Y’all know Stephanie, our unusually knowledgeable editor and my partner here at Kaplifestyle. You also know she likes to use herself as a science experiment for the benefit of our readers. As we often do, she’ll talk about her learns with intermittent fasting, and I’ll chime in as the supportive (or cynical) voice of the reader.
Four days ago, I officially completed my one month intermittent fasting experiment. I suppose it’s now transitioned from an expedition into the world of trial and error into a true way of life. Even though the experiment is now technically finished, I don’t intend to give it up any time soon. I probably should have marked that for spoilers, since now you don’t have any real reason to finish reading this post.
A way of life after 30 days, huh? Bold statement.
For those of you soldiering on, you may remember that my initial impetus for starting IF was to see additional results in body recomposition. While I try in general to minimize my intake of processed food and refined sugars, I didn’t make many adjustments to my overall diet. The net result was an overall weight loss of around 5 lbs. and 2 inches off my waistline.
Granted, 5 lbs. doesn’t seem like much, but I also made some true gains in terms of replacing body fat with lean muscle. My swim speed and endurance increased, I was able to begin to add in some compound lifts before my swims (squats and bench presses). Subjectively, I noticed an uptick in muscle growth. In fact, I noticed more muscle growth during this month than I noticed in the last few months of the 5×5. Perhaps there’s something to the increase in growth hormone (I’m still not taller).
Your typical American female muses effortlessly on muscle growth, squats and 5 x 5 workouts. This is normal. Onward.
After the first couple of weeks, my body adapted to the new schedule. I very rarely experience any sensations of hunger before around 3-4pm, and then only occasionally. About half the time, I eat a small amount around 5-5:30. The other half, I wait until dinner in the 7pm range.
I’m not consuming significantly more food than normal, and I’ve never experienced a desire to binge or eat everything in sight. I did work slightly to control this – if I’m truly hungry before 5pm, I attempt to ensure that my first decision is an “A” choice. Salads, lean proteins and healthy fats are my go-tos here. I then make sure I let that amount of food digest before eating anything else. Generally, it’s filling enough that I lose any desire to overeat junk.
This is an applicable concept for anyone looking to be healthier, regardless of the method of getting there. Eat the nutritionally dense food first, and you’ll crave the shit less.
I don’t notice any symptoms of irritability, low blood sugar, fatigue, mental “fog” or any of the other traditional associations with skipping meals. After a couple early days of sleep disruption (which may or may not have been related to IF), I sleep soundly and am, hopefully, reaping the hormonal regulation theorized from the animal studies.
That’s daunting, Steph. A few days of sleep disruption is terribly unattractive. Just sayin..
More importantly, I’m becoming much more aware of how often I would eat food without conscious thought. Even when it was ostensibly “healthy” food – grapes, berries, vegetables – I was still mindlessly consuming. I no longer eat out of boredom or because I’m fidgety. Instead, my meals are shared with loved ones and enjoyed.
Mentally, I’m finding a lot of secondary benefits to the intermittent fasting program. I’ve simply stripped out something that I need to think about during the day. When I’m focused on my work, I no longer worrying about looking up, realizing it’s 1:30, and feeling the need to get lunch. I’ve essentially added productive time into my day.
Of course you’re optimizing for efficiency. You’re a robot.
Finally, continuing on with the intermittent fasting program appeals to me because of the ease and simplicity. I work long hours and often on a very odd schedule (the consequence of different time zones). My days and routines aren’t particularly consistent. I don’t have to concern myself with optimal feeding schedules based on my workouts – all my workouts are fasted now. If I were an elite athlete at Gabe’s level or training for competition, perhaps I would need to push to mine for value at the margins. Because I’m only trying to best my previous day, I can spend my mental bandwidth on trying to be more optimal at my job.
Of course, now that I’ve found a successful lifestyle change, I’m now accepting nominations for new trial and error experiments. Any suggestions?
Yes, Steph. Do the exact same thing you’re doing and keep a strict food journal. I dare you.