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
24 thoughts on “Intermittent Fasting – the How + Why”
What is your recipe for a fruit smoothie? Thanks!
Hi Marchele! I’m a little embarrassed to say that it’s not especially souped up with nutrients. 😉 It’s just a plain old smoothie. A usually combine a little ice, a cup or so of whatever fruit I have on hand (strawberries, peaches, blueberries, mango), half a banana and about a cup of nonfat, vanilla Greek yogurt in a blender. If I need it sweeter, I may add some Stevia. That’s usually enough for me and my husband. Sometimes I skip the ice and use frozen fruit. I almost always include the half a banana for creaminess. I’ve been meaning to add a tablespoon of peanut butter sometime to try that, but honestly haven’t yet. And maybe I should add some kale one of these days! Ha!
A couple of easy additions that will add nutrition to Kay’s recipe include handful of spinach – you really do not taste the spinach and is an easy way to add vegetables. I tried kale but it does change the flavor of the smoothie too much for me.
I love the flavor of peanut butter but struggle with the added fat and calories. The make a product called PB2 – powdered peanut butter. You get added protein and flavor without the fat and calories. I have not done the FWTFL so I can’t say these fit into their plan but it certainly enhances fruit smoothies.
Thanks for these suggestions Tracy. Perfect!!
I have a question. I’m currently doing FWTFL and I’m only (supposed to be) eating foods that “grew from the ground or had a mother”. – No dairy and gluten free. Do you ease up on that rule after round one? I notice that you have yogurt and some breads in your plan.
Actually I never completely gave up gluten or dairy. I just reduced the amount I eat. So I may have yogurt a couple of times a week. I sprinkle a little cheese on my salads, and I even drink an occasional glass of lowfat milk. I also eat high fiber breads a couple of times a week. But I do often have a salad instead of a sandwich or eat a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla wrap. I don’t have an intolerance for either, so I didn’t see the need to give up either completely. But I do know that minimizing the amount of those has helped with belly fat significantly. And when I start eating more pasta or breads I watch my middle grow again!! So I’m really cutting those out this week, for instance.
When I realized that Amanda Tress advocates having a donut or two on treat day, I decided it’s quite ok for me to have a little gluten and milk products occasionally, too. 😉
Hi Kay- I am curious about the turkey sausage you eat. What brand do you buy, and how do you cook it?
Hi Debbie, I usually buy Johnsonville Turkey Breakfast Sausage Links and heat and brown them on the stove in a small fry pan. I don’t add any oil. Hope that helps!
Thanks for sharing about intermittent fasting, your meal and snack planning. Although I’m not a member of the FWTFL program, I am losing weight and working to exercise more. Your suggestions and food ideas are very helpful! I love the BTMD thoughts. Accountability is such an important aspect in accomplishing a goal and the Scripture was enlightening. Be Blessed Today!
Great, Nancy. Yes, accountability has played such a huge factor in my life. It seek it out in multiple ways and for all sorts of goals and endeavors. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Interesting! My husband has thrown it out there he might try this as he needs to lose weight from the insulin pump since he is diabetic. He has gained 50 pounds and hates it but he LOVES to eat. He tried the weight doctor here, the Atkins, etc. He just has no willpower but for a few days then comes home with Little Debbie cakes in his car. ugh! The weight loss doctor told him about this & he hasn’t tried it yet, but would be a good plan for him. Thanks for sharing!
Great! yes, men usually have pretty good results with this, even better than women. You know it’s really just easier for them to make a few minor changes and see big results. Whereas we gals have to make some pretty major adjustments usually. I hope it works for him!
Thank you, Kay!
Hi Kay, I just finished two rounds of FWTFL with results that have amazed me. I’m 53 years old and never thought I’d be able to get rid of that stubborn fat around my midsection. In addition to the fat loss I feel SO much better. Anyway, all this to ask you, are you in VIP and if so would you recommend it? Thank you for sharing!
Hi Julie. Congrats on your great success! That’s wonderful! I loved the program, too, and still really try to follow it pretty consistently. No, I haven’t joined the VIP program, but I’d love to. I just haven’t been where I need to be financially to do that yet. But I’m planning on at least trying it eventually. If you’re interested in checking it out, you can do that here: http://bit.ly/2VbYCM0
Hi Kay, this program sounds intriguing for sure. I just have to make sure that I am ready to commit to it before spending the money to do it. I am curious though, you said you don’t eat til noon. When do you exercise? I usually exercise before breakfast and if a person doesn’t eat til around noon, it seems like you would be starving if you are exercising in the mornings. If I don’t exercise before breakfast, it usually doesn’t happen so just wondered how exercise fits into the day for this program.
Hi Sandi. I’d be glad to answer these and any other questions you have. It really is a great program, and I don’t usually tout programs like this. But I’ve had such great results and it’s such a doable lifestyle for me. You can read more about my experience in this post: https://dressedformyday.com/faster-way-fat-loss-older-woman/
Anyhow…right, I don’t eat until noon, or maybe 11:00 at the earliest. I do exercise in the morning. Right now I usually exercise around 10, so when I get done it’s time to shower and eat. But later, as it gets hotter and the sun starts rising around 5 a.m. here in Arizona, I’ll start exercising about 6:00. Still I won’t eat until 11 or 12. It seemed to work well for me last summer with no problems, so I’m assuming I’ll be fine this year, too. Like I said in the post, I had always eaten early in the day and really woke up hungry! But I don’t anymore. I just have my coffee and I’m honestly fine until noon. I think it was just a matter of teaching my body to expect something different. So you might want to just try the intermittent fasting for a few days before signing up for the program to see how it works for you. But they also give you a prep week to shift into intermittent fasting before the actual program begins.
I can certainly understand your concern. I was quite skeptical, too, as a lifelong breakfast eater. But it just hasn’t been a problem. And once I do start eating, I get to eat A LOT on this program. So if you’re eating all the calories and macros you’re supposed to have, I think that helps keep you satiated during the fast.
I hope that helps. Let me know if you have additional questions.
Thank you Kay. That is a very good idea to try skipping breakfast for a few days just to see if I have the will power to do that. I agree that sometimes I think our bodies get so use to a certain way and it’s nice to switch it up a bit to surprise it and maybe then “we” will be surprised with the results.
I need to take a medicine first thing in the morning that requires food.( Usually around 6am )
I don’t want my eating window to be 6-2
I don’t need to eat a lot with the medicine , just enough so I don’t get any nausea.
Would I still be able to try the plan ?
I don’t really know what to tell you, Laurie. I’m sure there’s a way to make it work for you. I think the best advice I could give you is to talk to your doctor. Maybe just call the doctor’s office and ask to speak to a nurse or the doctor about it. I think the plan encourages you to have no more than 30 calories during your fasting time.
This program is intriguing to me and I do have a couple of questions.
How many low carb days do you have each week?
Are there restrictions on what you can drink during the fasting period?
Hi Vicky. You have just two low carb days a week. During the fasting period you’re encouraged to drink plenty of water and you can also have unsweetened tea and coffee, preferably black. However I do have some nondairy creamer in my coffee. You can also have calorie free flavored water a such, but they really emphasize drinking water of course. Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.
I have been bored with my eating plan, thanks for sharing!