For several years now, I’ve unknowingly practiced intermittent fasting. It wasn’t a widely publicized practice, or at least I wasn’t aware of it.
Basically, it began when I decided that I wasn’t going to eat first thing in the morning if I wasn’t hungry. Plus, I liked to do my workouts in a fasted state (empty stomach).
What is intermittent fasting? Essentially, it’s shortening the window of eating during the day. For example, one might not eat until 11 a.m. and then stop eating around 6 or 7 p.m. You still eat the same number of calories, just in a shortened time frame. This goes against the traditional advice of eating several small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism “on fire”.
Here’s the thing, eating from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. means your digestive system is working +14 hours per day. That’s a lot of work, right? Shortening the window allows your digestive system to rest, and your body can begin to learn to use body fat for fuel.
I gradually extended the time until I’d break my fast. It started with 10 a.m., then gradually progressed to 11 a.m. and now, I typically don’t break my fast until noon or later.
You Do You
I think it’s important to emphasize that no, one diet works for everyone. Some individuals will respond well to many, small meals throughout the day, or to a low carb, high fat diet, while others will experience adverse affects. And, some will thrive with intermittent fasting. We are all built differently, train differently, and have different genetic make ups.
Personally, I prefer not prepping 5-6 meals a day. Life is busy enough with the kids, and I’d rather invest my time elsewhere.
I have more energy and stamina by reducing my feeding window. I don’t stress about not having access to food for a few hours, because I know I’ve trained my body to use fat as a fuel source.
What I Eat
Let me preface this by saying, I don’t like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Cooking is not my thing, so I keep things very simple.
Instead of the traditional breakfast, I drink a pre-workout. My favorite so far is GenetixHD ProSculpt.
I sip this with ice and a straw. It’s like my iced coffee!
After I put Cole down for his morning nap, I do my workout which usually lasts 20-30 minutes. Following my workout, I clean, do laundry, or work on the computer before we pick Jada up from pre-school. We usually walk to school using the double BOB and bring Cooper. I pack the kids a lunch and they get to play park if the weather cooperates.
By this time, it’s well after noon. Once we get to the house, I usually eat something like salad.
Or, a “snack-y” type plate with veggies, protein, and fat.
Frequently, I eat a handful of nuts while I prep something.
I do not track my macros presently, and I’m still nursing Cole at 14 months. That said, I really try to listen to my body and fuel accordingly as cliché as that may sound.
Loading up on veggies and healthy fats makes me feel best–I’m not afraid to take a spoon straight to the peanut butter jar! I do eat chicken, turkey, and fish, but I prefer plants when I can.
I eat dinner early with the kids, like at 5 or 5:30 p.m. and also because I like to snack a lot after! I definitely eat ice cream, chocolate, and other not-so-healthy things.
I do love protein bars throughout the day for convenience and taste, and so do my kids. It’s like once they hear the wrapper, they come running at me! Snack nation is also a great place to try new bars and other heathy treats!
Like I said, I don’t track my macros, but my calories are in all likelihood well over 2000 daily. Some days more, some less depending on the workout and how I feel. When I sleep poorly, you can bet I eat in excess and make less than ideal choices.
I probably stop eating around 8:30 or 9 p.m., but really need to move that up as it eating too late can impact your quality of sleep.
Please keep in mind, this is a really general post. I eat when I’m hungry, and try to stop when I’m mostly full–easier said than done at times!
Have you tried intermittent fasting? Do you prefer to eat right away?