I Tried Intermittent Fasting for Six Weeks – Here’s What I Learned
As I’m writing this it is officially my six week intermittent fasting completion date! Hooray! I’ll explain why, in case you’re wondering. After reading some of the benefits of intermittent fasting (like this from the Harvard Health Blog) and claims I thought I would give it a try. After downloading a free app (more on that later) I decided to go with the basic 16:8 format – you fast for 16 consecutive hours, every day, and then can eat whatever in the eight hour period. So for six weeks I would only eat between noon and 8pm each day.
I wasn’t that hungry…..mostly
Honestly, skipping breakfast is something I typically would do about half the week anyways so it wasn’t that daunting. The bonus is that on IF you’re allowed water, black coffee (unsweetened) and unsweetened tea during the fasting periods. I had a pretty solid start in the mornings my first two weeks, however there were a few days that I felt like I was starving. I did break a couple times and eat at 11:30am, but I would adjust and try to start my fasting at 7:30pm instead of 8pm to compensate. Overall, I realized that my “hunger” was actually more mental than physical; knowing I couldn’t have something made me want it. A lot.
I never realized just how much late night eating I do
So about that 8pm cutoff time……it was an adjustment. Skip breakfast? Sure! Stop eating (or drinking wine) by 8pm? Do what now? This was a habit I had to get myself into and it was a little tough to start. I love a glass of post dinner wine but knowing I had to finish it before 8pm made me feel a little rushed sometimes (the pressure). For the sake of transparency I would also like to say that two nights I pushed my start time back to 10pm because I just didn’t feel like wrapping everything up so early. I figured that, while I wasn’t sticking to 16:8, I was still doing IF…just the 14:10 model. Ahem.
I asked myself ridiculous questions
Can I drink a LaCroix after 8pm? I did, after much internal deliberation. Did I mess up by eating at 11:30 am? Can I drink this glass of wine in 12 minutes? I wonder what I’ll eat for lunch tomorrow (thinking at 10pm the night before)? Again, I think that most of this nonsense came from knowing I couldn’t have something and my ridiculous brain trying to find workarounds. I did find myself getting a little discouraged when I deviated from my schedule but my stomach never once questioned it!
I found it a little restricting
From a social standpoint the 16:8 could feel a little rigid. I had to change breakfast plans to lunch and couldn’t do a later dinner or drinks with friends. It wasn’t too big a deal but I also started to feel a little bit like a grandma eating my dinner at 5:30 each night. On occasion I did notice that I wasn’t feeling as bright and focused in the mornings as I would like, but it’s hard to say if it was lack of breakfast or just not being a morning person in general. Regardless, it felt restricting to my schedule and the work I had to do and wasn’t my favorite part of IF.
My final thoughts
Overall I felt pretty comfortable doing IF, even if what I was doing would be considered a “beginner” or “easy” plan. The app I downloaded was essentially useless, however I was doing the free version with the beginner 16:8 plan so it basically alerted me as to when I could start eating (like I wasn’t already counting down) and when I had to stop. They offered coaching (for a fee) and more involved plans, such as 5:2 where you eat normally for five days then fast for two. I lost a few pounds, but note that I wasn’t trying this out to lose weight. I didn’t change any part of my eating habits aside from the schedule. My biggest realization was that I certainly have an affinity for late night snacks. It’s a habit I’m hoping to break out of, especially now that I’ve gotten a six week jump on it. Going forward, I’ll probably try to loosely incorporate similar intermittent fasting schedules into my routine as I’m feeling pretty good at the moment. I will, however, be eating a pancake for breakfast at some point this week and nothing will stop me.
Have you tried intermittent fasting? I’d love to hear about your experience! Make sure to comment and let me know.
LinaAugust 7, 2019 at 12:58 pm
I haven’t tried intermittent fasting. After reading your blog post I would love to give it a try. It could be hard but for sure it’s worth it
MorganAugust 7, 2019 at 1:56 pm
I felt like it seemed harder than it actually was, however there were certainly some challenges. Best of luck!
BellaAugust 7, 2019 at 9:37 pm
I’ve tried IF, and I liked it except for mornings when I’d go to yoga before work. It was so tough to skip breakfast those days! Though my boss does a 23:1 IF, which is nuts to me!
MorganAugust 9, 2019 at 11:21 am
Oh, that would be tough! I don’t think I could have kept it up if I was doing any sort of morning workouts, that’s for sure! Also the 23:1 is too hardcore for me – I know my limits! Haha.
StephanieAugust 7, 2019 at 10:01 pm
My husband does intermittent fasting and he absolutely loves the results and he feels a lot better. I kind of do it with him but I am not as strict with the schedule. I haven’t noticed any serious changes with myself though but that’s probably because I don’t follow it so strictly.
MorganAugust 9, 2019 at 11:22 am
I’ve loosened it up a lot since my 6 week experiment but overall I felt good doing it. I had to go back to being flexible on the weekends, though!
AmberlyAugust 7, 2019 at 10:54 pm
I think it’s an interesting concept, but I’m like you, I find it restricting! It’s hard when you’re going out or when you start your day and have to be somewhere by a certain time. I like eating when my body gets hungry.
MorganAugust 9, 2019 at 11:22 am
Agreed! Overall I wasn’t hungry much but I like being able to grab breakfast with friends or have a glass of wine past 8pm on the weekends.
PATRICIAAugust 8, 2019 at 12:52 am
How funny I came across this post today b/c I just started this week….although I met some friends for dinner tonight, and that turned into ice cream at the shop next door — at about 8:30 p.m. (I’m supposed to stop eating by 7). Ugh. It’s not awful to do, but I’m like you and think about lunch the next day! LOL!
MorganAugust 9, 2019 at 11:25 am
Good luck with IF! I would sometimes eat past my “cut off” time and would then adjust the next day (i.e. I ate until 9pm instead of 8pm so the next day I wouldn’t start to eat again until 1pm instead of 12pm).
Let me know how it goes for you!
AlixAugust 8, 2019 at 2:11 pm
I’m not sure I could do this… I am always snacking on something! Props to you!
MorganAugust 9, 2019 at 11:18 am
Thanks! Snacks, especially late night, were the hardest to let go of.
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