What is intermittent fasting? And, how do you make it work for your life as an active mom of two, young children?
Lately, I’ve been asked these questions, so I wanted to follow up on an earlier post I shared about intermittent fasting.
What is IF?
Intermittent fasting, or IF, is essentially shortening the window of eating during the day. For example, you would wait until noon to break your fast, and stop eating around 8 p.m. So, you are fasting for 16 hours, with an 8-hour eating window. You can still eat the same number of calories (although you usually eat a bit less), just in a shortened time frame.
During the fasting time, water, coffee, tea, and electrolyte drinks are typically consumed. I used my pre-workout drink, but I’m switching that to something a bit cleaner (I’ll share more in the future).
How Often Do You Practice IF?
I practice IF every day. Sometimes, I break my fast at noon, other days it’s a bit earlier or later. I worked to gradually increase my fasting window, so 16 hours feels natural now.
Truthfully, I feel great doing this, and my digestive system gets a break, instead of eating throughout the day. When I first started IF, I did push through the hunger a bit to extend my fasting time, but my body adjusted and it became automatic.
Why Do You Practice IF?
Not only do I feel good practicing IF, but it simplifies my life. I’m no longer worrying about eating every few hours or prepping multiple snacks and meals. This is huge with two kids that seem to be constantly hungry!! Can anyone else relate?!
What Do You Eat Daily?
I usually break my fast with a handful of almonds and a grass fed protein smoothie (new product I’ll talk about in future posts). Then, I follow up with sliced avocado and rice & bean crisps or veggies and hummus. Dinner is my biggest meal and includes 4-6 oz of protein, veggies, healthy fats. I do indulge in treats, but have found that HALO ice cream (thawed for 20 mins) rocks my world!
During my eating window, I don’t restrict. My goal is to choose protein, veggies, and healthy fats first, and let the rest happen.
Daily eats might include: almonds, hard boiled eggs, undenatured protein smoothie, spinach, hummus, avocado, chicken, sweet potato chips, PB or almond butter, apples, carrots, chicken, tuna, to name a few items, and dark chocolate!
Are You Hungry After You Exercise?
Even before IF was a “thing,” I was practicing a modified form of it.
I like working out in a fasted state, so other than a pre-workout drink, I didn’t need anything else.
Old advice told us to eat in the 30-60-minute window following a workout, but that isn’t necessary unless you are training multiple times a day, like a professional athlete. You have about 6 hours for the anabolic window, so waiting just a bit longer to eat following a workout further trains your body to burn fat
Did you practice IF while nursing?
Yes. But, not until my milk supply was well established, after 12 weeks or so. I adjusted my window based on how hungry I was or how often my son nursed. I’m still weaning Cole at 19 months, but he only nurses at night now (mama’s boy).
How Should I Start IF?
This is a really personal thing. For anyone looking to change their diet, tracking your food is a good first step. That way you can see if your over or under eating certain macro and micronutrients. Then, simply stop eating after your dinner, and wait to break you fast the next morning a bit longer each day. Listen to your body and pay attention to actual hunger cues, not just societal ones like meal times.
You Do You
I hope this helps some of you considering implementing IF. Feel free to leave more questions below!