Intermittent Fasting, my personal experience!
Updated: May 3
I’m in good shape, no need to lose weight, blood samples look OK, in general I feel healthy and…
…I decided to fast or better to do intermittent fasting (IF).
3 meals a day 365 days a year. This has been my food routine since I can remember and it felt completely ok, it worked for me. No reason to change!
Also, I always coupled the idea of fasting with the need of losing weight in a sort of extreme and potentially dangerous way but, to be honest, I’ve never really spent any time and effort to read up more and understand better.
Recently I completely changed mind.
I happened to start listening to a few podcasts about longevity, health-span and nutrition and a new set of information opened my mind to new perspectives.
I have always paid attention to WHAT to eat and now I learned how important is WHEN to eat.
Let's start with 2 simple but important questions first: What and Why?
Photo by Evan Dennis on Unsplash
What is Intermitting Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves regular fasting.
There are different types of IF but the most common ones are:
16:8. 16 hours fasting, 8 hours eating
5:2 5 days normal eating , 2 days eating max 500–600 Cal per day.
I’m neither a medical doctor nor a scientist and I’m not gonna go deep into every possible effects of fasting but I will highlight just a few aspects, the ones which sparkled my interest the most.
Autophagy Autophagy can be thought as a sort of garbage collector operating at cellular level. Damaged and dysfunctional parts of the cell (garbage) are recycled by the cell itself (collector) to stay healthy and in “good shape”! Intermittent fasting triggers autophagy!
Insulin resistance Insulin is the hormone which allows cells to absorb glucose (sugar) in the blood stream and insulin resistance occurs when the response to insulin is not effective any more. Insulin resistance determines an increase of sugar level in the blood because glucose doesn’t get completely absorbed and high levels of sugar in the blood increases the risk of diabetes. Intermittent fasting leads to a reduction of the sugar level in the blood and ”fights” insulin resistance and then diabetes.
Alzheimer and Parkinson disease Studies on animals have shown that intermittent fasting may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s or reduce its severity
Lifespan Studies on animals have shown that intermittent fasting increases the lifespan
My Intermittent Fasting Experience
If you want to intermittently fast or just try it out...
My first recommendation would be:
Start with what works best for you!
Depending on the type of fasting you will go for, you may need to change your daily routines and your lifestyle. Even your social life could pay a toll!
That’s why it has been crucial for me to pick the type of fasting which was the easiest to start with and the one with the lowest impact.
I went for a 16:8 fasting format (16 hours fasting, 8 hours eating) because:
I found it easier It is “enough” to skip either dinner or breakfast.
I thought it would have a low impact on my life Even if I have always been a breakfast lover, skipping it didn’t impact my social and family life since I mainly meet friends and family over dinner.
My second recommendation would be:
Don’t go all in from day one!
Once I decided upon my fasting format, I took a step-wise approach.
I started skipping breakfast only once a week just to see how it felt like, then 2/3 days a week and in 3 weeks time I was fasting every day but the weekends (I enjoy weekend breakfast even more).
It took almost a month before I felt “ready” to intermittently fast every day (weekend included). I don’t know if this a good approach or not but it worked for me and made my journey easier since I gradually got used to it.
My third recommendation would be:
Read your body and mind!
If you think you are paying too big of a toll from a physical and/or mental point of view, just pause the fasting.
Talk to your doctor in case you want to give it another try.
Some final Reflections
After almost two months since I started:
I feel great :)
Even though it was not the intention I’ve lost some weight (1,5 Kg) without losing muscle mass
I kept my daily exercise routine along the way with no visible impact in terms of fatigue or strength
I felt more productive and focused in the mornings (while fasting)
BUT I would have loved to have more objective data!
It would have been very interesting to compare blood samples before and after a few weeks of intermittent fasting and to check in real time the level of glucose in the blood stream (using a Continuous Glucose Monitoring).
Each of us is lucky enough to be exposed to many learning opportunities every day. Sometimes we catch them, sometimes not.
I started this blog to slow down, focus, reflect on these learnings and make them available to myself and whoever can be interested.
My previous posts:
What is SWIFT and how does it work?