It’s been four weeks since I started my 16:8 intermittent fasting journey, and I can say that although during the past two weeks I did a poor job keeping within the restrictive time parameters, I will call it a success.
And I still don’t know why I choose pet pictures for the headline…but c’mon, who can blame me?
Let me clarify: I have found myself busier than usual the past two weeks, which was a hugely different situation from the first two (and a reason why I skipped a Week 3 update). I was on calls or in meetings throughout the day and I could not maintain the structured meal schedule I had made for myself. Although, in retrospect I probably could have done a better job with meal planning, but because I work from home I didn’t anticipate that being a problem. Schedules shifted and there were a few days that I worked straight through what was supposed to be my lunch hour. But what was interesting - and rather unexpected - is that I wasn’t necessarily hungry, or at least overly hungry. I really have no idea why, outside of possibly having a more balanced diet? I don't pretend to be a nutritionist, so I'm just going to accept it.
And when I found myself in the kitchen fixing my lunch well after 2pm, knowing that I was going to have to eat dinner in less than 4 hours, I would sometimes let myself off the hook with the 6pm dinner deadline. There was no guilt, just a mental note to try and watch it better the next day.
So you may be asking...although I technically “failed” to maintain a strict 16:8 fasting schedule, why do I consider my trial a success?
For me, it's easy: because my mindset on eating has changed for the better, if even a little bit. I now look at it, at least during the week, as simply a scheduled task to properly fuel my temple. When I was grocery shopping, knowing that I only had a set amount of hours in which to keep myself nourished, I paid closer attention to what I bought. When I ate, no matter what time, I again paid more attention to make sure I had a nutritionally-balanced and healthy day. And I changed some habits:
No soda (but I will allow myself to drink it when I do go out to eat, should I so desire it)
SMOOTHIES are the bomb. Vanilla protein powder, oat milk, fruit, turmeric additive…which reminds me, I need to pick up pumpkin puree this week. And those savory ones…I eat them like a bowl of soup, and now that the weather is cooling off around here…yummy!
Vegetarian meals (which, of course, ensures that I get enough fruits and veggies, right?). I do know that's a personal choice based on something outside of the fasting plan, but it is what I choose.
Buy and eat what is best for me (which was still easy for my picky-eater palate!)
My month-long commitment is now over, and although I will no longer restrict myself to the clock, I will still not eat too late to allow my digestive system to function better (and I feel so much better, too!). I will still purchase and eat what is best for me, and maintain a balanced menu (I use 'menu' because despise the “d” word in any form, for any reason).
In conclusion, if you’re wondering if trying a 16:8 or other intermittent fasting program, with, of course, my recommendation of “check with your doctor first for your personal situation,” I say go for it. I believe the least it will do is force you to pay closer attention to WHAT you are eating, even if the WHEN is difficult to maintain.
For me, it changed my habits. It changed my choices. At least, for the most part. Ignore those two donuts I ate yesterday for breakfast. It’s all about balance and enjoying life, right?