Intermittent fasting and how to improve your health and lose weight
I am excited to share my health journey with you and how I achieved a 45-pound weight loss with litte to no exercise. I lost weight without crazy gimmicks and unrealistic goals. I managed to maintain a health weight most of my adult life with healthy dietary practices, running, and weight training. My exercise plan consisted of at least one hour at the gym, 5 to 6 days a week. That all changed when I had my first child which led to whopping 70-pound weight gain. I lost about 30 pounds after my daughter, then got pregnant with my son, and the weight I had lost returned. My son was diagnosed with a chronic life-threating illness in 2019 after his birth, and I found it even more challenging to focus on my health and weight loss. My son had a bone marrow transplant in 2020, in the middle of the pandemic so my focus was caring for him. Two years later, my family and I continue to rebuild our lives. I found it difficult to get back into a routine that included exercise. I felt exhausted daily and most days it was a struggle for me to get out of bed. Last fall (2021), I had a profound change in my motivation to commit to rebuilding a healthier lifestyle. My kids were the biggest motivation for me to start a new health journey. As a physician, I knew a lot about intermittent fasting and potential benefits, and I decided to apply what I knew and modify it to fit my lifestyle and preference. I also wanted to adopt a method of fasting that would improve my health, but it had to be sustainable. What is the point of doing fasting if it is not sustainable? Exactly, there is no point. Whatever your health journey is it must be sustainable to see consistent results. I will be posting on intermittent fasting, and my health journey weekly so be sure to follow this blog for more health tips. I will also post daily videos on my Pinterest page with intermittent fasting tip. I will talk about how to create your own form of “sensible fasting” to produce sustainable results, whether it be improvement in your health or weight loss. I will also have the option for people to send private messages through Pinterest.
First, I would like to give a little background on intermittent fasting, followed by the plan for week 1 as we head into the first week of intermittent fasting. September 26th will be day 1 of 4 weeks of daily tips to keep you energized and motivated through your health journey so click on the Pinterest link below to follow me.
Intermittent fasting is also described as intermittent energy restriction. The process of fasting is not new. Fasting has existed for centuries in many forms, and it is a common practice in various religions around the world. Intermittent fasting is the process in which any of various meal timing schedules cycle between voluntary fasting (reduced calorie intake) and non-fasting, over a given period. Intermittent fasting has gained a lot of popularity over the past decade and has been studied in recent years. There is evidence to suggest that this method of fasting may reduce the risk of diet-related diabetes.
When people eat three or more meals a day, they are constantly giving the body calories to burn so they are not burning their fat stores. After hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat. This process is called “metabolic switching”. IF works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.
What are methods of intermittent fasting?
Daily time-restricted fasting
Intermittent fasting may reduce the risk of diet-related diseases, such as diabetes. According to the American Heart Association intermittent fasting may reduce insulin resistance, may result in weight loss, and may lower the risk of cardiometabolic diseases. Intermittent fasting may help with other medical conditions such as autoimmune conditions, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. A recent review published in 2022 indicated that intermittent fasting is generally safe. However, adverse effects of intermittent fasting have not been studied extensively. It is also important to mention that the US National Institute on Aging indicated that there is insufficient medical evidence to recommend intermittent fasting. There are a lot of healthcare providers that agree with the US National Institute of Aging in their stance that there is insufficient evidence to recommend intermittent fasting. Anyone considering intermittent fasting should speak with their healthcare provider about potential risks and benefits before making significant dietary changes.
What are potential benefits of intermittent fasting?
The data from some studies suggest that there are health benefits from intermittent fasting. Some potential benefits include:
-Possible protection against Diabetes and heart disease
-Possible protection against age-related neurodegenerative disorders
-Possible help with inflammatory bowel disease
-Possible anti-cancer effects through death of pre-cancer/cancer cells
-Studies show that IF may boost memory in adults(humans).
-IF may also reduce inflammation and improve overall health
What method did I use to achieve a 45-pound weight loss in 6 months?
- The first thing I did was to list my goals. Was it to improve my health, lose weight, or both? For me it was both.
- I then set a goal for timeline to reach my desired weight. Well, that has been modified multiple times. It is more important for me to be happy with my daily diet than it was to lose 70 pounds quickly. I decided on making my timeline for goal weight 1.5 years.
- I decided on a cutoff time for meals during the evening. People are more likely to gain weight when they consume significant number of calories after the sun goes down due metabolic switching and hormonal shifts. My cutoff was 7pm and if I had to eat something it would be zero to low calorie choices (such as cherry tomatoes and cucumbers). I found it more difficult to fast at dinner time while my husband and kids are having their full course meal. It is important to think about your individual lifestyle and what works best for you.
- I also made a conscious decision to shop on a specific day during the week so that I would have what I needed to maintain a healthy diet throughout the week
- I was not strict in restricting my caloric intake during my non-fasting periods. I did not make any drastic changes in my diet. I think that the Mediterranean-style diet is a good approach to healthy eating. It was more important for me incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my meals than it was for me to stop eating carbohydrates. I allowed myself to eat in moderation and each week things got easier.
Week 1 of my intermittent fasting schedule:
My week 1 started out with fasting for 14 hours. I wanted to take my time and feel things out to see what worked and what didn’t. I did not see the rush in starting my fasting period at 16 hours.
Key items that helped me get through each day:
-Daily manifestation: spending time alone verbally reciting my goals as if it already happened. This was a way for me to commit to my goals daily.
-I filled my 3.5 Liter water bottle in the mornings and took 5 to 10 gulps every hour. I easily consumed 4 liters of water daily. Having a large water bottle that does not require frequent refills makes a tremendous difference in maintaining water intake. It prevents dehydration and helps to stave off hunger.
-I drank a lot of tea, no sugar (sometimes artificial sweetener)
-I tried to avoid coffee but did drink coffee on days when I didn’t feel like depriving myself. I used a creamer with MCT oil (no carbs) instead of milk to keep my body in a ketosis, which I will talk about in the next blog
-I found that consuming apple cider vinegar (2 tbsp) with 16 ounces of water with lemon in the mornings was helpful in reducing cravings. Apple cider vinegar and lemon also has great health benefits which I will elaborate on in future blogs.
-I also found pure Himalayan salt beneficial because of the minerals it provides. I would sometimes add a pinch of Himalayan salt to apple cider vinegar for the benefit of mineral consumption.
What time did I break my fast: My fasting period typically started at 7pm (which is the time I last consumed food) and ended at 9am. That is 14 hours of fasting and 10 hours to food consumption.
What did I eat when I broke me fast: balanced meals with no significant restriction, a Mediterranean style diet works for me. I also found eggs to be filling and low-calorie. I consumed whole avocados when I could because they nutrient-rich. I did make healthier choices with increased consumption of salads, vegetables, and legumes with my meals which helped me to stay full for longer periods of time.
Week 2: the fasting period is 16 hours, with 7pm fasting, next day fast would end at 11am.
Stay tuned for weekly tips and be sure to follow me on Pinterest for Week 1 of intermittent fasting tips!
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website and my social media accounts in any format is for information purposes only, and is not to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information I share is not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Always talk to your doctor before making any changes in your dietary regimen.
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