Intermittent Fasting is a cycle of eating and fasting that is commonly used in order to lose weight, however, has also been shown to have other health benefits. It does not restrict what you can eat, only when you can eat. Commonly, those following an intermittent fasting diet follow the 16:8 rule where you fast for 16 hours of the day and eat for 8 hours of the day, normally between noon and 8 pm. However, one can also follow the 5:2 rule where you have two 24 hour fasting days during the week. I decided to follow the 16:8 rule for a week and see if intermittent fasting is a diet that I could follow long-term. Here are five things that I learnt as a result of my week of Intermittent Fasting.
It is not as intimidating as it sounds
Intermittent Fasting is a term that was first introduced to me through health & fitness influencers on YouTube, although it is a diet that has been around since the early 1900s. At first, the idea of only being able to eat between noon and 8 pm sounded intimidating, however, when someone explained to me that all it meant was skipping breakfast in the morning, it sounded a lot more achievable. I was surprised at how easy it was to only eat between noon and 8 pm and although I do not think I will be continuing Intermittent Fasting, I do see the benefits of restricting when you can eat and giving your body time to properly digest food.
How hungry I would be
I am not someone who regularly skips breakfast in the mornings but I do from time-to-time so the idea of skipping breakfast in the morning sounded achievable. Therefore, I was very surprised on my first day of Intermittent Fasting at how hungry I was in the morning up until noon when I had my lunch. It was almost as if because I could not eat, all my body could think about was food! I was also a lot hungrier in the evenings than I normally am which made sense considering I was skipping a meal in the mornings.
How much I would hate the black coffee
Intermittent Fasting also includes the calories you consume through beverages i.e. no oat milk latte with vanilla coffee syrup in the mornings. I would probably argue that this was the hardest part of Intermittent Fasting for me since I strongly dislike the bitter taste of black coffee and whilst I could probably skip the vanilla coffee syrup, I need a dash of milk to counteract the bitter taste of coffee. And yes, I probably could have skipped my morning coffee for the week but this would not have been a long-term solution as someone who thoroughly enjoys having a coffee in the mornings before work.
Eating out & Intermittent Fasting do not mix
As I mentioned earlier, I was following the 16:8 diet which was fairly easy to follow when I was cooking and eating at home as I normally get home about 5.30 pm from work and eat about 7 pm. However, as I do work a full-time job as do the majority of my friends and family, this means that normally dinner reservations are made for 7 pm onwards, meaning that you would have to order fairly rapidly to get your dinner and consume it all in time for 8 pm, often skipping a starter and dessert in order to do so. As someone who has a sweet tongue, this is not a sacrifice I am willing to make.
How bloated I would be
At first, I was not sure whether this was a side effect of Intermittent Fasting or just the food I had consumed that week, but after a quick Google search, I discovered that bloating is a common side effect of Intermittent Fasting. Since you are not eating for long periods of time, it is common to become dehydrated as your body is not signalling for fluid since there has been no food or drink intake, which can cause bloating.
In conclusion, I will not be following an Intermittent Fasting diet in the long-term. Whilst I can see the benefits of only eating between certain hours of the day, I am somebody who enjoys my breakfast and morning coffee as well as having dessert when eating out. I think that being more aware of when you are eating throughout the day is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when late night snacking, but strictly following an Intermittent Fasting diet is not something that I can see fitting into my lifestyle at the moment.
Do you follow an Intermittent Fasting diet? If not, would you consider it?
(Disclaimer: There has been some evidence that Intermittent Fasting may have negative health effects in women so please do your research beforehand if you do choose to follow an Intermittent Fasting Diet)