I haven’t been fully Keto in 2019 and I missed it a lot. But sometimes life takes you into another direction and I chose to put the focus on my mental health. I found it hard to do two things at the same time while dealing with my brain. I left working out and eating Keto for when I felt like it. To be honest, I didn’t feel like it at all. I resorted to intermittent fasting a lot. It’s a very simple way of making sure I don’t overeat, and it gives me peace of mind. After all, intermittent fasting is all about food you don’t have to eat. So let’s get into that!
Getting into intermittent fasting
The new year started and so I was doing healthy food research on January 1th. I always do this to crank up my motivation, but also to learn about my body. I came across this video with doctor Jason Fung. I thought it was very interesting, because he explains how insulin and leptin hormones regulate weight gain and loss. I have a lot of negative experiences with getting the shakes and falling asleep after eating. Waking up sweating and feeling sick. Probably because my insulin levels are messed up since I’ve been eating very irregular in 2019.
I watched a few more videos with Jason Fung and at one point he said intermittent fasting is really simple. It truly is and I agree with what he says in this video. In my experience fasting helped me take away the unhealthy focus on food. I don’t worry about breakfast anymore, I don’t like having it anyway. I go straight into my day sipping water feeling energized and fresh. It also helps me create structure and an easy to follow schedule. Having structure has always been good for me when it comes to food. It clears my mind from thinking about it all the time and therefor fasting has become my go to way of eating.
While watching Jason Fung’s videos it hit me again: Intermittent fasting is awesome! Like Jason says it doesn’t cost anything. You don’t have to buy a program, you don’t have to buy ‘special super foods’ or extra groceries. In fact, you buy less food than you used to. Yes, it’s a really good time and money saver, haha! You don’t even have to count calories, watch your macros, buy expensive trackers or check in with your coach every day. The only thing you do is just stop eating.
Just stop eating you say? Yes, just stop eating. And no, I’m not saying you should starve yourself. That is not what intermittent fasting is about. Fasting helps you focus on eating when your body actually needs it, which isn’t as much as you think. Some people eat two meals a day, others only one big meal. There are people who eat nothing for three days or more to fully reset their bodies and hormones. As Jason Fung explains so well in his video, your body regulates your energy for you. You don’t have to eat all the time, especially when you have more than enough body fat.
Mindset and hormones
I’m not a doctor, but I can say it’s a fact that hormones regulate most processes in our bodies. Women tend to notice this more than men. Think about it, you can get the weirdest cravings before and during your period. It’s not because you want to, your hormones just make you want it. The same goes for being hungry or not wanting to eat at all. Unfortunately, the food and fitness industry, as well as many societies have taught us the opposite. We’ve been taught to eat at least three times a day with snacks in between.
No wonder most of us have or are experienced weight gain at some point. We don’t even need all that food, but our brains are conditioned to eat all the time. We even ignore our full stomachs and we tend to overeat a lot! I can’t speak for everyone who uses fasting, but I can say that I love how it got me back to my core. Whenever I fast, I tend to listen to my body really well. Therefore I rarely overeat and I lose the fat I don’t need. The best part is I don’t have crazy cravings and I don’t think about food all the time. The peace of mind is incredible!
How does it work?
I wrote a full article on how intermittent fasting works, how I use it and the meals I eat during my fasts. But to give you a quick breakdown, let’s start with a simple fasting schedule. I personally love the 16/8 schedule. Which stands for not eating for 16 hours and eating within 8 hours. In my case that means I start my feeding window of 8 hours at noon, so 12.00 pm. I eat my lunch and have a snack around 15.00, or 16.00 if I go to the gym. If I work out, I eat my last meal before 19.00 because I want to be at the gym at 20.00.
I stop eating after 20.00 pm, so this is when my fast of 16 hours starts. It goes on until the next day at 12.00 in the afternoon. Not eating for this amount of time is actually pretty easy as I go to bed around 23.00. So most of the fasting time I’m asleep, easy peasy! I don’t like breakfast so I don’t have it, which is part of my intermittent fasting schedule. Not eating breakfast while using energy to get your day started, puts your body into fat burning mode. As you’re not feeding your body with energy from food (like carbs), your body find itself another energy source: Your body fat. Yes, we have pretty smart bodies.
Your body does it for you
Most of the energy we get comes from good and bad carbs. Carbs are micronutrients you can find in almost any food item. Good carbs come from vegetables, fish, meat, nuts, seeds, dairy products and healthy fats. Bad carbs come from cookies, snacks, fried and processed food because they often contain a lot of sugar. No, sugar and carbs aren’t bad for you unless you eat way too much of it. Which is something most people are ‘guilty’ of. If you eat too many (bad) carbs, your body will store those carbs as body fat. This is what your body does just in case you don’t get enough energy the next day.
But you always get enough energy, because we can eat whenever we want. So you’ll gain weight fast and you’ll probably have a hard time losing it. Intermittent fasting takes away the energy from food (and carbs) in the morning. This means your body finally gets to use that stored body fat, which is why you will lose body fat. Yes, you might feel hungry at first. But it’s just a feeling, because when you’re overweight you have enough body fat to fix that hunger. And your body will do that for you, now that you finally give it the chance because you’re fasting.
So there you go: Just stop eating all the time and only when your body asks for it.
P.S. Have you ever tried intermittent fasting and did you like it too?