I Naturally Intermittent Fast and Didn’t Even Realise It

To some extent, the majority of us all fast…. unless you’re extra fancy and can sleep and eat at the same time (in which case you need to get yourself on some kind of talent show!) we typically all ditch eating when dreaming about (insert famous celebrity).

I don’t want to undersell intermittent fasting in anyway as it has done WONDERS for the amount of antacids I consume (and as a byproduct my purse strings) AND my weight loss, but we do all do it to some extent.

Now I’m not a huge fan of extreme fasting such as water fasts or 24/72 hour fasts (unless you need to for some kind of medical procedure). From my understanding women tend to do better with shorter fasts such as 14-16 hours, but I strongly encourage you to do your own research (and no, this doesn’t mean copy your favourite influencer on Instagram).

I prefer to keep it simple so 14-16 hours is something I’m down for. Even 5:2 isn’t the worst idea in the world (5 days eat to maintenance calories, 2 days to consume 500-800 calories).

When I actually listen to my body, it would prefer to go about 14 – 15 hours without eating. Of course, I have the luxury to honour that at the moment because of working from home, which isn’t always possible. However, now I’ve had the time to stop and listen, I’m going to try and incorporate that more once I have to return to the office.

Truly not public sector life

So when do I actually eat?

I’m a breakfast gal… it’s by FAR my favourite meal of the day (if I could get away with having breakfast for every meal, I totally would… and on reflection I’m not far off!)

Therefore I tend to ‘break my fast’ at between 7.30-10.30AM (time and day dependent). I’m not that hungry at 7.30am but that’s prime breakfast time when commuting. I then come in from work at about 4.30, and I much prefer an early dinner (pre COVID-19).

In a parallel universe where I am a billionaire and don’t need to work (and therefore have the time to be slightly more intuitive) I’d probably eat from 10-6/7PM.

I don’t like eating late because I’m 100% guaranteed indigestion. My digestive system clocks off at 8PM and I have to rely heavily on antacids and sleeping upright to get me through the night… which quite frankly I’m not that fond of.

I also find that the more I drag out eating (and the more I eat), I feel increasingly sluggish. I can relate to a 1L car… faster when running on half a tank of gasoline than a full tank. Anyone else identify with a car? No… just me? Anyhoo, moving on.

Do I live on salads when I eat?

I wish I loved salads… I really do. And I could perhaps get on board with a salad from Subway, but my own salads are rubbish. So in short, no.

Now I do restrict some foods as I’m yeast intolerant, and as much as I don’t want to be up all night with heartburn, I also don’t want to spend all day on the toilet either.

In the manufacturing world, I understand yeast is not only used as a raising agent but also a salt substitute and MSG substitute so it’s in a LOT of processed foods. I dare you to go look. Fortunately, they are yet to tamper with cake and chocolate and so I refuse to cut out that. They’re my only vices.

When you remove 90% of the processed food it leaves you with a surprisingly balanced, whole food diet, so I do allow myself treats on the daily. For example, homemade banana bread is on the cards for today.

As far as I know I’m not diabetic or insulin resistant, so I’m not too fussed about carbs. And if we’re to get all intuitive again, I’m not that keen on a stodgy carb (technical term). I like to reserve those carbs for days like my birthday (yesterday) where I ate yeast free doughballs/pizza/banana bread and lay in a comatose state for the rest of the evening whilst watching Jack Bauer save the world in 24.

On the flip side to that however, I do think it’s definitely worth encouraging yourself to make conscious healthy choices throughout the day. This doesn’t mean go in full force with all the fruit and veg on the first day, but gradually introduce more nutritious foods as the days go on.

I now try to make sure there’s some kind of one of my five a day at every meal. I tend to have 3 meals and 1 snack a day, so by doing this I’m guaranteed at least 3-4 servings of nutritious food in a day. It’s also essential to try and get some protein in too (even if it’s a case of using protein powder). They often say healthy fats are satiating but I find protein is much more useful for this.

So Chantelle… what does this actually look like in a day? Well, let me tell you:

7.30AM – 10.30AM – Protein Snickers Oats & Decaf White Coffee

12.30PM – Granola, Berries, Honey and Greek Yoghurt (see, I wasn’t lying about my love for breakfast).

3.30PM – Decaf Coffee and Fruit

5.30PM – Wholewheat BBQ Chicken Tortilla Pizza and Garlic and Herb Sauce

Dessert: Homemade Banana Bread (straight after dinner)

By doing this, my digestive system is happier, my waistline is happier and I’m happier.

Now I do have a couple of disclaimers.

Firstly, as weightloss is my intention at the moment I am monitoring my portion sizes. However, when I’m size sexy (lolz), this will relax somewhat and I’ll just keep to listening to my body.

Secondly, I’m not RELIGIOUS about sticking to these time frames. I have spent years learning to listen to my body and I trust it implicitly. Therefore, if I find myself genuinely hungry (rumbling of the stomach), I won’t wait until my allocated time slot to eat.

Finally, I increase my calories in the lead up to the naturally unnatural ‘time of the month’ (sorry gents). It has been found that women tend to burn more calories when Aunt Flow arrives so I’m going to make ‘allowances’ for this but only if that insatiable hunger rears it’s head.

Intermittent fasting doesn’t have to be some complex magical algorithm. I know to overcomplicate things is a great ‘sell’ on the business front and I’m probably doing myself a disservice, but as long as you seek advice from a medical professional before embarking upon it, I really don’t see why you shouldn’t give intermittent fasting a bash… especially if you’ve been sitting on the fence about it. I know it’s completely changed my relationship with food for the better.

I now know I can enjoy food without the repercussions of heartburn/vomiting, sleepless nights and feeling sluggish. I know they’ve found another zillion reasons why IF (that’s what the cool kids call it by the way) is beneficial for the human body, and of course you’ll come across this as you go away and read reliable validated studies *winking emoji*, but I really can’t see me going back to my old ways.

When It Becomes More Than Aesthetics

I’ll let you in on a little secret… this is my fourth attempt at running a health and wellbeing blog.

Each time I’d start one I’d think to myself ‘I’m in such a good place to preach and empower people on how to look after themselves’.

Ha!

In order to appear perfect for the internet (which is quite lolz when you think about it) I find that I am robotic because I have nothing to talk about. Because I’m not being myself.

I can’t preach (nor do I want to) because I’m in a place where I’ve borderline let myself go. I’m in no way at my heaviest but my muscle tone is non existent, my self esteem is on the floor and I’ve just been informed that I have new stretch marks. Recently my anxiety has been running rife and I’ve been having dreams that Tim keeps cheating on me. Ahh the female brain eh?!

I haven’t felt this rubbish about myself in years and it’s seriously not okay. I know it’s of my choosing. No one is forcing me to not exercise or to eat the cookie. There is seriously nothing to gain from this except misery and only I can change that.

I have decided to sign up to WW (aka Weightwatchers). I have signed up to their green plan as it makes sense to me and means I can eat what I want (obviously within their points system).

It’s not just about the food though. My posture has got so bad that I feel like I’m caving in on myself. My muscles are in agony and my husband said they feel like ‘rope’ because they’re so unhappy.

Finally I want to belong to something. I want to be in a position to make new friends.. if only it’s just online. Due to my aforementioned fake self, it’s hard to establish common ground when you’re not being yourself. Well that’s changing from now!

In the grand scheme of things this isn’t rock bottom, but in my little preventative health bubble I’ve hit the ground. The only thing I can do now is run.

Stop The Snacking

What I’m referring to is the mindless eating AKA “Cadbury’s Heroes gate”. This (and eating anywhere except the table) is my biggest vice. It’s what throws me off course and leads to me feeling preeettyyy rubbish about myself and where I end up going down the path of mindless munchies.

Firstly… if I’m absolutely ravenous then of course I’m going to have a snack. You only get one life and I’m certainly not going to make myself miserable by starving myself if I can help it.

Photo by Felipe Cardoso on Pexels.com

What I’m referring to is the mindless eating AKA “Cadbury’s Heroes gate”. This (and eating anywhere except the table) is my biggest vice. It’s what throws me off course and leads to me feeling preeettyyy rubbish about myself and where I end up going down the path of mindless munchies. It also gives me terrible indigestion (this would be a great place to insert an affiliate link to Gaviscon!!).

There will be exceptions to the rule e.g. the cinema, a picnic or a day at the beach. But on my general day to day living, the snacking is getting the chop.

There was a time where we were encouraged to eat more meals in a day. By default we are encouraged to have two snacks a day. It’s what is considered ‘best’ for us. Do we always need them? Probably not. Do we eat them anyway? Well I do. Sometimes even more than two snacks.

I personally think this a door into an unhealthy relationship with food. It allows me to associate food with emotions, boredom and stress. Would I choose to stress eat if I were to sit down at a table? Probably not. Would I choose to stress eat during an actual meal? Again, probably not. Would I boredom eat if I knew I had to go sit at a table? Unlikely.

I spend a lot of my time watching my husband (and not in a creepy way!). He has an excellent relationship with food. He also remains a stable weight with a very good body fat percentage. He rarely snacks and always eats at the table. He’s my evidence base if anyone asks.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

I’m going to attempt to stop snacking for 30 days and see what happens. Typically I don’t snack between breakfast and lunch but the rest of the time is currently free game. I normally don’t eat after 8PM because of indigestion but this could really do with being 7PM.

Now don’t fret. That’s all the behavioural changes I’ll be making this side of Christmas. It’s a bit of a weird Christmas this year as Tim is working most of it, my Mum is in hospital and it’s all a bit chaotic. We WILL be having a Christmas dinner but I don’t think there will be much else going on so I won’t need to worry about letting myself go too much. Even New Year will be quiet as Tim is working both New Year’s Eve AND New Year’s Day.

It will be the first Christmas in my 32 years of living that will be a bit of a nothing Christmas. Ah well, it happens to us all at some point.

Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com