Have you heard of intermittent fasting? Are you familiar with the phrase “if it fits your macros” and #iifym hashtag on Instagram? For a year or two, I’ve been aware of the growing popularity of intermittent fasting, but recently I was further intrigued by the intermittent fasting craze via a podcast by Dr. Sara Solomon.
So, what is intermittent fasting? There are actually a few versions of intermittent fasting. The version that I am most interested in is also called the “warrior diet.” It pairs a 20-hour fast with a 4-hour feeding window. The goal of the fast is to increase the actions of the Sympathetic Nervous System—commonly known as fight-or-flight—which may help to stimulate lipolysis and increase metabolic rate.(1)
The feeding window is used to increase the activity of the Parasympathetic Nervous System (or the Rest-and-Digest system), which will help increase the absorption of glucose and assist with recovery.(2)
According to Dr. Sara Solomon, intermittent fasting and the “if it fits your macros” mindset is good for individuals with binge eating tendencies. I do not have binge eating tendencies, and in fact, I do believe that I have a healthy relationship with food, however, I work with countless clients who simply do not thrive on the modified Paleo lifestyle that I follow.
This weekend I decided that I am going to try intermittent fasting. If you are not familiar with this lifestyle, I strongly encourage you to do some research. Also, Chalene Johnson recently recorded a very informative 2 part podcast about Intermittent Fasting with guest Dr. Sara Solomon. Here’s a few reasons why I plan to try this lifestyle.
- I’ve been living a modified Paleo lifestyle exclusively for at least one year. I call my lifestyle modified Paleo because I cannot live without peanut butter and Shakeology – and those items are not Paleo. While I love Paleo and feel the best when I eat grain free, gluten-free, and dairy free, I do miss some foods that I used to routinely enjoy.
- At this moment in time, I am in the best shape of my life. My abs look better now, after carrying and delivering two babies, than ever before. However, it leaves me asking, “What now.” I don’t want to compete in races or NPC competitions (I’ll share more about why in a separate post), but I’ve been looking for a new challenge.
- I will not recommend or criticize a lifestyle unless I’ve tried it. Over the past few months, an increasing number of clients have been asking me about intermittent fasting, and one way I plan to offer an educated opinion is by trying this lifestyle for myself.
- Hystorically, my most productive working hours are 6.15 am – 8 am – BEFORE I eat. After I eat, my concentration declines… Especially if I eat carbs. I look forward to front-loading my workday and increasing productivity during my fasting window.
Today was my first day trying intermittent fasting. I was super worried about skipping breakfast. I literally cannot remember the last time I skipped breakfast. It was likely when I delivered Cole, and even then I snuck some food. I decided to ease myself into the “if it fits your macros” and intermittent fasting lifestyle by maintaining a 7 hour feeding window.
Sunday mornings tend to be busy, no matter how early we wake up. I am usually rushing to make myself a protein shake, gulp down some black coffee, and then devour a banana or protein bar in the car on the way to church. We greet every Sunday, and 4 times out of 5, I eat a small treat in the greeter’s lounge. I am then ravenous during the service and sneak some almonds. When we get into the car to come home, I eat an apple and protein bar before enjoying some veggies and dip before we eat lunch.
This morning, I woke up and ate – nothing. That’s right – nothing. I fasted. I drank a cup of black coffee and then got in the shower. I didn’t feel hungry … weird. Then I got ready for church and drank a little more black coffee. Still felt ok … huh. Drove to church and got some tea in the greeter’s lounge. At this point I was getting worried about having a growling stomach through the service. We sat through the service and I was focused, no headache, no hunger pangs. Half-way through the service Brandon handed me a piece of sugar-free gum. We drove home … for 30 minutes we relaxed and then got some food ready for lunch. At 12.30 I had my first bite of food. And the crazy thing is, I was barely hungry.
I entered my height, weight, activity level, and goals into an IF calculator and it recommended that I should have 137 grams of protein, 204 grams of carbs, and 50 grams of fats. Today, I will likely stick with something closer to Carbs (30%), Fat (39%), Protein (31%). I think it will take me a while to get into the groove when it comes to counting my macros.
Ultimately, I will try to do a few days with a 4 pm – 8 pm feeding window. We visited our local festival twice this weekend and it was awesome to eat a huge bourbon chicken sandwich without any guilt. After all – it fit my macros, haha. Last year at this time, I wouldn’t have dreamed of having a wheat bun with my chicken.
Here are some benefits I am looking forward to and plan to report on – increased energy, increased focus, a strengthened immune system, a 6 pack. I am not trying to lose any weight. Therefore, I will eat at least 1800 calories per day. I am not a fan of restrictive diets, and I don’t want pressure to eat 6 small meals per day at certain times. I plan to continue my lifting schedule. For the next several weeks, I am not going to run. My feet haven’t been feeling good recently, so I will lay off of long runs/cardio.
Have you considered intermittent fasting? On March 4, I have a new round of my Bikini Boot Camp starting. I plan to report my results to my online boot camp clients, and I anticipate that a few of the ladies may try intermittent fasting with me. If you are interested in my intense and effective online Bikini Boot Camp workouts, be sure to register for our group TODAY. You will really enjoy the Bikini Boot Camp workouts and it would be my pleasure to help you reach your goals.
- Zauner, C., Schneeweiss, B., Kranz, A., Madl, C., Ratheiser, K., Kramer, L., … & Lenz, K. (2000). Resting energy expenditure in short-term starvation is increased as a result of an increase in serum norepinephrine. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 71(6), 1511-1515.
- Chen, J. L., Yeh, D. P., Lee, J. P., Chen, C. Y., Huang, C. Y., Lee, S. D., … & Kuo, C. H. (2011). Parasympathetic nervous activity mirrors recovery status in weightlifting performance after training. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 25(6), 1546-1552.