I hate diets, yet I still want to be healthy and maintain my weight. Can intermittent fasting be the answer?
What is intermittent fasting? It’s an eating plan where you can eat what you want, but you restrict your eating to certain times. The rest of the time, you fast. One popular plan is the 5:2 plan where you eat normally five days a week and restrict yourself to around 500 calories the other two days. This might be a good way to jump-start weight loss, but it doesn’t seem like an easy plan to stick to. Another popular plan is the 16:8 plan where you restrict your eating to an eight-hour window each day and fast for the other 16 hours. This plan seems more doable, particularly if you don’t generally eat breakfast anyway.
I want my entire family to develop a habit of healthy eating.
We all do a fairly good job of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. However, all four of us really enjoy sweets. One of my most consistent downfalls was eating a giant bowl of Lucky Charms every night after the kids went to bed. It became a habit. In an effort to improve my eating habits, I decided to try intermittent fasting. I can’t skip meals because I tend to pass out if I get low blood sugar, but I thought that a 12-hour window of fasting overnight seemed manageable. My goal is to stop eating at 7 pm and not eat anything until breakfast the next morning at 7 am.
Does intermittent fasting actually work?
It’s hard to find a definite answer to this question. From what I read, it appears that animal studies have shown some positive results, such as a longer lifespan. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those same results will happen with humans. Most researchers agree that intermittent fasting may have health benefits for people, but that more research needs to be conducted before we know that for sure.
Should you try intermittent fasting?
For the most part, intermittent fasting is safe. There are some exceptions, though. You should NOT try intermittent fasting if you have diabetes, an eating disorder, use medication that needs to be taken with food, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Children and adolescents also should NOT try intermittent fasting because their bodies are still actively growing. To be on the safe side, talk to your doctor before trying intermittent fasting. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
How did it work for me?
I didn’t notice any weight loss. Then again, that wasn’t my goal. I am just trying to maintain my weight and improve my diet. By stopping my eating at 7 pm, I realized a few things. First, that my late night snacks are never healthy choices. I always aim for convenience when I’m tired. Also, I wasn’t usually eating at night because I was actually hungry. Instead, I usually had a snack because it tasted good and I felt like I deserved a treat at the end of a long day. I also ate because I was afraid that I might become hungry later on. When I stopped eating these snacks, I found out that I usually don’t get hungry overnight even without the after-dinner snack. I have managed to drastically reduce my intake of Lucky Charms without feeling deprived.
Also, I don’t feel bad when I need to break my intermittent fasting schedule. For example, if I get home at 7:30 pm, I eat dinner then even though it’s after my usual 7 pm food cutoff. There are also times when I am genuinely hungry after 7 pm. If that’s the case, then I will eat a snack. Now I try to aim for something healthy, but I do occasionally treat myself to something that has no redeeming value beyond its delicious taste. Mostly, I have found that intermittent fasting has helped me to stop and really evaluate what my body wants and needs instead of just eating junk food because I fell into a routine.
If you want to improve your eating habits without the hassle of following a diet, intermittent fasting might be your solution!
Have you tried intermittent fasting? Let me know how it worked for you!