Intermittent Fasting | How I Do It
I’ve been doing my own version of intermittent fasting for quite some time now (I would guess it’s been 1 1/2 years, maybe longer) and I feel like it’s a good time to share my diet approach with you here on the blog. I don’t believe intermittent fasting is for everyone, but this way that I do it just works so well for me.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting is a term describing various versions of eating patterns where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting.
There are so many variations of this concept. The most common ones are the 16:8 and 5:2. If you’re following the 16:8 version you fast for 16 hours and have an 8 hour “feeding window” and if you follow the 5:2 version you eat normally 5 out of the 7 days of the week, and the remaining 2 days you fast (or just consume less than 500 calories.)
There are different opinions on whether you’re allowed to drink black coffee and take supplements (i.e. BCAAs) during the fasting period, some protocols encourage it and others consider taking in anything but water as breaking the fast.
There are multiple physiological benefits to fasting. Insulin levels drop and human growth hormone increases during fasting. This means increased insulin sensitivity, increased fat burning and muscle gain during the fasting period.
Bottom line: Intermittent fasing can help you lose weight by eating fewer calories, boost metabolism slightly, reduce insulin resistance and lower blood sugar levels (at least in men, maybe not in women (source)) and reduce inflammation in the body.
My Experience with Intermittent Fasting
I used to do the 16:8 back in 2013 – I even wrote a (Danish) blog post about it – but being very strict with the 16 hrs fast and an 8-hour feeding window didn’t work for me. I tried fasting from 8 PM until 12 Pm, but had issues with strong hunger and dizzyness, especially in the final 2 hours of the fast.
And for me personally, 5:2 is just way too extreme. I mean, it’s a fun thing to try, I like a challenge and I have tried it. But as an actual lifestyle, forever? That’s just not for me. I need my daily food schedule to be predictable and something to look forward to every day ;)
It seems the benefits of fasting can be achieved with shorter, dailiy fasting periods so I’d much rather choose that option.
After a lot of trial and error and after eating intuitively (no diet or restrictions for over 1 year) what I’ve found works for me is a fasting period from around 10 PM until 10 AM. That’s a 12 hour fasting period giving me a 12-hour feeding window. I’m not super strict about this, so if I get home really late I’ll eat a meal before bed, even if it’s after 10 PM. And if your girl is starving at 9 AM in the morning, you better believe I’ll break my fast a bit early.
How I Do It
In general though, I stick to my 12 hours fast + 12-hour “feeding window”. I currently eat around 2500 calories per day and train with weights 6 days per week. I’m 180 cm. and 79 kg. and slowly losing weight.
On a normal day, I start with training my first client sometime between 7:30 am and 9 am. I usually wake up around 6:30 or 7:30 and I always start my day with 0,5 liter of water and a cup of black coffee.
In the morning I’ll be training 1-2 clients until 10 am, when have my breakfast. I almost always eat breakfast in my car. A typical breakfast would be either overnight oats and a protein shake or eggwhite porridge.
After breakfast, I’ll train another client. When I get back in my car, I’ll have a small snack, making sure I get some veggies and a good amount of protein. That’s usually around 11:30 AM but sometimes I skip this one if I’m busy. And sometimes I’ll have my lunch at this time, if I know I can’t fit in lunch later on in the day.
However, I’ll usually have lunch sometime between 12:30-3 PM. Timing is depending on what clients I have and what type of training we do. If I have to teach a yoga class, I don’t eat at least 1 hour before as I can’t work out with a full stomach. When to eat my lunch It’s always a fun puzzle to solve, as I also don’t want to eat a big meal right before I go into the gym to work out.
Usually, I train with weights from 4-6 PM and right after I’ll have another protein shake.
When I get home, I’ll shower and then prepare my dinner. Usually, that’s around 7-8PM. Dinner is the biggest meal of the day, and usually, I combine my planned dinner + my afternoon snack. I just like eating a big dinner, so this works best for me.
Around an hour after dinner, I’ll have my “dessert”: Skyr with a few drops of calorie-free sweetener and a handful of berries. And maybe a square of 85% dark chocolate. This is my faaaaavorite meal of the day. So yummy!
By 10 PM I’m getting ready to go to bed, and I’m usually sleeping around 11 ish.