The IF Experiment
First, a brief history. I’ve been following Weight Watchers (now WW) plans since I was 25 years old. I lost 70 pounds between 2005 and 2008, then regained it all, plus some. In 2014, at 246 pounds, I started over, and over the next 3 years, I lost a whopping 90 pounds. I managed to maintain that for a year, but the weight started to come back on in the fall of 2018. By January of 2020, I was back in the 200s. It seemed like an endless, vicious cycle of failure, and I felt like I would never get to my weight goal!
In the summer of 2020, a friend suggested I research intermittent fasting. At first, I balked at the idea of skipping meals. Then, after reading about the Lean Gains method (16-hour fasts, 8 hours eating), I decided to try it. After all, if people do it to gain muscle, hey, it’s worth a shot. For 2 weeks in July, I would eat at 7am and stop at 5pm. I didn’t get hungry…in fact, I felt great!
Why I stopped, I don’t remember. In September, I picked up one of those $2 women’s magazines at the grocery store–you know, the ones that tout the latest weight-loss craze on the cover. When I got it home, lo and behold, the cover story was about intermittent fasting! The author recommended a book called Fast, Feast, Repeat by Gin Stephens, so I ordered it from Amazon.
If you’re curious about the IF lifestyle, I highly recommend reading this book! The author is a former elementary school teacher, who breaks down a lot of scientific jargon into layman’s terms, wading through tons of evidence of how IF works wonders for your body. Needless to say, a lightbulb went on when she explained how we can lose touch with our bodies’ hunger signals if our hunger hormones are out of whack.
I had been following WW’s green plan all summer, and I’d had both good and bad weeks. I was bingeing on occasion, but not from anything emotional. I was just so hungry, and I couldn’t stop eating junk food, even though I knew it was wrong. It just tasted SO GOOD!
So, as I started reading Fast, Feast, Repeat, I renewed my commitment to the IF lifestyle AND simultaneously tracking my WW Points. My new plan was called WWIF. Or maybe it’s called TREWW (Time Restricted Eating Weight Watchers).
Anyway, I’ve been following WWIF for over a month now. I have lost 13 pounds, my sugar cravings are GONE, my desire to binge is GONE, and I feel like I’m more in tune with my body’s hunger and fullness signals than ever!
Last Friday, I thought I’d treat myself to a pizza from our local Weis. A whole pepperoni pizza, I figured, would last me the whole weekend…and it DID! When I brought it home, I ate ONE slice for lunch, and I was satisfied! Before IF, I’d just keep going until I was miserably stuffed (and I wouldn’t track the Points either).
Of course, with such exciting results, I’ve been more than happy to share my IF experience with, well, everyone! However, it seems most people have the same initial reaction as I had. They don’t think they can go X amount of time without eating or drinking something other than water, black coffee or unsweetened tea. I get it! I had to give up chewing gum and drinking zero-calorie flavored water during my fasting hours.
We’ve been convinced for years that our bodies will go into “starvation mode” if we don’t eat every few hours. Actually, it’s when we STOP eating that our bodies burn FAT! I learned that when our bodies release insulin as we’re eating, it stops burning fat.
Oh yeah, and the Bible mentions fasting (a lot), so if God designed it, well, it’s got to be good for us, right? Our bodies are designed to withstand periods when food is less plentiful. We didn’t always have the conveniences we have today (thank you, farmers!). Humans used to have to physically hunt and gather their food. Sometimes, there wasn’t enough, but their bodies provided energy through fat to keep them going another day to hunt and gather some more.
Not a Christian? No problem! All the other major religions support fasting too.
(Getting off soapbox)
Stay tuned as I continue on my WWIF journey!