Category Archives: Fasting

Intermittent Fasting Before and After: 5 Years Later

Intermittent Fasting Before and After: 5 Years Later

I’ve been intermittent fasting for 5 years off and on now.  It seemed like an appropriate time for my to give an update to how IF has worked out for me long term.

Intermittent fasting 5 year update

My Journey to Intermittent Fasting

In high school, I was never the “skinny” girl (although i was always skinnier than I thought I was at the time, if you know what I mean. LOL).  I naturally have curves.  So, I was stayed around a size 9 or 11 and weighed around 145-165.

In college, I struggled temporarily with eating disorders which included binge eating, exercise bulimia, and bulimia. My weight was around 150 in college.  At 5’9, this took me to around a size 7.   I was on the rowing team, and worked out intensely with the team and then sometimes on my own as well.

When I went through difficult transitions in life, I fall back into food addiction and overeating. Here are some pictures during times that I struggled with weight gain:

I found intermittent fasting after I had moved across the country sort of on a adventurous whim. My weight had gone up to close to 190 lbs. I decided to start running twice a day.  Since I’m not a morning person, I decided to run during my lunch break.  Many days I would miss breakfast in the rush to get to work.  Around 2 pm, I would eat during my afternoon break.  I dropped down to 160 lbs within a few months.

Surprisingly, I also found there were many of the other benefits of eating this way. I started craving healthier foods.  I didn’t think about food as much.  At first this was difficult, but then it just happened naturally.  I had more energy and creativity.  I began to research the benefits of intermittent fasting, and learned that there was even more going on below the surface including strengthening my immune system, balancing hormones and brain chemistry, lengthening my life, disease/cancer-prevention. I was sold.  Intermittent fasting was for me. al

Then as I’ve blogged about here.  After love and marriage came babies: pregnancy and breastfeeding.  This led me on a journey of discovering how intermittent fasting could work within these new eras of my life.  I gained 30-40 lbs with each pregnancy, then lost the weight with intermittent fasting while breastfeeding.

Intermittent Fasting Now

 

These days, I am still breastfeeding my last baby girl who is almost 2 years old.  I practice intermittent fasting without really thinking about it 4-5 days a week.  Sometimes I will eat a couple bites of my daughters’ breakfasts then not eat again until 2 or 3 pm (sometimes not until after they go to bed at 7pm).  Sometimes I eat nothing.  There is nothing rigid about it.  When I first started, I would use apps to track my fasting window.  I would wait for the clock to change and then STUFF MY FACE.  Now fasting and eating periods just happen organically.

Somewhere along the way,  I also discovered plant-based eating.  A plant-based diet and intermittent fasting was a power-combination in all of my research.  I watched Hungry for Change, a documentary I found on Amazon.  I had been eating unhealthy foods with intermittent fasting like fast food, pizza, sweets because I found with IF I could do this and still lose weight.  But I felt my taste buds and cravings changing.  This documentary led

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now

me to a book called Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition . This book changed the way I viewed food completely.

So now… I practice plant-based mostly vegan intermittent fasting.  I look younger than I did 7 years ago. I’ve had people tell me that I am aging backwards!  I weigh the same as I did in college and wear the same size.   I would love to work out, but hardly ever get the chance.

I still struggle at times with red wine and cookies/sweets, but I have faith that staying consistent and persistent on this intermittent fasting journey will help me overcome these obstacles as it has all the others.  My weight has fluctuated over the past 5 years, but always gone down over time. Intermittent fasting has been the path to health and freedom in so many ways. It just works in my life, with my schedule, and the requirements of each day.   I’m thankful Wisdom led me to intermittent fasting. I am happy, healthy, balanced, strong, and free.

Here are some before and after pictures:

before after intermittent fasting women

26 yrs old (left) VS. 35 yrs. old (right)

I also love the community that I’ve found with other women who have found intermittent fasting.  I love being able to help and share about IF and breastfeeding, pregnancy, and experiencing intermittent fasting uniquely as women.   Thank you for your comments, support, and friendship!

Grace & Peace,

Lauren

Stay Motivated When Not Losing Weight Intermittent Fasting

Stay Motivated When Not Losing Weight Intermittent Fasting

So you made it through your first week of intermittent fasting, but you’re not seeing weight loss …or even worse you’ve gained weight?

The first week or two is not always the time you begin to see fat loss. I sometimes actually see the scale go up. There a few reasons for this. But I’ll save that for a later post. Just know that it’s normal. Week 3 or 4 is usually the beginning of fat loss, but from that point it’s usually steady.

Or maybe you’re just in a slump not seeing the results you once were. There are things you can do when this happens too. But that’s not in this post either. I simply want to give you some ways to stay motivated when you aren’t getting the results you want or as fast as you want while intermittent fasting.

So How to Stay Motivated?

Here is what helps me. First, I focus on how intermittent fasting is helping me in ways other than weight loss.

Oooooh…I Get a Good Feeling

(Some Etta in case you needed it) I feel amazing in the mornings when I’m fasting: creative, energetic, sharp. I have 3 little girls all under age 4 that need me to be at my best. Fasting is a time that I can clean, write, play, organize, pray, etc. all at my best. I usually time my break-fast meal to the time when they are usually winding down.

Not that breaking the fast turns me into a sloth or anything. I feel a different kind of energy that comes from eating and satiety. It’s just that the end of the fast is a time of heightened energy, euphoria, alertness, and creativity. I like to give this to my girls at the time they need it most.

Focus on this feeling to keep you motivated when weight loss is not happening. Think about all you are getting done, how it’s helping you at work, in life, etc.

Building Discipline & Self-control

Every day that I successfully fast, I feel accomplished and that my self-control is strengthening. I use this success as momentum to keep going. When I want to quit because maybe I’m not seeing the results I want, I think about the way I will feel around 1PM when I’ve stuck to my break fast time. Or how I will feel at the end of the day, when I’ve completed my eating window.

Another day that I tell myself “No” (or actually “Wait”) is a day that I build discipline. Discipline is a lost virtue these days. It carries over to many areas of life. Discipline isn’t something you can measure on a scale, but eventually it will show up there. And self-control & discipline will drive you to lasting weight loss and body transformation.

When you are not seeing weight loss results, think about the self-control and discipline that you are building each day. Every day that you work your discipline muscle, it is getting bigger & stronger! Fasting (among other things) will get easier with a bigger muscle.

Get Inspired by Others

It will work. Stay motivated by researching how IF has worked for others. Look at before & afters, YouTube videos or books by other if’ers. Intermittent Fasting has worked extremely well for many not just for weight loss.

You can also connect to others via Facebook groups, forums, etc. there’s a link to my women’s intermittent fasting Facebook group here. There are also other Facebook IF groups. And there are forums such as this bodybuilding.com forum. Sometimes the support and encouragement of others can keep you motivated in a weight loss slump.

Even More Benefits

The fasting process isn’t just about weight loss. Look into the other benefits that are happening as you delay eating. Longevity, brain health, detoxification, blood sugar regulation, body composition change… There are many benefits that don’t involve weight loss.

When you aren’t losing fat, think about one  or more of these other benefits that are important to you. A good site that talks about intermittent fasting benefits is Dr. Mercola. I always feel very motivated after reading a few of his articles on IF.  Here’s one:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/06/14/intermittent-fasting-longevity.aspx

How Are You Measuring Weight Loss?

Intermittent Fasting (especially combined with HIIT workouts) causes me to lose weight in a way different than I ever have before. It’s so much better. But sometimes the scale doesn’t perform the way it used to in my 6-meals-a-day-distance-running days. I don’t just get skinny, smaller pant size, and lower numbers on the scale. My body actually transforms.

This is why I highly recommend using before and after photos.  Not only will these motivate you, but they can be used for later motivation when you are going through a slump. And they will inspire others. Seeing my progress over the years has kept me coming back to IF after each pregnancy and motivates me to keep going.

Strengthen Your Soul

In Conclusion…These are the different motivators for me that keep me on track when discouragement tries to seep in. I will also say that prayer, scripture, and meditation are tools in my arsenal. I find that strengthening my soul and keeping in focus what is most important to me helps to motivate in many ways. A healthy soul is able to conquer cravings and love myself through a PROCESS.

And remember that. It IS a process. There will be good days and bad days. But you are working on making yourself better, stronger, and enjoying this journey of life. Have fun with it and be easy on yourself.

 

Grace & peace,

 

Lauren

 

How to Start Intermittent Fasting (the Easy Way)

How to Start Intermittent Fasting (the Easy Way)

If you are used to the “normal” pattern of eating, intermittent fasting can seem intimidating at first. Many people just can’t get started or give up soon after starting intermittent fasting. So I thought I would give you my easy, non-intimidating way to start intermittent fasting (IF).

intermittent fasting women

Intermittent Fasting helped me to lose weight postpartum

I’ve had to start and stop IF through three pregnancies within 5 years. Although researching intermittent fasting while pregnant and finding not much to say it would be unhealthy or dangerous, I didn’t want to take the chance. So after each pregnancy, I’ve had to begin IF all over again. Even though I’ve done it before, it can still feel very difficult and intimidating. Especially when I wake up after a long night of breastfeeding a newborn. (Can you say starving?!?! Breastfeeding munchies are no joke.)

So I came up with a way to start intermittent fasting by easing into the pattern of eating over the course of a week. You could also spread this out over a longer length of time to make it even easier.

If you’re reading this, then you are most likely familiar with what intermittent fasting is, but let me quickly define it. Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating. It’s not a diet that tells you what foods to eat. It is simply limiting the times you eat to a certain window.

My chosen method of intermittent fasting is similar to lean gains. I just keep cutting my window shorter until I am losing 2-3 lbs a week. Then when I have lost the weight amount that I want, I begin to increase my eating window.

Pattern of Eating Before Way of Eating

So intermittent fasting is my “pattern of eating” and my particular “way of eating” is plant based. But you can choose whatever way of eating works best for you. Many enjoy combining paleo or IIFYM with IF.

My suggestion would be to focus mostly on your pattern of eating while you are getting started. Start to make healthy exchanges maybe. Like a Lara bar instead of a donut or frozen fruit instead of ice cream.

If you are the kind of person that likes a big challenge, then you could go all in by changing your way of eating and pattern of eating all at the same time. Or you could focus on way/diet first and then start to focus on your eating window.

Making the Transition to IF

Goal-driven Starting Method

So here is how to start intermittent fasting the easy way:

First determine your current eating window. For example I usually have my first meal/snack by 8AM. My last meal/snack is usually before 11PM.

Current EW: 8AM – 11PM

(15 hours)

Now, decide your goal window and when you would like to reach this. My goal is a 6 hour eating window between 3PM and 9PM within 2 weeks.

Goal EW: 3PM-9PM

(7 hours)

Then figure out what it’s going to take to reach your goal. In my case, I will need to cut my eating window by about an hour a day. So, Monday I began eating at 9AM. Tuesday, I waited until 10AM to begin eating. And so on…  I also began cutting my night time eating by a little each day. (Tuesday night I stopped by 9:30PM.) so an example schedule might look like this:

WEEK ONE

M: 9AM – 11PM

T: 10AM – 11PM

W: 11AM – 10PM

T: 12PM – 10PM

F: 12PM – 9PM

S: 12:30PM – 9PM

S: 12:30PM – 9PM

 

WEEK TWO

M: 1PM – 9PM

T: 1:30PM – 9PM

W: 1:45PM – 9PM

T: 2PM – 9PM

F: 2:30PM – 9PM

S: 2:45PM – 9PM

S: 3PM – 9PM

The increments get shorter the later I move my starting time because it gets more difficult as it gets later. You’ll find that you feel like you are gaining little victories each day by meeting your time goals. This drives you to feel that you can accomplish the next day’s goals.

This method alleviates much of the discomfort that jump starting intermittent fasting can cause. It also alleviates the discouragement that you may feel by not being able to hold out until the start of your eating window (or giving in to late night cravings). It’s totally do-able and easy.

The Spontaneous Transition to IF

Another easy way to start intermittent fasting is the spontaneous transition method. This way is the same principle just a little different approach.

Basically, you hold out as long as possible and record the time. Each day you attempt to “beat” the time of the day before. For example, let’s say I waited Monday until 8:51AM to begin eating. And I stopped eating at 10:45PM. The next day, I would attempt to hold out longer than 8:51AM to begin eating and stop sooner than 10:45PM. So, if I began eating at 9:02AM & stopped at 10:40PM–SUCCESS!

This method is more flexible and organic. You can spread out your transition over a much longer period of time. Your transition would be very easy while giving you the daily boost of confidence to keep you on track to meeting your IF goals ultimately.

Sometimes I blend these two methods when starting IF. Basically, whatever gets you going and keeps you going until you are ultimately at your goal eating window that brings you the results & benefits that you are looking to get with intermittent fasting.

After about 7-10 days at your goal eating window, it will begin to feel natural and very easy. That is what I have heard from most people and found myself to be true. I find this effortless feeling comes almost from day 1 or 2 when using these IF starting methods.

What About Working Out While Starting IF?

Since I am postpartum each time I have started IF, I do not work out (except for going for walks maybe) while getting started. By the time I begin a challenging workout program, I have usually been very well acclimated to intermittent fasting.

I feel this would be a good choice for anyone, but if you decide to work out definitely take it a little easier on yourself while you are making this eating pattern adjustment. I must say: on the days that are more of a struggle, a slow walk is a great detractor from temptation and/or hunger. If a hard workout helps you in this same way, go for it! Just know that an hour or two after your workout, it will be VERY difficult to abstain if you are not more experienced with IF.

The Basics of Intermittent Fasting

I do recommend reading my 10 Steps to Getting Started Intermittent Fasting post for tips and information on getting started. And even though I do not think you should change your diet while getting started, I recommend applying the order of eating when you break the fast that is described in that post.

Hopefully these intermittent fasting starting methods will make the transition to IF a breeze so that you can accomplish all of the wonderful benefits that fasting provides! I am starting my journey to IF for the third time and employing these starting methods in the past has been what has helped me to reach weight loss goals and feel mentally and physically strong.

Here’s my postpartum/ “before” picture along with the reason that makes it all worth it.

Getting started intermittent fasting- Runholy.com

 

Grace & Peace,

 

Lauren

 

10 Steps to Getting Started Intermittent Fasting

10 steps getting started intermittent fasting, RunHoly.com

10 Steps to Getting Started Intermittent Fasting

 

Getting started intermittent fasting can seem intimidating. After each of my pregnancies, I have used IF to lose the baby weight and regain control over my crazy eating, but I find myself a little afraid gearing up to get ready to start intermittent fasting again after this pregnancy. Even though I know what I’m in for, the intimidation factor is still there. I don’t know if I’m writing this post more for you (the reader who wants to know about getting started intermittent fasting) or me (the girl who needs to be reminded as I get ready to launch back into this life style).

And it is a lifestyle.  You kind of need to know that going in. In any culture, eating is a big part of life, and a lot of our life sort of circles around it. The type of intermittent fasting needs to fit the life that you have which brings me to my first step… Here we go…

  1.  Pick your Intermittent Fasting Protocol based on life, personality, and goals: I have a very full list in my free intermittent fasting planner here.  Choose the one that fits your life.  If you are a morning person and like to workout and then need to eat right away or if you work out mid-morning and like to eat before, then you may need an eating window that starts earlier in the day like 10am-4pm or something like that depending on the protocol.

It may be easier for you to skip an entire 24 or 48 hours, get it out of the way, and then not have the pressure of fasting weighing on you.  So, you would want to choose something like Eat Stop Eat.  There are also protocols that allow you to have 500 calorie meals on fast days if you just cannot imagine going an entire 24 hours without food. And also “warrior diet” will allow you to snack on specific foods throughout the day.

Also, what are your goals with fasting? Most people it is to lose weight.  But for some it may be to simplify your life – i.e. not be meal prepping, cooking, eating 6 or more times a day. For some it may be for building muscle.  Others for the life quality, longevity, anti-aging. Going in, you need to know what your goals are. For example, one 24 hour fast a week may not help with losing weight, but it will help with weight maintenance and longevity, anti-aging, blood sugar regulation, memory, and body cleansing. And 16-8 has been shown to benefit those looking to gain muscle.  So, you will want to choose your protocol based on your goals.

My motivation is a combination of goals, but mostly weight loss.  I enjoy the feeling that fasting daily gives me so I choose an intermittent fasting protocol that has a limited eating window each day.  I enjoy also the simplification of lifestyle that eating only once or twice allows.  I also enjoy eating large, satisfying meals.

Whatever your goals, I would write them down. Write down your goal weight if it’s weight loss.  Measurements of areas that you want to grow in muscle size.  If you want to feel more energetic and creative.  Those types of things.  Write them down so that you can look at these goals and remember Why the heck you are hungray!

1b.     Adjust your eating. This isn’t exactly necessary, but I have to make this recommendation.  One of the great benefits to intermittent fasting is that you can include some “crap” in your diet and still lose weight because you are eating less calories.  BUT…it would be a good step to begin fasting to start cleaning up your diet so that before you get started intermittent fasting you are informed about healthy eating and already making healthy choices.

It would be easy if you did not make eating healthy (not high in processed, sugary, fast/restaurant foods) a priority to have a more difficult time losing weight and reaping the benefits of intermittent fasting.  You would probably have to limit your eating window to something very small and your body would be slowed/working overtime in the process of detoxification during fasting times.  Unhealthy eating has an affect your energy, blood sugar, mood, hormones and all of body systems whether you are intermittent fasting or not.

Now, I do believe that as you begin intermittent fasting your cravings for unhealthy foods will diminish. I  also believe that if you were to continue eating unhealthy foods, intermittent fasting would be a tool to help your body against the ill affects of such food choice consequences. That said, working towards cleaning up your diet prior to getting started intermittent fasting would be my suggestion (or at least have it as a goal in your mind as you begin IF).

2.     Research. Either before or after you pick a IF protocol, research the crap out of it.  See what benefits others have received from following that protocol.  Read about what intermittent fasting does to your body, mind, life, etc. If you go into the fasting way, equipped with the knowledge of what that hunger period is doing for you, it’s easier to persevere during the time that it is difficult.

I have a list of free resources on intermittent fasting mainly for women here, but I also recommend these books:

  • The 8-Hour Diet: Very easy to read and has a helpful list of ways to distract yourself during the fasting window.
  • The Fast Diet: also called 5:2 involves eating 500 calories on fasting days. Also includes a lot of 500-calorie recipes.
  • The Every Other Day Diet: The author gives a lot of studies (human studies, which is kind of rare) that will help fuel your faith in IF. Easy to read also.
  • Eat Stop Eat: Kindle version. I have admittedly not read this book because I’m not very interested in going 24 hours or more without eating.  But Brad Pilon is a pioneer in the IF world.

Basically, once you pick your protocol or narrow it down to a couple, you can find a book or resource on it.  Ori Hofmekler (warrior diet) and Martin Berkhan (leangains) are two of the other IF pioneers that have good info on their blogs.  A great website to find new research on intermittent fasting is Dr. Mercola’s site. I like to read the articles on his site like this one just to remind myself how awesome IF is and why I should keep at it.  Also, the fasting twins on youtube are hilarious although a little vulgar. They answer a ton of questions that you may have getting started or while you are intermittent fasting.

Knowledge serves as fuel and motivation so it’s good to arm yourself going in.

3.     Get tools if you need them. Even if you don’t think you will need them, it might be good to grab some of the free ones going in because what is there to lose? Intermittent fasting is all about finding what works for you basically through trial and error and adjustments until you find your unique flow.

There are many apps that will help you track your eating windows and have other helpful information and tracking areas.  Here’s some of them:

Or if you are a pen and paper kind of person like I am here is the link again to my free, printable intermittent fasting fitness planner. It has specific areas for goals, measurements, meal planning, and daily eating windows.  Or here is a diet and fitness planner not specifically for intermittent fasting, but would work.

Maybe other tools would be supplements like bulletproof coffee (basically good coffee, GHEE, and coconut or MCT oil) or BCAA’s.  These supplements have both been shown to help with hunger and the lack of energy that you may feel at the start while you are first adjusting to intermittent fasting. There are pre-workout and recovery supplements that have BCAA’s in them. I’ll have to do another post on these two supplements BPC and BCAA’s. Message me if you need more info.

4.     Start the transition.  Unless you are an all or nothing kind of person and that’s just what works for you, then I suggest easing into intermittent fasting. Meaning…start delaying your first (breakfast) meal and start cutting back how late you are eating.

Intermittent fasting is just as much or more of a mind-thing. By delaying just an hour or whatever you can handle and stopping at an earlier time at night, you are beginning the training of your mind.  I believe this works like a muscle: start with a lighter weight (a shorter fasting amount of time) until that is easy for you, and then move to the next “weight” by lengthening your fast time.

And this begins the process of intermittent fasting. Depending on your goals, you continue modifying your eating/fasting window length until you are seeing the results that you want and it fits the life style that you want.  After I have a baby, I usually have to adjust my eating window to between four and six hours to lose weight at the rate that I like which is about 3-4 lbs a week.  Also, the slow increase in fasting time gives my body time to adjust to fasting while breastfeeding.

5.      Find support. I have a group on facebook specifically for women who practice intermittent fasting. There are also other groups on facebook I’m sure.  Also, there are forums like on BodyBuilding.com where you can find other intermittent fasting folks. Here are some other places to connect:

It’s also a good idea to tell those close to you what you are doing.  You may be a little grumpy starting out and will need the patience and understanding of those you love.  Explain what IF is all about to them and why you are doing it (another reason #1 and #2 are important).  They may even want to try it with you…if so, awesome! But if not, maybe they could at least not invite you to lunch, bring over donuts, or snack on delicious things at night right next to you.

6.      Consider toning down your workouts and adjusting times.  The first couple weeks are the most difficult when you begin intermittent fasting.  While I don’t recommend stopping working out as it is very effective as a distraction tool against hunger, consider taking a walk instead of a run or HIIT workout (<– LOVE this one btw).  Or maybe lower your weights/reps at the gym.

Your energy will come back after the beginning transition period, and you will probably find you are able to work out as hard or harder than you did before in a fasted state. But at the beginning, you will feel like your limbs are weak and lack the motivation, energy, and strength to do as much.  Also, it will increase your hunger about an hour after a hard workout, so you don’t want to sabotage yourself if your eating window doesn’t begin until many hours after your workout time.

You may also want adjust your workout time so that it is later, earlier, whatever. Some may need to move their workouts to within their fasting windows (middle or end) so that it will distract them from hunger, get those satiating endorphins flowing, alter blood flow away from the digestive organs, and get the dopamine release that you would usually get from food. This gets some through the hardest points.

Some may need to move the workout time to the end of the fasting window so that they don’t have to fight against the hunger beast that hits you an hour or so after.  The time you workout will end up being unique to your needs, personality, and lifestyle.  Find what works for you within the intermittent fasting protocol that you choose and practice.

7.     Use delayed gratification. When my daughter ask me for a sucker or maybe she wants to go to the playground, I often use delayed gratification. Even for a 3-year old this works! “Not now, but probably later” will ease the pain of her desire.  This is a great tool of yours for intermittent fasting.

During your hungry times, you will have co-workers bring in donuts. You will see the frosted mini-wheats and milk that your toddler is eating, and your mouth will just drool.  Your mind will begin to try to convince you to give in.  USE delayed gratification.  Tell your mind, “Yes you can have that…donut…bowl of cereal…just not now.  You can have it later if you want it.  Sometimes I even write down items that I denied myself that  I’m going to have during my eating window.  This is also a good tool to get it off your mind and prevent obsession.

8.     Protein and complex carbs first. With #7 said, I have to give you probably my best advice, eat your protein and complex carbs first.  You may have donuts, chips, bagels, and candy on “your list”, but if you eat those first it can cause some problems. You will overeat those items meaning higher caloric intake, less nutrients, and probably a tummy ache.

It’s better to have a meal planned that includes a protein and some kind of complex carb. Chances are you will be craving these things anyway by the time you reach your eating window.  But eat your fill of grilled chicken, or lentils, or beef and broccoli or kale chips or spinach (man! I’m really hungry) then move on to things like baked sweet potato, potato, corn, rice, whatever starchy carb…Then AT THAT POINT, have something or everything you can handle on your DG list.

Hunger will drive you to eat a very satisfying amount of the first foods where the delayed gratification junk will not have a significant effect on the health of your meal. So the order you need to eat is as follows:

meal order - intermittent fasting - runholy

9. Before photo. My last tip getting started is to take a BEFORE photo. I have some very impressive intermittent fasting before and afters.  This helps me to get started after each pregnancy is done and it’s time to begin my postpartum weight loss because I can see the results I’ve gotten before with IF.intermittent fasting before after

Also, with IF you tend to gain muscle pretty easily due to its effects on growth hormone.  Therefore, the shape or tone of your body changes even faster than the scale does.  Progress pictures will help you to stay focused and driven while intermittent fasting.

10. Keep in mind. I have to tell those of you reading this who are just getting started intermittent fasting or just starting to consider giving it a try that the first part its the hardest. Please as you begin, keep in mind the first 10 days to 2 weeks are the most challenging.  If you can make it through this time, it gets much easier.

I find that after this period, I actually don’t experience hunger the way that I did before and my cravings and appetite (the amount I can eat) drastically change and decrease.  I have heard the same testimony given time after time in my intermittent fasting group on facebook. Some women only have a few days where there body and mind adjusts, and it just feels natural. Seriously, you will reach a point where it just feels like you’ve always eaten this way.

Getting Started Intermittent Fasting with Confidence

Maybe you are just curious about this whole intermittent fasting diet thing you’ve been hearing about.  Maybe you’ve looked into it and you’re not sure how to go about getting started intermittent fasting.  Or maybe you’ve tried to start and failed.  Whatever the reason, I hope this post will help you feel more confident getting started intermittent fasting.  Feel free to comment with questions below and also post in my intermittent fasting group.  Any questions you have, I will be happy to answer if I can or send you to the right place if I can’t.  I can also use your questions to fuel post like this one.

Intermittent fasting has been a great choice for me and I’m so glad I found it.  I think it can improve the quality of life for so many.  That’s why I enjoy helping.  I hope that you are able to make IF work for you and are not intimidated about getting started.  It’s totally worth it, and the benefits are crazy awesome…so much more than weight loss.

 

Peace and wholeness,

 

Lauren

 

 

FREE Printable Intermittent Fasting Diet and Fitness Planner

Intermittent fasting fitness planner - RunHoly.com

Intermittent Fasting Diet and Fitness Planner
(Free, Printable)

So, I’ve almost finished my free printable intermittent fasting diet and fitness planner. Just right click this link and save it. This IF Diet/Fitness planner and journal will help you track your eating window, calories, plans for the day, fasting days, shopping lists… There’s a daily habits section where you can track things like drinking water, walking the dog, meditation, and just any other tasks or habits you want to track.  I’m going to keep adding to this Intermittent Fasting Diet and Fitness Planner so keep checking back to RunHoly.com for future post.  Also, I would love the feedback you could provide on what would be helpful to add to the diet & fitness planner specifically related to intermittent fasting.

I thought about adding a 500-calorie recipes section for my 5:2 intermittent fasting people.  Or maybe just a recipes section with blank pages for everyone (noticed how you kind of fall madly in love and appreciation with food when you throw fasting into the mix??) But more ideas along these lines would be great.

 

Thanks for visiting! Be sure to let me know if this Intermittent Fasting Diet and Fitness planner was a help to you and all about your IF journey. I love hearing about it and connecting with other intermittent fasters.

 

Intermittent Fasting Printable Diet and Fitness Planner

 

I was able to print using the following settings:

uncheck greyscale

check multiple or booklet

check landscape/auto

 

Here is a cute, inexpensive binder to put your printed pages into!

 

Here’s some images from the intermittent fasting fitness journal pages:

Intermittent fasting diet and fitness planner image image image image image

Intermittent Fasting Unique Weekly Schedule for Weight Loss

Intermittent Fasting Unique Weekly Schedule (Poster)

The original Intermittent Fasting Unique Weekly Schedule poster was here. But the site must have been taken down or expired. So, I made another Intermittent Fasting Unique Weekly Schedule poster that is printable for my Intermittent Fasting Women. I tried to make it similar to the original because I loved all the color and fonts.  It would be a nice printable to hang somewhere as a reminder.  This is a great schedule for weight loss.

While I do recommend Bulletproof Coffee because it staves off hunger and makes you feel great,  you can also make your own using coconut oil, ghee, and high end coffee. Wellness Mama has a great recipe here. This stuff really does tastes so good.  And it gives your tummy that warm, full feeling. It also gives you a little extra *zing* to be creative an productive during your fasting window.

I love how it begins with a 30-36 hour fast.  That sort of makes the other days feel easy. I think I’ve read somewhere that switching between protocols like this can wreak havoc on your hormones.  So, I would use this weekly schedule sparingly. There’s no way you wouldn’t drop weight very quickly. You would most likely experience benefits similar to a very long fast.

So here is the Intermittent Fasting Unique Weekly Schedule Poster… Just Right click and Save As. It’s 8 x 11.

Intermittent Fasting Unique Weekly Schedule Poster

Leave your comments on whether this was helpful to you and what other types of posters for Intermittent Fasting would be helpful. Also be sure to check out my free printable Intermittent Fasting Fitness and Diet Planner!!!!

This article on Intermittent Fasting mistakes was a good read so I thought I would share! Have an awesome day.

http://berzinatorfitnessdesigns.com/six-ways-you-screwed-up-intermittent-fasting/

Intermittent Fasting Resources for Women

intermittent fasting resources for women

Intermittent Fasting helped me to lose weight postpartum- TWICE!

 Intermittent Fasting Resources for Women

 

It’s crazy how much more material has been written on intermittent fasting for women just in the past few years!  It seems like when I first discovered intermittent fasting it was a “man’s world” or no-(wo)man’s land…. I was happy that I found many intermittent fasting resources for women and got a couple added to my wishlist for myself.  I guess more and more women are seeing how well IF works for health and weight loss.  Here is a list of either free of cheap (under 5 or 10 bucks) intermittent fasting resources for women specifically:

  1. Article on Intermittent Fasting and women from Women’s Health
  2. Intermittent Fasting for Women: The Ultimat… by Megan Lacey
  3.  Free book on Amazon on 5:2 and Intermittent Fasting women
  4.  Dr. Sara Solomon, a woman who has been doing IF successfully (I am not a supporter of IIFYM and believe micronutrients are VERY important.
  5.  Intermittent Fasting book written by a woman that includes the benefit that a lot of women care about- anti-aging.
  6.  Another free book on Intermittent Fasting for Women
  7.  Intermittent Fasting for Beginners by Karen Green
  8. Fast Diet Magic Book by Caitlin Collins
  9. FastExercise (co-authored by woman) book on combining HIIT with IF–which I definitely believe in.  Changes my body fast and dramatically.
  10.  Intermittent Fasting for Women by Melissa Small
  11.  Intermittent Fasting for Women by Juliete Dryson
  12.  Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss by Ann Ryan
  13.  Easy Alternate Day Fasting by Beth Christian
  14.  What When Wine Diet by Melanie Avalon (Paleo and Intermittent Fasting book)
  15.  Intermittent Fasting: Lose Weight, Get Fit by Sara Elliot Price
  16. 5:2 Diet for Beginners: A Quick Start Guide by Gina Crawford
  17.  The Every-Other-Day Diet: The Diet That Lets … by Krista Varady
  18.   Intermittent Fasting! How I Lost 80 In 4 Mo… by Missy Patterson
  19.  Intermittent Fasting: HOW TO USE INTERMITTE… by Lena Spencer
  20.  Intermittent Fasting for Healthy Weight Loss by Kitty Browne

That’s it.  If you have more links and resources that have helped you, please leave it in the comments, and I can make a new list of intermittent fasting resources for women with those.

Other Intermittent Fasting for Women posts on RunHoly:
intermittent fasting while breastfeeding

Intermittent Fasting while Breastfeeding part 2

Intermittent Fasting for Women Results

Scientific study on Intermittent Fasting for weight loss

Intermittent Fasting and Breastfeeding

 

Intermittent Fasting For Women – results & tips

image
Intermittent Fasting For Women (while Breastfeeding) – results & tips

 

Well I thought I would give an update. It’s been about three weeks since I began intermittent fasting. So far I’ve lost about eight or 9 pounds. The weight-loss has been rather effortless.

I’ve begun jogging in the evenings. But only about two or 3 miles. Sometimes I run hills/intervals & sometimes I just barely jog. (Some nights I only feel like walking and do that.) I do this after I’ve eaten (after my eating window has closed). I do this for two reasons:

1. To supress my appetite in the evenings when I’m more likely to snack (outside of my eating window)

2. To burn through my glycogen stores so that I will be burning fat sooner/longer.

 

Wanna read my other posts on intermittent fasting for women/while breastfeeding?

http://runholy.com/intermittent-fasting-breastfeeding-round-2/

http://runholy.com/intermittent-fasting-while-breastfeeding/

http://runholy.com/intermittent-fasting-while-breastfeeding-2/

A Typical Day Fasting as a Breastfeeding Mom

9 AM wake up & nurse Kate

9:10 AM change Sofia and begin making her breakfast

9:20 AM make my coffee (Americano with 1/2 tbs coconut oil)

have “breakfast” with Sofia

do activities with girls, clean house, read

11AM nap time for girls

stay busy while they nap usually reading, listening to teaching, or cleaning, journaling

12:30 nurse Kate

wake up sofia

make lunch for sofia

make lunch for me

1PM EEEEEEEAAT

activities with Girls: long stroller walk, play outside, run errands, playground, etc

*dessert chai tea break

4PM nurse Kate & Sofia quiet time

make dinner

7PM eat dinner

bathtime & put girls to bed

8PM have a dessert or candy

nurse Kate

9PM jog/run/walk

shower, relax

11PM bed

 

10 Tips for Intermittent Fasting for Women

I’ve had the most success with the following tips & strategies:

1.  Try not to eat a ton after lunch. 2. Eat a nice sized, high protein lunch

3. When it’s time to not eat whether you are trying to not overeat during eating window or during fasting, have lots of different gums. (I’ve found wrigleys winterfresh to be the best at suppressing cravings.)

4. Get a fun cup with a straw & drink ice cold water all the time and especially when you are feeling hungry.

5. Tea, coffee, repeat! Savor it.

6. Stay busy. The extra time and energy fasting gives you can be used to do so much. (I started taking an online class.)

7. Don’t deny yourself during eating times.  You are really working the self-control/self-denial muscle during fasting times. Go ahead and give in to cravings during eating window within reason. One day, I had 3 cookies & half a pint of ice cream. I still lost weight that day. You won’t want that all the time or everyday. But if you do, it probably won’t hurt you.

8. Pay attention to healthy cravings. On that same note, if you are craving a veggie stir fry with coconut milk, couscous, and garbanzo beans -have THAT. Craving brocolli? Mangoes? Eat that. Fasting makes you much more in tune with what your body needs.

9. The power of later. If you are really wanting something at night pr when you wake up. Just tell yourself you will have it later.  You’re not telling yourself no just “not now”. That is so powerful.

10. Weigh every day or every other day. The scale will probably be going down every day. This is very encouraging & really empowers you through fasts.  If it stops going down, shorten your eating window until it starts again. Also, take before & after pics. They are really the best for measuring change.

 

 

 

 

 

Intermittent Fasting and Breastfeeding: Round 2

Intermittent Fasting and Breastfeeding

Okay so here I go again.  I’m about 3 months postpartum and ready to actually make this pregnancy fat vacate the premises.  I battle between being okay with it and miserable.  But in the end, it’s my gluttony that wants it to be okay (and I can’t buy a new wardrobe anyway just to serve my love of poke cakes).

I began intermittent fasting once again about 12 days ago.  In that time I have lost nearly 4 lbs.  You can say this is water weight, but this “water weight” was not moving through days of clean eating and high intensity interval training workouts like Insanity.  I have been stuck at a weight that I’d rather not say.  Every time it would get below aforementioned unmentionable number it would bounce right back up.  With this way of eating, I feel I have gained control of the scale AND my eating/cravings/gluttony/etc.

Okay so you can follow really any diet

My results after first baby.

My results after first baby.

.  If you like to eat low carb, eat low carb.  If you like to eat clean, do that. If you like donuts every “morning” for breakfast, you can do that (sort of- more on that later).  I choose to eat a fairly large meal most days as my first meal and it usually consist of eggs. That’s really my only consistency.

This way of eating does not say what to eat.  It says when to eat.  You have a window of eating.  In this time you eat nearly the same amount of calories that you normally would.  It’s just that the amount of time that those calories are spread across is smaller so your meals are larger (and more satisfying).  I also find that denying myself during those mini-fasts each day strengthens my self-control muscle.  And shrinks my appetite.  So, that when I have the option to “feast” I usually just eat normally.  (This happened for me around day 7.)

I will add also that my chosen method of intermittent fasting is lean gains or 16/8. I don’t follow this strictly.  In the beginning, I continue to shorten my eating window until I get the desired effects & weight loss. My sweet spot is about a 6 hour eating window. I usually eat between 1:30 and 7:30 or 8:00.

The Reason IF is a Good Diet for Postpartum Breastfeeding Moms

You are strengthening that will-power, self-control muscle.  This is a muscle that along with your own physical muscles atrophies during pregnancy.

Intermittent fasting breastfeeding

Day before delivery (baby 2) and day after.

The reason I think this diet works great for losing postpartum weight is because like I said: You are strengthening that will-power, self-control muscle.  This is a muscle that along with your own physical muscles atrophies during pregnancy (for most of us mortal women).  After months of never telling yourself “no” (understandably), it can be a real challenge to get back to the reality of some self-denial.  Feeling hunger and saying no for many hours strengthens this ability. It’s much easier to tell yourself no when “yes” is just around the corner like pushing yourself running up a hill is easier when you know there is a downhill coming.

Feeling hunger and saying no for many hours strengthens this ability. It’s much easier to tell yourself no when “yes” is just around the corner…

Also, and along these same lines, you are able to eat more satisfying meals including dessert if you want.  It’s difficult to eat 1500-1800 calories (the recommended caloric restriction recommended for breastfeeding moms that want to lose weight) if you spread those calories over 18 hours, 3 meals and 3 snacks.  But if you are eating two large meals or one large meal, then we are talking 800-1000 calorie meals.  That is a ton of food if it’s clean food!  And a good-sized portion even if it’s not.

So you are sort of hitting it from both angles.  But then there is another thing that happens.  Because of the biological effects of fasting each day, your appetite and cravings change.  You suddenly find that even though your eating window opens, you’re not really feeling that much urgency to eat.   And you’re craving mango-topped tilapia and rice! Yesterday, for example, I was craving oatmeal with brown sugar and butter.  So I had a big bowl for my first meal.

Another reason this works great for breastfeeding moms is the rate of weight loss.  It is between 1 & 2 lbs per week which is completely healthy for baby.

Intermittent Fasting, Breastfeeding, and Hunger Hormones

And lastly… Intermittent Fasting helps you take charge of those dang hunger hormones!!! 

And lastly… Intermittent Fasting helps you take charge of those dang hunger hormones!!!  In pregnancy and breastfeeding there is an increase in the hunger hormone called ghrelin. There is also an increase in insulin-resistance (or lowering of insulin sensitivity).  And although Human Growth Hormone is elevated by pregnancy and breastfeeding, there is evidence that the effect is compounded with fasting.

Ghrelin. This little devil is what makes you STARVING after a breastfeeding session.  It definitely works against any fat loss goals during the first 6 months of breastfeeding.  Usually ghrelin levels begin normalizing at around 6 months post partum, and this is why breastfeeding moms tend to lose the most weight between months 6-12 versus formula-feeding moms that tend to lose it sooner.

During the last half of pregnancy, your insulin sensitivity begins to plummet so that your body can beginning building up those lovely fat stores that will feed and nourish the coming baby.  This causes you to crave sweets and simple carbs and at the same time causes your body to turn those simple carbs to fat faster. IF (intermittent fasting) will normalize your insulin sensitivity hence why your craving change.  This will also affect how your body utilizes the simple carbs that you DO eat.  (By the way, speaking of delicious carbohydrates…IF suggest eating these carbs at the end of your eating window, later at night which is when I normally crave them.  It allows more time for the fasted stated to eat through those.)

And lastly, HGH or human growth hormone.  Remember when people used to inject or ingest this and then starve themselves aka fasting to lose a massive amount of weight quickly.  (Are people still doing that?)  Well, I confess I actually haven’t studied the science on this one. It’s something about survival of the baby making the body release fat stores more readily.  But I know that these levels are already elevated in pregnant and breastfeeding women.  So, IF would only heighten these levels causing an even greater fat burning effect.  Also, you are fasting every day so those hours would be optimized for fat burning.

Links on Hormones and Intermittent Fasting

Modern science has confirmed there are many good reasons for fasting, including:

  • Normalizing your insulin sensitivity, which is key for optimal health as insulin resistance (which is what you get when your insulin sensitivity plummets) is a primary contributing factor to nearly all chronic disease, from diabetes to heart disease and even cancer
  • Normalizing ghrelin levels, also known as “the hunger hormone”
  • Promoting human growth hormone (HGH) production, which plays an important part in health, fitness and slowing the aging process

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2012/05/04/fasting-effects-on-human-growth-hormone.aspx

 

The entrainment of ghrelin is part of what makes the 16 hour fast so easy after a few days adaptation. ..”If you eat all the time, ghrelin secretion will not be well controlled,” said Silver, the paper’s lead author and the principal investigator of the study.”

http://www.leangains.com/2009/08/ghrelin-and-entrained-meal-patterns.html

Energy & Intermittent Fasting: Something all Breastfeeding Moms Need!

Right now I’m typing  with one hand, rocking Kate with the other.  Sofia is rustling from her nap. I need energy to keep up with these two!  I guess every body needs extra energy, but breastfeeding moms especially whether you’re a new mom or two under two or mom of four.   The times of fasting, you don’t have to devote to putting together a meal.  One less meal every day really adds up to quite a bit more free time.  Plus, don’t ask me why but there is an increase in natural energy, creativity, and heightened mood & awareness.   These are very valuable weapons to add to your mom arsenal any mom will tell you.  I usually break my fast after nap time and after I have prepared lunch and fed it to my toddler. It works out great.

 

Links to my previous posts on Intermittent Fasting and Breastfeeding

And another post on intermittent fasting and breastfeeding

For a list of FREE and CHEAP resources on intermittent fasting specifically for women.

 

Stay tuned.

I’m entirely too embarrassed to post my before and afters until my after gets a little back to pre-baby/normal.  But in a couple weeks, I will most likely post an update which includes progress photos.    I also plan to post some very necessary tips for success that I didn’t have time to post here now.  I’ve got two babies screaming.  Gotta go!

 

Lose Weight Postpartum Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding

intermittent fasting while breastfeedingLose Weight Postpartum | Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeedimg

My Postpartum Weight Loss Journey

I was warned off immediately from fasting while breastfeeding even intermittent fasting such as eating during a 6 or 8 hour window (fasting for 18 or16) or a full 24 hours once/twice a week. As for intermittent fasting while breastfeeding, since I wanted to begin IF while nursing, I first considered things like established milk supply and breastfeeding history.  I was oddly lucky in that no matter how much I exercised, or how little I ate, I kept a steady oversupply of milk.  I also wondered about the fact that there are women who have breastfed just fine during famines. I personally think the whole you must eat an extra 500-800 calories while breastfeeding is slightly over exaggerated. And I think trying to eat that way contributed to my having a hard time losing the baby weight. I probably could have maintained my normal eating of around 2200 calories and still nursed. But of course, this is all based off my personal experience with breastfeeding, I definitely wouldn’t recommend this for a mom who may have trouble with nursing. Source

Here is a link to my first week’s experience in Intermittent Fasting while breastfeeding.

And my personal journey to lose weight postpartum

The benefits of intermittent fasting such as Lean Gains and Eat Stop Eat method are inticing to me. Since I wanted to begin intermittent fasting while breastfeeding, I decided to research what the possible effects would be to my milk and milk production as this is my first concern.

Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding: Milk Consistency

It seems like many people suggested my milk would turn to crap or poison if I began a fast that was longer than 16 hours.  I decided to look at some studies that studied the makeup of lactose/milk after a fast like this.  Here is some info from one study done on Muslim women fasting during Ramadan. Muslim women, while not required to fast, often fast during Ramadan (which is 40 days long I believe).  This would be a dinner to dinner type of fast that programs like Eat Stop Eat purports.  Here is a clinical study done on the quality of breast milk of fasting moms:

In one such study conducted in the UAE at Muwajihi Primary Health Care Clinic, milk samples were taken from healthy breastfeeding mothers, during and after Ramadan. It was discovered that fasting did not significantly affect the level of “macronutrients”. These are nutrients needed in large quantities for growth and energy – namely proteins, carbohydrates and fat. Fasting did affect the level of “micronutrients” – but these are by definition only needed in small quantities, such as magnesium, zinc and potassium.

Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign, remarked, “Breast-milk is incredibly resilient, and can retain its major nutrients even during fasting. It’s crucial to maintain the same breastfeeding pattern during Ramadan, to give the baby a sense of continuity and rhythm. If a mother chooses to fast, it’s vital that she replenish her nutrients with a balanced diet encompassing all the major food groups when she breaks her fast each day, and revert to her normal eating habits immediately after Ramadan.”

Here is a study on fasts LONGER than 24 hours. This study was done on breastfeeding moms with babies of 1-6 months old.  They took samples from 2 days before and immediately after the mom did a fast of longer than 24 hours. The changes to the makeup of the milk were as follows:

  • Sodium, calcium, and Protein increased
  • Phosphorus and Lactose decreased
  • Triglycerides (fats) were unchanged

After reading about milk consistency of hindmilk & foremilk like here:

This higher-fat hindmilk mixes with the high-lactose foremilk and baby receives the perfect food, with fat calories for growth and lactose for energy and brain development. (1), (2) However, when milk production is too high, baby may fill up on the foremilk and then have difficulty digesting all the lactose that is not balanced by fat. This is known as foremilk/hindmilk imbalance or oversupply.

So the lesser quality foremilk, is higher in lactose.  It would seem that the milk is changing it’s makeup. Rather than increasing the triglycerides which were unchanged, the protein is increased.

Intermediate Fasting While Breastfeeding: What about Milk Supply?

Okay.  Another thing that even a lactation consultant told me is that my milk supply might be immediately & permanently effected by fasting (meaning it would  go down). I also researched this in another study,

the increased glucose demands of lactation are met by increased GPR as a result of increased glycogenolysis but not GNG (non-carbohydrate) or by increased use of FFA. During feeding, lactating women handle oral carbohydrates normally but have increased insulin sensitivity.

What the heck do all those big strange words mean????

GNG stands for Gluconeogenesis and is usually associated with ketosis (like when you’re on a low-carb diet). This process was actually 50% higher in the fasting lactating women.

Glycogenolysis is the breakdown of glycogen to glucose.  The speed of this process is GPR

GPR stands for glucose production rate.  Where glycogen/sugar is made more available by being made faster into glucose in the liver.

FFA stands for free fatty acids which basically just means fat.

* the increased insulin sensitivity is interesting to me.  This is always a good thing.  It’s how you’re body reacts to sugar in the blood and keeps it in balance.  It’s always good for this to be increased. After a fast, these moms were left with this good quality.

More from this same study: the primary, but not exclusive, source of milk lactose, is plasma glucose.   Lactating (L) women may provide approximately 60 g of their glucose pool to meet their infants’ milk (lactose) demands.  Basically, there are four factors or possible adjustments the body can make to the fasted state.

1. The breastfeeding mom has to produce more glucose than a non-breastfeeding mom

2. The breastfeeding mom has to reduce her own body’s use of glucose (ketosis starts sooner)

3. The breastfeeding mom could develop low-blood sugar.

4. Or milk production could go down.

This study found that…

the primary mechanism for maternal adaptation to short-term fasting is decreased maternal glucose use by the early development of ketosis and fatty acidemia, thus maintaining a glucose supply for milk production and a constant                  milk supply for the infant.

So ketosis begins sooner and milk supply is not affected.

 

Other sources:

BBC on Intermittent Fasting and Here also

KellyMom on Breastfeeding while Fasting

 

 

 

« Older Entries