Monday, November 5, 2018

My First 90 Days of Intermittent Fasting

intermittent fasting, north carolina blogger, health, fitness, nutrition

Hey y'all! Today is all about my first 90 days of intermittent fasting. I shared about my first six weeks of IF back in September but today, I wanted to give a 90 day update since as of November 1, I have officially been intermittent fasting for three full months.

intermittent fasting, north carolina blogger, health, fitness, nutrition
Before I begin this post, I wanted to remind you to always check with your doctor before you start any sort of new diet program. Also, be sure to do your own research as well. This is simply my own experience and journey so yours may look different. Again, I am not a health or nutrition expert, what I'm sharing below is all based on my own personal experience.

W H A T  I S  I N T E R M I T T E N T  F A S T I N G?
I heard another blogger mention intermittent fasting and I had no clue what it was. I had never even heard of it so I immediately looked it up. I stumbled upon this article that was published literally a day before I first heard of IF. It does any excellent job of simply explaining what it is...

"Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating."

Super simple, right?! There are many ways to go about fasting but the most common methods are fasting for 24 hours, twice a week or the method I chose, fasting for 16 hours, everyday, How this works for me is, I stop eating at 9pm and then I break my fast at 1pm the next day. So basically, I fast while I'm sleeping and in the morning. This method worked best for me because I wasn't a big breakfast eater anyways. I rarely ate much before 11am prior to IF.

Also, you don't have to dive right into trying to fast for 16 hours. You can do it gradually. My husband is actually doing intermittent fasting with me and this is how he started out. 

W H A T  A R E  T H E  B E N E F I T S?
The personal benefits that I have noticed the most are increased energy and concentration. I was completely surprised by both of these because I assumed I would struggle with them both since I wasn't eating. But, the opposite happened! The first two weeks this wasn't the case but after I got past the those first fourteen days, I felt so much better and my body had adapted to it's new way of eating.

Other benefits are: weight loss, improved fat burning, reduces inflammation, and lowers your risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

After 90 days in, the biggest benefit for me has been discipline. Before doing IF, I wouldn't think twice about what I was eating. I would grab a piece of candy here or a cookie there anytime of day. But now, I don't snack out of boredom. Besides being more disciplined about my eating, I feel like I have become more disciplined overall. Since my concentration has improved, I feel like I am better able to complete tasks. I have been able to be more intentional about devotionals, exercise, errands, and other everyday tasks. I am also more hydrated, which definitely improves how I feel overall!

C A N  Y O U  H A V E  C O F F E E  I N  T H E  M O R N I N G?
Yes! I would actually 100% recommend coffee in the morning. I feel like it definitely helps curb your hunger and gives you a boost of energy. I start my morning with one cup of black coffee or a plain Americano. I literally don't feel hungry at all after a cup of either.

During my 16 hour fast, I don't go completely calorie free but I always stay under 50. I do add protein to my coffee, as well as a packet of stevia when I start to feel hungry.. My coffee cup is 75% black coffee and 25% protein. I personally love Premier Protein (the caramel flavor is so good in coffee). I like mine as an iced coffee and it's delicious! Even with just the little bit of protein in my coffee, it keeps my hunger under control in the morning.

W H A T  D O  Y O U  E A T  W H E N  Y O U'R E  N O T  F A S T I N G?
Since I'm only eating eight hours out of a 24 hour period, I have to be strategic about getting in my calories and making sure that I am eating the right kind of foods. Back in July, I gave up pretty much all bread and pasta. I do eat corn tortillas, all potatoes, cookies (of course), ice cream (but Yasso is a great substitution plus it gives you a serving of protein and I also love Skinny Cow) and I never say no to a slice of cake. But, everything in moderation. My normal meals also consist of a lot of protein and I feel like this especially important because of my exercise regimen but it also helps give me energy. So, this is a sample meal plan for the week:

Lunch is pretty much whatever I can grab on the go. I eat a lot of cheese, yogurt, nuts, salads, eggs, fruits, and raw veggies at lunch time since it's quick. I also make sure to eat at least one snack between my lunch at 1pm and my dinner around 7pm. I usually eat a high protein snack around 3pm and I usually have another healthy snack (or Yasso frozen yogurt bar) around 9pm to finish the day.

Dinner is much more planned out since I meal plan and buy our groceries according to what we are having for dinner that week. 

Monday: Salad Night 
I buy a bag of chopped salad mix then add chicken, eggs, avocado, and other raw veggies.

Tuesday: Taco Night
Ground beef with taco seasoning served with black beans, avocado, salsa, shredded cheese, and sour cream. I usually serve this in a bowl with tortilla chips.

Wednesday: Italian Night
Ground Italian sausage served with lentil pasta (my kids don't notice the difference), marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and ricotta cheese. We usually have a side salad as well.

Thursday: Stir Fry Night
Shrimp and chicken cooked in extra virgin olive oil (seasoned depending on my mood that day) with mixed vegetables and cauliflower rice.

We typically dine out with the exception of one meal that is typically breakfast for lunch or dinner (I always make bacon, eggs, and Kodiak protein cakes). I get salads a lot when dining out and always skip the bread and opt for lettuce when ordering a sandwich or a burger. I do splurge on pizza occasionally but only for really good pizza, lol.

It's super important that you don't overindulge during eating hours. It can be so tempting to say since I have to fast the next 16 hours, I'm going to eat whatever I want but that's just not a good idea. You should always be mindful of fat, sugar, and calories. 

W H A T  D O  Y O U  D O  W H E N  Y O U  G E T  
H U N G R Y  D U R I N G  Y O U R  F A S T?
The first couple of weeks, I honestly didn't think I was going to be able to do this. I definitely thought about quitting a lot during those first two weeks because it was rough even for someone like me who wasn't a breakfast eater before. However, once I got past those first two weeks, it was so much easier. I focused more on what I was eating during my eight hours and realized the first two weeks that I wasn't eating enough. Getting in enough calories and protein during your eating hours is essential. 

I pretty much always feel some hunger around 11am every single day. It's like clockwork. When I get hungry, I either drink a bottle of water (because a lot of times you when you think are hungry, you are actually just thirsty) or drink my protein coffee or I pray. I have used this time of fasting as a spiritual reminder that I need Jesus so I talk to Him instead of focusing on my own desire for food. It always works for me. Sometimes I even get to 1pm and forget that I can eat.

C A N  Y O U  E X E R C I S E  W H I L E  F A S T I N G?
Yes! If I don't get my workout in before 11am then I will never get my workout in because of my schedule. Working out at night just doesn't work for me. I was a little nervous to workout while fasting because I had always had at least a cup of yogurt before working out. But, I was totally fine! Be sure to drink water before, during, and after your workout to make sure you are hydrated. Also, adding protein to your coffee really helps you sustain your energy through exercise. This is also why I eat a lot of protein packed snacks during my eating hours.

W H A T  I S  Y O U R  E X E R C I S E  R O U T I N E?
I exercise three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On these days, I take a one hour Les Mills Body Pump class at my local YMCA. I have been doing this workout for about a year and I absolutely love it! You can read more about what it is here but basically it is a barbell workout that use high reps and lightweight. It's a motivating workout that gets your heart rate up while lifting and toning. I personally cannot run. I have uneven hips and running is just painful for me so that's really why I fell I love in love with this program. It's such a great workout!

H A V E  Y O U  L O S T  W E I G H T?
This was by far the most asked question! And the answer is YES! When I started this journey, it wasn't just about losing weight, it was about improving my overall health but losing weight is definitely an added bonus. I rarely step on a scale because who likes doing that but for the purposes of IF, I did weigh myself at the beginning, after six weeks, and again after 90 days. I have lost over ten pounds! Most of this weight was belly fat that I was just holding onto after babies and bread, lol. However, I don't recommend anyone standing a scale. Pretty much ever. I usually judge my overall health and weight on whether or not I can fit into my favorite jeans, you know the ones that just make you feel good when you put them on.

Your worth is never found in the number on a scale.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please let me know if you have any questions. Have a great day!

S H O P  T H E  P O S T:

1 comment:

  1. Such a great post, Emily! Thanks for sharing your experiences!