I started intermittent fasting by accident.
In general, I try not to regularly eat past 7 PM* during the week. Mainly because I’ve found that most of my unhealthy eating choices happen late at night and that I sleep much better when I avoid midnight snacks. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but a habit that works well for me and that I try to be mindful of.
When I started attending Orange Theory Fitness (OTF) classes, I would usually go in the mornings or at lunchtime when I worked from home. I quickly learned that I exercised much better on an empty stomach—mainly because OTF is so intense that I would feel sick if I ate beforehand. So by default, on days that I worked out, I fasted 15ish hours (from the night before until late morning/early afternoon). And on non-OTF days, I stuck to my typical 3 meals.
It turns out that my body thrived on an ‘intermittent fasting schedule’ and adjusted right away. I had more energy throughout the day, crushed my workouts, and enjoyed eating larger lunches and dinners. I also reached and maintained a healthy weight as fasting helped me discern when I was actually hungry. There are some fasting days when I need to eat a small snack or have a coffee in the morning, and some non-fasting days where I skip breakfast altogether. But overall, I’ve found intermittent fasting simple to implement long-term, and am thankful for the surprising success and health benefits that I’ve experienced.
After doing some research and talking to others, I learned more about the advantages of fasting and the various approaches you can take—including alternating days and time intervals. I suggest experimenting and doing what works best for you, your body, your schedule, your health and your ‘hangry-levels.’ And of course, if you have a health condition, please consult your nutritionist or physician. Fasting isn’t for everyone; and honestly, when I’m not intensely working out, I don’t find it as practical or valuable. If you give intermittent fasting a try (or currently fast), let me know about your experience! I hope you learn more about yourself and find ways to live healthier, while continuing to properly fuel your body.
*Oh, and full disclosure: Not eating past 7 PM is CHALLENGING and takes discipline—whether or not I’m fasting. To prevent myself from raiding the fridge, I frequently drink carbonated water or chew gum at night. This helps curb my appetite and gives me some satisfaction. Also, not having Cheetos or tempting snacks around during the week is essential!