Let's talk intermittent fasting. Fasting. That's an ugly word, isn't it? One of the biggest challenges in weight loss or in optimizing health is resistance to deprivation (okay, and change.) This is why when I woke up 2 weeks ago with guidance from my higher self to make one change only per week, it did not start with....elimination or deprivation. Those things are a fast track to failure. Trust me on this. Or, maybe you don't need to trust me. You have BTDT and have the t-shirt.
I suffer from reflux and have for YEARS. There have been two times when it was at its worst. The first was when I was pregnant with my son 19 years ago. It is astonishing I had GERD as I barely ate anything. I gained a whopping 19 pounds while pregnant, vomited for 7 of the 8 months I was pregnant, and my primary source of nourishment in the end was Maalox. It was even in most of my photos. The second time was during the time my father was ill and for about 6 months after his death. My food intake was nothing short of toxic, which was a huge change for me as we eat very healthy foods, often cooked from scratch. I was eating whenever I could, which sometimes was 8pm. There is no doubt looking back that stress eating was also a huge part of what was keeping me upright during that time. What does this have to do with intermittent fasting?
My reflux became so bad I began doing research and realized that I need to eat 5 to 6 hours prior to going to bed each night to allow my food to digest adequately enough to prevent reflux and allow for better rest. Going further down that path, intermittent fasting caught my attention and continued to catch my attention as two friends were using to optimize their health. One is a gorgeous woman I know who I would never have thought needed to lose a single pound. She's a dear friend and though we are close, due to busy mom lives, we had not seen each other for about 6 months and when we got together I was STUNNED by how she looked. It was nothing short of amazing. She had only lost a few pounds, but it was enough to redefine her body into how she looked in high school. Another friend also utilized intermittent fasting to lose weight, but also to work on inflammation as she had received a medical diagnosis that made her reevaluate her diet and lifestyle. Both women were inspirations and I decided to embark on an intermittent fasting journey.
This is no small feat when running a family, a small business, volunteer activities, etc. I was eating dinner early for several weeks and essentially my family was eating as they rolled in. My son was rowing, so his dinner time was 8pm. My hubby came home from work around 6pm and that's when he grabbed his dinner from the stove and my daughter had various times depending on what our afternoon held. You can probably guess that maintaining this was not successful for me.
Now, here I am, at least 2 years later revisiting this concept. I'm not going to go into a long post about what intermittent fasting is or is not. There are more websites that I can shake a stick at telling you the ins and outs of this and people far more knowledgeable than I to guide you. I will, however, tell you how I am using intermittent fasting for myself and for my family. This is based on what I saw that my friends do successfully plus what I have read and that will fit into our lifestyle.
We have chosen to eat dinner at 5pm each night. I have committed to this. We have rearranged our evening tasks to fit this schedule. It means that I have to be committed to having dinner ready, on the table, by 5pm, even if it means cooking in the middle of the day. By eating at 5pm, that will allow all three of us (my son is away at college) to have what is our heaviest meal early enough to digest at least 4 hours, more likely 5 to 6, before bedtime as well as give us 12 to 14 hours prior to breaking our fast the next morning, which is the recommendation for those using a daily intermittent fasting schedule. I will be honest, I do not know that this will generate actual weight loss for me. But, having used it before, I do know it will eliminate my GERD and I am hoping assist me in better sleep. I hope it assists in weight loss and I KNOW it will assist in promoting overall health.
I am also hoping that this change this week and going forward will assist in my family's health. It will set up a good system for our daughter who is at that age when good habits matter most and my husband, who is also experiencing some health challenges.
Here are a couple of sites that discuss 12 and 14 hour fasting for more information:
Remember: Week 1 I added 15 minutes of Walk Fit and that has continued. I drink a lot of water, so I am not going to tell you that I added water as one of my weeks, but I do encourage you to drink up each day! Drop me a line here on on my social channels to let me know about your own health journey!