Have you hit your weightless wall yet? Yup, that wonderful 40+ point in life where our bodies decide to start hoarding extra weight. It’s even worst when the holiday feasting season begins. Such a gift… especially if you’ve had kids after entering these glorious years. The once-successful efforts of our 20’s and 30’s are totally bunk now. (Thank you hormones.) The one thing that’s worked for me so far? Intermittent fasting for weight loss.
Yes, intermittent fasting has been all-the-rage lately. There are tons of articles out there detailing the pros and cons of this trend. Healthline has one of my favorites.
Honestly, I have both good and bad experiences with this [non]eating trend. The worst comes from being a mom and having to keep the rest of your family fed while you’re essentially not eating. Try sitting in a movie theater with your whole family chomping away on warm, buttered popcorn and Milk Duds while you sip water. Or, preparing multiple meals during the day while a hunger headache builds.
Note: I have pulled the ‘Mama’s fasting so she can’t cook’ card with much success.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be so hard. There are multiple versions of intermittent fasting that you can test out and see what works best for you. After each attempt at intermittent fasting, I feel lighter and more energetic. Yet, some efforts can bring out ‘monster mama’ a bit too much for my liking. Here’s my good, better, best on this trend.
24-48hr Fasting for Weight Loss
Good: It works, but beware of the Mommy Monster while fasting.
I’ve done multiple versions of the whole-day fasting effort. Typically, leveraging Isagenix Cleanse for Life to get through the process and keep my body nourished. These hardcore fasting days are said to provide the greatest benefits: extra hormone regulation, increased fat burning, cellular repair and disease protection. Yet, they can be challenging to get through.
When doing a day-long fast, I typically have to hand-over the food prep efforts to hubby and seclude myself from the aromas of pizza and popcorn that fills the house. I get tired. I get bitchy.
The day after a fasting day is the best! I wake up energized and feeling svelte. My first meal of the day is heavenly and I swear I can make it through another fasting day the following week.
Even as I type this, I’m telling myself “Gee… I should try another fast this week.” Yet, I then quickly remember how challenging these types of days are as a mom.
5:2 Diet: Micro Calorie Days
Better: I tried this method after giving up on 24hr fasts
This strategy focuses on ultra-low calories days twice a week to give your system a break. A focus on eating lots of veggies, whole grains and lean protein is also a great way to get a nutrient boost to-boot.
I actually stumbled on this method as an alternative to 24hr fasts. The full-out fasting days were rough (see above), but I knew that smaller meal days focused on cleansing foods could be helpful. A big container of beet, arugula and quinoa salad in the fridge can get me through any day.
Greens, broccoli, beets, cauliflower, squash and herbs help you sail through. No-matter-what, you’ve got something to chomp on. Pair healthy veggies with unsweetened herbal tea, coffee and water and these days are quite do-able.
You can include healthy whole grains like farro, quinoa or rice if you keep calorie counts in check.
By adding in tofu, feta, egg or other easily digested lean protein sources, you can boost satiety. Just be wary if you have any sensitivities to eggs or dairy. These days are about giving your system a break, so keep true to that focus.
Honestly, using the 5:2 strategy as a foundation for everyday healthy eating is a good choice. Just boost your calorie count on non ‘fasting days,’ but continue to focus on these uber-healthy ingredients.
My Favorite: The 16/8 Method
Best: Simply reduce the hours you eat to feel lighter
I’ve tried the 16/8 method recently and so far, it’s my favorite fasting for weight loss strategy. Simply pick eight hours of the day that are most convenient for you to eat. For example, you can have your first meal at 10 a.m. and simply stop eating by 6 p.m.
A common hack is drinking black coffee in the morning to help stretch yourself through the morning without eating. This is where the popular Bulletproof Coffee recipe comes in handy. Add 1-2 tsp of ghee, and 1-2 tsp of MCT oil to black coffee in a blender. Gives you a creamy and filling cuppa joe to get you through the morning. The science-driven part of this focuses on only consuming fat (no protein or carbs) during the fast to painting your fat-burning state of ketosis.
My cheater method that has worked recently is to add 4 tsp of freeze-dried (soluble) black coffee to a jar with about 10 oz unsweetened soy milk. Shake like crazy and sip through the morning. Certainly, you won’t be in the scientific state of ketosis as you get with Bulletproof coffee. Yet, it’s tasty, easy, and keeps me going through crazy distanced learning mornings.
The rest of my ideal day includes fruit, veggies, healthy protein, and whole grains. I top-it-off with some dark chocolate and a glass of wine around 7 p.m.
I say ‘ideal day,’ because we all have mess-up days when it comes to trying to eat right. We’re not perfect and need to give ourselves a break. Yet, if I focus on limiting the total hours that I eat, like in this 16/8 method, I find that weight loss efforts are easier.
So what do you think?
Will you try one of the intermittent fasting for weight loss strategies I talked about above?
- 16/8 Method: Simply reduce the hours you eat to feel lighter
- 5:2 Diet: Micro Calorie Days for Weight Loss
- 24-48 hr Fasting: Drinking water and some low-cal (no carb/protein) drinks
If you’re interested in trying all three, I’d recommend starting with 16/8. It gives you some easy control of a fasting window. Then, perhaps pick a few days to do the 5:2 semi-fast with lighter calorie loads. (If anything, that gives you a great foundation for a long-term clean eating menu.)
Finally, pick one day for a full 24 hour fast. Make it a day where you have NO responsibilities. (Your partner, family, or local mom friend can help here.) Plan an at-home spa day… magazines, fruit water, lots of fun facial / mani-pedi supplies, a bath, a trashy novel, and Hallmark movies. You can even lock yourself in your room to avoid passing through the kitchen.
Would love to hear which ones you’ve tried, or which seems the most interesting. Let me know in the comments!
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