Micro-habit: How I lost 12 lbs in 6 weeks - My experience with intermittent fasting
What is intermittent fasting?
It's more of a lifestyle change rather than a diet.
Intermittent fasting is not eating for 16-18 hours per day to stimulate fat burning while maintaining muscle tissue and strength. This is my personal favorite right now and might just go against anything you've heard about fitness and nutrition. For the past 6 weeks I've been intermittent fasting six days per week and lost 12 lbs in the process. I've tried quite a few different diets including 6 small meals, atkins, etc. This was the most effective and this is why I'm writing this post.
In this blog post you will learn how I used intermittent fasting over 6 week period with a low-carb and no sugar Paleo diet (caveman diet) to lose 12 pounds. I won't go into Paleo but you can see the wikipedia post here. I also did 20 minutes of cardio (spinning or running) 1x per week with weight training 5 days a week.
Sidenote: This is more personal and my first "health" post . Not selling anything here, just sharing my experience and hoping it may be helpful to you. This is a specific "weight loss strategy" that has worked for me at no cost. It is essentially a micro-habit that you can build. A micro-habit is something you can start small and gain small wins to grow into a long-term habit. Once it's a habit it will become effortless.
- 6 hour eating window + 18 hours straight fasting
2. Schedule Breakdown for the 6 weeks on intermittent fasting:
- Fasting: 8 pm to 2 pm the following day -- 18 hours total
- Eating Window: 2-8 pm -- 6 hours total
- Meals: high protein with chicken breast, salads, (2) Optimum Whey Protein shakes, etc. No rice, sugar, dairy, or grain.
- Paleo fast food options: Wendy's, Burger King, or McDonald's side salad with chicken nuggets chopped up or $1-$2 chicken sandwich with no mayo, throw away the bread and chop up the chicken to sprinkle in salad.
- Workout: 30 minutes of weight training 5x per week. Cardio 20 mins 1x per week.
3. Is it easy?
If you've fasted longer than 8 hours without eating or drinking this is much easier. For me, the first few 5 days were the most difficult. However, after getting used to it and building the micro-habit, I started seeing increased focus and energy during work. My body didn't have to break down food in the morning. Also, strange as it sounds, I felt a sense of relief that I didn't have to stress each day on making decisions to line up healthy meals through out the day.
4. Can I drink water when I intermittent fast?
For intermittent fasting, during fasting hours you can drink water, coffee, and tea only. Try to avoid drinks or foods that have sugar or 50+ calories - this will spike your blood-sugar levels and you will not benefit from the metabolism boost from fasting. In reality our bodies store body fat to save for leaner times and converts fat to energy.
5. What were the results?
I lost 12 total pounds in 6 weeks. This could be higher for fat pounds but the 12 pounds include gaining lean muscle. I had 1 cheat day per week, usually reserved for Saturday or Sunday.
6. Why did you start?
I have a high metabolism but I was eating carbs, foods with sugar, and still going to the gym. I felt "skinny fat lean" and needed to shed those last few pounds and this was the one thing that worked for me. I feel I can do this long-term and know a few people who have been doing it for 2 years straight. Since everyone is so busy, it's easy to skip breakfast and grab a coffee. I've tried various workouts and cardio. I found a mixture of IM and a high protein paleo diet to be the easiest and best natural fit for my lifestyle therefore being the most effective.
Protip #1: You can try working out then waiting an hour before eating to maximize benefits of fat burning.
Protip #2: In addition to intermittent fasting, extending your fast to 18-30 hours between meals 1x per week stimulate fat loss while maintaining muscle and strength.
Below is an infographic with a simple overview: