Intermittent Fasting has been getting lots of attention lately as one of the best ways to either lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. If you are unfamiliar with the term I’m thinking you have either had your head in the sand, probably thanks to COVID (because I think it’s acceptable to blame all things on the “Rona”) or you aren’t one of those folks that reads, dissects and follows the next best thing in the whole world of diet. And that can be a really wonderful, healthy place to be.
Whether you are or not interested in Intermittent Fasting, IF for short, this post is not going to be all about IF. You can google it and read lots of smart and scientific articles that can give you much more in depth and thorough information about this practice. And since I am not a “diet” person I want to say this is more of a way of life or tool to implement rather than some diet. There are countless scientific studies on its benefits so I’m not here to counter those at all.
In fact, before IF became a thing, I was already practicing it, although unintentionally. I have never been a big breakfast person so most mornings found myself going about my morning to get people out the door and then myself off to teach a fitness class, workout myself, get to work or whatever was on the agenda for the day. I would not get home, find the time or make the time to eat until later. This meant I had gone from my evening meal around 7 pm until around 16 hours later when I “broke my fast”. So, when the literature and wellness community began bringing IF to light it wasn’t a hard jump for me to try. And it worked for me and it works for many, many people for a lot of different reasons. One of my best friends loves IF and has found her sweet spot with it. We would chat about this and both loved so many of the benefits.
Until it began to not work for me. I began to not feel good. My energy was hard to sustain. I began feeling nauseous in the mornings and some other things that I will not go into because I don’t think you really want to hear TMI on some subjects. I began to do more research to understand that I wasn’t broken. It wasn’t necessarily me, but sometimes IF (like any other way of life) just stops working. For some, IF in particular, can be counterproductive to those who are sensitive to too much of a calorie deficit. It requires one pay particular attention to eating the right foods, and the proper amounts, during the feeding window. There are also seasons when hormonal changes begin that make it not as productive. And “working harder” isn’t always the right and healthy answer.
All this to say, there are times in life when what used to work simply doesn’t work any more. And it’s not you. Changes in life can come causing you to re-evaluate your normal routine. Say you have a new job or are starting a family – chances are you don’t have the same amount of time to spend at the gym and your own physical fitness as before. There will be times when family obligations, work, illness, stressful times, hormonal changes and for women, pregnancy, pre and post menopause that are seasons of change. With each season you need to stop, take stock, and listen to your body. Pay attention to your body and your life.
It’s not about a perfect diet. There isn’t one. (Remember diets don’t work, don’t last and are something you start and then end) There are millions of folks out there living great healthy lives with different ways of eating – paleo, vegan, pescatarian, IF, Whole30, vegetarian, ketogenic, Mediterranean. . . . and that’s all great.
It’s about a way of life. It’s okay to experiment with what works for you, your body and your lifestyle. Our body and how it works for each of us individually really is one big fat science experiment.
BUT there is one thing I can promise you. With complete certainty. All the ways of life that are healthy have one thing in common as far as the food. They focus on whole foods. Real foods with real nutrients, vitamins, macronutrients, micronutrients. You know those foods . . . the ones that I like to say “have a mama”.
The bottom line is that if something is working for you great. Stick with it and keep on rocking. But if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change. Don’t be afraid to experiment. It may take some trial and error. There will not be a quick fix most likely. If your goal is longevity then that should be okay. Remember that you may have another season and need to make some changes again. However, if you are paying attention you won’t get too derailed. You’ll know how to listen to your body and your life and begin experimenting.
Before I go. . .
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