However, recent studies have found that intermittent fasting can be more effective, sustainable and realistic for weight loss if you focus more on the timing of your fast. Time-restricted fasting can be a great way to fight obesity & related metabolic dysfunction. It is also important to have a healthy diet plan which can be sustained for a long time. Although more human studies are required, time-restricted IF can be the best lifestyle strategy right now for weight loss and better health in the long run.
Does IF work? Here’s what I found after 30 days.
“The job of fasting is to supply the body with the ideal environment to accomplish its work of healing.” – Joel Fuhrman
To manage my own body weight, I decided to try out intermittent fasting for a month. I won’t lie to you, it wasn’t easy. But was it helpful? Here’s what I found:
1. It’s hard, but you’ll get used to it in a week
As I said, I love to eat and I love my breakfast. So skipping breakfast wasn’t easy for me. The first 4-5 days were the hardest. I struggled a lot and I felt constantly hungry, especially in the morning. My stomach growled a lot and in the middle of meetings with clients and my boss staring at me. Imagine that. I felt low on energy and kept thinking about food. I checked my watch all the time as I desperately waited for my first meal of the day at 1pm (I was having dinner at around 9pm). But when it was time to eat, I became exceptionally happy and after a long time, I really enjoyed my food.
After a week, I became accustomed to this schedule and things got a lot easier. Thankfully. I wasn’t thinking about food all the time anymore. I wasn’t feeling that much hungry anymore. My mind felt a lot clearer and I was able to focus on my work a lot more. If you want to try IF, I would suggest that you ease into it and slowly get familiar with the sensation of being hungry. For instance, on the first day, have your breakfast an hour late. On the second day eat after 2 hours and so on until you hit the 16 hour mark.
2. I lost weight
And my stomach was a lot less bloated. I noticed this on the very third day which gave me the motivation to keep going during my initial days of struggle. Moreover, as I had a restricted “eating window”, I was consuming a lot less food than I usually did with a normal eating schedule. And I was drinking a lot more water.
By eating less, my stomach felt less bloated and I started to lose weight. This clearly showed I had a habit of overeating. Over a period of 30 days, I had lost almost 4 kgs of body weight and I feel a lot better and lighter now. It certainly feels great.
3. My immune system improved
Studies have found that IF can significantly improves immune system in humans. For the 30 days I tried intermittent fasting, I am glad to say I did not fall sick once. In fact, after the first few days I felt a lot more energetic and livelier than before. I was doing a lot more. I was faster and generally felt a lot better physically, psychologically and emotionally.
4. Mindful eating equals healthier eating
Although some experts say you can eat as much as you want or have 3-4 meals during your “eating window” of 8-10 hours, I stuck with 2 meals each day. That meant I was eating a heavy lunch and dinner. And as I could only twice each day, I made sure I was eating right.
Before I started, I made a personal mission to strictly follow these rules when it came to my diet:
- No added salt
- No added sugar
- No fried/oily food
- No packaged/processed food
And this has helped me greatly. Removing sugar alone from your diet can have an incredible effect on your body and health. And I was happy I stuck with it. Moreover, I was eating a lot healthier and staying away from junk food that I used to love so much. Although I had my cheat meals, I stuck with a healthy diet, more or less.