I successfully fasted yesterday. As you recall from a previous post, I was up 4 pounds and was worried the trend would continue. I did a 36-hour fast where I eat dinner one day and resume eating the next. While I am not always good at keeping my dinners at 500 calories, I think fasting does more than create a calorie deficit for me on one day. When I am fasting, I usually have less tolerance for over-eating at other meals. It also just feels somewhat cleansing to have less salt and waste floating around in my body for a day.
Here are some observations I was able to make during my first fast on Whole 30:
- It was easier! Intermittent fasting, for the past three years, has allowed me to eat whatever I want 80% of the time while maintaining my weight. It is mentally freeing, because if I don’t want to, I don’t need to watch what I eat on five days of the week. Because of that, I ate a lot of junk and I was a slave to cravings. Especially on my fast days, I might eat at 5 or 6 pm, and then by bedtime I wanted a bag of M&Ms. And sometimes I would have it. Yesterday, I was at my boyfriend’s daughter’s volleyball tournament all day and did not get home until 7pm. I was able to ward off some jitters with water and black coffee, and I was fine. I had a whole 30-compliant 500 calorie meal and went to bed. So, fewer cravings and I was able to keep from eating until quite late in the day. It was a good fast day.
- I couldn’t use my normal fasting “tools.” Another reason I’ve been feeling bad about the direction my health has gone since getting my weight under control with fasting is the crap I put into my body on fast days to distract myself from food. I will chew a whole pack of sugar free gum and have two diet sodas to keep myself feeling full and satisfied until dinner time. Since none of these are allowed on the Whole 30, I focused on taking in plenty of water, and had a cup of coffee later in the afternoon when I was feeling cold and a little antsy. I know you are not supposed to drink coffee after noon, but I routinely break this rule to function.
- I slept really well. Another problem with fasting for me has been sleep. I will often have trouble falling asleep because I am hungry, or I will wake up in the middle of the night and need a snack to be able to sleep. This has not impacted my weight significantly as far as I can tell (I am happy with where I am!) but it takes away from the true spirit of fasting. I was behind on sleep because of work, and then had the all-day volleyball tournament, so I am happy to report I slept nearly 12 hours last night…that never happens!!
I will give it a few more fast days before I write about my insights on taking up fasting. I generally think it is hard to start whole 30 and continue fasting–it was helpful that I gave it up for 2 weeks. I also think people starting fasting for the first time ever may need to max out their weight loss on whole 30 first, as I was already maxed out on weight loss from fasting. Slow and steady is really the name of the game.