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Eating healthy or at least eating good throughout the day is very important. Three months ago, I started intermittent fasting and I've seen positive changes in my body and lifestyle overall. If you are thinking of doing intermittent fasting, I hope this article provides you some insight, benefits of intermittent fasting and what you can expect from it. To make this article easy to read, this post is structured in Q&A style.
Have You Done Fasting Before?
I have not. In fact, I've never heard about intermittent fasting until I got comments on my YouTube about Ramadan. Ramadan is the time period where Muslims fast for a month during certain hours, for the act of faith and worship towards God. Ramadan is slightly different from the intermittent fasting I've been doing, but Ramadan inspired me about this lifestyle change.
Why Intermittent Fasting & Not Other Diet Plans?
I didn't start intermittent fasting to lose weight. Just like all of you, I've previously tried so many diet plans and none of them has worked out for me. These diet plans could help you in a short period of time, but in the long run, it's unhealthy and you will gain back the weight you thought you lost, but twice more. This is because many diet plans lack nutrients that you should be eating daily. Your body needs to be balanced!
Why Did You Start Intermittent Fasting?
I began intermittent fasting because I tend to overeat when I am bored and it lead to gastrointestinal problems. Some of the scary gastrointestinal problems I've experienced were acid reflux, heartburn, bloating, and constipation. You might also experience other side effects like headaches and nausea which is painful.
Any Food Eating Plan To Follow For Intermittent Fasting?
I didn't have an eating plan but I followed two intermittent fasting schedules, circadian rhythm (13 hours) and 16/8 schedule. Circadian rhythm is fasting that starts at sunset and last till the morning. For 16/8 schedule, you fast for 16 hours and have 8 hours of feeding window. As you can see in the chart below, most of my intermittent fasting hours lasted between 13 - 16 hours.
I normally don't eat a lot of junk food or fried food, but I didn't restrict myself from eating them. I ate whichever I was craving during eating hours I had. My first meal would start around 1-2pm and another meal (technically dinner) around 6-8pm. If your body is craving snacks in between, you should go for it instead of resisting. Resisting and starving yourself are not recommended.
How Did You Track Your Intermittent Fasting Schedule?
I used an app called Zero to track my intermittent fasting hours. This app is really easy to use. It lets you choose different types of fasting that works for you or you can customize your fasting duration. Some people fast for 24 hours or 36 hours (Monk Fast), and sometimes up to 7 days long. All up to you, but check out Zero if you want to track intermittent fasting times. Download Zero.
How Do You Know What Intermittent Schedule Is Right For You?
It definitely depends on your lifestyle and eating habits. I am not a professional but I've found this article which shares the most popular intermittent fasting methods. The fasting schedule I am using is probably the most common since it's easy to incorporate in your daily life.
How Do You Manage Weekends, Dinner Plans or Night Out?
Great question. Going out on the weekends could ruin your intermittent fasting schedule but that doesn't mean you cannot find a way to do so. For example, if your dinner party ends at 11pm, you can start your fasting from 11pm till the next day around 2-3pm. That still gives your stomach time to digest all the food. Another case, if you went out with your friends till 3am, then you will try not to eat till 6pm the next time. However, the latter example is definitely not recommended since it will mess up your overall schedule. But you get the point. We are all humans, there are some days we skip and that is fine.
Did You Starve Yourself While Fasting?
Absolutely not! If I did let myself starve, I probably won't be able to do this for 3 months and think about keep going. If you let your body starve too long, you will develop a bad habit which leads to bad eating cycle. Later on, you will find yourself eating even more than you are supposed to a day and no one wants to go down that path. At first it was a bit difficult since I wasn't used to it (as you can see in the graphs above), but within a week, my body adjusted to this pattern and it worked out great.
Do You Workout?
I am currently not working out while I am on intermittent fasting schedule. This is because the calorie intake is low overall due to the feeding window you have. Working out like I used to, the weights and running, is not quite suitable for this lifestyle but I do go to yoga few times a week. Yoga is a better alternative than vigorous workout if you are planning on fasting everyday.
Any Changes Or Advice?
It's been three months and I'm still doing it everyday. But I definitely feel more alert, my body feels healthy and happy. No bloating problems or stomach pains. Intermittent fasting helps you crave less sweets. I lost permanent 6 lbs on this journey which was great. I also recommend you to cook at home instead of going out to eat. Better for you and saves money. Here are some delicious homemade food recipes you can follow and healthy snacks to munch on.
Please don't stuff food in your body. In Ikigai, the Japanese secret to a long and happy life, one of the secrets is to eat until your body is 80% full. I definitely recommend this book. Easy read. I know it is difficult to stop eating when you are hungry but start today and make it as a habit. Eat slowly and let your digestive system rest. Be nice to your body and keep your body clean!
I am not a certified person or professional in this topic. Just sharing my positive intermittent fasting experiences and sharing what has worked for me to give insight to others about this lifestyle. In addition, intermittent fasting isn't considered dangerous to your body since you are not starving yourself. Please make sure you are not over doing this fasting by not eating for days. You are simply working on a habit giving enough time for your body to digest fully without constantly pushing food in your body.
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