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What Is Intermittent Fasting Like?

I Tried Intermittent Fasting For a Week, and Here's Exactly What I Ate (and How I Felt)


Let it be known that I really hate dieting. I am just not a happy person when I have to restrict myself from certain foods. A few years ago, I tried going vegan for a couple of months and don't remember feeling much different — just hangry a lot. Then after that I went two years (yes, two years) with barely having any added sugars — no cupcakes, no chocolate, no donuts. I wasn't a happy camper.

However, when I recently learned more about intermittent fasting, I became intrigued. A diet that wasn't necessarily about what you eat, but instead when you eat it? Count me in!

Intermittent fasting, in simpler terms, is the alternating between fasting and eating. The most common intermittent fasting schedule is known as 16:8, which means you fast for 16 hours of the day and eat within an eight-hour window. Although 16 hours may seem like a long time, many of these hours can coincide with your sleep schedule — meaning that it is usually just a matter of waiting to eat breakfast a bit later and having your last meal of the day a bit earlier. So for example, if you have breakfast at 10 a.m., then your last meal should be by 6 p.m. If your first meal is at noon, then your last should be before 8 p.m.

You also are allowed to drink water and other fluids during the fasting period. Many people enjoy intermittent fasting because, according to studies, it is said to help with everything from weight loss to improved overall health. It is also fairly easy to do and doesn't come with that same restricting feeling some other diets may have (I am looking at you, no-sugar diet!). For one week I decided to try out intermittent fasting. Here is what I ate and how I felt along the way:

Monday

Today was my first day working at my new co-working space and also my first day of intermittent fasting. I strangely wasn't too affected when 8 a.m. rolled around and I still hadn't had my breakfast. I think the excitement of going to my new space was overshadowing any hunger I may have been feeling.

  • Breakfast, 10:30 a.m.: One piece of toast with avocado, 1/2 cup of oatmeal with honey and cinnamon, and 1/4 of a grapefruit
  • Lunch, 2 p.m.: Grilled chicken salad with goat cheese, rice, onion, and beets from Sweetgreen and a peach
  • Dinner, 5 p.m.: I am not used to having my lunch and dinner so close together, but I decided if I didn't eat now, I would run out of eligible eating time for today. I made a veggie burger with a Greek salad.
  • Snack, 5:45 p.m.: I had Hippeas — organic chickpea puffs that taste amazing. I had the fajita flavour and was tempted to finish the whole bag, but thankfully my will power won.

When 10 p.m. rolled around, I started getting antsy. Usually around this time I would have another snack, but I told myself that I shouldn't. I ended up doing a POPSUGAR workout, and by the time I was done, I felt accomplished and not hungry anymore. I took a shower and went to bed.

Tuesday

  • Breakfast, 10 a.m.: Half of a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and banana, 1/2 cup of oatmeal with honey and cinnamon, and 1/4 of a grapefruit
  • Lunch, 3:00 p.m.: Grilled chicken salad with kale, beets, chickpeas, onions, and goat cheese from Sweetgreen and a peach
  • Dinner, 5:45 p.m.: My stomach was confused as to why I was having dinner so early, but I still made grilled salmon over rice with peppers and squash. I ate a mini Blue Bunny ice cream cone shortly after (it has only two grams of sugar — I am sensitive to sugar and I can't believe this exists), so I included this as dinner. I know, I should have waited a bit to have it, but I was running out of eating time, people!
  • Snack: I wanted so badly to have more Hippeas, but I knew that I had reached my time limit to eat for the day, so I YouTubed cat videos instead to take my mind off of food.

Wednesday

I woke up super hungry — hangry, even. I don't know if it was because I had an early dinner or because I used up all of my energy the day earlier at the Reformation sample sale, but I felt incredibly hungry. I took my mind off of food by answering some emails. However, I did notice that I wasn't bloated at all and I felt less sluggish overall. I had a moment of feeling accomplished and proud of myself that I was able to fast.

  • Breakfast, 11 a.m.: Two pieces of toast (living on the edge today) with peanut butter and banana, 1/2 cup of oatmeal with honey and cinnamon, 1/4 of a grapefruit, and a few strawberries. I forgot to mention I am the Steve Jobs of breakfasts — I typically eat a variation of the same thing everyday.
  • Lunch, 2 p.m.: Lentils and rice with tabbouleh and hummus
  • Snack, 3 p.m.: I have a peach along with a few chocolate chips, and barbecue Hippeas — basically a combination of all of my favourite things.
  • Dinner, 6:15 p.m.: Grilled chicken over rice with peppers and squash

At 9 p.m., I fed my two cats their nightly serving of their meal kit delivery, NomNomNow, and the food smelled so good that it tempted me to open my fridge and heat up leftovers. But I stayed strong and instead read a book.

Thursday

I sometimes wake up in the morning feeling bloated and full, but today I noticed that I felt good and wasn't even that hungry. I think I was getting used to my new eating routine.

  • Breakfast, 10 a.m.: One piece of toast with peanut butter, 1/2 cup of oatmeal with honey and cinnamon, and 1/4 of a grapefruit
  • Lunch, 2 p.m.: Salad from Sweetgreen (again, surprise!), two Milano cookies, and a peach
  • Dinner, 6 p.m.: Veggie burger and a cup of quinoa with mango and roasted red peppers from Kitchen and Love — so good!

Towards later in the evening I distracted myself from thinking about the Hippeas in the cabinet by doing another POPSUGAR workout.

Friday

  • Breakfast, 10 a.m.: One piece of toast with peanut butter, 1/2 cup of oatmeal with honey and cinnamon, and 1/4 of a grapefruit
  • Lunch, 2 p.m.: Grilled chicken with avocado wrap, a peach, and about half a bag of Hippeas (because I am actually obsessed)
  • Dinner, 5:45 p.m.: My boyfriend forgot that I am in the midst of my intermittent fasting week and wanted to go out to dinner later in the evening. We instead walked to the local Mexican restaurant to get tacos.

Saturday

  • Breakfast 11:30 a.m.: It felt a little less strange for me to eat breakfast at 11:30 a.m. on a Saturday. I made my usual of one piece of toast with peanut butter and banana, 1/2 cup of oatmeal with honey and cinnamon, and 1/4 of a grapefruit.
  • Lunch, 2 p.m.: I went to the local farmer's market to drop off my compost and picked up some kale, radishes, tomatoes, dill, onions, and bread. I ended up making veggie burgers with a kale Greek salad for lunch.
  • Dinner, 6:30 p.m.: Roasted chicken, roasted squash, macaroni and cheese, herbed quinoa, and rice from Dig Inn. It was so good but made me feel super full. Ever since I started intermittent fasting I have noticed I get full faster. I usually cook most meals, so I had no idea why I am eating out so much this week.

Sunday

It was a beautiful day for a walk, so I ended up walking over eight miles around different neighbourhoods, stopping for little bites to eat along the way. I don't know if it was because of the great weather or the fact I have gotten my eating in check, but I was in a really great mood.

  • Breakfast, 10:30 a.m.: 1 piece of toast with peanut butter and banana, 1/4 cup of oatmeal with honey and cinnamon, and 1/4 of a grapefruit
  • Lunch, 12:30 p.m.: A few bites of my boyfriend's pastrami sandwich from a popular deli. We had a late breakfast and it was still early in the afternoon so I wasn't really hungry. I ended up getting roasted tomato and chickpea salad and quinoa with manouri cheese a few hours later (so good!)
  • Snack, 1:30 p.m.: A few bites of my boyfriend's chocolate chocolate chunk ice cream, and a KIND protein bar. KIND now also makes protein bars and they taste great and keep you full for a long time!
  • Dinner, 5:30 p.m.: Roasted tomato and chickpea salad and quinoa with manouri cheese leftovers with grilled chicken

Overall, I noticed that intermittent fasting helped me with bloating and that general "full" feeling I would either wake up or go to bed with. I am not sure if it is related, but I noticed that my sleep was improved during the week as well. The funny thing about intermittent fasting, for me, was that it caused me to become much more aware of the food I put into my body. Even though intermittent fasting is focused more on when you eat something as opposed to what that something is, it made me want to choose healthier options and caused me to keep snacking to a minimum since there was less time to do so.

However, I can see intermittent fasting being a little tricky for those days your friends want to meet you for a late dinner, or those workdays when you are just so busy that time gets away from you and your not able to stick to your eating schedule. All in all, I think this might be something I periodically do!

Image Source: Brittany Natale
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