During Lent’s 46 days I was on an intermittent fast, eating only between Noon and 10:00 p.m. So how did it go? Surprisingly easy with only a few minor bumps in the road. Easy, because I never felt deprived or starved. I fully expected hunger pangs and headaches for the first few days, but neither happened.
Weight Loss – About 1 Lbs. Per Week
During the 46 days, I lost 6.2 pounds. But if some of you worry I lost the weight because I starved myself, let me assure you that’s not the case. While I don’t track calories, my diary app – My Fitness Pal – does. On average, I consume between 1,200-1,800 calories a day. During my intermittent fast, I averaged 1,200 – 1,650 calories. Well within the range I normally eat.
The 4 main differences with my diet during Lent?
- No breakfast. I just super-sized my lunch.
- Increase in protein during meals. Rather than my usual 4-5 ounces per meal, I ate 6-8 ounces with my meals.
- No morning snack. Any hunger I might have felt went away with my morning workouts. What really struck me was once again I’d fallen into the old habit of eating due to a schedule rather than real hunger. Grrrr!!!!
- Water, Water, Water! I drank more water in the morning than usual. No surprise there. What did surprise me was the amount (45 ounces). I drank half of my day’s water intake before Noon rolled around. I think I know why I wasn’t hungry in the morning.
A Few Workout Bumps & Bruises
As for the few bumps I experienced, well, I learned the hard way why moderate intensity is important during morning workouts while fasting. Anytime I tried going all out, my body responded with an equal amount of weakness and fatigue.
For weightlifting, I remedied the fatigue by drinking a cup of chicken broth (full sodium) about 30 minutes before my training session. After some research, my husband thought I was sodium depleted. Turns out he was right. The broth gave me the boost I needed so my body didn’t turn into jelly as I lifted weights.
But broth doesn’t fix everything. I learned this the hard way with one Friday morning MOI cycle class. It was Race Day, which meant fast sprints for 60 minutes. About 30 minutes into class my legs had no juice left – something that never happened pre-fasting. When I started class, I was hitting 110-115 RPMs with a high resistance level. By the end I was lucky if I could reach 80 RPM.
Lesson learned. From there on out I focused on low to moderate intensity.
My LCHF Eating Habits Set Me Up For Success
I credit my low carb, high fat way of eating for the ease of transiting to the intermittent fast. There is no way I could have don’t this eating refined and processed carbs (grains, breads, cereal, and anything with added sugar).
Refined and processed carbs breakdown and enter our bloodstream fast. Sure, it gives us a quick energy boost, but it’s followed pretty quickly by a crash (a.k.a. carb coma). So you think you need to eat sooner than you want because you need the energy. Then the blood sugar spike and crash just starts over again.
But since I’m LCHF, the protein and good fats I eat keep my blood sugar levels stable. The food is slow to digest and enters my bloodstream much more slowly than processed carbs. As a result, protein and fat keep me satisfied longer. So going 14 hours (including 8 hours of sleep) without food wasn’t that big of a deal.
Will I Do It Again?
I actually miss my fast, now that it’s over. So much so that I’m continuing intermittent fasting for 3 days of the week. Those days are specifically designated as my low-to-moderate intensity workout days (walking 6-8 miles). The rest of the week my workouts are longer and more intense.
I’m going to need a little more than broth, water, and coffee to power through those tough routines.
Interested In Fasting?
Before trying a fast, I suggest you do your research! Preparation is the key for success. And there is no one right way of intermittent fasting, but lots of wrong ways. Here are some great articles about intermittent fasting to get you started.
- The Beginner’s Guide To Intermittent Fasting (Nerd Fitness)
- How To: Intermittent Fasting (Mark’s Daily Apple – A required morning read)
- Women & Intermittent Fasting (Mark’s Daily Apple – A required morning read)
- Fasting – A History, Part 1 (IntensiveDietaryManagement.com – Becoming a required morning read)
- Fasting – Physiology, Part 2 (IntensiveDietaryManagement.com – Becoming a required morning read)
- New Study: A Low-Carb Diet and Intermittent Fasting Beneficial for Diabetics! (Diet Doctor – A required morning read)
- Minifasting: How Occasionally Skipping Meals My Boost Health (NPR)