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Mofe Awala-Ale: Things I Experienced When I Decided to Embark on 30 Days of Intermittent Fasting

Mofe

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Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating (It is not a diet). It consists of eating during a particular set time interval daily and fasting outside the set time. This eating pattern causes the body to burn fat during the fasting period due to lower insulin levels (This happens about 12 hours after your last meal). I recommend researching intermittent fasting to get an in-depth explanation, if this is something you wish to try.

I decided to try intermittent fasting to see what results it would have on my weight. Furthermore, I am a compulsive snacker. Honestly, I tend to eat little bits of food all day, regardless of the time. I decided to practice intermittent fasting as a way of curbing this habit.

There are different intermittent fasting models, but I followed the 16/8 fasting model. This meant I could eat within an 8-hour interval and fast for the other 16 hours. The easiest way for me to do this was to eat between 11 am and 7 pm. Then from 7 pm to 11 am, I would fast; this was easier to do because my fasting hours were in the evening and early morning; Hence, I was asleep for some of the 16 hours of the fast.

Intermittent fasting was easy for me to do, but I had a few slip-ups that I could have avoided. Below are some tips for improving your intermittent fasting experience

  1. Do not try to create a massive calorie deficit when you start intermittent fasting. The attempt to diet while practising intermittent fasting can make fasting very difficult. The caloric deficit and reduced food consumption could lead to binges. I recommend practising intermittent fasting for at least one month before attempting to combine it with a diet.
  2. Do not eat a caloric surplus to make up for the hours you fasted. Intermittent fasting tends to reduce the calories you consume simply by reducing the hours in which you can eat. By eating more to make up for the time spent fasting, you defeat the purpose especially if your aim is weight loss.
  3. Eliminate alcohol during the period you practise intermittent fasting or consume a minimal amount. Alcohol can stall weight loss. Furthermore, drinking tends to bring on food cravings.
  4. You will have a few slip-ups, move on. While practising intermittent fasting, it is likely that you may get hungry while fasting. If you do mess up, all you should do is continue. Do not cancel your fast just because you messed up.
  5. Do what works for you. The best way to practise intermittent fasting is to do it in a manner that fits your lifestyle. Choose to fast during the hours that are convenient. Some people practise the 18/6 fasting model or 20/4 model both of which I could not do hence I settled for the popular 16/8 model.
  6. I recommend that you eat your last meal of the day 15-30 minutes before the end of the time allotted for eating. I usually ate my dinner by 6:30 pm. This way, even if I stayed up late, I did not get hungry as fast.
  7. Try to avoid junk food while fasting intermittently. Aside from the fact that junk food does not encourage weight loss, these foods tend to increase cravings for carbs.
  8. Drink a lot of water during the fasting period. Sometimes, the hunger pangs you feel, may be thirst.
  9. Lastly, if you are currently struggling with an eating disorder, intermittent fasting is not recommended. You should see your doctor before attempting significant dietary changes.

My attempt at intermittent fasting was moderately successful and could have been even more successful had I followed all the tips listed above and exercised. Here are the changes I experienced while fasting intermittently:

  1. After the first week, my cravings for snacks reduced. I could only eat between 11am-7pm, snacking during the hours of 7 pm and 11 am became almost non-existent. Furthermore,  even though I snacked during the permitted hours, my cravings were lesser,
  2. I started to sleep better. This did not happen immediately though, at least two weeks passed before I noticed this change. Some other individuals do not enjoy this. Some people that try intermittent fasting have stated that they wake up one or two times at night.
  3. I lost 5.2 pounds while I practised intermittent fasting. 5.2 pounds seems small, but because I was not dieting or exercising and had started drinking a ton of water, I find this to be a huge number.

Will I continue with intermittent fasting? Yes, I will and recommend it for those who wish to try it.

In conclusion, you should know that this is not a quick weight loss method, it will not solve all your dietary conditions and will give you results that reflect the effort you put in. As with any lifestyle change, determination and commitment are necessary.

Photo Credit: © Darren Baker | Dreamstime

Mofe is a writer and self-taught baker with a growing interest in product photography and she just acquired a Masters degree in International Relations. She is a writer, recipe reviewer and amateur food photographer on ThisBaker I am @This__Baker on Instagram.

17 Comments

  1. funmi

    October 30, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Great article, Mofe and many thanks for sharing. I never heard of this but sort of practiced same. This puts a framework to what I have been doing.

    • Mofe

      Mofe Awala-Ale

      October 31, 2017 at 11:54 am

      Thank you very much

  2. Akara Pancake

    October 30, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Beautiful article.

    I started intermittent fasting about 2 weeks ago after hearing so much about its merits, though I only do it on weekdays. Reason being, as I am at work and not able to reach for my cookie jar, my discipline is stronger. However I really need to start doing it on weekends too, as my weekend eating is ravenous.

    I do the 16/8 model which is easier to follow. I dont eat anything after 8pm (I got to bed around 10-11pm on weekday nights), and then I dont have breakfast the following day. My first meal is at 12 noon.

    Now that you mentioned it, I does help me sleep better, and I notice it leans me out in the mornings, and makes me very full especially after I break bread at 12 noon.

    Please more of these types of articles BN.

    • Mofe

      Mofe Awala-Ale

      October 31, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Thank you.

  3. ijebujesha

    October 30, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    And muslims are by STRICT COMPULSION obliged to do intemittent (or whatever big name you call it) fasting., for 30 days, once every year. Last, last, scientists will ban pork consumption also and sociologists will recommend modest dressing especially for women…lol….’This day have I perfected for you, your religion’- (The Glorious Quran).

    • abby

      October 31, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Na wa @ijebujesha

  4. Ajala & Foodie

    October 31, 2017 at 12:41 am

    What I don’t get or agree with is the author’s insistence that intermittent fasting is NOT A DIET. According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary definition of a diet; it can be defined as a regimen of eating and drinking so as to reduce one’s weight or even habitual nourishment. With the described eating habits/regimen I would say it clearly meets the definition of a diet. Dieting is not restricted to counting calories or restricting one’s food consumption to certain classes of food only. That is a misconception.

    • Mofe

      Mofe Awala-Ale

      October 31, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      While I understand your opinion. Intermittent fasting, in my opinion, is not a diet in the traditional sense of the word. Thank you

    • Ajala & Foodie

      October 31, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      @ Mofe Awala -Ale, when you write an article to educate and you start out by stating an opinion at worst or a theory at best, as fact, that already puts your article on questionable grounds. I.e (It is not a DIET). I understand one may consider this “only Bella Naija” but I want to believe you want to reach more than just the average BN audience some day (this does not in anyway take away from BN or it’s readers or in anyway an attempt to disrespect BN or its readers). The definition contrary to your response is not my opinion, it is just the English definition that I simply started a source of English meanings I.e dictionary. I understand based on the comments on here that intermittent fasting appears to work for many but to get that message while ensuring it is done with the correct information will be the right way to go ( now that’s my opinion) because telling people it is not a diet is not correct. Or you could have easily stated “based on the popular definition of what dieting entails today I would not consider this a diet”, that will change your statement of facts to an opinion making it clear and why you have made that claim is equally clear.

      BTW, I am not sure I understand what you mean by the definition “in the traditional sense”, I would think the traditional sense here will be the English definition. That some of choose to define something incorrectly does not make it traditional. It just makes it a fallacy.

  5. Robin Hood

    October 31, 2017 at 9:21 am

    True observations. Add exercise to this and see wonders

    • Mofe

      Mofe Awala-Ale

      October 31, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      This is very accurate.

  6. Mrs chidukane

    October 31, 2017 at 9:27 am

    According to Dr. Axe, intermittent fasting can lead to hormonal imbalance in women. Go figure.

  7. Russ

    October 31, 2017 at 11:22 am

    wow. so interesting and insightful. thank you mofe. keep it up.

  8. Mofe

    Mofe Awala-Ale

    October 31, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Thank you for your valuable input on the subject. There are many tips online for preventing hormonal balance in women who practice intermittent fasting.

    • Mofe

      Mofe Awala-Ale

      October 31, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      *hormonal imbalance

  9. Dainty

    October 31, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Funny enough, this is what I do and I didn’t even know it was a model, lol.
    What I noticed when I started was how light I felt in the morning and it was such a great feeling that I decided to stick with.

    I’ll just add some of the tips above with some exercise and report back after a month.
    Thanks for the article.

  10. Angie

    October 31, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Fasting – prayer = starvation.
    Otherwise everyone who has access to only one meal or 2 meals per day is practising this intermittent fasting.
    You chose to, they dont yet theirs is labelled starvation.

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