I came across the concept of intermittent fasting around a year ago and I recently decided that I would give it a try. I can definitely say that intermittent fasting definitely has its benefits. But let’s start from the beginning!
How I found out about intermittent fasting
Around a year ago I was researching about fasting itself. Because many of my friends did a juice-fast at this time, I was curious to know more about it. That’s how I came across the concept of intermittent fasting. It made total sense to me that when eating all day, your digestion is working all day as well and that like that you are more tired because all the energy goes to your gut-system.
I wasn’t quite ready to try it out back then but recently I had the urge to do something good for my health. During summer I have eaten so much and so muddled up that I haven’t been feeling that good lately. I noticed that I haven’t been sleeping that well because my dinners were always late and other than that I was just eating and snacking all the time.
I wanted to try intermittent fasting not because I wanted to lose weight (it often gets promoted like that). I just wanted to give my gut-system a little break for a few hours a day and was curious to see, if intermittent fasting could be something for me. So I gave it a try!
What is intermittent fasting
When doing intermittent fasting you basically have a certain amount of hours a day where you are allowed to eat and a certain amount of hours a day in which you fast. The most common schedule is the 16/8 – you fast for 16 hours and eat during the remaining 8 hours. I tried to follow the 16/8 cycle (more or less).
When fasting, you are only allowed to drink water, tea and black coffee – basically you’re allowed to drink everything as long it has no calories. And the most obvious: You are not allowed to eat anything! This may sound hard but honestly, it isn’t. When breaking the fast you are allowed to eat whatever and how much you want.
Intermittent fasting is not a diet! You are basically doing the same you are doing already, you just have a certain amount of hours for that.
My experience of trying intermittent fasting for 2 weeks
First of all, I have to say that before I have started to try intermittent fasting, I had a quite similar lifestyle already. I am rarely hungry in the mornings and I usually have my first meal at lunchtime. The only things I had to change was that I was not allowed to drink soda and other calory-beverages and that I was not allowed to snack late at night (the hardest part for me though!).
I scheduled my 8 hours window from 12 to 20 o’clock. Food-wise this was super easy for me. I had my “breakfast” at 12, had snacks and ate dinner around 18 / 19 o’clock. The harder part for me was that I could not have my soy latte in the morning and that I wasn’t allowed to have soda or a glass of wine after 20 o’clock. I switched to black coffee and drank a lot of tea and water.
Other than that intermittent fasting was easier to do than I thought. It wasn’t restricting or making my life complicated at all. Looking back, it even made my daily life a little easier.
My personal benefits with intermittent fasting
My water intake increased
One of the best benefits I have noticed while doing intermittent fasting was that I was drinking loads of water and tea. I usually struggle a lot with my water intake because I prefer coffee and sodas 😉 As well I usually struggle a lot to drink enough on a daily basis. But while doing the intermittent fasting this changed! Because I wasn’t allowed to eat until lunch, I substituted my usual snacks with tea or water. I realized that I was snacking a lot, thinking I was hungry even though I actually was thirsty. I heard this a lot that we often mistake thirst with hunger.
Because I was drinking so much water, my skin cleared up a lot, my constant fatigue wasn’t there anymore and overall I just felt so much better and hydrated.
It kept my brain sharp
Do you know that feeling of having a constant tiring cloud in your brain which is making you unfocused and unmotivated for everything? Let me tell you, after a week of intermittent fasting this was gone in my case! The last time I had a huge change like that was when I went vegan for a month in 2017. Focusing is so much easier for me now and I also feel that my brain is clear and sharp like crazy.
I was hoping to have this benefit because I have heard it a lot form people who did a form of fasting. It took a while but after around 6 days I noticed a huge difference. This is honestly maybe the big reason why I am going to keep doing intermittent fasting in future. Maybe not that strict all the time because you know, life is beautiful 😉
Eating more consciously
Because I was always so excited to break my fast at lunchtime, I was also cooking and eating more consciously. Every fast-break was like a little celebration and was always looking forward to treating myself with a delicious meal. Because of that, I was cooking a lot more and I was also planning my meals better. I was also eating so much healthier because fasting gave me a feeling of having a healthy lifestyle and I wanted to keep on going with that.
Cons of intermittent fasting
I love to go out on weekends and I also do love having a good drink (or two) in a good bar. Luckily I am currently skipping alcohol because I have so much work to do (which I really enjoy at the moment) and having a hangover really is not an option for me right now. But besides those yummie drinks, eating out with friends was also a little hard sometimes. Because I was only allowed to eat until 20 o’clock I couldn’t have dessert or another drink besides water or tea. Honestly, I did not restrict myself and went for the dessert 😉 But when wanting to stick to the fasting cycle, this can be a hard part.
One of the best reasons for me to get up in the morning is a big hot soy latte. This was probably the hardest part of my intermittent fasting journey! Black coffee is just not the same as a creamy big cup of deliciousness 😉
But I got used to it and I even preferred having an Early Grey tea instead of a coffee in the mornings.
Trying out intermittent fasting has been a great experience. It is 1. easy to apply, 2. it has a lot of benefits! I will continue doing it even though I won’t restrict myself when having a good time. Everything you do should be something you enjoy doing. I don’t believe in forbidding things when you actually love doing them. Everything you do should be because you believe in it and because it makes you feel good!
Currently, I think that intermittent fasting is also helping me structure my day a little more wisely. I am usually very productive in the morning hours and because I am fasting during these hours, I don’t have to think about preparing food. When breaking my fast, I do give myself a good amount of time to actually enjoy and appreciate my food and when my eating window ends, my body has enough time to relax and to get ready for its sleep.
All in all, I love the concept and the benefits I have with it. I will definitely continue trying to stick to it and see where it takes me!