About a month ago, I had real come to Jesus moment with myself about my weight. After months of eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, I had gained more weight than I was comfortable with. I even remember seeing my stomach sitting on the top of thighs one day when I sat down. Disgusted and fed up I literally said out loud “OH HECK TO THE NAW!!.... NO MA’AM!.... THAT IS NOT HOT!” to myself. LOL... At that moment, I knew it was time I finally took complete control of my weight loss. I knew I had to get it under control and get it under control quickly. After all that good eating I did during the holiday season and for a couple of months afterwards I gained about 10 pounds. I was not happy.
I’ve always been a good size and had a really nice shape because I grew up dancing and cheerleading. I was always fit without having to work hard at it - even able to eat whatever I wanted. There were times in college when I would literally eat a steak and cheese sub with a side of fries, wash it down with a Sprite at 2 AM, go right to sleep and wake up with four pack abs still intact. So as you can imagine, I was not too happy about my 10 pound weight gain at all.
Mind you, when I gained the ten pounds, I had been working out consistently and my workouts aren’t for the faint at heart. Often times women ask if they can workout with me because I do pretty intense workouts. For months, I did a really intense 50 minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) class (similar to Crossfit) three days a week and did an intense 60 minute vinyasa flow yoga class on Thursdays and didn’t see any difference when I stepped on the scale. I even switched up my workout routine and started lifting heavier weights with less repetitions after researching how to gain more muscle to burn more fat. I still didn’t see any change in my weight or in the way my clothes fit. I usually don’t weigh myself very often because I weigh a lot more than I look like I weigh. My legs are really muscular and as you know, muscle weighs more than fat. Typically, I use the way my clothes fit as a guide to how much weight I have lost if any at all. That has always been the most accurate method in my opinion. Especially since we all lose inches before we lose weight. Anywho, after realizing that my workouts weren’t the problem, I finally realized it was my eating habits and the amount of calories I consumed each day. That’s when an idea popped into my head. I remembered my aunt recently lost about 40 pounds in about a two month span because of this new eating schedule she was on called intermittent fasting. I also knew that my eating habits were my problem and I had to make some changes right away. I had to kick my late night eating habit and my weakness for desserts once and for all.
What is intermittent fasting you ask? It is when you allot yourself a certain number of hours to eat each day. And no matter how hungry you are, you do not eat outside of the hours you have committed to eating within. For example, I eat between the hours of 10:30 am and 6:30 pm because that eating schedule is most convenient with my 8 am - 5 pm work shift.
Although I arrive at work at 8 am, I wait until 10:30 am to eat breakfast. Initially, I thought I would be starving and grumpy before my first meal, but it has been so much easier than I thought. I never allowed myself to feel hungry in the past, so in doing this intermittent fast, I am showing my body and my cravings who is boss! And I am exercising self control in an area where I lost control for a few months.
I usually workout at noon and eat my lunch between 2 pm and 3 pm. I don’t eat anything else except for an apple on my way home from work. When I get home I make sure that I eat dinner before 6:30 pm. I don’t eat anything else until 10:30 am the following day. That way I’m giving myself enough time to digest my food properly.
Now I know some of you were thinking that we will not be able to go 12 hours without eating, but you would be surprised. Trust me, I was one of those people who swore by eating mini meals every two to three hours throughout the day. For example, I would arrive at work at 8 am, and would be eating breakfast by 8:30 am. I would then eat a snack by 11:00 am go workout at noon and then have my lunch as soon as I came back from the gym at about 1:30 pm. I would then have an afternoon snack at about 3 PM and an apple on my drive home from work. I would eat dinner at around 6 pm and have some cereal or some type of snack right at bedtime at about 9 pm. Although I wasn’t eating super fatty foods I was still taking in way too many calories. Now that I only eat within a certain time frame, I am consuming a lot less calories each day. In fact, it has only been a month and I’ve already lost 12 pounds! *insert a praise* Trust me when I say, if I would’ve realized I could’ve lost this weight a few years ago then I would have certainly started intermittent fasting sooner.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting allows you to give your body the opportunity to completely digest your food before you eat anything else. As a result, you will quickly see a change in your stomach. In fact, within the first couple of days that I began intermittent fasting, I saw a noticeable change in my stomach. It was flatter and I was no longer bloated. In fact, I wasn’t even bloated when it was my time of the month.
Intermittent fasting also dramatically decreases your risk of developing major diseases such as diabetes and different types of cancer.
I also noticed that although I don’t eat breakfast as I early as I have in the past, I feel a lot more energized and alert in the mornings before I have breakfast.
The key to intermittent fasting
Consistency… consistency… consistency! If you want to see max results, you have to be consistent and stick with the commitment you have made. If you are inconsistent, you may not see any results at all. When I want to eat just for the sake of eating and I’m outside my eating “window,” I think about how great I look and feel and remind myself that I should wait until my allotted breakfast time to eat again. Where you tell yourself that you were just limiting yourself to eating within a certain amount of hours per day rather than completely depriving yourself of certain foods, in my opinion, it’s easier to stick with intermittent fasting.
There are days when we have a lot going on or I may be out past dinner time and don’t want to stop and purchase food so I have to get creative. Twice a week I stay after work late to do a Zumba class that ends at 6:30 pm. On those days, I bring a peanut butter sandwich and an apple and eat that for dinner on my ride home. Most likely, I will finish eating a little before 7 pm so I will just wait until 11 am the next morning to start eating. If you have to eat a little later than normal, just wait longer to have your first meal the following day.
Another major factor in successfully sticking with intermittent fasting is your mindset. Instead of thinking of it as a fast, consider it an eating schedule. As soon as someone hears me say the word “fast”, they assume that I am fasting for religious reasons or that I am not eating food at all. They automatically think I’m depriving myself of foods. If you look at it like a eating schedule rather than a fast, I personally believe that you’ll be more successful at this new way of eating.
One of the great things about intermittent fasting is that you don’t necessarily have to cut out certain foods that you may enjoy. Like I said before, because you were eating with an eight hour window, you are way more likely to eat less calories in a day. And that is half the battle.
How to Maximize Your Intermittent Fast
I personally have decided to cut out fatty and sugary foods. I am certain this is another huge reason why I lost weight so quickly. My clothes are literally hanging off of me and I no longer have to jump up and down to get into my skinny jeans so I am pumped! Do you hear me?! However, it’s totally up to you and what you are comfortable with doing.
Some of you may be thinking, so I have to deprive myself of the foods I enjoy AND I will be limiting myself to eating during an 8 hour window each day? I know it sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t as difficult as you may think. You have to give it a try to see if it works for you and your lifestyle. Maybe you can even start off small - by eating whatever you like within a eight hour timeframe only when you are hungry and see how that works for you. If you find you’re not losing a lot of weight, then you’ll know that you need to cut back on your sugary foods fatty food intake.
I am a strong advocate for eating healthy being as though my mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer literally on the one year death anniversary of my best friend who lost her battle to breast cancer just last year at the young age of 35 years old. So again, I think that you should try to eat as healthy as you possibly can; however, I know and understand it might be challenging to just go cold turkey and become a clean eater. I also understand that it may take some time for you to find healthier foods that you actually enjoy. Trust me when I say that not all healthy food tastes bad. You have to find recipes that are good for you and also taste good. My go to for finding amazing healthy recipes is Pinterest. I have found so many delicious healthy low-fat meals that are super easy to make there. Feel free to follow me at Perfected Peace on Pinterest! I share a lot of really healthy and delicious meals that I have enjoyed making and eating over the past several months.
For those of you who want to really maximize your weight loss while intermittent fasting, make sure that you exercise at least 4 to 5 times per week and incorporate as much cardio as you can. In doing research, and from personal experience, I have found that doing at least three hours of cardio per week paired with at least an hour and a half of weight training per week will result in a great amount of weight loss. You will also be more toned and look a lot more fit and lean.
The Bottom Line
Intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight quickly. To ensure you lose as much weight as possible, remain consistent and only eat during the allotted eating window that you designate for yourself based on your personal schedule. To achieve max weight loss results, eat as healthy as you can and workout 4 - 5 times a week. Try to incorporate at least 3 hours of cardio into your workout schedule each week if you can.
Are you up for the challenge???