Monday, July 22, 2019

Weight Loss & Intermittent Fasting

I went back and forth on posting this for awhile. The thing is, anytime I talk about weight or body image, I feel like I'm inviting people to roll their eyes at me. I know I weigh less than the "average" American woman and wear smaller sizes. I know that it's not "in" to care about your weight and what you look like. But the truth is, we all have our optimal bodyweight and size where we are happiest, and this is my blog so...I'm going to post about it. This post isn't about anyone else's size or body but my own, and just because I have hangups about mine doesn't mean I'm judging people who look different than I do.

If you want to roll your eyes, that's fine. No one's forcing you to read this. But it's important to me, so I'm going to write about it.

Since mid-June or so, I have been practicing some form of intermittent fasting, specifically a modified "Leangains" method.
Here's the thing: I don't really believe a lot of the hype around IF health benefits, but I have noticed some anecdotal pros to eating this way for myself personally.
Honestly, this all sounds fake to me.
I first started IF because in the summer I sleep pretty late anyway, so waiting to have breakfast until after 10am came naturally. Because I'd already been following a heathier diet since late May and had already seen some results, I decided to make the whole "late breakfast" thing more purposeful. I had already been "dieting" (for lack of a better term) for two weeks and had lost two pounds when I started.

Matt and I tend to finish dinner around 9pm, sometimes later in the summer depending on when I get home from my runs. I've pushed breakfast back to 12pm, although some days I'll eat an hour earlier or later depending on how I feel. I'm not being very strict about the whole thing. Surprisingly, I've discovered I can run on an empty stomach in the morning without any problem, too.

The payoffs I've personally seen are:
  1. I don't feel hungry when I first wake up. 
  2. I'm not dealing with nearly as much bloating as I usually do. 
  3. I'm drinking more water (and tea).
  4. I've been able to continue my weight loss and maintain my new weight, which until just recently was my "steady weight" that I'd been at for literally 10 years.
  5. When I have a day of overindulgence - like that weekend in Captiva when I ate donuts and cupcakes Steph brought from Parlour Bakery and then had a huge serving of coconut ice cream - it's much easier to get back to healthy eating without feeling like I've derailed all my progress. 
I've mentioned in a previous post, briefly, that I successfully lost about six pounds this summer and have honestly felt like an entirely new person. I had really resigned myself to the whole "when you hit 30 your body just changes" thing, which is probably partially true, but I'm feeling more energized and confident than I have in awhile. 

I was so unhappy when I ran the SUP & Run 5k because my skirts weren't fitting and I just felt sluggish and awful. It was that weekend that I decided to change my eating habits, and I've been really successful. Adding some semblance of intermittent fasting has helped me stick to those new eating habits.
Here is a "before" picture - it was taken a week after the SUP & Run race and I had already started eating healthier.
It feels really, really good to be back to my usual weight and for all my clothes to fit again.

Now, all these positives could obviously also just be due to eating more balanced, healthy meals and cutting way down on junk food and mindless snacking, but I think it's a combination.
I can see a difference, even if it's slight, and I feel so much better and more confident.
I'm hoping that as I transition into the school year (I go back today!), I can keep this habit up. It'll make my morning routine much faster, so I'll get more sleep, and I'll be able to continue to see the positive results.

Right now, this is working for me. It feels sustainable physically and mentally. If it stops working, I'll change it up. And that's that on that.



  1. Congrats Ali! 6 pounds when you don't have a lot of weight to lose is a major achievement. Maintaining a healthy weight doesn't just happen by magic, there's a process behind it and I'm so glad that you shared with us.

  2. Good post! I have been toying with giving this a try. I stop eating at 8:00 pm and found it helps me maintain. Six pounds on shorties (like us!) is really quite a lot of weight, and makes a big difference when we gain/lose them. As long as I can have my coffee in the am!

    1. I remember when for awhile you wouldn't eat after 7pm or so...way back before intermittent fasting was a thing. I think you invented it!

      But also, you don't have any weight to lose! I already feel like you're going to blow away in a strong breeze!

  3. Wow, thank you for posting this! I had this conversation with two different groups of friends recently. It's like, it's somehow "not okay" to talk about our desire to lose weight. Or, if we bring it up, someone will say that we have an eating disorder or that we are in danger of "triggering" a response in someone who has an eating disorder. I would never want to be hurtful toward someone who has a serious disease, but it seems that we have somehow lost our ability to have a discussion! So, THANK YOU! I've been curious about IF and I learned a lot. How do you time your eating with your running? Maybe I should write something about my own weight loss struggles.

    1. I feel like...I don't want to always discuss food, dieting, weight loss, etc, every time I see friends. It's hard to be a woman and not be inundated with that mindset, and I'm one of those people who hates hearing about it all the time. Working with kids, I especially curb how I talk about food/weight when there are listening ears. Things can lead to unhealthy territory quickly. That's why I put a little disclaimer on this post. I don't want anyone to read it who is trying to avoid diet talk. I respect that!

      That said, I feel like my blog is a good place for me to talk about it, because people can partake in the discussion if they want, but I'm not just interrupting a lunchroom full of colleagues and making them feel guilty in some way about their meals. It's been amazing to see so much engagement on this topic! I think you're right that people are looking for a welcoming outlet to discuss these things.

      I usually run in the evening, after I've broken the fast, and the few times I've run in the morning (pre-food, but around 9am) were at the gym. I've done up to 5 miles fasting at a decent pace and felt fine. I think my body could handle an outdoor morning run while fasting if it weren't too humid out, because humidity compounds every issue when running! But really, my runs have actually been really solid since starting this diet and since adding in IF!

      I'd love to read about your thoughts on weight loss and what you've been struggling with. It's nice to have some solidarity.

  4. I've always found this sort of intermittent fasting to resemble healthier eating - eat when it's light out and sleep/get ready to sleep when it's dark out. We've had to extend and transform the hours because of our modern lifestyle (I couldn't go to bed at 8 p.m. even if I wanted to - I'm doing after-dinner dishes at 8 p.m.!), but I don't think there's a nutritionist on the planet who'd say eating after 9 p.m. is particularly good for you. I understand your conundrum; I too would like to lose a couple of pounds I've gained, but I know that nobody wants to hear "skinny bitches" complain about their weight. I think a blog is the PERFECT place to talk about it -- this is YOUR forum! And in the end, the part that made me smile was reading that you *feel* better now. :)

    1. You bring up SUCH an interesting point...grazing on high-calorie foods while watching hours of nighttime TV is probably where a lot of people put on their extra weight. I hadn't really connected that to the invention of the lightbulb and the modern era but I think you're onto something.

      You hit the nail on the head with the "skinny bitches" bit. I don't want to make people feel bad about whatever their bodily choices are, but my struggles are real, too, and sometimes you just gotta air them!

      And yes, I do feel so, so much better these days. I hadn't realized how bad I felt - emotionally, physically, mentally - until the weight started to come off and suddenly I felt more energized and so much happier.

  5. No rolling eyes here! Congrats! Accomplishments are accomplishments and you should be proud--especially they make you feel physically and emotionally better. It can be awful to feel bad about yourself, and you shouldn't feel the need to justify yourself to society to take steps to feel better about yourself. To be clear, I've always thought you looked great; but I'm happy that you're happy!

    1. You're the sweetest, Jesse <3 Thank you! Yes, it was frustrating to feel so bad...and to kind of not realize how bad I was feeling or what the root cause was. I felt like "I'm a healthy weight so feeling sluggish can't be that", but I realize now that the extra few pounds were exactly the issue.