The Art of Mom Hacking

How Intermittent Fasting Works For Me & Why Anyone Can Lose Weight With It

I’ve really struggled with my weight over the last few years. I could try to blame the baby but, if we’re being honest, the scale was already telling the sad tale before I got pregnant. Plus, he’s wicked cute so I can’t just go around blaming him for things.

Here’s a shameless mommy picture included for the sole purpose of showing off my baby.

I digress. When I finally got my act together and decided it was time to do something about it, I managed to make some great changes and accomplish things that I didn’t even expect.

Even though I was doing a lot of great exercise, quit drinking altogether and made a number of other positive, healthy changes – I was still fat.

I already knew what the answer was.  The key is in the kitchen.

As much as I wanted to believe that I could run until the weight peeled off, the metabolism of my youth was officially gone.  If I want to fit in my pants, I have to do it by changing my eating habits.  I tried a few different strategies, including the popular Keto diet.  This actually worked for me temporarily, but was really hard to maintain anytime my routine changed with travel or work.  Plus, even though my cravings diminished a ton, there were still a million different ways to screw it up and set myself all the way back.

I needed a lifestyle change that I could maintain anywhere, under any circumstance.

A friend told me that she was trying out intermittent fasting.  There are a couple of different ways to do it.  The style I follow is something called 16/8.  I follow a specific set of rules that I created for myself to make it easy to follow and not feel too restrictive, so if you’d like to read about the traditional method or other types of IF, Healthline has a full beginners guide.

Here’s the ruleset that works for me –

  1. No eating before noon.  This can be a little flexible.  If everyone is having lunch together at 11am, that’s totally fine.  I use this as a guideline and the general idea is to wait until lunch.
  2. Drink tons of water, especially in the mornings. I don’t know how many times I’ve blownoff this rule and suddenly lost my ever-loving mind with it.  There are a bunch of reasons to drink water, not the least of which is feeling full longer and eating less junk to fill the void of dehydration.
  3. No food after dinner (or after dessert because you bet I’ll have dessert if I want it).  Evening snacking is my nemesis, along with the existence of Lucky Charms.
  4. Track your food.  It’s way easier to keep calories down without even thinking about it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t accidentally go over.  I try to always use my FitBit to make sure that my calories in are lower than my calories out.
  5. Nothing Is Completely Off Limits.  Obviously, a healthy diet is about more than just keeping calories low and maintaining a good weight.  Nutrients and health benefits of a variety of foods obviously plays a part.  Now that I’ve said that, eat your cake if you want it.  Just be ready to adjust the rest of your day to suit that decision.  The beauty of this rule is that you can’t screw up in a way that makes you just throw the whole plan away and decide to eat 3 cheeseburgers before you vow to start again tomorrow.
  6. Incorporate Exercise.  I don’t care what you do, but do.  I took my daughter to an outdoor mall square one time for her birthday.  All we did was walk at a normal pace between stores for a few hours.  Would you believe that I was sore the next day???  That was unacceptable.  We are made to move and if I had stayed on that path I would certainly have died too young.
  7. Avoid Drinks With Calories.  Per rule 5, nothing is off limits.  However, calorie laden drinks are a waste as far as I’m concerned.  If I’m going to ingest calories, I want to feel full from it.  I can get the same fullness from a drink with water that I can from juice without having to give up 11 Doritos.  This is your call.  In the next bit, you’ll see that I do add honey to my tea once a day for other health reasons.  While fasting, I’ll sometimes also drink a diet soda.  The carbonation helps me feel full for a while if I’m struggling.  The one exception I’ll make here is for a glass of milk.  On Keto I felt like I missed milk SO badly and I don’t think you should ever feel deprived, especially if it’s something good for you.
  8. Drink Hot Tea. In the mornings, I drink Lemon Ginger Tea.  At first, I only did it because I happened to have some in the pantry and the warm drink almost felt like eating a meal (think soup).  Later, I found out that it’s actually super good for you.  Lemon ginger tea helps with digestion, immunity, cardiovascular heath and reduces inflammation.  Apparently it even helps to treat asthma, which I don’t have but it’s cool anyway.  Now I add a teaspoon of local honey because I’ve heard that it helps beat allergies.  Just don’t forget to log the 60 calories.  The exception to the drinks with calories rule seems worth the benefit to me.

I gave you the how, but you’re probably wondering why I suddenly think all of this is easier to follow than the last time you started a diet.  Plus, outside of the hours it doesn’t really look all that different from a regular diet recommendation.  Well, the smaller eating window means you essentially just have less time to eat.  Also, after the first day or two I started to realize that by the time I ate lunch I wasn’t hungry enough to even eat as big a lunch as I normally would.

The time of day that I tend to have the most issues is after dinner when I start snacking.  I’m often downstairs cleaning up around the kitchen or doing something with the kids and those damn Lucky Charms are in there.  With IF, I have a hard and fast rule that says I can have dessert, but once I’m done at the dinner table it’s game over.

Pro-Tip:  I did notice that when I have a carb heavy day my hunger the following day seems to be more prominent during the fasting period.

I love carbs and I will never give them up again, but it is worth mentioning that keeping the percentage of carbs a bit on the lower side seems to make the fast mornings easier.

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