By Spaceyamzz, Editor

Okay – so it’s January and New Year’s Resolutions are abound. If you’re like most people you probably want to Lose Weight and/or Get Healthy  right? Right.

This year, I’m in the same boat. See, about 3 years ago after the WorldEnded™ (That is, I graduated from College, joined the Working Poor, realized we’re living in the Matrix/ a Simulation, almost got evicted and had to move back home with my mom.) I lost a bunch of weight… Like, 25 pounds of weight.

Skinny Spaceyamzz living at home in 2015

Living at home with my mom was really good for me. I reassessed my life and made some big changes to get healthy and back on my feet. I refused sit around and watch TV, so I started reading more books and learning about myself and my history. I did Yoga and Pilates almost daily to stretch and strengthen my body. I bought and ate all Organic mostly vegan foods, and cooked occasionally, usually opting for fresh salads or wraps.  I made sure to cut out all juice and processed snack food, and I rarely drank alcohol. I got down to a size 6 in jeans with 29 inch waist, and I felt amazing.

Then, I started a new job in a call center. It had weird hours, but I brought in more money that I was previously making. It was enough to help me buy a New-to-me (that is, used) car and move out of my Mom’s house. It also brought a TON of stress and anxiety. During that time, my ‘new’ car broke down at least four times, each requiring expensive repairs;

My internal face  between of 2015 – 2017

I was engaged, planned my wedding, and got married; I helped found, create and manage this very website you’re looking at; And… I started going out to shows again, which means I started eating bar food and drinking alcohol at weird hours of the night. In 2 years I put on almost 15 pounds.

 

 

In August, I quit my stressful call center job and starting job hunting again. If job hunting isn’t stressful enough, because of my weight gain, I didn’t have any nice interview clothes that fit! I won’t even tell you how many interviews I went to with ill-fitting pants or how many times I wore the same black and white striped dress shirt.

In October, I started a new, less stressful job with regular hours and I decided to do something about my weight gain. Combing the internet and Youtube I found a plethora of weight loss tips. I knew right away I didn’t want to start a diet, because I hate counting calories. My husband is a chef and 99% of what I eat is made up on the fly. There’s no way to easy way calculate my calories from say a 8 oz portion of roasted brussel sprouts with potatoes, onions and mushrooms cooked in coconut oil. The idea of weighing each portion of food and trying to find the calories of each food stuffs wasn’t a task I wanted to take on. It wouldn’t be sustainable.

In the middle of November, I stumbled across an article called Intermittent Fasting – Time Restricted Eating. I read though it, and it just click. Suddenly, the reasons for my weight gain made sense.

While I was stressed out at my call center job, I was eating a lot. On a normal day, I’d eat breakfast, have air-popped popcorn with coconut oil during during my first break, then I’d eat Lunch two hours later. Later on, I’d eat an organic fruit leather during my second break, and by time I got home I’d probably eat more popcorn, unless there was dinner available. I was taking in so many calories! Then, if I decided to go out later that night, I’d easily drink 2-4 beers and probably eat some fries bringing in even more calories!

That article helped me realize that by eating so frequently during the day, I wasn’t actually giving my body a chance to burn off any stored calories. If anything, my body was burning off the calories from what I’d just eaten that day, but the stored calories (fat) were just there and accumulating, not getting used. The whole ‘Eat six small meals a day’ logic I’d read on other websites was flawed.

So, I keep doing research Google, Reddit and Youtube were my best friends while researching. Then, I remembered that my friends who practice Islam fast for 30 days during Ramadan, and they do it every summer. So, I took the leap!

I tried Intermittent Fasting for a month, and I’m happy to save it helped me lose weight, learn self-discipline, become more self confident ,and and made me better in tune with mind and body.

Want to know more? Read on!

Starting Intermittent Fasting was easy.

My new job has regular hours, I would usually wake up at 7.30 am, eat breakfast in the car (good old Bean Burrito) between 8.30 and 9 am. Later, at home, I’d eat dinner between 6 and 7 pm and I’d be done eating by 8 pm.

Basically, I was already doing a 13 hour fast between the hours of 8 pm and maybe 9 am. Sure, I was asleep for most of it, but I also wasn’t eating food.That’s why your first meal of the day is Breakfast, because you’re break(ing the) fast.

My first week Intermittent Fasting was easy; I did 14:10 That means I had a 14 hour fast (mostly while I was asleep) and a 10 hour eating window.  I did this by pushing back breakfast until 10 am and made sure to finish eating dinner by 8 pm.

So, during my 10 hour eating window I ate all three of my meals. Then from 8 pm to 10 am, those 14 hours, I would fast. During my fast I didn’t consume any calories. I drank water or unsweetened tea.  

The first week was such a breeze! It was awesome. I was impressed by my own self control and how easy it had been. When it was over, I talked to my husband about was I was doing, and he was very supportive, so I kept going.  

For my second week, I got a little carried away and the first and second days – I did 18:6. I did an 18 hour fast, and had a 6 hour eating window. I’d pushed breakfast back until 12 pm and finished my last meal at 6 pm. Bad idea.

Those first two days, I was irritable, couldn’t concentrate and had a dull throbbing headache until I finally ate. I was pushing my body too hard.

So, for the rest of the week,  I adjusted switched to  a 15:9 fast. So, I fasted for 15 hours. That means, I ate Breakfast at 10 am and finished Dinner by 7 pm.

By the end of the second week, I felt great.  I was much more confident in myself, and my abilities. I even learned the difference between feeling hunger and  feeling thirsty. It dawned on me that typically I was eating, not because I was hungry but because it was ‘Time to eat’.

I told some close friends what I was doing and my reasoning behind it, and they all supported me. I took some body measurements and decided to start tracking to progress since we don’t have scale at home.

During my third week, I continued the 15:9 fast. Fasting was a breeze. I didn’t really feel hungry and I made sure to keep hydrated and eat more peanuts and almonds for protein to keep full.

I also started my period that week. During my research, I didn’t find any Do’s or Don’t for Intermittent Fasting during your cycle. I found a few mentions of it here or there on YouTube and Reddit, but nothing substantial. I know that during Ramadan you typically don’t fast if you’re ill or on your cycle. I know my body pretty well, and my fast is primary overnight instead of during daylight hours, so for the sake of this experiment, I kept at it.

Since switching to an organic mostly vegan diet, my period has been pretty short and light anyway. I haven’t had cramps or major PMS in years, especially after I cut out most of the dairy from my diet. I did notice the week before my period, I had more spotting than usual, but the actual flow itself was pretty normal.

Plus, since it’s just fasting and not a diet, I didn’t feel guilty about eating some chocolate or sweets after breaking my fast. Since I’m not restricting what foods I’m eating, there’s no guilt or stress about what I eat.

During my fourth week, I did a 16:8 fast. I broke fast at 11 am and finished dinner by 7 pm. That week, I played around with doing a 21 hour fast and some 18 hour fasts, just to see if I could do it.

The day of the 21 hour fast, I had finished my last meal at 9 pm the night before, and didn’t eat again until close to 6 pm.

I wasn’t planning on such a long fast, it was an accident. I actually had a FAF event that afternoon, so at the 16 hour mark – I wasn’t in the house to break my fast. Plus, there was nothing for me to eat at the event, so I didn’t eat. When the event ended at 4 pm, I took my friend home, and then ended up at a birthday party. I had the worst headache and actually felt off balance until I finally ate something around 6 pm.

During the two 18 hour fasts, I pushed breakfast back until 12 noon, and finished eating dinner by 6 pm. I didn’t get the headaches and dizziness like the first time I did an 18 hour fast. I didn’t feel as bad as I did with the 21 hour fast either. It was interesting to be so clear headed and really in tune with my body.

Results!

I finished my month long experiment with Intermittent Fasting and I’ve decided to keep doing it! I love what fasting has done for my body and for my mind. My mind is so clear and I’ve been really productive because I’m not constantly snacking or worried about food. 

I actually just finished week 6, and I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even consider what I’m doing as Intermittent Fasting anymore, I just eat during certain hours. I’ve explained it to other as – I don’t eat between meals and that’s it.

Now, when I wake up; I drink 10 – 20 oz of water. At work, I bring my tumbler of unsweetened tea and I’ll drink 20 oz of that. At Noon, I might break fast with a smoothie, or breakfast bean burrito. If I’m hungry for lunch at 1 pm, I’ll eat otherwise, I wait until 3 or 4 pm and eat then. When I’m home at 6pm, if I’m hungry I’ll eat dinner or a little snack. Then, after 7 pm, I switch to water.

Over the holidays my husband and I went out of town for Christmas and I wasn’t hungry until Noon, and found myself unconsciously finishing dinner before 7 pm and switching any wine or drinks to water. At this point it’s a habit and not really something I need to think about. 

Plus – I don’t force myself to stick to my regular eating hours. If I’m not hungry, maybe I’ll break fast at 1 pm. If I go out to a show after work, I might have a couple beers at 8 or 9 pm, after my usual eating window. If I go out and I finish my last drink at Midnight, I can choose to fast until noon, or I can wake up and eat if I’m hungover. Intermittent Fasting is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change that’s really easy to do.

Okay! So.. you’ve made it this far – and I know you want to see some results.  I mentioned I took some measurements of myself at the two week mark right? 

Two weeks into starting Intermittent Fasting:

My waist was 33 inches
My hips were 44 inches

Well, I’m at the sixth week, so It’s been a month since my last measurements. During this experience I have not really exercised at all. Daily, I do light stretching for my neck, shoulders and hips since I have a desk job, but that’s it. I literally sit at my desk all day.

Currently?

My waist is 32 inches
My hips are 42 inches.

Does Intermittent Fasting work for weight loss? Yes.
Is it something I recommend? Definitely, 100%.

If you like a challenge and really want to get to know yourself and your body better – I say do it. 

If Intermittent Fasting is something you’re interested in or have questions about- let me know! I’ll do my best to answer. Find me on my socials or IRL and we can talk.

Disclaimer – I’m totally not a doctor. So, if you have any underlying health problems, or if you’re nursing or pregnant talk to your doctor. Always do your research, and listen to your body. Your body will always tell you if something’s wrong.