Over the Christmas holidays, I decided to learn all I could about compressed feeding windows. The idea of intermittent fasting, or compressed feeding windows, has always interested me from a fat-loss and longevity perspective. Information abounds about longevity, fasting and autophagy. For an incredibly scholarly approach to longevity and a dissemination of the research, I encourage you to follow Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s podcast, Found my Fitness. Some of her podcast episodes are good to listen to while others I encourage you to watch on YouTube, rather than listening, because there are text definitions included in the videos. Pausing and reading the definitions helps you to understand and research some of the discussions.
But what does this mean for the average citizen like myself? I happen to have a Bachelors of Science but some of the discussions are well above my head in terms of the chemistry – I can generally follow the biology. However, as I learn more, I’ve been curious to see how some of the principles can be applied to my own life. I’ve heard of people having really good success at changing their body’s set weight through methods like Intermittent Fasting but could little old me accomplish that?!
I took the time to read Dr. Jason Fung’s book, The Obesity Code. I highly encourage anyone struggling to lose any kind of weight to read this book. It will completely overhaul your thoughts about fat and weight loss. He also explains why the contestants on The Biggest Loser gained all the weight back. I knew it had something to do with their decreased metabolism during the show but what does that really mean? Why, if you keep your calories equally low (a brutal existence to be sure) do you still gain the weight back?
It all has to do with the body set weight. And insulin.
I’ve decided to do a mini-experiment on myself to see how this might play out. Rather than become too attached to the outcomes or setting a bunch of goals, such as ‘I want to weigh 130# before June,” which are generally guaranteed to fail, I thought I would approach it as a scientist. What would happen if ___[fill in the blank]___?
This is Day 15 officially but I was leery to talk about it until now because I had two thoughts about what might happen: It would be too hard and I’d quite, and second, I wouldn’t feel that I wanted to talk about the experiments. But the further into this I get, the more I would like to share it from a purely interest standpoint. Here’s how things have gone thus far:
January 3 – 4th
- I started off by limiting snacking. No snacking. I decided to cut out sugar and flour (more on that later) and have 3 square meals per day,
- The first few days went okay but I definitely experienced a drop in my energy, felt hungry all day (you know, that gurgle-ridden stomach acid feeling?), and thought a lot about food. I watched the clock so I would know when I could eat again, and
- I dropped about 2# in that few days.
From there, I decided I might try beginning to push my breakfast towards lunch and eliminate breakfast all together. I love breakfast so much so I decided, rather than eliminating those foods, I would just have them at lunch if I so decided!
January 5 – 6th
- Began pushing breakfast, beginning a 16/8 (fasting 16 hours, eating within 8 hours) fasting regimen,
- Felt hungry throughout the afternoon but the weekend was busy so I focused on that!
January 7 – 15th
- No breakfast, fasting on an 18/6 regimen, which meant eating from 12noon until 1800hours,
- Definitely feel hunger throughout the morning (my stomach is gurgling at the moment but it’s not uncomfortable),
- Learning that hunger is not an emergency in my constantly fed-state from my whole life,
- I’m down a total of 6#,
- Drink coffee, mostly decaf, throughout the morning, and started adding some almond milk (which means I am ‘dirty’ fasting), and
- During my ‘fed’ window, I’ve been eating 2 large-ish meals that are still plant-based.
- Yesterday, something really interesting happened:
- I felt insatiable all day. Nothing would satisfy. I wanted sugar and junk. I even thought about going to A&W. I’m not sure what that was all about! I caved and had some gummy bears but didn’t really enjoy them, which left me wondering if this was in fact a Craving Extinction that I should have worked through.
- I ate a handful of almonds in the morning during the morning rush, which meant I really wasn’t fasting anymore. I’m not sure why I did it. I think it was a moment of ‘weakness’ but I haven’t felt that this is particularly hard so I’m not totally sure what was going on. I knew I had a busy day ahead and felt pre-occupied with that … I wonder if it was a moment of falling back into old habits of eating when stressed?
- This morning, the next day, my weight is up 1# on the scale. This isn’t particularly concerning but it’s interesting to note!
Reflections thus far on my basal metabolic rate (BMR) have been interesting. At first, I thought I was noticing a drop but instead, even with eating a decreased number of calories per day, I’ve been able to maintain a roughly 2000cal/day BMR. This is really great! That means if I focus on eating roughly 1500 – 1800 cal/day, I am still in a deficit but continuing to burn while fasting. This is the whole principle of Intermittent Fasting!
I’m going to continue with this experiment to see how things work out … I’m curious to see if my energy levels continue to rise the further I get into this method of approaching the days.
Have you played around with IF? What have your results been? Do you enjoy it? How to do you manage feelings of hunger throughout the day? Thank you for sharing!