Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Experience with Intermittent Fasting

For the past 5 months I did self experimentation with the concept of Intermittent Fasting.  Basically Interment Fasting (IF) is a way of eating that hopes to reset a few hormones in your body, most notably Insulin.  

The easiest way to accomplish this is to go 16 hours between meals.  For example I would stop eating on Monday nights at 10 and not eat again till Tuesday at 2.  This was a 16 hour window.  Initially I found this pretty hard, but with in a week I found it easy.  I found myself actually looking  forward to these days as it took the thought out of scheduling meals.  

I did this on 2x a week.  Every Tuesday and Thursday.  What I realized is that sometimes being hungry is not a real indicator in today's world that you are.  The hormones Ghrenlin and Leptin need to be reset.    Ghrenlin is the guy that tells your system to eat.  It's probably unreliable as you've been taught to eat 3-4x a day with light snacks in between.

During my experiment with IF I found it to be enjoyable.  I think it does a good job of letting you become more sensitive to Insulin.  I didn't lose any strength during the 5 months and did lose a little bodyfat.  I raced 2 mountain bike races and didn't feel I was hindered on this.  On one of the days I did lift weights and didn't feel a drop in Max Effort strength.  

I took a break from IF recently, for the simple fact that I developed bad habits while on it.  It was very easy to feel justified in eating anything you wanted after fasting for 16 hours.  Hello, Pain de Chocolate croissant.  Without the bad habits, I think IF is great to experiment with.  I'm reigning in my bad habits and creating more of a planned eating recipe/meals.  

There is a lot of research out there with IF, lots of experts.  A simple google search will give you plenty of information.  My suggestion, just try it for a month.  Have a plan of action for meals post fast so that you don't fall into the lazy/deserve this mentality that I did.  Teach your body what true hunger actually is.  


Dave Brelinski said...

Do you have an opinion on when to consume the first meal, post-fast, in regards to that days workout? More specifically should the meal be consumed before or after the workout?

sifter said...

My understanding is that frequent fasting, as in IF, can cause an increase in gallstones or some kind of bile buildup. I believe I read that on Conditioning Research within the past few months or so.