I Tried Intermittent Fasting for Two Weeks

It’s pretty fair to assume that 2020 affected plenty of people negatively in regard to health. When you’re stuck at home 24/7 with nothing to do but finish schoolwork, watch TV, and eat, it can be hard to focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This struggle doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone; some people have actually improved their physical health throughout quarantine. However, it’s obvious with the weight loss products and programs trending these days that there is still a large issue with staying healthy during these hard times.

 

Personally, I’ve been struggling with finding a solid routine to keep my diet and activity balanced. I was used to being distracted by school, sports, and social events, which kept my diet from being too crazy and my activity level high. Once quarantine hit, it was apparent that I needed to find a solid routine to keep myself in check. Question was: what would that routine be? I tried a normal calorie deficit, but it drove me to binge eating. I also tried listening to my body without calorie-counting, but my brain had already been trained to crave unhealthy snacks throughout quarantine. When I was about to give up recently, I decided to put something that I dwelled on for months to the test: intermittent fasting.

 

For those who don’t know, intermittent fasting is essentially an eating schedule where your body switches between fasting and eating at designated times. Some research has shown that this plan is a great way to not only manage weight, but also prevent and reverse some diseases (hopkinsmedicine.org). There are different hours that people choose to eat. For example, the most popular method of intermittent fasting is the 16:8 method, which consists of 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. This would mean that from a time like 11:00am to 7:00pm, eating would occur. Then, from 7:00pm all the way back to 11:00am, a fasting period would occur where the only thing you would be able to consume was water, black coffee without any additives, or tea without any additives. Other popular methods include the 5:2 method, which consists of eating low calorie 2 times a week, the “Eat-Stop-Eat” method, which consists of fasting for 24 hours 2 times a week, and the Alternate-Day Fasting method, which is self-explanatory.

 

So, which intermittent fasting method did I choose to work with for the past two weeks? After researching the details of each method, I decided to stick with the very popular 16:8 method because of its simplicity. I then chose my eating hours of 12:30pm to 8:30pm because they fit into my quarantine schedule a bit better than the popular 12:00pm to 8:00pm schedule. Finally, it was time to start my next two weeks of a time-strict eating plan. 

 

To really test the effects of intermittent fasting, I decided to keep my activity at a minimum. This just means that I did light activity like taking walks and doing daily chores throughout the past two weeks. After completing the first couple days, I was surprised at how easy it was to stay under a calorie deficit and stay full throughout the entire fasting period. This was most likely due to the newfound motivation I had when starting this challenge. It was around the end of the first week when I noticed that the calories that I ate each day began to rise, and it was harder for me to feel satisfied for the entire fasting period. However, I was determined to get through these two weeks, and I continued to fight temptation all the way up until the end of the second week. The morning of Thanksgiving was officially the end of my final fasting period, and after weighing myself before and after this process, I lost 9.6 pounds!

 

What have I learned throughout these last two weeks? Well, for the small amount of time that I have been trying this eating schedule, I have been able to pick out the pros and cons of attempting intermittent fasting.

 

Pros:

  • Improved focus
  • Improved digestion 
  • Fast weight loss
  • Stabilized eating patterns

 

Cons:

  • Strict time schedule
  • Somewhat difficult to get used to
  • Lack of nutritional guidelines 
  • Increased moodiness

 

Overall, I was very pleased with the experience that I had the past two weeks. I felt more confident than I have felt throughout the past few months of quarantine, and I was able to eat what I wanted as long as I was in a calorie deficit. The new schedule was not easy to get used to, but with enough motivation and self-discipline, I think most people could adapt to their preferred intermittent fasting method. Remember, before you make a change to your diet, talk to your doctor and do research. I plan to continue with intermittent fasting, and I hope to see more benefits in the future.