The first time I heard about IM (intermittent fasting) I was a freshman in college, but I didn’t think much of it. By my senior year, it was the “latest craze”, everyone was talking about it, everyone was trying it out, and finally I gave it a shot. Okay, I loosely gave it a shot.
To make sure we’re on the same page, IM is when you eat during selective hours of the day and fast the remaining hours. The most popular fast is 8 hours “on”, 16 “off” (or fasting), so a lot of people choose to eat from 12 PM – 8 PM and then repeat. I’ve heard of 18-hour and 24-hour fasts, but I’m sure you can find countless others.
Within a few minutes of research, you’ll be able to find countless benefits. Are these all proven? Not sure. I’ve heard everything from improved gut health, better sleep, increased metabolism, gradual weight loss, and better focus. If you think about, our ancestors did this all the time. They didn’t have constant access to food, so they fasted all the time, but unintentionally.
Another thing to note, this is not a calorie-cutting “diet”. You are supposed to take in the same amount of calories you would on any other day, but in a short time frame. Just wanted to clarify that.
The past few months I’ve been back on the IM track, but I’ve been making a bigger effort about being serious about this. Of course, there are days where I’m “starving” at 10 AM, and it’s so bad that it’s distracting me from work, so I will grab a granola bar and am instantly cured.
Overall, I’ve been sticking to the 12-8 PM routine and I like it for several reasons. First off, I don’t have to worry about making or preparing breakfast, I can grab my coffee and be out the door — amazing. Second, once I eat my first meal, I don’t feel guilty for “overeating” or “indulging” because I know that my body is breaking its fast. Third and finally, this fasting schedule keeps my body in a sustainable, healthy routine.
To be honest, yes I do struggle with this on the weekends, and I find it very hard to not drunk eat on Friday and/or Saturday nights. It is very hard to turn down 2 AM Skyline when all your friends are doing it!
If you are thinking about trying this out, cut yourself some slack the first few days. It takes time for your body to adjust to any type of new schedule or routine. So give yourself some grace.
I use an app to track my fasting and set reminders. This wonderful app is called Zero. Best of all, it’s free!