Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I am NOT an ifaster

I slower?

Heh. No, I just wanted to report on my second attempt at the diet lifestyle (or diet technique) of Intermittant Fasting.

Let me preface this by saying that I totally agree that Intermittant Fasting is a wonderful thing. I think the random fast is v. good for you; it keeps your body on its toes, so to speak, and I don't know about you, but at 30lbs from my goal weight, the concept of missing a meal shouldn't bug me much, lol.  I also firmly believe that our ancestors didn't eat multiple times a day.  They were probably lucky to fill their bellies every other day.  I think that the concept of set mealtimes and multiple daily meals is a fallacy by society - and the intent was social not nutritional!  If more people simply slashed carbs and sugar then ate when they were hungry, obesity would lose it's death grip on America.

I also want to reiterate that while I obviously adore tweaking my own dieting attempts (just like I love adjusting my appearence with peircings, henna tattoos, and odd haircolours), I don't ever change my basic WOE.  I believe that low carb is the only way to be healthy and I adore my Lacto-Paleo lifestyle.

All that being said, I wanted to try the Intermittant Fasting because I only eat once a day, anyway.  (When you don't eat bread, cake, cookies, crackers, pitas, cereal, potatoes, sugar, bagels, soda, candybars, etc, etc, *gag* then, folks, you don't get hungry!)  The basic set up of IF is either doing 24 hour fasts a couple of times a week, or doing daily fasts - for example, the one I like: 18 hours fasting then an 6 hour 'eating' window. (There are many more variations that I won't go in to.)

The immediate problem I faced with IF was that, while I only eat once a day, between 11 and 2, my day is book-ended by two of my fave non Paleo indulgences: coffee with heavy cream in the morning, and alcohol at night.

I had already steeled my resolve and decided to cut down my alcohol intake (I've reduced it by over half and am terribly proud of myself!) but when I want a cocktail, I want to be able to have one, and that would negate my fast for that day (if my 6 hour window included the morning coffee, it's be, say, 5am to 11am, then fast the rest of the day).

So what to do?  Well my solution was to drink my morning coffee black and train myself to eat my one meal later. That made my eating window 2pm to 8pm.

It wasn't hard. Well, pushing back my eating time wasn't hard. Neither was the actual 18 hour fast. No biggie.

So what was the problem?

Problem was, I wasn't happy.

See, the thing that I love most about the Low-carb / primal / Paleo way is that I am never hungry.  I get peckish around noon, eat whatever strikes my fancy that is fatty, meaty, cheesy, or of the crunchy veg variety and I'm stuffed full like a snake. I stay satisfied and satiated for the rest of the day.

With the IF I was, duh, fasting and so, despite still eating the one meal that I normally ate - and just a few hours later - I got ravenously hungry about 11am.  As a former food addict who weighed over 300lbs and who ate all day and consumed food simply because it was there, I have a LONG history of obsessing about food. Well those 3 hours between onset of hunger and the beginning of my eating window were a nightmare. I could get nothing done. I couldn't concentrate. I also tended to overeat once I reached 2pm.

Strangely, though, it wasn't all this that made me decide the IF wasn't for me. It was my coffee, of all things.

Like most working people and moms, I have a pretty rigid morning schedule. I get up at 4a.m. every day, start my coffee, put on a load of laundry, fold a basketfull and put it away, perhaps hang up a load I did late the night before. I do any dishes left over, do some of my strength training, check my email and Twitter, all of this while my coffee brews.

Then I sit down at the computer to actually work and do so with a steaming mug of half caff coffee w/ heavy cream.  I love the taste, it's a nice morning indulgence, plus it wakes me up (yes, I can do all the aformentioned whilst half-asleep, LOL). At 7am every day I get up from working and make a full breakfast for my family, so I have a limited window.

Drinking my coffee black was throwing off my groove as Kuzco would say. I hate black coffee. I tried various teas and other drinks, but it was an even worse experience.  Sure it was something I could have overcome with effort, but, again, I wasn't happy. And unhappy Blue made for NO work and snarling Morning Mommy.

Oh, and bizarrely, I gained several pounds whilst experimenting with fasting.

So I decided that while IF is a marvellous paleo/primal tool, it's not for me.  I like my routine, it works for me, I'm not hungry, plus I can lose weight pretty much effortlessly while doing it.

Have you tried Intermittant Fasting? What version do you do? How has it worked for you?

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 9:38 am   7 comments


At 10:24 am, Anonymous moonduster said...

I don't do IF, and I don't think I'd like it. Having said that, I eat next to nothing (but still have a couple hundred calories) on my weigh-in day until after my 8:00pm weigh-in, so once a week, I am almost fasting for most of the day. LOL!

At 5:50 pm, Anonymous Mark said...

When you don't eat bread, cake, cookies, crackers, pitas, cereal, potatoes, sugar, bagels, soda, candybars, etc, etc, *gag* then, folks, you don't get hungry!

I eat primary blueprint style - mostly grassfed animals, eggs, veggies, EVOO/Coconut oil/butter, some nuts, some fruits and have been doing so for almost a year (aside from a cheat now and then - usually ice cream or some other nasty).

Anyway, I have heard people saying they just "don't get hungry" on this diet but it's never been that way for me. I seem to be always hungry - usually not famished or entering "food panic" but hungry from the mid morning hours throughout the day and especially at night. I eat at least 3 meals a day and sometimes more. Perhaps I don't know how to recognize signals. Thoughts?

My blog has lots of the meals I eat - they seem to be in line with what others eat as well.

I have done IF for a year and it has been interestingly rather easy for me to do 20-26 hours (though the last month I've had no interest in it). It seems that I can ignore hunger pretty well but once I start eating, it's all over...I am hungry throughout the rest of the day and have trouble ignoring it.

At 7:22 pm, Anonymous Bryce said...

I do IF, and it works for me. I feel that the intermentency is the most important part (did I just make up a word?).

Because of that, I fast once per week. My normal eating schedule has me eating lunch and dinner, as I'm not normally hungry for breakfast. On the weekends, we do a big paleo breakfast of coconut pancakes and bacon which I love, but that's at like 10 am anyway. Then we snack for lunch and have normal dinner, so it's really pretty similar.

Anyway, I fast only one time a week, whenever I'm feeling up to it. I try to do it on the day I do my heavy lifting (like deadlifting), because working out fasted elicits a drastic increase in HGH production - a great thing.

I try to eat dinner early the night before and get a good night sleep that night, so that a good portion of the fast is taken up with sleep. Then I keep busy with other things, workout fasted (ideally when I'm hungriest, as this cuts the hunger pangs), and then have another early dinner.

It works very well, and I feel it helps me to weather the occasional cheat and come out unscathed.


At 7:13 am, Anonymous Laurie Cags said...

Please tell your readers to help people with diabetes using carb restriction by signing the Metabolism Society's petition to the NIH. Here's the link:

Thank so much!

At 11:31 am, Anonymous Becki said...

I have been IFing for about two weeks - fasting 20 hours with a feeding window of 4 hours. During that 4 hours I get a snack first (usually some nuts & cheese then a full meal 2 hours later.
I haven't decided if I like it not. It has some positive benefits, for example I no longer have to plan what I'm going prepare for Breakfast or Lunch, freeing up more time to waste on-line. I don't get very hungry since I do low carb, but am ready to eat at my meal time.
I do wonder what the fasting will do to my metabolism, although the weight lifting I do (Slow Burn) is said to stop muscle loss.
I plan to continue with the IF for another two weeks as it seems at least a month's trial is needed to determine if it will benefit me.

At 3:45 pm, Anonymous Bryce said...

I may be reading some of these comments wrong, but it seems like people are confusing intermittent fasting with the warrior diet. The warrior diet essentially has you do all your eating during a 3-5 hour period every day.

Intermittent fasting is where you eat normally for you, and then fast for 24 hours 1-2 times per week. Though it may be effective, skipping breakfast and lunch every day is NOT intermittent fasting, it's daily fasting.

IF is supposed to simulate natural fluctuations in food availability.

At 6:44 am, Anonymous MrsEvilGenius said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone! You've given me some info and perspective on IF that I lacked.

Bryce, unfortunately, on the 'net, a LOT of the info on IF includes two versions: the daily window and the 24 hour. Many sites call both of these IF.

By what you say, I wasn't doing IF, but daily fasting. Thanks for your clarification!

I'm contemplating doing some 24 hour fasts. As I said in the post, I think that fasting is natural for humans and good for us on occasion.

Y'all's insights are v. much appreciated! :D


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