Fasting is a challenge I took on for 15 to 23 hours including 8 hours sleep time, one day a week. I did this for the whole of December 2017.
I told myself, “If I love it, I’ll make it a part of my lifestyle. If I hate it, then I’ll never starve my poor body again!”
Fasting? You’re crazy Skye! Yup, that was the response I got from most that knew about my new venture. I just couldn’t resist the temptation behind tackling a new challenge in my fitness and health journey. I’ve learnt that I’ll push myself to the ‘nth degree’ just to reach my goals and well, it works!
Something that kept popping up whilst working in the fitness, fashion and health industries was Intermittent Fasting. I kept stumbling upon it through articles online, clients inquiring about its effectiveness and all over social media – particularly with fitness enthusiasts on Instagram. Of course, I initially thought the concept was a rather horrific one since I am an avid lover of food. But, after reading multiple studies and testimonials – my opinion has changed. Admittedly, I can’t resist the supposed fitness benefits and health rewards.
Wait, Why Am I Starving Myself Again?
So, that’s the thing. Intermittent Fasting is definitely not about starving yourself – it’s about retraining your body and mind to not eat our conventional 3 (or 6 small meals) daily routine for a specific window period chosen by you. According to various studies, we’ve been accustomed to regular meals which is why we feel hanger pangs at specific intervals. Apparently, there actually isn’t even any real evidence that states breakfast is going to make you healthier or not. Yes, in general, it is an important meal and for most days, I believe in getting my Herbalife shake or oats down to kickstart the brain.
However, it’s good to fast at least once every week to reset your cognitive functioning, muscle regeneration and digestive system.
Doesn’t Starvation Mode Store Extra Fat?
Simple, it takes 84 hours for the body to enter into starvation mode so 15 to 20 hours is nothing. I am attempting this for fitness reasons because I want my body to build more lean muscle mass and burn body fat. Fitness authorities have also claimed that exercising on a fast actually maximises your performance and concentration. This means that you perform each exercise with a lot more dedication and energy than you would on a full tummy, mainly because you’re trying to get your mind off food! If you need to lose weight, studies have also proven that lowering your calorie intake for one day, lowers your overall intake for the week. If you need some guidance on achieving your personal body goals then this is the diet I recommend for you.
Interestingly during the fast, your body uses the leftover fat for energy instead of calories you would have ingested previously – resulting in a lovely fat burn! I’m pretty excited to see my results at the end of this month because apparently the fast results in great muscle definition too!
Studies say fasting also produces human growth hormone (HGH) which plays an important role in fitness and longevity. In addition, your body begins to regulate its sensitivity to insulin which prevents inflammation and chronic diseases like Diabetes, Heart Disease and even Cancer.
Friday, December 1st, 2017
Last week Friday I woke up very enthusiastically, knowing that I had made the conscious decision to avoid food at all cost for the next 15 hours. That meant only eating my next meal at 8 pm that night! The satisfaction of knowing that I had the strength to follow through with a drastic decision like this was good enough motivation for me! A piece of cake! But, then the hunger started to set in. I kept telling myself things like – “You’re tough Skye!,” “You can do this, you can take on any challenge!” “How hard could it be? It’s just food!” “Not, like you haven’t skipped meals before!”
What I failed to remember was that those times I didn’t eat, were times that I had skipped a lunch or breakfast only without being aware that I had done so. Most of these were then accompanied with little snacks throughout the day and an early supper – or alcohol with the friends. (Giggles) This was nothing like that. This was eating absolutely f***k all since 8 pm the previous evening, until 8 pm that Friday evening!! And guys, I suffered a serious case of ‘HANGRY!’ It’s a real thing. Fasting isn’t as easy or as glamorous as the articles describe.
TIP 1: Keep Busy!
I chose last Friday because I knew I would be busy. It was a great plan and could easily wake up with a good cup of coffee and make myself a 2 litre bottle of Herbal Iced Tea to carry around. Then I’d pack my bags for our weekend getaway for a family birthday. Afterwards, we would make our way to Rustenburg. Well, even though the plan was great I forgot to consider that I would be surrounded by the smells of meat on the braai and friends snacking on yummy goods! My boyfriend especially didn’t help when he started snacking on a packet of Flings. (Even as a health freak, they smelt pretty delish!) However, the distractions of the holiday, the swimming and the company of friends did keep my mind away from feeling hungry.
TIP 2: Rather Keep Quiet…
LOL! Keep quiet is a weird thing for me to say. But, around 13:00 I started to feel really hungry. That’s usually the time I drink a protein shake or make myself a lovely Avo on rye. Could my tummy groan any louder? Your brain begins to imagine all the yummiest things to eat. My imagination ran wild and so did my moods. My boyfriend would ask me very normal questions like, “do you want to swim?” or “can we watch the soccer game tomorrow evening?” And, sadly I would feel so dam agitated by the questions, purely because all I could think about was food and that there are more important things right now. WARNING: Haha…the ‘hangry bitch’ does come out! However, those were all just thoughts and as long as you keep them to yourself and pretend you’re fine, you’ll be just fine! Don’t make everybody else suffer.
TIP 3: Take Your Watch Off!!!
I cannot emphasize this one enough. No doubt you’ll be checking the clock every two minutes to see how many hours you have left till dinner time. Rather don’t. You will only make matters worse and will subconsciously tell your brain you are hungry. Remember, the fast is there to retrain your body not to rely entirely on eating 3 meals a day every day. Our ancestors didn’t and you know what they managed perfectly fine. (They even hunted on empty tummies!)
TIP 4: Drink Lots Of Liquid And Move!
I found that keeping active by walking around or swimming, made me think less about food. I actually experienced random bursts of energy throughout the day. By the time I reached 19:00 I was super energetic and the most excited I had been for a meal in ages. You’d think you would feel fatigued and weak. On the contrary, when you fasting on the move your body has huge amounts of energy to do so mainly because its focus isn’t on digesting food! In addition, I drank tons of water, tea and coffee throughout the day. It really does keep your energy levels up and suppresses your hunger a lot. Carry a water bottle around with you everywhere.
TIP 5: Feast And Appreciate
Wow! The feeling of pure happiness, excitement and appreciation for dinner and food, in general, was overwhelming. Not only that, but also for my body and all it does for me. I felt incredibly proud of myself for doing something to challenge myself and being able to successfully accomplish it. Even though it was a pretty difficult experience, I am ready to do it all over again tomorrow! Fasting was enlightening. It taught me an appreciation and how amazing it is to feel real hunger and real satisfaction. More importantly, self-control! I was able to control myself so peacefully, by resisting surrounding temptations. (Rather start your fast on a working day, not when you’re around friends who are eating yummy snacks and drinking nice wine!)
Lastly, I went to feast like a beast!
Literally. As soon as the clock struck 8 pm I was off to the kitchen, where I made myself a delicious salad, with chicken from the braai. I then had a bowl of plain yoghurt and muesli for dessert with a spoon of peanut butter!
Until next week!
What are your thoughts about fasting intermittently? Read why fasting can help you on your health journey.
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