets which often leave you stressed, deprived or have you binging.
Hopefully this article gave you some information on intermittent fasting benefits. Remember, I am not a health professional and I am just sharing my experience. If you have any questions, please consult a health professional.