People often ask me what it’s like to first begin intermittent fasting. While I can definitely tell you what intermittent fasting feels like in general, the initial transition is a different story. I’ve been doing IF for so long (4 years now!), that I don’t really remember what it’s like… not to do it. Plus, I was low carb (though not Paleo) before I began IF, and was therefore “fat adapted,” which likely made the transition a smidge easier. I admittedly have little personal concept of what jumping straight into intermittent fasting, while maintaining a Standard American Diet, actually feels like.
So when I read an amazingly detailed testimonial for The What When Wine Diet on Amazon from Chad, I asked if he’d mind me reposting the review here. Thanks Chad! (Chad also had a follow-up question about antibiotics, which I will be addressing in the next Reader Q&A!) Chad discusses his thoughts and results from a month’s worth of intermittent fasting, including the upsides and downsides. So much good info in here!
CHAD’S 7/31/15 WHAT WHEN WINE DIET AMAZON REVIEW
“I have been intermittent fasting for a month now. My goal was to stop eating at 9pm and start at 6pm the next day. I usually make it between 12 and 16 hours but sometimes get to the full 6pm mark. I have re-listened to the book a few times now and it keeps me motivated.
What I learned after 30 days
I used to feel completely helpless to food. I would wake up hungry, grab gas station food with a soda, snack on chips until lunch, get fast food, more soda, fast food for dinner, chips and snacks until bed, more soda and then have snacks by my bed in case I woke up hungry. I would feel a panic if I was running late in the morning because I knew I might not be able to eat until lunch time. I would fear getting sick and feeling absolutely miserable. I tried limiting or stopping soda intake dozens of times only to crash and drink a whole 6-pack. I would try to limit carbs, grains, bread and so on and end up crashing and eating a whole pizza.
The first week was hard and I obsessed thinking about food. I wanted soda badly. About 3 days in however I experienced the magical thing all IFers swear happens where you suddenly realize you are not dying a few hours later. I became optimistic and it motivated me a lot. It does happen! I tried straight water fasting previously and always caved by the evening of the 2nd day.
As the days passed it just started feeling natural. I would drink some coffee or tea as I felt hungry and I’d say in the 2nd week I experienced the total loss of hunger (fat adaptation I understand) for most of the day. I now know I can go to 6pm without dying, fainting, feeling sick, passing out from blood sugar crashes, headaches or anything else negative.
I noticed that if I ate around 6pm I started anticipating food then and felt hungry and excited, but once I ate I didn’t feel the urge to keep snacking all night. Now I feel comfortable eating only dinner and being done. I can sleep all night without waking up wanting to snack. No midnight hunger pain!
My entire perception of food has changed. Where I used to feed random impulsive cravings, I now just eat what is for dinner and feel satisfied. I started getting too confident and began eating lunch too. I found that this reset my hunger clock and around noon I felt like I wanted food. Now I know I need to consider this an important part of my daily routine rather than casual eating, even during my window. For me at least.
It is true. You end up seeing food and not caring. You notice it’s lunchtime but don’t feel like eating. You can see a cake in the breakroom and scrunch your nose up. Also, fast food begins tasting absolutely terrible.
My food cravings are gone. This felt impossible before and all weening attempts or cold turkey pledges previously failed. But now I just don’t desire pasta, soda, bread or cake. I lived with my friends during this month because I am buying their house while they are buying their new house. They are big SAD eaters so I decided to do IF and change my diet after I had the house to myself to make it easier. What I found is when presented with bread, soda, pasta and so on – I enjoyed eating it and felt more and more nauseated after, but I didn’t rapturously love it or crave it after. Just sort of ‘meh.’ I did notice that eating bread and pasta made it harder to fast the next day and I tended to eat more of dinner than I really wanted.
I have honestly listened to multiple diet approaches and I have always tried and felt overwhelmed to the point of just giving up. But I honestly feel like I can begin changing *what* I eat now that I know I can choose *when* I eat. Having one meal a day for me has proven that I can survive without any particular kind of food and it makes it so much easier to cut out one thing or another completely. The only real substitution I have made has been sparkling water (Water, Carbination, natural flavors with no sugar) as I found I love the fizzy part of soda and not really the sugary part.
The only real downside is that it’s weird to other people. I work an hour away so I could easily hide by pretending to eat lunch. But they noticed on weekends and became suspicious and very very concerned and started bugging me to eat all the time. I felt intimidated to explain it to them as I knew they would think it was crazy (I hinted about IFing before and they declared it dangerous.)
Weekends are challenging as I am a bored-eater. She is right, staying busy really helps a lot.
For me I now feel confident in my ability to control my food intake. Now I am moving towards changing my diet. With one meal a day (for me) I can now determine what I eat and see how it affects me. I am excited to see how removing processed foods, grains and sugars from my diet with IF will change my experience.
Weight changes? I was weighed at the doctor a week or so before I started and came in at 201 pounds. I now hover between 191-193 right now with 19% body fat. I imagine when I change what I eat and start an exercise program the IF will really make things start happening.
I very much advocate this book because in addition to my original review, it really is a reasonable and effective method of changing your life. Changing how food controls you makes everything change. It really is amazing. I also feel like I am working with firm principles and not just blind faith. I have never had a book change my worldview – but this one really did.”
Thanks again for the review and testimonial Chad. You = Awesome.
Check out Chad’s Blog, http://www.almostpositivetoday.com, and follow him on twitter! @impositivetoday