Friday, August 3, 2018

My experience with intermittent fasting so far

Early this year, I had some bad episodes of hyperacidity and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). So I did what anyone would do -- I turned to good ole Dr. Google. One of the things I read about was intermittent fasting, or IF. It seemed too hard for me to do, loving breakfast food as much as I do, but I was desperate and willing to try anything.

I started the first week of May, if I'm not mistaken. I remember because my son and I watched Infinity War and I remember taking out my food in the cinema as soon as my app (Zero, if you want to know what it's called) notified me that I'd completed my fast.

Anyway, I started with 16 hours. Since I finish work late, my last meal is also usually consumed late -- around 9pm. So I'd have my first meal at around 1pm the next day. What I found was, I'm more productive when I fast because (duh) there's nothing else to do but work. Here's how a typical work day would look like for me:

10am - work out
12:30pm - arrive at the office
1pm - eat first meal
1:30pm - work
8pm - eat last meal
9pm - start fast

I allowed myself to eat anything I wanted, but found that my body seemed to crave healthy stuff (gasp!). Of course, I still ate a little bit of junk like cookies and chips, but I found that I couldn't stuff my stomach as much as I used to. And maybe that's why my hyperacidity is almost gone -- because my stomach doesn't have to work as hard as it used to when I was eating all the time.

Nowadays, I do 18-20 hour fasts. I usually stop eating by 8pm and then have my first meal at 2 or 4pm the next day. Since weekends are more challenging for me, I'm usually able to complete 16 hours on Saturday and Sunday, but when Monday rolls around I try to do a 24-hour fast. This means I stop eating at 6pm on Sunday and then have my first meal at 6pm on Monday.

So here are the good things that IF has done for me:

  1. Much fewer episodes of hyperacidity - I think I've had only one since I started fasting, and it was because I'd eaten too much cake on my birthday weekend.
  2. No after-lunch drowsiness - My energy level tends to stay stable the whole day.
  3. Inch-loss - I don't weigh myself but my clothes have gotten looser especially in the waist area. Also, my tummy is flatter and there's even a ghost of some abs.
  4. Savings - Since I don't eat much during the day, I've saved money on food and groceries. Now, I only buy groceries for my son and I buy food outside the office when it's time for me to eat.
For me, these have been key: I only drink water, green/chamomile/turmeric tea, or black coffee during my fasting window. Gone are the days when I'd take XCT oil and collagen peptides with my coffee before having my first meal. Also, as much as possible, I don't binge and I eat healthy food during my eating window.

This has been the best thing I've tried for my health, truly. I always want to learn more about it so I watch videos by Dr. Jason Fung and Dr. Eric Berg, and I also listen to the IF Podcast by Melanie Avalon and Gin Stephens. What I love most about it is the idea of autophagy -- it's when your cells look for dead cells and "eat" them and use them for energy or to make new cell parts. Look it up and be amazed!

I'll probably (and hopefully) have an update on my IF journey in a few months.