If you followed the October series Sunday Meal Prep. You see that my results were not what I expected. In fact, I went up a bit in weight. Smaller meals, working out sometimes twice a day and still no headway. Gym in the early mornings followed by a 20-minute afternoon run. I need to remind myself that with any weight loss and fitness journey we don’t always hit the mark. We need to make tweaks, fork off and try something different.
Intermittent fasting was something I have played around with before but never really had any hard data to track my progress. But now I do and WOW the results.
I basically used the same meal plan on Sunday Meal Prep October Week 3. The only modification was taking out the breakfast part. I kept everything else the same.
Do I eat perfectly all week? No way, life, stress, being tired. I can go slightly off the rails but never too big of a calorie binge. The frustrating part for October was just a little variation, like having a bit of extra rice, then my numbers are way off. Dejected then the excuses come in, you go off the rails a few more times. Then you get a bad month.
Someone’s, diet, as I am learning really needs to be personalized. None of us fit the cookie cutter mold. For me I am up at 0430 to teach a boot camp class, then I workout. Then off to my real job for the day, sitting in front of a computer. Run for 20 minutes outside for my lunch break, then home at 6.
Look at my results for the week from just excluding breakfast. I dropped 3 pounds in one week! Being a technical guy my next question is how and why. I basically did the same thing as I did in the month of October except now, I just excluded my first meal of the day.
Frist thing I realized is something called the feeding window or time restricted feeding. In a nutshell, it is better to eat within an 8 hour time period than a 12 or 16 hour time period. If I was getting up at 0430 eating for the first time at after the workout, then a late snack at 10 pm. Becuase of the pattern I am well over that 8-hour feeding window.
I have known a couple people who stopped eating snacks after 8 pm and lost weight big time. So the anecdotal evidence is there. There is something to this time restricted eating.
My gut health has never been that great. I notice that my body doesn’t do well with a large meal at night and if I get up 6 hours later. My body never had time to process the food. This can also impact how you sleep. The rule of thumb based on clinical research is not eating 2 hours before bed. We can go into detail about this in a later blog post.
Another factor in this weight loss was how I eat. Just like working out, if we do the same thing over and over again our bodies get accustomed to it. Like the guy who runs the same amount every time on the treadmill. At first, it works great but after about 3 months the results tail off. So he goes longer and more often and still very little results. The issue is, he is no longer tricking his body. His body is saying, DUDE, I know how many calories and how much fat to store based on this so we good. So you have to mix it up. Maybe add a boot camp class or swim some laps. You need to trick your body back into calorie-burning mode.
The same issue can apply to eating and digesting and what we eat. We can get stuck. We have talked about seasonal training and seasonal eating before and it makes sense. My body was like wait, I am not used to going without food till 10:45 am. You are teaching and working out. My glucose is low and I need gas so let’s use a bit of muscle and fat for fuel. This is working great now but in about 3 months my body will adjust and I will probably lose the effect.
On a side note: I had no negative reactions to my workouts from the fasting. I could work out in a fasted state with no strength loss or feel light-headed. Have a protein shake at 10:45 am and go for a run at 12:30 afternoon without issue.
To recap, the fasting helped me in two ways. One it put me into that 8-hour feeding window instead of the 12 I had been going on for years. It also tricked my body into using a new fuel source because I was in a semi-fasted state. Remeber this is just all antidotal. There is research to back this up which we will dive into soon in a later blog post. For now, I will continue to eat this way for the month and see how it goes.
What is interesting about what is happened is I always find that my body likes to store fat as it starts to get colder. August is always my leanest month of the year. I have the data to back that up from my Fitbit scale. If we ever have sat down for a one-on-one consult you would know I have records of what I eat going back 3 or 4 years.
The winter months are always my worst when I get up to 180 + even though I am still working hard at the Gym. So weather must play some factor, it has too, our bodies know what happens when it starts to get cold, there is no food. It is built into our DNA.
All of this made me realize how our approach eating healthy and weight is so out of whack. We forget how our bodies are programmed for thousands of years. We ignore that, fight against it and wonder why nothing is working for us.
So follow along and try it yourself, see what happens. Report back on this site in the comments with your results. I would love to hear from others how it did or did not worked for them.
I was stunned, even my binge meals didn’t throw anything off. I was still on point weight wise. Let’s be honest, this was right after Halloween and even with some candy I was still right on point.