Hello and welcome to Dressed for My Day. Today I thought I’d answer one of my most frequently asked questions: How do you like intermittent fasting and what do you eat? Well, maybe that’s two questions. But let’s see if I can quickly answer both…plus some.
Many of you know that for over a year now I’ve been practicing intermittent fasting as part of the FASTer Way to Fat Loss wellness program. In fact, one of the things I’ve loved the most about FASTer Way to Fat Loss is that it has taught me a new lifestyle rather than a program. And intermittent fasting is one of the key components of that new lifestyle. So I plan to practice intermittent fasting from here on out!
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is simply arranging your daily diet so that you have a period of eating and a period of fasting. So instead of grazing throughout the day or eating just whenever I feel a little hungry, I limit my food intake to my “eating window.”
In order for intermittent fasting to be most effective, you generally want to limit your “eating window” to 6 to 8 hours. I practice a 7 hour eating window. I usually break my fast at 12:00 noon and finish eating for the day by 7 p.m.
Why would I want to practice intermittent fasting?
Recent non-biased studies on the effects of intermittent fasting on pre and post menopausal women have indicated that intermittent fasting potentially, effectively and safely:
- helps reduce belly fat, and thus reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome, which increases a woman’s risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- helps improve muscle and join health.
- improves bone health.
- reduces the risk of serious diseases.
- improves mental health by reducing the risks of depression and anxiety and improving mood and self-esteem.
If that all sounded like scientific mumbo jumbo, the bottom line is that intermittent fasting is both safe and effective for women in middle age and later life stages. For me, intermittent fasting was necessary to improve my metabolism and rebuild muscle I had loss.
Many people who begin practicing intermittent fasting notice drastic improvement in blood pressure, metabolic rate, weight level, muscle tone, joint health and mental health. I can testify to experiencing all of those improvements first hand.
How do you practice intermittent fasting?
As someone who has always eaten a hearty breakfast, I thought that an 8 hour eating window would be very difficult for me to practice. I was the gal who woke up starving every morning. I loved breakfast!
But I had already noticed that when I ate a large, high carb breakfast, such as pancakes and all the trimmings, I would be ravenously hungry again by mid-day. It turns out that eating one meal actually awakens your appetite and increases your desires for more food and higher carbs.
So by waiting until noon to eat my first meal, I’ve actually reduced my overall appetite. And it turns out that all the hype about the importance of starting your day off with a hearty breakfast was first generated by the inventors of Kellogg’s breakfast cereals in the 19th century. You do not need to eat breakfast first thing in the morning. Your body may be trained to think you need that, but indeed, you do not.
And if, like me, you love breakfast foods, you can still eat them, of course. In fact, you can practice intermittent fasting by arranging a different eating window, too. For instance, you could eat from 8 in the morning through 4 in the afternoon.
How does intermittent fasting work?
Fasting from food for a longer period of time allows your blood sugar and insulin levels to drop to a nice, safe level. When your insulin – your fat storing hormone – is low, fat is released and able to burn for energy. So you burn more of the fat you’ve eaten rather than storing it on your body. Also, as sugar is not stored as fat, that sugar is released into your blood and able to help repair cells and fight disease.
So when and what do you eat?
I break my fast at noon . I sometimes eat a hearty snack around 3 p.m. And then I eat dinner with my husband at 6 p.m.
Here are some of the meals (and snacks) I eat on regular macro days – 20% protein, 30% fat, 50% carbohydrates. These are in no particular order, and of course I don’t eat all of these on one day.
meal #1 – oatmeal, berries, turkey sausage
meal #2 – Greek yogurt, granola, berries
meal #3 – eggs scrambled with green pepper, onion, spinach and mushrooms, turkey sausage, half an English muffin
meal #4 – chopped salad of mixed greens, chicken, apple,red onion, goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette
meal #5 – turkey taco salad of mixed greens, ground turkey with taco seasoning, nacho chips, red onion, cilantro, black beans, tomatoes, corn, grated cheddar cheese and salsa/ranch dressing
meal #6 – rotisserie chicken breast, baked sweet potato, roasted asparagus or baby lima beans
meal #7 – turkey chili with beans
meal #8 – baked fish, brown rice, broccoli
snacks – smoothie with Greek yogurt and fruit, a piece of fruit, protein bar, cup of tomato soup, peanut butter and apple, boiled egg
Here are some of the meals and snacks I eat on low carb days – fewer than 50 net carbs (carbs – fiber = net carbs):
meal #1 – 2 egg veggie omelette, turkey sausage and avocado
meal #2 – eggs scrambled with veggies and olive oil, avocado, half an English muffin
meal #3 – Cobb salad with mixed greens, onion, tomato, boiled egg, turkey or chicken, bacon, avocado, grated cheese, ranch dressing, black olives
meal #4 – chopped salad with mixed greens, chicken, apple, goat cheese, bacon, balsamic vinaigrette, red onion and walnuts
meal #5 – turkey meatloaf, mashed cauliflower, green beans
meal #6 – rotisserie chicken, green beans, mixed greens salad with olives and oil based dressing
meal #7 – flat iron steak, avocado, green beans sauteed with olive oil, garlic and tomatoes
meal #8 – shrimp with avocado, tomatoes, olive oil, lime juice and cilantro.
snacks – macadamia nuts, black olives, peanut butter with celery, natural almonds, raspberries, boiled egg
What I gained from FASTer Way to Fat Loss
James and I had actually tried implementing intermittent fasting before I began the FASTer Way to Fat Loss. But we had little discipline and floundered. With the FASTer Way to Fat Loss I had the accountability I so desperately needed to kick start this new way of life. I also learned invaluable information about what to eat and when. And, of course, I learned what exercises to do on what days in order to maximize my efforts for wellness and weight loss.
You absolutely can do intermittent fasting on your own. In fact, I recommend it. But if you’re struggling to gain discipline in the areas of eating and exercise, I highly recommend you enlist in a program like the FWTFL for accountability, instruction, guidance and discipline.
I hope today’s post was helpful to you. Or at least maybe it answered your curious questions! I’d love to answer any question you may have. Remember, this is just what works for me. I have absolutely no judgment on folks who adhere to a different lifestyle. Whatever works for you!
Blessed for My Day
One of the greatest tools for accomplishing the goals we set for ourselves is accountability. But many of us shy away from opportunities for accountability out of fear, distrust, embarrassment or even pride. What victories are we missing out on all because we try to go it alone?
Is there a struggle you’ve been fighting on your own? A goal you’ve set for which you could use a partner, sounding board or encourager? Or maybe there’s a good habit you’re trying to build, but you alone don’t have the building blocks to make it happen. Whether you’re trying to have a more consistent quiet time with the Lord, attempting to read the Bible through, trying to eat healthier or aiming to exercise more regularly, why not pray about reaching out for accountability? We’re more successful when we join hands and walk the path together.
So Daniel said to the guard … “Please test your servants for 10 days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then examine our appearance and the appearance of the young men who are eating the king’s food, and deal with your servants based on what you see.” He agreed with them about this and tested them for 10 days. At the end of 10 days they looked better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king’s food. So the guard continued to remove their food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables. ~ Daniel 1:11-16