Although it sounds like nothing more than a trendy diet fad, intermittent fasting (IF) has actually become one of the cornerstones of my wellness and fitness routine. I started the 16:8 fasting regimen a few months before my wedding in an attempt to reset my body and get rid of bloating. But after spending a month doing IF, I was positively hooked. I had never felt better in my life, so I decided to keep going.
It's been about seven months since I committed to IF, and even though I only fast five days a week rather than seven, I've seen tremendous changes in my body. The first things I noticed were more energy at the gym and throughout my day, way less bloating (in fact, for many weeks I had none at all), improved digestion, and a flatter tummy.
After two months of regular fasting, I noticed yet another significant benefit that I never expected to show up: my sugar cravings were decreasing day by day. Because I reduced my eating window on weekdays, I didn't have the time to reach for sugary snacks. Knowing that I only had eight hours to nourish my body each day meant I had to be smart and conscious about my choices, which meant I naturally reached for fewer packaged foods and sugary treats. Additionally, during my fasting window, when I normally would have put a sweetener into my tea, like maple syrup or honey, I decided not to because I would have technically broken my fast.
And we all know what happens when you eat less and less sugar — your body just craves it less and less. I didn't even make a pact with myself to give up sugar or anything like that, but IF inherently encouraged me to eat with more intention, and from there I naturally formed better habits with what I was eating, when I was snacking, etc.
As I consumed fewer products that had sugar in them — cookies, packaged granola, and protein bars — I inadvertently started eating fewer calories, which contributed to weight loss. I'm now down a dress size, and my new pants are even starting to feel a little loose these days. But it's not the weight loss that has me psyched. I just feel so much better when I eat less sugar, so I don't see myself giving up IF anytime soon, especially because I never feel deprived of healthy treats. Because I don't do IF on the weekends, I have a little more freedom to indulge by baking myself healthy desserts if I feel like it, rather than bringing home store-bought, preservative-packed ice cream.