I want to be less fat and more lean – that’s my ultimate goal and when I think about what helped me most when I started juicing back in 2014 it was intermittent fasting.
I would juice all day and eat a meal in the evening – a liquid fast.
Then some time in late 2016 I read that intermittent fasting wasn’t great for women. It messed with our hormones.
I let that one article put me off and stop me from doing something that was working at the time.
Getting back to intermittent fasting (IF)
Since stopping IF I kept reading, listening to and watching as more evidence became available about the many health benefits of giving our bodies a rest from food.
- When our body isn’t busy digesting food it can get on with the job of healing and killing off bad blood cells that cause illness. When the body goes into fasting mode, it stops producing as many growth-related hormones and proteins, which are linked to cancer and diabetes. Instead, the body takes a little break to repair cells. This “maintenance state” may be the key to unlocking longer lives.
- Our insulin levels drop which helps our body burn fat and our human growth hormone increases which also helps with fat burning and muscle gain.
- We eat fewer meals, I do find myself feeling fuller quicker on less food, and that results in weight loss.
- Evidence-based research has shown that intermittent fasting lowers the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and in some cases completely removes it from the body.
- It also helps us fight that deadly killer INFLAMMATION which silently weaves its way into our body slowly reducing our ability to function and causing major diseases and illnesses.
So last week I decided to go back to it. I can’t even remember what made me decide. In my usual way I woke up in the morning and decided I was going to fast.
First week of intermittent fasting
It was last Monday morning and as I was on my way to work I knew that would stop any hope I had of getting hold of food – until the canteen was open at least.
I had nothing to juice with so I bought myself a bottle of water and completed a water-fast, drinking all day and eating in the evening. I managed to last through Monday and until the afternoon of Tuesday.
Second week of intermittent fasting
This week I had a lot more success. I ate Sunday evening before 7pm (not sure what time I ate as I didn’t check) and woke up Monday morning with fasting in mind.
I didn’t eat until I got home Monday evening at 5pm. I made myself a green smoothie and then had a plant-based meal.
During work I found hot drinks worked better to help with hunger and I did allow myself one cup of hot tea with soya milk but only the one. It helped if I drank it around 1.30-2pm to get me through to 5pm.
Hopefully over the coming weeks I will stick to green tea.
I ate between 5pm – 7pm and only drank water after 7pm.
Managed to do it all again on Tuesday and then Wednesday.
By Wednesday I knew my fat burning had kicked in because I had that heady spaced out feeling when my body is “eating itself” – I recognise it from my first year of juicing back in 2014.
Thursday lunch time I ate something. I was hoping to make four days in a row but I had walked to work that morning and that caused me to feel extra hungry by 10am and by 1.30pm I just had to eat.
Still, three days of drinking water all day and eating just once is brilliant.
I am going to continue with my Monday-Wednesday fast for now and eventually I want to try a 36-hour fast where you fast one day and eat the next. It’s known as an alternate day fast where I eat within a 12 hour period, say 7am to 7pm on a Monday and then the fasting takes place Monday night and all day Tuesday. I break the fast Wednesday at 7am.
Right now I am sort of doing the 24-hour fast. I say sort of because I eat between 5pm and up to 7pm.
I break the fast at 5pm with my smoothie and then it’s another 60-120 minutes before I eat a meal.
So if I ate something at 7 pm the night before that really is 22 hours – which is still great. Maybe I could exercise in those two hours but right now when I get home all I am thinking about (and have been thinking about all day) is food.
I have read that twice a week is enough with this fast to make a real difference and it’s handy because you can eat breakfast and then fast until your next breakfast or, like me, eat dinner and fast until your next dinner.
Exercise and Intermittent Fasting
As yet, I am still not into a regular form of exercise. I have been stretching (I found a video on youtube that gave me 5 stretches to do every day) and I walk. I still attempt to do something every single day – some days it is just putting on Spotify and dancing for 10 minutes.
I also have my rebounder and I do jump around on that a little. Eventually using the rebounder and my weights plus stretching/yoga type exercises and walking will all be used to help me lose body fat and become leaner.
I have read that exercise while fasting is worth doing because it helps with the fat burning so I am only going to walk home. The walk home is mainly uphill, most of the roads take me on an uphill walk so it’s perfect.
I can walk and then break my fast with a green smoothie (spinach, avocado, blueberries, almond butter and ginger with coconut water and hemp milk) when I get home.
Research has shown that shorter fasts which last around 15-20 hours a day and then end in a workout, followed by an eating period of 4-9 hours provide extra benefits.
One of those benefits is that it stimulates a physiological state that is similar to a longer fast, therefore giving the benefits of a long fast without having to take part in one.
It has also been said that muscle recovery can be helped during the post-exercise/eating period but all of this has mainly been tested in animals rather than people.
Intermittent fasting for health
I didn’t make fasting about weight loss. I didn’t jump on the scales in my usual attempt to find out how much I can lose and I guess that’s progress. IF is something I can fit into my lifestyle along with juicing and plant-based eating.
It stops me obsessing about eating all the time because there is nothing to cook AND it provides me with extra time because I am not cooking or eating. I get an extra 30 minutes in bed because I am not having to cook, eat and wash up breakfast.
I haven’t read anything else about it not being great for women so far, only that one article, so for now I will continue using it to help improve my health. I will start juicing again but right now a water-based fast is good enough because it means not having to buy a load of produce and plus I can easily pick up a bottle of water when I run out.