Well-being: My tryst with Intermittent Fasting

Mood swings, irritability, hunger pangs, feeling low in general, if you are someone who associates intermittent fasting to all of these, you are not alone! A few weeks back I would have totally agreed with you, as our feelings would have been mutual regarding this. Not anymore though. The lockdown and self-quarantine pushed all of us home and what may become one of the most historical events of the human race, has certainly changed a lot of perspectives for us. I used to hate intermittent fasting. Never got the hang of the idea. Having tried and failed a few times in the fast, I obviously never believed in it. The failure also was not in terms of goals earlier, I had seen fat loss when I tried it before, but the constant mood swings, perpetual irritation, and constant low bp made me question the need for it. I had almost sworn to never try this again because it kind of messed with my body clock.
Once this lockdown started, I read a friend's post about how she has been following intermittent fasting and how it is helping her. I thought to give it a try again since there was nothing better to do. And thus began phase two of my intermittent fasting. Here are a few points about how it was different for me for the second time I tried it and how it has helped me.

  • I am sure we all agree everyone's bodies are different, so the way they work is different as well. I was sure this time that I will not try to incorporate the same style as anybody else, rather I would try a few days and find out what works for my body. I planned to begin with 12 hours and build on those. 
  • Earlier during intermittent fasting, my biggest problem was Hanger-state when I used to get angry because I was hungry. Since I had a small goal of 12 hours to go without food in my mind, I was not so concerned about feeling super hungry. It worked well with my mind to set a smaller target and the first day itself I went easily for 15 hours!
  • I slotted my fasting hours during the time I would have expected myself to be the busiest. Morning is the busiest time of the day for me. Though I absolutely love having breakfast, I decided to give up on that. My work keeps me super busy till 11am, and moderately busy till 1 pm, so it was easy.
  • I started working out in the morning. generally, I have this tendency to not eat an hour before or after the workout, because I do not feel like eating at that time. It helped me even better to manage my hunger.
  • Coming to the timing of my fast. I was aiming at 14-16 hours of fast from the second day itself. Usually, I am done with my dinner by 8 or 9 pm, which meant I need to last my fast till 12 pm or 1 pm. Keeping all the situations in my mind, I decided that would be the best time to fast. I haven't felt ridiculously hungry till now.
  • It is working out well for me. I feel almost no bloating in my body. I am eating almost anything which I want, though since I genuinely like to eat clean, I am focusing more on that kind of food. Also, I am ensuring that I am eating a balanced nutritious meal to compensate for the loss of nutrition I might have faced otherwise.
  • Hydration is important always, and intermittent fasting is no exception. I keep myself hydrated by drinking 2 liters of water during the fasting phase. I also enjoy a cup or two of green tea or peppermint tea. If I feel weak then I have a juice or buttermilk, but that is rare.
  • All of the above factors combined, I am really glad that I took up intermittent fasting during this lockdown phase, as I do not have to travel to the office, making it very comfortable for me to not eat till lunchtime. So if any of you are planning to start it, this is the right time!
  • So far, so good. It is more than three weeks now. I feel so less bloated, more energized, have a night of better sleep, my eating pattern has improved. I do not stress eat throughout the day now. I do not feel constant hunger also. The reason is obvious, that the time when we feel most vulnerable to binge eat is during the evening snack time and since I start eating at around 1 pm, I am pretty full when evening comes.

All of that being said, we all know that in order to maintain weight or lose weight we need to play around with our calorie intake. Now whether you do a restricted diet, selective diet or fasting, the choice is yours. I would also like to say that I am not recommending this to you, I am not in a position to do so since I am not qualified enough. I am just sharing what is working for me. It is up to you to try and see what works best for you. Also if you have any medical conditions, kindly consult your doctor first. Happy fasting!

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