I am finally back in Boston. It’s a new week and the extra cookies and bottles of champagne from last week are in the past! I’m moving forward from my not-so smooth introductory week of intermittent fasting. If you missed that post, you can find it HERE.
Here’s the overview of weeks 2 and 3 of my transition into the intermittent fasting lifestyle. I’m also including what worked well and things that didn’t work so well. This way I can focus on and improve those areas in the future and provide insight for any of you who are interested in intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting: Week 2
Morning wake-ups are getting a tiny bit easier. By tiny bit, I mean ever so slightly. Maybe I hit snooze one less time. Maybe… I don’t think I’ll ever be a morning person, but I am definitely crushing my morning water intake goal (about 16 ounces) with a pinch of sea salt as soon as I get up.
My eating window has been fairly consistent. I start eating anywhere between 11:30 am and 12:30 pm depending on when I get a lunch break. #hospitallife can be unpredictable.
I’ve been focusing on drinking my apple cider vinegar and water concoction before officially starting my eating window. So far, my stomach has handled it quite well. For reference: I use 1 tablespoon ACV in 6 ounces of water, and I tolerate it well.
I had a really busy day mid-week and accidentally left my lunchbox and meal-prepped food on the counter when I rushed out the door. Not good!
I knew I wasn’t going to make it back home before my eating window closed, so I ended up grabbing a poke bowl for dinner.
I was ‘picky’ about my ingredients, chose healthy toppings, and limited my sauces. I even managed to stay within my 8 hour eating window, but it was decidedly not a good choice.
I woke up Thursday morning with horrible a stomachache. I’m talking cramps, bloating etc. I’ll spare you the details, but if you need a quick meal, maybe don’t opt for poke!
In addition to GI upset, that morning, I was also surprisingly super hungry by like 10 am. My keto-coffee was not holding me over. Luckily we had a busy surgery schedule at work and I powered through until lunch at 12:45 pm.
The rest of the week was well balanced with regard to hydration and keeping my meals lean and as “close to nature” as possible.
My basic meal overview:
Meal one is usually larger in size. I typically eat kale and leafy greens with beans or another side of protein.
Meal two is typically a nut-based porridge. It’s smaller than meal one, so more of a snack size. I add raspberries and almond milk to the nuts and pop it in the microwave for a few seconds.
I have found that I am ravenous by the time I get home most days (around 6 pm) so I’ve been adjusting the amount of protein and fats in my meals. I typically eat mainly nuts and avocado as my healthier options for fats. I am still testing things out so it’s a work in progress.
Meal three is usually my ‘dinner’ meal. I opt for lean protein and steamed veggies or a baked veggie tray with seasonings. I almost always have kombucha with my dinner.
So, week 2 wasn’t that bad overall. I made some positive changes since week one. I was able to find new recipes that worked well and modified a few others to fit my needs.
Onto Week 3. This week my intermittent fasting protocol improved even further.
Intermittent Fasting: Week 3.
I had a hair appointment after work on Tuesday and decided to shift my eating window later in the day. I was meeting girlfriends at the salon and we were having dinner and bubbles while we got our hair done. If you haven’t done this before, I highly recommend it! It was such a fun time.
I successfully shifted my eating window until 1:30 pm without issue. The one tip that made a huge difference: That morning I added a tablespoon of ghee and tablespoon of MCT oil to my coffee (instead of the usual 1 teaspoon I had been using). I think the increased ‘serving size’ and increased fat intake in the morning was the perfect combo to hold me over until my eating window started.
On Thursday I woke up with a massive headache. I’m talking ‘head pounding’ and ‘intense pressure with every movement I made’ kind of headache. I honestly doubt it was from the single glass of bubbles I consumed the previous night, but who knows?
I wasn’t sure of the rules or protocol for over-the-counter medications like Advil or Tylenol and if either would break my fast. In the absence of direction, I did my best to just push though.
I drank a lot of water with an extra pinch of sea salt (in case it was a hydration issue). I also made myself a large keto-coffee (in case I needed the caffeine for the headache). Neither worked.
Finally, at 10 am, and facing a schedule full of cases and patients, I caved. I took some Advil and opened the eating window super early. Just in case my body needed food.
In retrospect, maybe that wasn’t the best choice.
My headache did subside with the medication, but I was so hungry. I found myself grazing at the break room table which is something I usually easily avoid.
I ended up eating a donut and a mini cupcake. So much for my no sugar plans that day. I chalked it up as a loss and moved on.
Planning to do better tomorrow, I did ensure I stopped eating at least 3 hours before bed and I got in my required hydration for the day. A small win in my book!
The rest of the week was unremarkable. I found myself able to stick to my eating window (most days) and had a chance to look up some guidance regarding supplements and timing during intermittent fasting.
From what I found, it seems if there is no gelatin or anything in the capsule or medication that would simulate a starch or kick-start the digestion process, then it’ is OK to consume during your fasting period. Depending on your goals with intermittent fasting, this may or may not hold true for you. Do your research and see what aligns with your goals.
The overview from two more weeks of intermittent fasting:
Things I’ve learned:
- Quantity is just as important as quality! More food for the first meal is the way to go. It helps me stay full longer once the eating window opens.
- Ensure your first meal is higher in protein and also contains some fat to keep you satiated.
- Eating fruits or a banana as part of your first meal may not be ideal. The natural sugars upset my stomach too much. I have been able to work these in to my meals later in the day without issue.
- Kombucha (during your eating window) helps me curb cravings for sweets as the evening hours approach.
Things to improve for the coming weeks:
- More efficient meal prepping is a must! I spent almost the entire day on Monday meal prepping. Surely I can streamline more efficiently. Stay tuned.
- Also not leaving your food on the counter helps. Maybe a post it by the door would help ensure I don’t rush out the door without my meals.
- A headache is not an excuse to break a whole day of IF *and* over-indulge in sweets. That’s basically sabotaging your efforts. No more sugar free for alls for this girl!
- Move my body! I need to focus on workouts outside of my knee focused physical therapy, especially if I want to take advantage of intermittent fasting for toning and sculpting.
That’s the most recent update on how my IF journey has been going. Each day I find something I am doing well and making a new habit (like getting up early and hitting my hydration goals). There’s absolutely still room to grow and work to be done in order to be more consistent.
I do have a plan and a mini roadmap to keep me on track for next week! I hope these diary entries are both relatable and helpful for your intermittent fasting journey!
Stay tuned for more intermittent fasting updates.
Have you tried Intermittent Fasting? Any tips that helped you really stick to the 8/16 window? I’d love to hear your thoughts!