So the first thing I want to do is give a standard disclaimer: I am not a registered dietician. There, that’s out. Whew!
That said, I am a 48-year old human with a pretty healthy body. I’m fascinated by nutrition, particularly with the focus on nutrition for performance and weight management. I would be lying if I said that I ever had a problem with being overweight. I fluctuate 10lbs up and down, but even on the upswing, I would never have been considered overweight. But, that’s because I’ve always been a little obsessive compulsive about what I put in my mouth. In college, I struggled with eating disorders, and if I’m being 100% honest, I’ve never put anything in my mouth without maybe giving it a little bit too much attention and analysis. Who’s with me?
?♀️ I will also freely admit that while I’m eating one meal, I’m already thinking about the next. Words will never express how much I wish I was one of those women that says, “Oops, I got so busy that I forgot to eat today!”? Yeah, that’s never happened. N.E.V.E.R.
About 20 years ago, I picked up yoga. I was in my late twenties and it started me down a beautiful journey of self-awareness. I came face to face with many of my demons and self-destructive patterns of behavior and set out on a mission of cleansing. I read about yogis fasting and I adopted a once-yearly practice of a 3-5 day fast of just juice. The first 48 hours was hell and I was borderline homicidal. But, with the luxury of no husband and no kids, I could shelter in place until day 3 when I would be bursting at the seams with energy and joy. At the time, I attributed this to the detox portion ending and a cleaned-out finely-tuned machine of a body emerging from the wreckage. Looking back now I can’t help but wonder if perhaps this extra energy and joy were possibly the welcome mat on the first step down the descent into madness. We’ll never know for sure, because I’m sure as shit never doing that again!
Years went by. My 10lbs. up and 10lbs. down cycle ebbed and flowed. My vegetarian diet progressed into a vegan diet (I’m not either of those things anymore, but I’ll get into that in a different blog article). Over the last couple of years, I kept hearing about Intermittent Fasting. One of my yoga students – a crossfit coach and a spectacular specimen of what a female body is capable of looking like – talked to me about her Intermittent Fasting regimen. Well, that’s almost true. She was telling someone else and I was eavesdropping?- same thing, right? Anyhoo, she was doing the variation of 5/2. As in, out of seven days a week, you eat five days and don’t eat two days. That’s cray, right? Now… don’t get ahead of me, I DON’T do this version. But as someone who used to fast on a regular basis, I admit I was already half-sold on the detox benefits. So, I tucked away this information and set out to do a little more research. I found an alternative method that looked promising. This schedule: 8/16. For every 24-hour period, you only eat for eight of those hours and then you fast for 16. You can still eat all three meals, you just have to eat them within that 8 hour window and fast for 16 hours. This seemed doable to me.
I decided to try it.
Gotta say, I really like it. I also started tracking my macros (again, I’ll save this for a different post). Both of these things – as counterintuitive as it might seem because they’re both somewhat restrictive – have given me more freedom then I have experienced before regarding my eating habits. Everything is allowed, there’s no cutting out food groups. I just have to make it fit with my macros and eat it between 8am-4pm. That’s reasonable! I can do that. I have been doing that and effortlessly staying at the low end of that 10lb window. I’d call that a success!