If intermittent fasting intrigues you, doing it with the support of an experienced health coach or intermittent fasting guide can set you up for success.
I started experimenting with intermittent fasting 3 weeks ago after a conversation with my friend Will Ruggles who is a health coach, experienced intermittent faster and has guided many people from all walks of life to success with intermittent fasting. Fasting is definitely something that has intrigued me as it is a spiritual and religious practice that has been in existence for thousands of years and I think it’s an interesting concept. The reason that I wanted to try intermittent fasting was to balance my hormones and get normal sleep as I have been struggling with waking up in the middle of the night since moving to Boise, ID in January 2018.
Intermittent fasting itself triggers your body to burn fat as a fuel source. Fat burns over a long time, in slow intervals, which helps you avoid the spikes and dips of energy that come from using carbohydrates, sugar or caffeine as your main fuel sources. Fat is also easily burned by the body and one of the premises of intermittent fasting is to train your body to burn fat as your main fuel source. Teaching your body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates also balances your hormonal systems by putting less stress on them.
I really thought that intermittent fasting would be extremely challenging for me. I am 6’2″, my body fat percentage is most likely below than 12%, I have a fast metabolism, am quite active and burn through carbohydrates and calories like nothing and I had a lot of concerns about being hungry, not getting enough calories and slipping back into old bad habits where I wouldn’t eat enough and start losing weight. These concerns stopped me from giving intermittent fasting a shot and I was able to work through them by being supported by Will.
Since starting intermittent fasting three weeks ago, I have seen my sleep patterns improve (I am fasting one day a week). I am able to go back sleep quite easily now when I wake up in the middle of the night and I am no longer waking up in the middle of the night every night. I am also able to deal with stress with greater ease after I have finished fasting and I have not experienced any of my concerns about intermittent fasting since I began.
I want to share some of the steps that I have taken to ensure success with intermittent fasting as I truly believe that fasting one day a week (which really means skipping one meal on the day that you fast and delaying the normal time that you eat the next day by a few hours) can be beneficial for everyone.
Key actions that I have taken to ensure success with intermittent fasting:
- I took intermittent fasting as a game, or a challenge as if I was out to accomplish and have fun doing and making this fun has made intermittent fasting much easier for me.
- Planning when I am fasting and eating next also makes a big difference as I successfully completed a 16 hour fast during my first-time fasting only to have a business lunch be the meal to break my fast at. I ended up not eating enough calories during my first meal back from fasting because I didn’t want to look like a beast in front of two people that I met for the first-time that I am partnering with on a workshop. As a result of poor planning for my post-fast meal, I did not get enough calories that day and woke up ravenous the next day. My next fast was for 18 hours and I made sure to be home for my first post-fast meal and being able to eat whatever I needed during this meal made all the difference and I did not feel ravenous after breaking my fast.
- Being supported by Will has also made a huge difference, we speak every week about how the prior week’s fast was for me, how my body felt and we look at any changes that we can make to continue to have my next fast be successful.
So far I have skipped breakfast twice and skipped dinner once. Breakfast is an easier meal for me to skip as I used to be a distance runner in college who ran 7 days a week and would always go out early morning runs before I had breakfast, so I knew that I could skip breakfast easily.
During my second fast I experimented with skipping dinner and this was more challenging mentally than skipping breakfast as got home that night around 7 PM and my fiancee was out with a friend so I didn’t know what to do with my evening. My normal evening routine involves coming home around 6:30 PM, spending about 30 minutes to prepare dinner and then spending another 30 minutes eating dinner with my fiancee. Once we are finished eating we spend most of the evening with each other. No aspects of my normal evening routine were available that night and it felt weird, but I also avoided the urge to go back to the familiar routine of cooking and eating dinner that night by I deciding to take an early bath, read and go to bed at 9:30 PM.
My third fast was for 15 hours only because I forgot that I hadn’t fasted this week and had client meeting on the afternoon of the day that I broke my fast that I did not want to be hungry in.
I have definitely felt my stomach grumble at least once during each fast and a light grumbling isn’t a big deal. Will suggested that I drink water with a 1/2 teaspoon of himalayan pink sea salt if I feel really hungry during a fast as he told me that during a fast your body is craving nutrients more than it is craving food. I have yet to need to do this and I do believe that this will make a difference if I ever needed to do so. Another thing that provides me peace when I am intermittent fasting is that Will said that the best thing about intermittent fasting is that if you are still hungry an hour after consuming water with himalayan pink sea salt then feel free to eat as you are not bound to fasting for a certain period of time.
After my first 3 weeks of fasting, I truly believe that proper planning and having someone to support and guide you through the process are key. There are some great intermittent fasting coaches out there who can guide you to both try and succeed with intermittent fasting and the health results of intermittent fasting are being proven to be substantial. If you would like to try intermittent fasting and need support with it, reach out and I will point you to someone who can support you throughout the process.