If I told myself 2 years ago I wouldn't be eating until 12 pm, I'd never believe it.
IF entails a period of fasting followed by a period feeding. You get to pick your window of eating, 18/6, 16/8, 14/10, basically fasting when you sleep and a feeding 6-10 hours of the day. The majority of us have been told eating breakfast is the most important meal for numerous reasons, not least of which is to “boost the metabolic fire,” recent research has de-bunked this myth. I've done 5-6 meals the majority of my life, so trying IF was a big change. My opinion: Do what works for you.
WHY DID I START INTERMITTENT FASTING?
1. I got tired of meal prepping.
As a personal trainer, I am up at 5:30/6am every day and I don't get a break until 12:00/1:00 pm. Having to prep meals between those hours got old. I decided, let me sip on some coffee or tea until I get a break at home where I can sit and eat a hot meal (cold meals get old too). After slowly progressing from 10:00am to 11:00am then finally 12:00pm, it has really taken off the stress of prepping those extra meals each day. In essence, it works really well with my schedule now.
2. I'm not hungry every morning.
I've been taught to eat breakfast within 30 min to an hour of waking up. Theres nothing wrong with that, but some days I'm not hungry at 6:30am. I would still feel full from the night before. There are days that I get hungry early, but our bodies adapt quickly. Now most days I make it to 12:00 pm or even 1:00 pm easily! Of course, if I really am starving at 10:00 am I will eat something, were all adults, I think we can make that decision for ourselves.
3. Timing my meals gets stressful.
I'm a bit meticulous, so when I tell myself eat every 3 hours, I get too strict and I either force myself to eat at the 3 hour mark or if I can't wait then I feel like I've failed. Gets too mentally draining. And if I go to Costco I'm going to sample ALL the food, so that just doesn't work. Giving myself a window of 8 hours to eat relieves a few things: remembering when my next meal is. Will I make it to the next meal without getting hangry (lord knows I can't be around people when I'm hangry)? Will I be able to time my meals correctly if I attend any social events?
4. Night cravings
I don't know about you guys, but some nights when 10:00 pm hits, my brain says "give me all the carbs and cookies and candies!" I know this craving is derived from being anxious or stressed, so yes I emotionally eat. When I set a window of 12:00-8:00 pm, I can tell myself calm down, and ask are you really hungry or emotionally craving food? Usually the latter.
5. Health benefits
Data shows that IF, when done properly, might help extend life, regulate blood glucose, control blood lipids, manage body weight, gain (or maintain) lean mass, and more. But of course, nothing is definitive.
If you feel stuck in your fitness journey, if you don't like how you're feeling, if you're bored with your meal plan, I encourage you to try IF. Ease into it. Listen to your body. If you need help reach out. I got you :)