I’ve done the 16:8 fasting system before, you can read my blog on it here, but I thought I would give it a go again, and I’m glad I did.
I noticed a few extra pounds creeping on (and I worked so hard to lose them in the first place) so it started to bug me a bit. Now I was totally rational about it and not that concerned about how I looked. I mean those size 8s were starting to feel a bit snug, but I still fit in them 💁. But there were a few reasons, beyond aesthetics that made me take action.
- Christmas is coming up 🎄 – I thought if I’ve put on 5-7lbs now, another 5-7lbs might be in the offing with all of the Christmas temptations right around the corner – at the upper end, that could be a whole stone – and considering I’ve worked so hard to lose 2 stone, gaining a whole one back, was not something I wanted to consider.
- I wasn’t eating healthy – I mean, I was eating healthy, my main meals were on point, loads of salad, veggies, and delicious vegetarian options. My downfall was sugary snacks, a constant stream of sugary snacks 😬. In the office, they joke about my lack of will power – true story, I confess, I have no will power around sweets.
- I wasn’t stopping – I noticed 2 key times I just couldn’t (wouldn’t) be able to stop myself – after breakfast and after dinner. Consuming up to 50% of the day’s calories on ridiculous (unneeded) sugary treats during these times.
So, I don’t really like restricting what I eat, I love being healthy – but I also love life’s treats, and believe life would be pretty boring without treats. So, I thought I would try the dust off the ole 16:8 fasting plan again.
The Eating Window
Well you have an eating window, where you eat during your ‘open’ window hours (8 hours) and don’t eat (aka fast) during your ‘closed’ window hours (16 hours). During your open window hours you can eat as you like – treats if you must (yay).
So, for me, I would have a black coffee with sweetener, water, or hot lemon water all morning, through to noon. I commute to the office on my bike, so this is fasted cardio. Usually around 11:30 I would leave the office and head out to buy my lunch, as by this time I’m pretty hungry. By the time I would get back, cook my soup, or prep my lunch, it would be 12, or near enough – yay 🎉 the eating window opens.
Then I cycle home, pick the kids up from school, part take in afternoon snacks guilt free, and eat dinner, usually around when the kids do do, so around 5:30/6 pm. I usually save pudding for after I get them off to bed at 7:30, and then the eating window closes at 8pm. I normally brush my teeth at this time, as I find it helps me ward of any late night munchies.
- Wake up – 6AM-Noon – No food
- Noon – 8PM – Eat as I like
- 8PM – Bed – No food
Why do this?
Yes, my desire to do this is borne out of a few extra lbs, but I was also looking for a way to control the extra snacking and excessive sugary treats. For me this is an option that accomplishes this, that does not include calorie counting or eliminating certain foods.
Does fasting have health benefits?
Yes, I think so, but don’t ask me in detail about them. I watched the Dr Michael Mosley documentary about fasting ages ago. There is a lot of conflicting evidence about the health benefits, so don’t hold me to any of these, but this is the general idea:
Intermittent fasting will trigger autophagy, which is a crucial defence mechanism against malignancy, infection and neurodegenerative diseases. It’s basically your body’s way of cleaning out cells that aren’t performing at their best.
Intermittent fasting also triggers a beneficial metabolic reaction, that includes:
- Inflammatory markers decrease
- Blood glucose levels and insulin decrease
- The neurotrophin BDNF increases
Don’t you get hungry?
Generally, I felt okay on this. I did have one morning where I felt a little weak on my cycle commute, and took it extra slow on the bike, drank extra water on route. I did feel a bit hungry in the mornings, but I find that hunger is often just a state of mind, and if you can distract your mind then you can lose your feelings of hunger. Here are some tricks I use to distract myself from hunger during the closed window hours.
- Get involved with a work project (maybe something I’ve been putting off for a while)
- Jump up and do some body weight squats, sit ups, lunges, or even just more gentle yoga stretches
- Paint my nails
- Brush my teeth
- Have a herbal tea/hot lemon water
Do you do it all the time?
Nope, I take a break when I need to. I went out for dinner with my friend the other night, and we didn’t finish eating until after the window closed, no big deal. Another morning, I really wanted a coffee with milk and my normal toast with butter and jam – I gave in and had it, totally okay for me. It’s important to live your life and do the things you want to, when you want to.
Have you ever thought about doing the 16:8 intermittent fasting? Or have you tried another type of fasting like the 5:2? What was your experience?