A week of Intermittent Fasting
Friday September 5, Day 8
I skipped an entry the last few days because it was, well, uneventful. I’ve found the process of intermittent fasting rather addicting, and quite rewarding. Today I broke my longest fast yet – 18.5 hours. I decided to go this long due to simple work schedules…and frankly to see if it was doable. To my surprise, not only was it doable – it was enjoyable.
My last meal finished at 4:15pm yesterday and I didn’t eat again until 10:45 am. When you look at it that way, it really isn’t that long. Just an early dinner and a missed breakfast. And, that’s just it – this intermittent fasting thing has me feeling energized, less food compulsive and at ease. Sure, I get a little hungry – but never for too long.
However, I did learn a very important lesson this week and will take action to correct it. I had a few really rough days this week, energy-wise. I don’t feel like I can blame it entirely on the fasting, not exactly.
In traditional IF (intermittent fasting) protocols, the workout is called for just before you break fast. You have the largest meal filled with high quality foods right after. This week, I denied myself recovery foods after a hard workout – as the workout fell at the end of the day, after I’d already cut off meals. I was sore and tired and felt like I was dragging for two days afterwards. Post-workout recovery is so essential – replenishing glycogen stores and protein for healing helps you bounce back sooner. As Chris Carmichael notes in his book Food and Fitness, if you don’t have post-workout nutrition – you will eventually recover, but not quickly.
This is one of the reasons I pushed a long fast yesterday and stretched out Friday’s feeding period to 7pm. I taught a barbell strength class which didn’t finish until 6:15 pm and needed a post-workout meal. Granted, I used lighter weights than usual due to an upcoming race on Sunday – but because of the race, I didn’t want to test failure nutrition-wise. It means I’ll have a longer morning without food, but I’ll be busy and distracted.
Saturday, Day 9, September 6, 2014
I woke this morning without soreness and feeling pretty energetic. I’m fasting until 9:15am, a truncated one at 14 hours, and then shortening the feeding window to 6 hours so that I can overnight fast but still have breakfast at 5 am before the race – the Harvest Moon 70.3 triathlon. The fast will again be just 14 hours, but I think a lack of real breakfast prior to the run on Monday was one of the problems I encountered and part of the reason I felt poorly.
In general, though, I’m enamored with intermittent fasting. It’s caused minimal disruption, relieved a lot of stress and has me feeling lighter. I’ll have a one-week weigh-in on Tuesday, which may be the real test, but so far, no complaints.