My intermittent fasting experience

I am in my mid forties and over the past few years, my weight has slowly creeped up. Even if I own a scale, I rarely get on it, but I knew it,  because my cothes were tight, both around my waist and my upper back. This situation has been frustrating for me. No matter how I tweaked my diet or my exercise regimen, I saw no change.

So in August I decided to sign up for a 6 week on line Boot camp / Carb Cycling program with Amanda Tress.

Since the first program, I have done two others and am signed up for my fourth starting in January. I love the workouts and the accountability of the closed Facebook group, but I am also loving one of the specificities of her programs, intermittent fasting.

Her boot camp program, (first program from August) is based largely on the philosophy of Yuri Elkaim :

I don’t feel this is a ”diet” as I refuse to ”diet”. It is about lifestyle changes.

…it integrated a 24 hour fast every 5 days, for 6 weeks. For example, you eat dinner on a Monday night and you fast until dinner the next day (drinking lots of water, tea & coffee is of course encouraged and necessary). Does that sound crazy ? It did when I started, but I wanted to trust the process and I was open minded about the reasons behind fasting (let your body rest, repair itself, give your digestive system and organs a break). So while I was skeptical, I did it. The first time is very hard. My stomach growled most of the day. I needed to plan to keep myself busy so I wouldn’t obsess about what I wasn’t eating. But it got easier each time and I was part of a Facebook group, all the other ladies are going through the same process, so there was experience sharing and mutual encouragement. I then started looking forward to these days and giving my body some ”digestive” rest.

Was I scared to try it ? Yes. But I trusted the process.

For the FASTer way to fat loss program I have been doing, she is not doing a 24 hour fast, but encourages fasting until lunch every day and having a ”shorter eating window”. What does this mean ? To put it simply, you do not eat breakfast, your first meal is at lunch, and you get your calories in between lunch & dinner. The ”eating window” is generally 6 to 8 hours. I thought this would be a piece of cake, seeing as how I was able to do a 24 hour fast, fasting until lunchtime sounded ”easy”. But not to say I wasn’t worried. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I was very worried. But I did my homework, read up on fasting and trusted the process.

The conclusion ? Intermittent fasting has been an amazing experience.

Since October, I have fasted until lunchtime 90% of my days, excluding the days I have races or long runs, then I eat breakfast.

And I learned something.  Quite a few things actually. There were a couple times where I hadn’t eaten enough the day before, and I was very hungry in the morning, so I decided to eat breakfast. And I observed what happened.

  1. Eating in the morning kick started my appetite. Every.single.time. Meaning if I had breakfast, I would eat much more during the day. It is like my appetite was revved up and I wanted to eat all day long. I noticed that when I ate breakfast, I would eat at least a third more than a day when I fasted until lunch (hello pounds that have creeped on !).
  2. Once I got over the hump of the initial stomach rumble in the morning, the hunger went away and my body got used to using stored fat for energy. I never felt hungry. I never had an insulin high then crash. Never felt sluggish mid morning. Not once. I needed to break through the initial knee jerk reaction of my stomach is rumbling = I need to put food in it.
  3. My body can function perfectly on 2 meals a day. Because the fasting trains your body to use fat for fuel, I am not hungry and my energy levels never plummet. Ever.

I believe that fasting, and particularly just fasting until lunch, has had a huge impact on the results that I am seeing.

  • My body has learned to use fat as fuel, rather than the constant stream of food I am putting into it
  • My calories & quantity of food has been significantly reduced (I strongly believe I was over eating)
  • I have a huge amount of energy
  • I am sleeping soundly
  • My mind is clear
  • I feel I am fueling my body with what it needs and I am not over feeding it
  • I have lost many inches around my midsection, and while it is not only linked to fasting, this was a big part of it

Before the experience of these past few months, I NEVER would have thought I could go without food for several hours. I was scared. Skeptical. More than skeptical, I thought it was crazy. But this experience has been hugely beneficial and helped me be less stressed. I don’t have to bring a snack with me. If I am traveling and don’t find something that immediately pleases me, I can wait. I can wait for food, and my body & mind will perfectly function. Because my body has learned to use food for fat.

I strongly believe you get fit in the gym and lose weight in the kitchen, so my fasting experience is coupled with 90% whole foods.

Disclaimer : I wouldn’t recommend trying fasting without the proper support or education. It works so well for me because it is built into a bigger lifestyle change and a program where I have slowly made modifications to my eating & exercise habits. I would recommend you read up on it and check out Amanda Tress and her on line programs (I was NOT paid to say that  !).

Have you ever tried fasting ?

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Comments: 12

  1. Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy December 29, 2016 at 2:09 pm Reply

    I do fast once a year, and occasionally I’ll eat a late breakfast — but frankly, it usually gives me a headache & makes me cranky.

    Which goes with my post — every body is different. I have tried lots of ways to eat, and one of the biggest things for me is finding something that is sustainable (which sounds like you have).

    I can skip breakfast. I can even run fasted (occasionally). In the end, it’s not sustainable for me — getting too hungry is more likely to lead to overeating for me.

    Glad you have found what works for you!
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…My diet hacks revealed: TOLTMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France December 30, 2016 at 2:29 pm Reply

      I do 95% of my workouts and runs fasted, I always have. Maybe its because I am obsessed with burning fat 🙂

  2. Deborah @ Confessions of a mother December 29, 2016 at 2:12 pm Reply

    Wow sounds like you have had a great experience with this! I also feel like it is harder to lose and keep my weight in my mid 40’s. I would be so afraid to try this approach but glad it works so well for you!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother recently posted…Ageless Fitness: Women’s Views on Fitness As They Age-Pt.1My Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France December 30, 2016 at 2:28 pm Reply

      My experience has been amazing. I was so obsessed with my mid section getting thicker in my forties ! but especially important is how a minimal amount of fasting makes me feel, which is greaT.

  3. Darlene December 29, 2016 at 2:20 pm Reply

    Glad it works for me. I need my breakfast. It’s my favorite meal and it helps me start off the day. I even have a late morning snack.

    I prefer to eat less during the day. I often eat a light dinner because I eat late (due to running & tennis after work.)

    I’d love to lose some extra pounds. But I wouldn’t consider fasting.
    Darlene recently posted…TOLT: Looking Back on 2016My Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France December 30, 2016 at 2:26 pm Reply

      Dinner is such a big meal in France that it is almost impossible to have a ‘light’ dinner, which is why breakfast is a small thing here.

  4. Chaitali December 29, 2016 at 3:59 pm Reply

    Interesting! My mom used to fast one day a week but I’ve never thought of trying it. The fasting until lunch thing is interesting because it seems like the nutrition advice we hear is the opposite, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and all that.
    Chaitali recently posted…Year of Running – 2016My Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France December 30, 2016 at 2:25 pm Reply

      I know ! And I was / am such a breakfast fanatic !

  5. Ashley January 24, 2017 at 5:40 am Reply

    Does this work if you workout in the mornings? I usually up by 5 am for my workout and not sure if the workouts need to be done around meal time. Does sound worh a try.

    • Karen - Fit in France January 27, 2017 at 7:27 am Reply

      I do all my workouts fasted, but I always have. I exercise around 7 a.m. (fasted) and my first meal is 5 to 6 hours later.

  6. Kat wells January 24, 2017 at 3:22 pm Reply

    Did you feel sick to your stomach on your gating days/mornings? If I drink coffee or tea on an empty stomach, I feel sick. How many calories are you typically consuming in a day?

    • Karen - Fit in France January 27, 2017 at 7:26 am Reply

      Kat, I never feel sick to my stomach. I drink black coffee on an empty stomach, and have never had any issues. But I have been doing that for a long time. And hunger will set in at some point, but the body gets used to it and if you can push through and wait for about 15 minutes, it usually goes away. 1300 to 1500 calories per day for my height (short)

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