Posts tagged Intermittent Fasting
My Typical IF & Keto Day
ACS_0257.JPG

I wanted to share some behind the scenes action with you on what a normal day in my life looks like. After I posted a couple of my Keto and Intermittent Fasting blogs, a few friends reached out and asked me what my days typically look like, when I eat, what I eat, and what I do, so here we go! 

Evening

Instead of starting in the morning, we're starting at dinner time the night before. When you're doing Intermittent Fasting (read more about IF here and here), the clock starts ticking for your fasting window as soon as you finish your last meal of the day. For me, I aim to complete my last meal between 6:00-7:00pm. When you eat a nourishing and satisfying meal the night before, you are setting yourself up for success the next day.

A typical dinner at our house looks like protein cooked in fat with a side of vegetables cooked in fat. Example - Ribeye Steak (or whatever cut of beef is on the best sale at the grocery store) cooked on my cast iron skillet in grass-fed butter, avocado oil, and garlic with roasted broccoli that I drizzled with avocado oil.

I don't normally track my food or macros, but I know I know I'm staying below 5oz of protein and am having 1-2 Cups of low carb vegetables during this example dinner meal. It's the fat that's most satisfying and what keeps me full for long periods of time. 

Bed Time

I start winding down for bed around 9:45. I do my night time routine -- take off my makeup, wash my face, brush my teeth, and wash my feet (weird I know, but I like it) and turn on my diffuser (usually lavender or stress away) and that signals my body that it's time to go to sleep. I'm usually asleep by 10:30. Lately, I've been sleeping with a sleep mask (such a diva, I know) and I think it really helps get me into the deep sleep cycle.

Good sleep is so important to our overall health. I'm working up a separate post about what happens in our body when we sleep as far as our hormones are concerned. Turning on the diffuser while we're going to sleep has been very helpful for both Luke and me when it comes to good quality sleep. 

Morning

I am typically out of bed and into the day by 7:00am. I sit down with a cup of coffee, read my Bible, journal some thoughts and prayers, and write out what all I want to accomplish for the day. Getting started this way really helps me focus and know what to expect. Once I'm finished with my Bible reading and journaling, I'm ready to tackle my work tasks. 

In my coffee, I use about a TBSP of organic Heavy Whipping Cream. I use a milk frother (we have this one) to blend my coffee and cream and it makes a big difference in the texture of the coffee. I love it! 

I mentioned this in a previous blog about Intermittent Fasting, but I wanted to mention it again. Black coffee and a splash of cream (half & half or heavy whipping cream) will not break your fast, but anything more in your coffee WILL BREAK YOUR FAST. Fat and calories add up so quickly when you're adding creamer and sweetener. Make sure to pay attention or your fast will be broken. Intermittent fasting is all about the time between meals, you don't want to break your fast with a sugary latte or a bulletproof coffee. 

Afternoon 

I typically start getting hungry and am ready for my first meal in between 1:00 and 2:00. That puts in an 18:6 IF eating window. If I'm hungry, I'll eat my first meal. If not, I'll just keep on chugging along on my work until I want to eat. When I first started Intermittent Fasting I would heat my first meal up in the microwave at 10:55 so I could start eating exactly at 11:00. I'm not joking, you guys! 

I've come along way since I first started IF! It goes to show that fasting is like a muscle. You have to start slow and build your way up. 

First meals look a lot like second meals. Protein, Fat, and Vegetable side. For example I would make a pot of butter chicken and serve it over asparagus,  green beans, broccoli, cauliflower or any low carb vegetable cooked in butter. I meal prep lunches on Sundays, making sure I make enough to last all week. 

If I am using chicken for meal prep lunches, then I'll make sure it has some sort of sauce -- like butter chicken or curry -- because chicken can dry out in the microwave. 

After lunch I dive back into my work or meet up with someone for a coffee. Then, I start prepping dinner around 5:30 and the cycle starts over. 

That's a typical Keto and IF day for me! I love how now my day doesn't revolve around how often I could eat anymore. Now that I've been removed from it, it was exhausting (and expensive) to always healthy have snack food readily available. Eating this way gives me the freedom to be productive in my work and side hustles while taking the best care of myself. 

A note about tracking

You'll notice that I didn't share my macros in my example meals. A lot of Keto people track macros and percentages, but I am not one of those people. I was overjoyed when I realized that I could delete MyFitnessPal forever! I have ALWAYS hated tracking my food. Even in my early days of Weight Watchers, I never tracked consistently. I used to think I didn't like tracking because I didn't want to own up to what I was eating. But now, I know it's because I genuinely don't like it - LOL. 

I do believe that tracking has it's place in a healthy lifestyle, I just don't feel the need to do it right now and that's okay! I would rather focus on eating the right foods until I'm satiated, not eating to the limit just because I could. I'm realizing now as I'm writing this that I still need time to heal and redeem that part of my story. "Breaking free from My Fitness Pal" sounds like a great blog to me!

I hope you enjoyed this brief view into my everyday life with Keto and IF.  If you have any questions or specifics, drop a comment and let me know! - JJ

 

Tips for Beginning Intermittent Fasting
neonbrand-304490-unsplash.jpg

Intermittent Fasting (IF) is definitely a hot button topic. When I started paying attention to my blog analytics + the messages I have been receiving, I noticed 2 things: 1. People are curious 2. People are looking for answers.

Before I continue on with my tips on getting started with IF, take a few minutes to read through my "what happened with I stopped eating breakfast" post. It goes through the basics and benefits of IF in easy to understand terms. 

Once you've done that, let's dive in!

Here are my tips and suggestions for getting started with If:

Do your own research 

Every body is different. Everyone has their own issues. Just like I did my research in starting Keto, you've got to do the same thing here. Start with a Google Search, start listening to podcasts on Intermittent Fasting, and start soaking in advice from credible sources.

Immerse yourself in the knowledge and start doing the mental work to set yourself up for success. It was so much easier for me to make the switch mentally and physically when I had the science to back me up. I was able to push through cravings and hunger pangs in the beginning because I knew what I was working toward. 

If you like Podcasts, I recommend listening to all of the podcasts on Fasting Talk. It's extreme, yes, as they talk about not just Intermittent Fasting, but extended fasting. Like "let's fast for a week or two" fasting. I'm definitely not there, I'm focused more on IF, but it's FASCINATING. 

If you want to read or listen to a book, I recommend The Complete Guide to Fasting. Even though I haven't finished the book just yet, I've read enough to confidently recommend it. The same people who wrote this book facilitated the Fasting Talk podcast and the information is the same.

The next book I'm going to read is the Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung. I am really excited to dive into that! You can read it too and we can have a book club, cool?

If you are looking for voices to listen to - bloggers, article writers, social media accounts to follow - then I recommend Dr. Jason Fung, Megan Ramos, Jimmy Moore, LeAnn Vogel, and Jessica Tye.

Eliminate snacking

One of the best ways you can start IF is by being conscious of your snacking and working to eliminate it all together. Make the most out of your meal times by eating delicious and nutritionally dense food. If you feel the urge to snack out of habit or because you're "snack-y" (my word for when I want to eat because I'm bored or want to avoid something), distract yourself by drinking a glass of water or a La Croix, doing a beneficial chore like putting away laundry, or simply changing your scenery (leave the room). Doing a combination of these things helps to distract my mind from wanting to snack. 

This was particularly difficult after dinner. I was a major after dinner snacker and I still struggle with this from time to time! It's most helpful when I have an activity like crochet or I'm browsing things on Pinterest -- something to keep my hands busy. It's also mega helpful if I keep cravings or snack ideas to myself. As soon as I say them out loud, it's over. 

Understand the if Eating Windows

The typical eating windows for IF are: 

16:8
18:6
20:4

The first number is how many hours you go without eating (fasting). The second number is the accumulative hours where you can eat. Let's take 16:8 for example, if you FINISH eating dinner at 7:00 and don't have any after dinner snacks, then your fasting would last until 11:00am. That's 16 hours of IF. Then, you would have from 11:00 am - 7:00 pm to eat your 2 meals. 

Let's do the same thing for 18:6. If you finish dinner by 7:00pm, then you could have your first meal after 1:00pm and your 2nd meal would be finished by 7:00pm. 

And just for good measure let's see what 20:4 would look like. If you finish dinner by 7:00pm, then you would eat between 3:00-7:00pm. Easy enough, right? 

Set yourself up for Success

Keto and Intermittent Fasting work very well together. Because of the high fat content in the Keto Way of Eating, you stay fuller for longer periods of time. This enables you to go longer in between meals. When you're eating mostly carbohydrates, you do not stay full. I can attest to this from my own experience.

I share more details on that in this blog post. 

So, when you're ready to make your first attempt at IF, eat a good Keto meal the night before. Make sure that you eat enough. One of the worst things you can do for your body and your metabolism is eat a low calorie meal before you fast. 

You can totally do IF without doing Keto or another low carb eating style, it's just going to be difficult. Again, I can back that up from my own experience.  

See how long you can go before eating your first meal 

When you wake up in the morning, don't tell yourself that you can't eat. Don't obsess about it. For me, when I obsess about something I drive myself so crazy that I find myself doing exactly what I said I wouldn't do. Can anyone relate to that?

When you're just starting out, all you're doing is seeing how long you can go before you eat your first meal. Get out of bed, have a glass of water, **drink a cup of coffee and do all of your morning things (other than having a bowl of cereal, a couple of pieces of toast, and a glass of orange juice. Don't do that). 

When you are legitimately hungry (not when you're bored, eating because others are eating, or because it's "time" to eat), have your first meal. Pay attention to the time and see how long you went between the last thing you ate the night before and now (including sleeping time!). 

CONCLUSION

Those are my tips for getting started! If this is something that you're interested in or think would benefit you, you should give it a try! I know it might seem scary to think about going 16, 18, or 20 hours without having a snack or skipping a whole meal, but let me tell you that you are totally capable of doing it! If you can't make it a full 16 hours, be proud of yourself going 10 or 12! This is YOUR journey your progress is the only thing that matters.

I love this quote,

Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle, or your middle to someone else’s end.
— Tim Hiller.

Thinking through that quote has helped me stay focused on what I am doing and not be envious of other people, but inspired by them. 

I am going to continue writing about IF and what I'm learning because there is so much more! Hopefully, through me sharing my experience, I can help you feel empowered to try something new and take a close look at your habits and internal health. I don't claim to have all the answers and I'm definitely not a medical professional, but I can share my story and hopefully encourage someone else. Let's get to it! - JJ

**A note about Coffee. You can have coffee during your fasting times. Black coffee is best. You can have a splash of cream (I use Heavy Whipping Cream) and it will not break your fast. A bulletproof coffee WILL break your fast, though. So just be mindful of what you put in your coffee and how much you're putting in your coffee.  

What Happened when I Stopped Eating Breakfast
aj-garcia-230650-unsplash.jpg

Intermittent Fasting (IF) has become a big part of my life and one of the keys to my Keto success thus far. IF is periods of eating and not eating. It's an eating pattern, not an "eat this not that" type of deal and it's pretty popular in the health/wellness/weight loss space right now. 

Around this time last summer I started hearing about IF and I was NOT interested. Give up one of my meal times? No way. You see up until last fall, one week after my 29th birthday to be exact, food controlled my life. "What am I going to eat today?" "What do I have to snack on?" "What flavors sound good?" And other questions like that ruled my day. All I had ever known was that you eat 3 meals a day and breakfast is the most important one. It was counter-cultural to hear that you could only eat twice or dare I say it, once, a day. 

I didn't want to give up another time where I could eat because I was "supposed to." It wasn't that I was hungry when I woke up in the morning or when I got to work, it's that I could eat and no one would think anything of it because it was breakfast time. At that point in my life, I was more concerned with eating as much as I could instead of stopping to think, "am I actually hungry right now?"

Everything changed when I really dove into the science behind Keto. I read this book and for the first time, I felt like it was okay for me to skip breakfast. It was like I had permission to do something new that would help me long term. Looking back, it was one of my first major step towards intuitive eating and learning how to listen to my body. 

I see it as a way to let my digestive system take a break and slow down instead of it going at full speed during the hours I'm awake. The longer you fast, the more time your digestive system (mainly your liver and pancreas) have time to rest. Because no new food has been introduced, whenever the body says, "Hey, I need some energy!" It can pull energy from fat stores and burn fat instead of whatever snack was just consumed. 

As I've shared before in other blog posts, I am not a medical professional, just someone who decided to learn more and try things for myself! 

What are the benefits of IF?

  • Decreases insulin resistance over time -- I talk more about insulin resistance in this post.
  • Anti-aging -- "When you fast, it gives your cells the ability to detox and recycle, so your body can slow down aging and even prevent age-related diseases." Read more here and  here.
  • Weight loss -- it's real fat loss not lean tissue/muscle loss. It's the kind of weight you want to lose.
  • Stimulates brain -- Check this out. Side note: I'm starting to understand now why Fasting is spiritual. Posts on that coming in the future. 
  • Reduces inflammation -- EVERYONE can benefit from reduced inflammation in the body read more
  • And there's more, but that's a lot of info to comb through, so I'm going to stop here. 

You can read more articles about the benefits of IF here, here, and here

How did you actually start doing IF?

I started skipping breakfast.

It was actually pretty easy for me to get started. When I woke up I would have my coffee (coffee with a splash of cream doesn't break your fast, a bulletproof coffee will tho) and then plan to eat lunch around 11:00. Meal prepping definitely helped me get into the rhythm because I knew that I didn't have to worry about what I would eat, it was already there ready for me.

Over time I backed my lunch up in 30 minute increments. Now, I can wait until 1:00 or 1:30 before I'm thinking about lunch. 

How do Keto and IF work together?

Since IF is all about when you eat, you need to make the most out of your meal times eating nutritionally dense (i.e. foods that are full of the good nutrients, I didn't know what that meant for a long time LOL) filling foods that keep you full for long periods of time. That's where Keto really shines! Because Keto is a high fat low carbohydrate way of eating, you stay fuller longer; therefore, you can go long periods of time without reaching for a snack or packing in 3 meals a day. 

The Standard American Diet is high carbohydrate and low fat meaning that your body burns glucose (SUGAR) instead of it's preferred energy source ketones (FAT). That's why you hear "sugar-burner" or "fat-burner."

It's the fat you eat that keeps you satisfied (or satiated). I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't experienced it for myself. Whenever I do consume carbs, it never fails the next day my stomach is growling and grumbling wanting MORE carbs. Whenever I'm killing it on Keto, no growling stomach, no hunger pangs, and no digestive issues. That's real life talk! 

So, to answer the question, "what happened when I stopped eating breakfast" the answer is simple. This is the first time in my life that I've been able to maintain a weight loss. I've been able to maintain my weight loss and progress even when I go off the rails and eat all the carbs. Not to say that IF is a license to eat whatever you want (because you definitely pay for it!), but it's something that I can do to keep me on track and feeling my best. 

Honestly, it's something I never thought I could do. I never thought I would be one of those people who chooses not to eat when others are eating. It's shown me that I can exercise self control and that I can listen to my body. To me, that's more important than physical results. 

I will be writing a follow up post with my tips on how to get started if this is something that you want to incorporate into your daily life. I highly encourage you to do your own research and to not be afraid of trying something different. If you have any questions or want to know more, let me know! I'm happy to dialogue with you about IF or anything else really. This girl loves to talk!

Be on the lookout for my follow up post in the next few weeks. Have a beautiful day! - JJ