Intermittent Fasting – Week 6

Courtesy of the Harvard Heart Letter

IF Chat – 
So far I’ve shared a lot of information basically in support of IF, so I thought this week I’d discuss an article which is skeptical of IF. This week, a short discussion of IF’s impact as a weight loss strategy for the obese population from Harvard University endearingly titled, “Not So Fast”. Short and sweet, the author points out that many IF studies are for brief periods of time, enroll small sample populations, and some studies have found that IF and simple daily caloric restriction give the same or similar results. A couple potential barriers of real-world application for IF are cited as 1) the craving for people to reward themselves with food after hitting a weight loss goal, and 2) that periods of fasting are followed by strong biochemical urges to overeat. The best message, of course, comes at the end:

“If you are considering this type of diet, make sure to discuss it with your doctor. Skipping meals and severely limiting calories can be dangerous for people with certain conditions, such as diabetes. People who take medications for blood pressure or heart disease also may be more prone to electrolyte abnormalities from fasting. [We also live] in a toxic, obesogenic food environment, so you’ll need a strong social support network to endure very low-calorie days over the long haul.”

– A good thing to keep in mind when I transition to 16:8 and then to alternative day fasting!

Week 5 in review:

Week 5 – Pretty balanced week, all in all. Yellow boxes indicate where a plan changed and the components of the day were readjusted.

Second week of 14:10 and again, it went really well! Having only changed my “start eating” time, it doesn’t feel like a huge bother. I have been keeping distracted in the mornings by journaling or working on various projects and job applications. Plus, being able to drink coffee during fasting periods really makes mornings easier.

  • Challenges:
    • Networking/socializing on Wednesday kept me out later than expected but I was still able to squeeze in dinner by 9:30pm at home
    • Sugar cravings (likely stress related)
    • Last minute wine-tasting invitation lead to eating nothing that was planned, or technically very healthy, on Sunday
Sunday was spontaneously delicious
  • Successes:
    • Stuck to meal plan during week
    • Adjusted to shifting schedule accordingly 
      • Tuesdays meeting was rescheduled to Thursday
    • Abstained from eating when hungry on Saturday morning after spin class until the designated 2pm time
      • Had a date coming up that night at 8pm, so wanted to give extra evening time for calories

Week 6 planning:

Hungry Harvest came with my favorite veggies this week, and though I canceled the eggs from my order I bought a dozen farm fresh eggs while out on Sunday. So I again have a plethora of eggs in the fridge. From the freezer I pulled some beef and hash browns to use this week, leaving a shopping list of only smoothie stuff, bread and avocados.

I canceled the eggs and changed the peas + potatoes to broccoli + avocado

I’m not cooking anything from recipes this week, but I am dying to try this carrot cake baked oatmeal soon! Also still need to make porridge or something to use up a stash of spelt berries, rye berries and farrow berries. This week I’ll be using the beef, some veggies, and Prego tomato sauce to make a meat sauce which will go with the spaghetti squash (predicting 2-3 meals from this). When I run out of hash browns (predicting 3 servings), I have other potatoes as well as bread to eat with eggs and avocados.

I may need to start actually planning some for weekends

So this week is planned more tentatively (or “less planned”). Feeling somewhat stressed, I know that my appetite will probably be less than normal. Monday was thrown off by having to deal with personal stuff related to a house guest who wore out their welcome. As I spent the better half of the day on a coffee-fueled cleaning spree, I had to skip weightlifting and forgot to eat until almost 3pm. Per usual though, I plan on eating most meals at home, and have plugged in the reoccurring Monday evening pizza treat that seems to be turning into a weekly tradition.

Looking Forward- 

Next week (week 7) will begin 16:8 fasting, and just from a social perspective I’m already nervous about weekends! In the near future, I’ll be writing about some of my grocery preferences and digging into ingredients and nutrition labels.

Other upcoming not-related-to-my-diet-experiment topics will be include and overview of various meal delivery services and my opinions about them, a discussion about My Fitness Pal as well as calories from alcoholic beverages, and an in-depth look at the spreadsheet I use personally (which has more than just meal planning on it).

This month I have a handful of friends doing Whole 30 so I will be gathering thoughts and resources from them as the month goes on.

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