In July of 2017, I decided to try intermittent fasting. After reading this article, you’ll understand why.
Back when I first considered trying it, I scoured the internet and read all the technical “sciencey” stuff about how it works.
I quickly found that the articles that resonated with me most were personal experiences.
So here I am, 4 years later, 45 lbs lighter, and a current nutrition student reflecting on and sharing my personal experience with intermittent fasting in this article.
Please note that this is not intended to be medical advice or guidance.
I simply want to share my experience with intermittent fasting and reflect personally on why I did it, how I did it, and how it has changed my life.
Well, let’s dive in.
Why I did it
Simply put, I felt unhealthy.
At 5’9 and 210 lbs, I felt like I had lost control of my body. I remember carrying my then 5-year-old up the stairs to her bed and feeling like my knees and lungs were going to give out. At 34 years old, I was always exhausted and I felt like I was in the worst shape of my life.
I knew I had to do something differently, but an unsustainable diet was not an option. Sadly, I was no stranger to fad dieting, so I knew that wasn’t the answer. This time, I was looking to truly change my lifestyle; but I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant.
First, I attempted exercising more regularly but I was inconsistent and had no energy. Then, I started to cut some things out of my diet, which felt overly restrictive, so that didn’t last either. It was around then that a friend told me how he was intermittent fasting and how great he felt.
My first thought…” Who in their right mind would literally STARVE themselves for 16 hours”?
Nonetheless, I looked into it more closely and came across people’s positive experiences with it and found they really resonated with me.
How I did it (It wasn’t all fun and games):
I debated about listing out what I did to implement intermittent fasting into my life.
But honestly, the process for me wasn’t one that can be neatly packaged into a step-by-step list.
I mean, I probably could if I tried, but that wouldn’t accurately reflect my experience and might make it seem more simple than I felt it was.
No shade to all the articles out there that list perfectly how intermittent fasting can be done, but in my opinion, those oversimplified lists are why so many try and fail.
It takes time to adapt to a new eating schedule after years of eating a certain way, so I really had to dig deep.
My sense of determination is what pushed me through on the days I wanted to stop at Starbucks or McDonald’s during my fasting window. Of course, there were days where I still enjoyed those treats, but on the hard days, determination kept me going, and ultimately I truly enjoyed the process.
How intermittent fasting changed my life:
Though it was challenging at first, using intermittent fasting as a tool to improve my health was one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself.
Since I ate less frequently throughout the day, fasting actually led me to appreciate what I put into my body, because after 14…16…18…or 20 hours of fasting, the quality of food that I chose to eat became more important.
As a result, my eating habits transformed into a more enjoyable and nourishing experience which in turn gave me the energy I needed to prioritize exercise and sustain a level of weight loss that left me feeling more comfortable in my skin.
To this day, fasting is a part of my lifestyle. Most days I fast 16 hours, many days less, and some not at all. Most mornings I drink coffee with cream and sometimes I just drink water. Sometimes I exercise while fasting, other days I eat before a workout.
I think that’s the beauty of intermittent fasting. It’s not rigid, restricting, or a list of steps. It is a tool that I use however I want each day to help me maintain my health. For me, it’s the foundation that I built my new lifestyle.
To sum it all up, intermittent fasting is what you or I make it out to be.
For me personally, as I’ve shared here, it was and is a modifiable and dynamic tool that helped me reach and maintain my goal of a healthier lifestyle.
Alexis is a Spencer Institute, certified wellness coach, and dietetics undergrad student at Life University. In the past, she has struggled with being overweight, poor eating habits, low energy, and depression. In 2017, she made the decision to stop the cycle of fad dieting and learn to live a healthy lifestyle that would help her manage her struggles. Through intermittent fasting, regular exercise, and reducing processed foods and sugars, she was able to lose 55lbs. Through her journey, she discovered her love for nutrition and how nutrition positively impacted her journey. Today, Alexis is eager and dedicated to sharing her knowledge to help other women of color access the tools they need reach their health and wellness goals.