Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

Intermittent fasting – my journey


Over the past two months I have been intermittent fasting. I fast my body for 16 hours and eat within an eight hour window, skipping breakfast along the way!

I know, I have even preached the importance of breakfast before but now my breakfast is at 1pm rather than 6.30am. This is not a diet but more a lifestyle choice that you can follow which has a load of health benefits.

What is intermittent fasting and why would you do it?

Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesn’t change what you eat, it changes when you eat. Anyone can do this especially if you’re looking to lose weight and get lean without cutting out any food types from your eating plan.

You will normally consume the same amount, if not more calories in your eating window as you would a ‘normal’ diet. Additionally, intermittent fasting is a good way to keep muscle mass on while getting lean.

How does intermittent fasting work?

To understand how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss we first need to understand the difference between the fed state and the fasted state.

Your body is in the fed state when it is digesting and absorbing food. Typically, the fed state starts when you begin eating and lasts for three to five hours as your body digests and absorbs the food you just ate. When you are in the fed state, it’s very hard for your body to burn fat, but not impossible, because your insulin levels are high.

After that timespan, your body goes into what is known as the post–absorptive state, which is just a fancy way of saying that your body isn’t processing a meal.
The post–absorptive state lasts until eight to 12 hours after your last meal, which is when you enter the fasted state. It is much easier for your body to burn fat in the fasted state because your insulin levels are low.

When you’re in the fasted state your body can burn fat that has been inaccessible during the fed state.

Benefits of Intermitting fasting.

There is loads of scientific research into the health benefits of intermittent fasting but I’m going to tell you the benefits I experienced.

• Easy to follow
This plan was so easy to follow. I stopped eating at 9pm and didn’t eat again until 1pm – it’s not rocket science.

• I didn’t feel hungry
Well, a little around 12pm each day an hour before I was due to eat. Normally I would feel like I would pass out if I didn’t eat my breakfast before leaving the house but I believe I didn’t get hungry because my body knew what I was doing and didn’t actually need food.

• I was early for work!
Normally in the mornings I take boot camp, do my own work out and then go home to shower, change and eat before rushing out the door but because I was intermittent fasting I didn’t have to worry about breakfast.

• I needed to change
After I carried out my six-week transformation I found myself snacking a lot at night. I wasn’t on a restricted diet anymore and my football season wasn’t starting for a few months so I needed a new plan. That plan was fasting and it cut out all my late night snacking.

I could control my temptation
Late nights snacks were one thing but staff rooms with home-made buns and birthday cakes, which seemed like every day, was another obstacle. I knew I was following a new goal and the temptation didn’t really bother me.

• When I ate, I ate
I enjoyed my first meal so much more when I was fasting and if I wanted to eat in the eight-hour window, I just ate. Again I stuck to a healthy diet but I consumed a lot of food in those eight hours. It also allowed me to eat a few treats now and again.

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• I felt good training in a fasted state
Because I train early in the morning I thought I wouldn’t have the energy to do so but I did.
I also found myself sleeping better at night and more recovered for the day ahead.

These are the benefits I felt and experienced when intermitting fasting but there were also some down falls.

Firstly, I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t eat at least two hours after I trained, but I did try to rectify this by drinking some BCAA’s after my workout.
By the way, if you are thinking of fasting you can still drink water, tea and coffee throughout the day. As I mentioned before I did get hungry around 12 but sometimes I would also get a mild headache which was a bit worrying but they soon stopped after a week or so.

Where I am today
I stopped fasting last week as I wanted to see the difference again and if I would go back to my old ways, I must admit I have slipped a little. The second reason I stopped was because my football season is starting and I wanted to make sure I was back to my good eating habits before games etc.

I think I will return to intermittment fasting very soon and this time it will be for a very long time.

If you are thinking of carrying out intermittent fasting, please check with a medical professional first and good luck.

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