If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I do Intermittent Fasting (IF) twice a week and have done it for around about the last year. I found great benefits from it, and managed to even fit it in with an active and busy lifestyle. Whilst weight loss was never a goal for me (I’m lucky I don’t have any excess weight to lose anymore) , other benefits included giving my body a rest from processing food, being able to withstand hunger better and appreciating my food when I did eat.
IF is great for weight loss and indeed my Dad, two brothers and sister are doing it and have seen great results in weight loss. My Dad in his early 70s has struggled with keeping his weight down for what seems like forever. And now he’s found something that works… he’s the lightest he’s EVER been. If that’s not proof that IF works for weight loss… I don’t know what is.
Intermittent Fasting is not for everyone, but if you have weight to lose and you do Intermittent Fasting, the likelihood is, you will lose weight. IF is flexible, you can fit it into your life easily, and it can provide great results. On the back of that, I think there’s a time and place for it and it’s not right for everyone. It puts your body through stress/starvation and is not good if you are unwell or dealing with other stresses in your life.
I’ve always been of the mind-set that you should eat for fuel. Fuel the fire with healthy, nutritious and colourful food. Drink plenty of water to remain hydrated and allow yourself treats, don’t diet and try not to restrict yourself too much. Have will power and eat well, but have what you want every now and again. I used to eat small amounts, regularly, every 2-3 hours, maintaining a healthy metabolism and meaning I was always full of energy and never hungry.
Now a year on from when I started fasting intermittently, and I think I’ll give it a rest or do it in some sort of reduced form. There’s a lot of control involved with IF, and I can imagine sometimes it’s not healthy to stick to rigid time frames (18 hours fasting) when your body doesn’t need it. Some of the negative sides of fasting include the starving element, restricting yourself and sometimes giving into binges once the fast was over and feeling like you can eat anything as a reward for having fasted for so long. On the other hand it’s nice to know that you can deal with hunger for 18-24 hours with a good level of control and will power.
However strength training coupled with Intermittent Fasting has always sat strangely with me. A bit like long distance running coupled with strength training… you are doing two things which contradict each other. Want to spend time strength training and getting strong? You need to fuel your body and let the fuel support your strength goals. Want to run for 20 miles… strength training can complement your running, but if you want to get strong, running long might be contradictory strength training, just as IF might be.
So my plan now is as follows:
- Do Intermittent fasting as part of my weekly routine, only once a week, on a Sunday when I’m teaching swimming (40 weeks a year).
- Stop eating at around 2-4pm, and fast (water and liquids) until 8am the following day (16-18 hrs).
- Sundays are good as they tend to be my rest day from exercise, and if I do it only on the weeks that I teach swimming, I’ll get a break from it at Christmas and in Summer.
- It’s also easy to do it when I’m swimming teaching, as my mind is on the kids / teaching swimming, then I’m in bed and before I know it, it’s time to eat again.
I won’t be too restrictive and if I don’t fancy doing IF, I won’t. In the same light, if I’ve got a lunch with someone I’ll eat later. Or if I’m travelling I’ll consider doing it instead of on a Sunday.
I’ve always been quite flexible with IF, cutting the fast shorter or extending it if I fancied it. And now I’m going to just use it as a tool to give my body a rest from processing food. And during the other times when I’m not doing IF, I’ll eat small portions regularly. Mainly healthy, with some treats. 🙂