Today’s post is all about my intermittent fasting (IF) journey thus far. This is something I’ve been doing for nine+ months but haven’t really talked about anywhere or with anyone because I really wanted to see how it played out for me first.
I had heard of intermittent fasting about a year ago, even read up on it, listened to a podcast and as early as one month before I actually started doing it. I remember vividly scoffing at it, ‘That is definitely not for me’.
You see, I’m someone who is hungry instantly when I wake up, eats small meals throughout the day to keep me going, and also Hypoglycemic.
If you’re unfamiliar with Hypoglycemia, it’s when, “blood sugar decreases to below normal levels. This may result in a variety of symptoms including clumsiness, trouble talking, confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures or death. A feeling of hunger, sweating, shakiness and weakness may also be present”. For me, I would experience many of those symptoms including trouble talking, shakiness, complete loss of energy and feeling like I could pass out any moment. Food would remedy that, so I always tried to keep snacks on hand, in my purse and car, as I would experience episodes almost daily if I wasn’t eating every two hours.
I should also note that I did speak to my Doctor about my Hypoglycemia, and she said it was no longer classified as a medical condition, since it’s so common, and to just monitor it with food and stay on top of it (which I did).
However, my Hypoglycemia got so so bad that I would actually worry about going to social functions without food, sitting in a long meeting, or going on excursions while on vacation, etc. I tried to plan ahead but sometimes you can’t and I would start to crash really badly.
Marco and my best friend also became hyper sensitive to me and this ‘condition,’ and knew all the signs. It was comical, even, as they would often see it happening before I would realize! They would rush to get me to a place to eat or shove food at me to tide me over–it seems so ridiculous, but I truly felt I couldn’t carry on in these moments because my blood sugar dipped so low, so quickly.
To be honest, I sort of fell into intermittent fasting. It was two months before our wedding, I was stressed out like crazy, and my appetite was all over the map. Around this time, I started adding collagen powder to my morning coffee, and noticed it was tiding me over till about lunch time. I continued my usual 2L+ of water a day, and was no longer needing an afternoon snack between lunch and dinner. The real eye opening moment though, was one day driving home from work. Usually I would get to a point of such deep hunger, I’d be panicked at the thought of what I could eat as soon as I walked in the door. On this day though, I noticed that my hunger pangs passed within about 10 minutes. In fact, I no longer felt hungry. What?!
As days went on and turned into weeks, this pattern continued. I would get hungry, but I wouldn’t drop like I had been before, and if I just waited it out, it would pass (until it was my next meal time). I also started practicing portion control–something I hadn’t really done before. My meals were smaller, but I was full when I was done eating. I often didn’t finish my full plate, and my body was liking this new way of eating (it was kind of weird, to be honest).
After a while of subconsciously doing IF, I started to be mindful about my eating schedule. Like I said, my body was liking this, I was no longer experiencing fast drops in my blood sugar, which was such a nice, new way of life. I no longer felt famished upon waking up, and found my coffee would tide me over till about lunch time. There is usually a hunger pang around 10:30am, so at that time I typically just start drinking my first liter of water. I “open my (eating) window” around 12:30pm – 1pm-ish, which means I can eat as much as I want, as often as I want, until 8:30pm – 9pm-ish. The eating window is eight hours, then you fast for 16 hours.
The scientific studies I’ve read (and I’m not a Scientist, nor Doctor, of course) are really positive, and in lament terms talks about how the fasting period helps your body rid itself (over time) of bad cells, since you’re not constantly feeding them. It’s also proven to be a great method for weight loss or weight management. Again, read up on these things yourself and do your own research–I’m simply stating the benefits I’ve seen and have read about.
WHAT A TYPICAL DAY OF EATING LOOKS LIKE
I used to be such a breakfast person, unable to function without food for my entire life. However, with IF, I no longer need to eat first thing when I wake up (I mean, yes, there is the odd day where I do still wake up hungry, but it doesn’t consume me and will often pass).
I always have a large glass of water (I prefer room temperature; I know cold is supposedly better) before I have my coffee. I make my coffee with some light cream and add in a scoop of my collagen powder.
Between my coffee and lunch time, I drink a litre of water.
For lunch, I typically have the same thing throughout the week, simply because I hate meal planning and am super lazy, plus I don’t mind eating the same thing day after day. I have the large kale harvest salad from Farmboy with their apple cider vinaigrette and add half a can of black beans. I know canned beans aren’t the best, but I buy a fairly clean brand and am too lazy to cook my own–this is also better than eating something unhealthy and also just helps keep me sane instead of planning what protein I need to cook and prep for lunches. At lunch, I will fill up my liter water bottle and sip on that for the rest of the afternoon.
Before IF, I always needed an afternoon snack, now I typically don’t need anything and stay satisfied until dinner. If I do get hungry, I’ll typically eat a yogurt, apple with cheese, avocado on GG cracker, handful of nuts, etc. Something that’s healthy as I try to save my sweet tooth snack for after dinner.
For dinner, we are all over the place. It’s the one meal I can never get consistently planned and it’s annoying but it is what it is. We have done Hello Fresh in the past, we BBQ a lot in the summer, half the time I’m eating something different from Marco because we can’t agree on meals, or we simply go out or get something delivered. We also really love ramen, pho, Greek, sushi, Thai, and I will often order a salad from our local pizza spot if we are getting something delivered & am trying to keep it healthy.
I almost always have some sort of treat after dinner–I have a major sweet tooth and love having something while we watch a show a little later on. We always keep chocolate on hand (“for emergencies”), but also because if we were to keep pie, Nibs, ice cream sandwiches (omg!) or sour keys, I would eat them every night, so I try not to keep those in the house! If I’m trying to be good but have a sweet craving I’ll eat some dates or make chocolate avocado pudding.
When my eating window closes around 8:30pm – 9pm, I don’t eat for the rest of the night. If I get hungry, I have a glass of water–which was annoying at first but now isn’t a big deal. One of the other big chances and advantages is my late night snacking and sweet cravings in the evening have almost disappeared. I used to ransack the cupboards for ingredients to make-shift some sort of cookies on the fly just to satisfy my craving but I have found my cravings have sort of lessened (sort of).
FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU, IF IT’S NOT IF, THAT’S OKAY
Ultimately, this post isn’t to convince you that you should do IF, not at all, actually. I just wanted to share my experience, and how it’s helped me. I have a lot of friends who have said it’s absolutely not for them, and I totally get that. You just need to find (like anything), what works for you. Since this seems to work for me, I’ve been sticking with it.
I know a lot of the photos I’m sharing here are heavier foods, which I enjoy on a weekly basis, but typically I try to stick to an 80/20 diet. I try to keep my meals as healthy as possible and then indulge in something sweet after dinner and/or cocktails and wine 😉
I hope you found this post helpful, or if you know someone struggling with hypoglycemia, maybe direct them to this post to see if it’s relate-able. If you have any questions, happy to answer them (firstname.lastname@example.org) or slide into my DM’s 😉 Hope you girls have a great day! xo