Just to tell you about myself, I’m 46, 5’ 7” and I have given birth to 6 children.
I started out my weight loss journey by doing calorie counting. My top weight was 150 lbs, and I lost 10 lbs by calorie counting using Noom.
BUT I HATED IT.
I always felt guilty if I ate dessert.
It was hard to stay under the number of calories they suggested, and it took the joy out of cooking and eating.
On July 15, 2022, I started intermittent fasting.
I decided to do an 18:6 fast, meaning I fast for 18 hours, and my eating window is 6 hours.
In that 6-hour window, I usually have two meals. So for me, the eating window is 1 pm – 7 pm, which means I eat lunch around 1 pm and eat dinner around 6 pm, and I don’t eat anything after 7 pm.
For me, IF is like the container method of decluttering. I allow the time frame to set the limits of how much I eat. If it doesn’t fit in the time frame, I don’t eat it.
It takes all the guesswork and mental preoccupation out of it.
With I.F., all I have to do is think about what time it is and if it’s in my window. If it’s in my window- I eat whatever I want, if it’s not, I don’t eat it, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out because tomorrow I’ll have another eating window, and I can eat it then, if I want to.
**Before I get into the details, I need you to know that I’m not a health professional, so please do your own research, and seek professional advice, especially if you have health conditions.
I started Intermittent Fasting on July 15, 2022, and I weighed 139 pounds.
A few days into intermittent fasting, I realized I no longer craved food. I wasn’t thinking about it all the time, I wasn’t desperate for sugar or pop, and I didn’t feel any urge to drive through for a burger and fries.
That, for me, was AMAZING – It was like something just flipped a switch, and I went from craving junk food and sweets to not actually caring about food.
I still very much enjoy food – I love ethnic foods, I love trying new things, I love bread – I enjoy cooking and baking; it’s very important to me. But what I mean by not caring anymore is that there wasn’t a super strong drive to get certain foods. It was as if my brain was rewired. I still enjoyed the food I ate, but I wasn’t desperate for them.
After three months of IF, on October 6, I weighed 128 pounds.
Another month later, in November, I weighed 124 pounds.
My understanding of the way intermittent fasting works is that our bodies are always in a state of storing energy and using energy.
When we eat, our blood sugar goes up; that is “energy.” Some of it is used immediately, and some of it is taken up by our cells and stored for later use.
When we eat, and blood sugar goes up, the pancreas secretes insulin to control the blood sugar levels.
When the blood sugar levels go down, the insulin levels go down and then our bodies dip into that stored energy. First, it uses up the sugar it has stored away, but if you continue to go without eating, the fat cells will release energy to be used.
If we never fast, our body never has time to dip into it’s resources
If we eat all the time, our body is constantly using and storing the energy we are giving it, but if we don’t take a break from eating, there is no chance for the body to use the stored energy.
When our cells are overloaded with energy, they try to protect themselves by becoming insulin resistant. That makes the stored energy harder to get to, our insulin levels increase, and our body feels hungrier more often to try to bring balance to the energy crisis.
The issues this has on our body is more than just excess weight; because we’re consuming so much energy, our muscle cells get maxed out on their storage abilities, and the energy starts getting stored in fat cells and then the liver and causes many health issues.
Giving our body an extended break from consuming food, means that it has the opportunity to use up the stored energy. Because it makes the body more sensitive to insulin, the hungry feeling decreases. It breaks the cycle of overeating and feeling hungry.
For myself, I went straight to an 18-hour fast, but depending on your health, you may want to start with 12 hours and work your way up to 16 -18 hours.
Aim for at least a 16 hour fast
From what I’ve read, the most change takes place after 16 hours; one study I was reading said 18-24 hours.
I can only speak for myself and my experience, but I noticed the hungry feeling go away after three days of intermittent fasting. That is different for everyone, based on how much insulin resistance their body has and it could take a couple weeks, possibly even a month, before you feel like that switch was flipped and you’re no longer craving foods.
To help get through those first days of the hungry feeling, I did what is called urge surf. Basically, it’s understanding that our urges go away. And actually, they don’t normally last long when we don’t give into them.
It helped me to pay attention to when I was hungry – “ok, I’m hungry, and it’s 9:35 am, I’ll just sit with it for a little and see how long it lasts.”
Hungry urges never seemed to last more than 10 minutes.
That was it, so I told myself, “it’s ok. This feeling will be gone in 10 minutes, so I can just ignore it and I’ll eat later.”
I was procrastinating on feeding myself.
And since I’m good at procrastinating, it helped me.
Anyway, that’s my basic understanding of the process our body goes through when intermittent fasting.
So to get back to my journey with it, I was very pleased and feeling really good – I was happy to be down to 124 lbs, my clothes fit nicer I was excited to have a flatter stomach.
And then, sometime in December, I decided that I REALLY missed drinking coffee. I hadn’t had it for 6 months.
I like my coffee with milk and maple syrup.
And I knew if I used that it would break my fast and might impact the insulin sensitivity that I had developed with intermittent fasting. But I wanted coffee anyway.
I tried to drink it black. I really did. But I just don’t like it that way.
So I went back to my usual cup of coffee in the morning.
And I enjoyed it for two months.
And gradually, I noticed that I wanted sweets again. I was still only eating in my 6-hour window, but I was thinking about food more. I wanted to go out for lunch; I was craving ice cream and donuts. And I gave in to that, and I ate everything I wanted.
And I went back up to 130 pounds.
Six weeks ago, I acknowledged what was going on.
So I stopped the coffee.
Coffee isn’t great for me anyway, I can tell it’s not what my body needs. I don’t do well with caffeine, and if I drink it after noon, it will keep me up at night. And decaf just doesn’t have the same delicious flavor as our locally roasted Ethiopian Ardi.
Anyway, I quit coffee again.
I stopped gaining weight, and the food cravings are gone again.
I had gotten careless about my eating window – sometimes I’d have a late-night snack, sometimes I’d eat an early lunch, and I was figuring that I was generally sticking to my 18/6 fasting schedule.
I downloaded the Fastic app and started using it, I found that I was only sticking to my 18/6 window a couple days out of the week. Many days I ended up with only a 12 or 14 hour fast.
I was content with weighting 130 pounds – honestly, I don’t care about weight, I just care about how much clothes fit and it I’m comfortable with my body – I wasn’t comfortable with it when I had a poochy stomach.
I’m not looking for a 6 pack, I just don’t want my stomach to bulge over my pants.
Fastic was instrumental in getting me back on track and keeping me consistent.
And I’m happy to tell you that I am back down to 128 pounds.
I feel very comfortable with where I’m at. My main goal with wanting to lose weight was to be comfortable in my clothing and have a flatter stomach. It doesn’t even have to be perfect – I’ve had 6 kids, and I know my body won’t get back to what I was when I was 18.
So here’s what I’m doing:
My eating window is between 1 pm and 7 pm
During my fasting period, I drink water or herbal tea.
During my 6-hour eating window, I don’t have restrictions on myself; I eat what I want, but generally, it’s just 2 meals, and I don’t even feel the urge to eat snacks in between meals.
In this, I’m not super strict. On Tuesdays, we get together with people and often eat around 7:30 pm, and sometimes on Saturdays, I want to sit down and eat breakfast with my kids, so I eat three meals that day. I don’t stress about it.
Following an 18/6 intermittent fasting plan is my typical
But if it doesn’t work for a day, I just roll with it and it’s ok.
The whole point of it for me is I wanted to lose my poochy stomach without having to count calories, eat a specific diet, or feel bad if I ate dessert.
During the day, I often feel hungry around 10 am, but that feeling goes away after about 10 minutes, and it’s not enough to distract me.
With intermittent fasting, I will say that I am alert, I have a lot of energy, and I feel very good. And it feels easy to me.
Other articles I’ve done on intermittent fasting: