I wrote about this a while ago, and although I followed through, I totally forgot to write about it. Now many months later, after having done intermittent fasting for 3 separate months, I’ve got some thoughts.
IF is awesome but as a woman, you might want to stay away from it when you’re on your period, but that depends from woman to woman, so try it first and judge for yourself. IF killed my cravings and cleared my head and gave me a fountain of focus I didn’t know existed. I’m a fan.
I chose a very simple IF schedule that fit with my lifestyle: feeding period between 11am and 7pm. Half the time, I don’t wake up until 10 or 11 anyway (although that is slowly changing, I’ve made it my goal to wake at 8, and I’m getting better and better and not staying up late), because I have a tendency to stay up till 2 or 3. The 7pm hard line kept me from snacking thoughtlessly during my late nights.
On the days I do wake up early, especially when I’m going to University of Calgary to work for the day, IF works well for me too. Water and some black coffee does the trick and holds the hunger at bay. The first few days you feel hungry, but then the hunger passes, and real hunger makes itself known around 10:30 or 10:45.
What IF has taught me is the value of good food..aka not junk food. Junk food fills you up for a bit but it doesn’t last the fasting period and instead you’re doubling over with fierce hunger pains. Bagel, easy over eggs, whey protein smoothies with spinach, chicken, lots of veggies, these are things I crave now, because they fill me up and keep my energy levels stable when I’m not eating.
BUT. I cannot maintain this when I’m menstruating. I tried it and could not, I felt like I hadn’t eaten all day no matter what I ate. One night I ate 4 shami kababs, 2 bananas, a large bag of ruffles, 2 naans, half a plate of okra, two roast beef sandwiches, a large ice cap, and two boston cream donuts.
In an hour.
Would you believe it, I was tired of eating, my damn mouth hurt..but I kept eating.
IF during my time of the month meant not being able to get out of bed, aching all over like I’d done 120 push ups everyday, bloodshot eyes no matter how much sleep I got, and the most intense fits of anger I’ve experienced in a very long time (I may have punched a door down..are you scared of me yet?).
Normally, I’m not like that. To maintain my sanity, I woke up and ate a very light breakfast, then a couple hours later, had a smoothie, then a few hours later, a large lunch, then a couple hours later, a snack, then a few hours later, a decent sized dinner, then a couple hours later, a snack before bed. I ate all the way from 9am to 2am. It was the only way I could prevent eating like a monster but still maintain my energy levels.
But seriously, try it out, I know women who are doing IF every day of the month and they are just fine.
My favourite part of IF is something I discovered during Ramadan and hoped that IF would bring into my life regularly. During Ramadan, we fast from dawn to sunset, and I always felt that my ability to focus was heightened during that month. Everything was razor sharp and colours literally seemed brighter. I’m happy to say, IF has helped in that area.
I do focus more. I can sit down and concentrate better. Not longer, because you can only focus for so long before you need a break, but better. I’m more creative, I’m more purposeful, I’m happier, and I’m more open.
Hunger doesn’t help focus. I’m not saying you should stay hungry and thirsty to be more productive. Fasting, the way we’re doing it in Ramadan and through IF, means you have a small feeding period in which you ensure you get enough nourishment to last you the rest of the day. When you’re not busy eating, not busy thinking about eating, ]you have more energy to devote to other things.
So I’m a fan.
I don’t do it 24/7, but I do it most days. Exceptions are usually parties or an extraordinarily late dinner with the family or friends. Otherwise, IF feels like the most natural and easiest way to keep myself healthy and fed.
Have you tried IF? Any thoughts?