In Which I Answer All The Intermittent Fasting Questions

Greetings and good morning! We’ve had quite a weekend in our house. Most notably, Caroline got her driver’s license yesterday!!!

She is very excited, and it will be convenient to have her driving, but of course another cause for mama to worry. Ahhh, parenting… Ain’t it fun?

And we finally got some snow! Not a lot, but it’s pretty. It snowed lightly all afternoon, and I enjoyed watching it through the big window in our family room.

I spent most of the afternoon watching HGTV, snoozing on the couch, and reading my latest book. Later on, Paul built a fire in the fireplace, and we watched the Sixers beat the Knicks in a very tight game, which was awesome.

All in all, it was a cozy but lazy Saturday, and I’m looking forward to getting out of the house for church today.

This post is mostly about IF, but first I’ll give you a quick kitchen update.

Kitchen Makeover Update

I finally got a few good “before” pictures… I love the wide angle lens on my iPhone! It actually captures the whole room.

At this point, mostly everything is picked out and tentatively scheduled. You can see our Kitchen Makeover Plans here, if you missed it last week. (Scroll down about half-way.)

Our new appliances arrive on Wednesday, and I cannot WAIT for that. At least I can start using those while we wait for the rest of the plan to fall into place.

We scheduled the template and the install for the counters for mid-February, secured painters for our cabinets, and got a design plan for the desk area. We also found a contractor to install that as well as the backsplash.

I still need to pick out new cabinet hardware and backsplash materials, but there’s time for that. Needless to say, I’m excited to see it all come together. I hope to get it all wrapped up by the first week of March.

Intermittent Fasting Q&A

I have had a lot of questions about IF this week, so I thought I’d do a Q&A format. I think that’s easier to digest than when I just ramble on for 2000 words.🤪

Q // I am interested in how you found out about this intermittent fasting. I would like more personal experience on how you got interested.

A // I was first introduced to the concept of Intermittent Fasting when I tried FASTer Way to Fat Lost back in the fall of 2018, but evidently, it’s been around since the 1960s. I found FWTFL overly complicated, but a lot of you told me at the time that you do IF without the carb cycling and macro counting, and I was intrigued by that.

Somewhere along the way, I heard about Gin Stephens’ Delay, Don’t Deny Facebook Group, and I eventually joined. I read the posts that randomly popped up in my Facebook feed, but I was just gathering crumbs of information here and there. I was craving more, and I wanted to be sure I understood the science behind IF, not just falling for the newest fad diet.

When someone mentioned Gin’s book, Delay, Don’t Deny, I ordered it and started reading right away. That’s when I got serious about IF, and almost immediately, I started noticing changes in my body, energy level, and yes, even the scale.

That’s also where I learned about the amazing health benefits that come along with practicing intermittent fasting. Let’s just say, I was sold hook, line, and sinker!

Q // What health benefits are you talking about?

A // Read about autophagy and how intermittent fasting plays a role.

Q // What hours do you usually eat?

A // I usually eat between 3 and 7PM, give or take, but I didn’t start out with such a short eating window. You should definitely build up to longer fasts.

Q // How do you go until 3PM without eating when you get up at 5AM?

A // It’s not hard, once you start to become fat adapted. I’m sure I’m not totally there yet, but I don’t usually have any issues working out while fasting, or getting shaky or lightheaded throughout the day. (I was verrry hungry when I first started fasting, but that has gone away.)

Q // What is fat adapted?

A // From “Fat adapted” is the metabolic state your body is in once you’ve been in ketosis long enough that your body has efficiently transitioned from burning carbs/sugar for energy to burning fats from your food, body-generated fats, and your stored body-fat reserves for energy.”

You get the same results from a keto diet, but with Intermittent Fasting, you don’t have to count macros or limit your carbs and sugars. That is not to say you can binge on junk during your eating window and lose weight, but you aren’t limited to any certain food groups, and you can still have a treat here and there.

Q // I tried IF, but I didn’t lose weight, so I gave up. 

A // Okay, that’s not a question, but I hear this a lot.

Here’s the thing: You should not expect immediate weight loss with IF.

If it happens, that’s awesome, but not everyone will have that experience. That’s because IF is not just another method of calorie restriction; it actually trains your body to process food differently, and it takes a while to become fat adapted.

I like to say IF is a marathon, not a sprint. (This is what I tell myself when I see the scale moving in the wrong direction.)

Also, a lot of people will changes to their body right away, but they may not be immediately reflected on the scale.

If weight loss is your goal, you may need to tweak a few things to get the results you want. For example, I didn’t see a lot of change when I was doing 16:8, but as soon as I buckled down and started going 19:5 or even 20:4, I noticed a drop on the scale.

All that to say, there are a lot of ways to do IF, and everyone has to find what works best for them.

Q // What do you add to your coffee that doesn’t break your fast? Or do you drink it black?

A // UPDATE 4/19 — I’ve been drinking my coffee black for weeks, now. I only drink black coffee or water during my fasting hours. The more I read about it, the more I was convinced that a “clean fast” does matter. 

I’ve been adding about 1/2 tsp of heavy cream — that tiny amount takes the edge off the bitterness, and allows my calorie intake to stay under 50, even if I have several cups.

Some would say that breaks my fast, but some believe keeping total calories during your fast under 50 calories does not. I’ve also read that you can still see weight loss doing that, but not autophagy.

I expect no one really knows, and for now, that makes my super strong Nespresso coffee palatable, so I’m allowing it. (I can drink other coffees black.)

Q // What a typical day is like with the program?

A // I get up around 5AM and drink two cups of coffee.

I have my fasting app (I use Zero) set to 18:6 (UPDATE 4/19 — I have it set to 19:5) because I try to fast for at least 18 hours, as long as it works out with my social life. Once the app alerts me that my fast is over, I decide whether or not I want to eat right away.

That depends on how hungry I am, and when I plan to serve dinner. Sometimes I go another hour or two or three, and sometimes I eat something as soon as the alarm goes off.

I try to break my fast with something healthy — leftover soup or dinner, tuna salad, or a scrambled egg. Then I usually have a sweet treat — often a gluten-free cookie with a cup of coffee (and this time, I treat myself to a generous pour of heavy cream… yum!)

I may have a snack while I’m making dinner, and I try to eat a good-sized, well-balanced meal. I also take a hair, skin & nails vitamin, and I try to incorporate a scoop of collagen powder into something I’m eating along the way. I like it best mixed into soup.

After dinner, I may have another cookie or sweet treat, and then I close my window. (I actually tap Start Fast on my app, so it’s a conscious decision to stop eating.)

My eating window may be 2 hours, or it may be 6, but usually it’s around 4.

Q // Was it hard to get used to fasting? 

A // Not really. The best part of IF is how easy it is, and it was actually a relief not to have the pressure of finding something healthy to eat during the day.

I mean, sure, I was hungry at times as my body adjusted, but I’m usually too busy during the day to eat well, and I had gotten into a bad habit of snacking on junk and grabbing a sugary breakfast bar as I ran out the door, which just kept my insulin spiking all day.

On the days I’m around the house more, it’s sometimes hard to walk through the kitchen and not grab a snack, but I will get a glass of water or another cup of coffee and then just get busy with something.

Q // How do you handle social situations for breakfast and lunch?

A // IF is super flexible, and I can easily shift or expand my eating window to accommodate lunch, so that hasn’t been a problem.

I rarely have a social situation involving breakfast, but when I do, it just depends… If I’m at an event where food is around, but it’s not formal sit-down meal, I may just have black coffee and socialize.

But if we’re on family vacation, and the family is gathering for breakfast, I will join in and eat. I’ll get back to my regular fasting schedule the next day, or when I get back from vacation. Supposedly your body gets right back on track.

Q // How much weight have you lost, and what is your weight loss goal?

A // I’ve lost a solid 5 pounds, which puts me back into all of my clothes comfortably.

I went into this without a specific weight loss goal in mind, and I’m happy where I am right now, but also interested to see where the lifestyle takes me.

I wish I’d taken “before” pictures wearing form-fitting workout gear, so I have a good baseline, but I didn’t think about it.

This is the best “before and after” that I could find, but I think you can see a difference. It’s subtle, but it’s there. The picture on the left was taken on 12/23, and the one on the right was just this morning — so almost a month apart. I got serious about IF on 12/27.

Q // Can you explain more about how you think you body has changed?

A // The first thing I noticed was that my puffy belly started to deflate, and my clothes felt more comfortable — especially in the waist area, which is where they tend to get tight. That happened within the first few days of moving to a 5-hour eating window.

My chest has also gotten smaller (I can tell by the way my bras fit), and my hips look slimmer in my jeans. Basically, I feel like I look slimmer overall, and my body looks familiar to me again — not the middle-aged alien that has been inhabiting it for the past 6 months, haha!

It seems too good to be true, but only time will tell!

FINAL WORDS ON IF: If you read nothing else, read this…

I share all this because I have been getting so many questions, and I’m always happy to share what works for me when it comes to heath and wellness.

But PLEASE, don’t just start fasting because some random fashion blogger on the internet happens to think it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

Do your own research, and make an informed decision. Gin’s Delay, Don’t Deny is a good place to start, but she isn’t a doctor. She just synthesizes the information she has gleaned from her research. I recently downloaded The Obesity Code (one of the books she references a lot) and plan to read that next.

You really need to understand IF before diving in — to give yourself the best chance at success, and also to be sure it’s right for you.

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