What in the World is Intermittent Fasting?

Back last summer, my daughter gave me a book, Delay, Don’t Deny.  The author, Gin Stephens, tells of her experience living an intermittent fasting lifestyle. Looking too much like a challenge, the book remained on my nightstand several months. Not my kind of reading, but since my daughter thought I might benefit from the information, I resisted no longer.

I have experienced a gradual weight gain since menopause and have had little desire to exercise since I broke my leg a couple of years ago. I prefer sitting comfortably in a recliner with a computer on my lap, writing novels, and munching unconsciously on whatever I find in the kitchen.

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We are now into October which will be followed by two solid months of feasting. My vision of pumpkin pies, roasting turkey, Christmas cookies and ham competes with stepping on the scale and experiencing the horror of my weight plummeting while my clothes shrink.

Despite the author’s tendendancy  to repeat herself and “delay” getting to the point, her description of her own years of dieting failures and her success with intermittent fasting, challenged me to try her lifestyle for myself.

Day one (Monday): I didn’t eat until around six pm. At that time, I ate a regular dinner with some carbs, but no dessert. The author warns that when you first begin the regiment, insomnia might be a problem. She was right; I didn’t sleep that night. Instead, I beat a path to the bathroom every hour. 

Day Two: I ate two regular meals and snacked as usual. I felt lethargic and bloated as if I had overeaten. I didn’t sleep any better that night.

Day Three (today): Charlie had PT at 9:00 am, followed by an appointment for lab work for both of us. By the time we came home, the few hours before my eating window opened, propelled me to continue the fast. I had a cup of coffee and resumed my new lifestyle. 

Encouragement to continue the intermittent fasting probably had to do with the trip to the scales this morning. Two pounds lighter and I didn’t feel hungry. Yes, I know the weight reduction could be due to fluid loss, but less fluid feels much better to me than bloating.

My daughter fasts three days a week. The author fasts every day until about four pm when she has a five hour window to eat. Neither my daughter or Gin Stephens “deny” themselves the foods they enjoy; they only “delay” the time until they reach their time to enjoy them. I’m experimenting with a smaller window. I plan to have a snack at four pm, a regular dinner around six pm and nothing afterward. (Oops! The time is now 3:50 pm and I’m not the least bit hungry.) On Thursday evenings, I will extend my window in order to enjoy the snacks at Life Group with my friends.

Because of my borderline diabetes diagnosis, I prefer to eliminate sugar from my diet, except on special occasions. The author gives a lengthy explanation as to why artificial sweeteners (including stevia) do not work. Nothing that even tastes sweet should be eaten during the hours of fasting. She recommends black coffee, unflavored and herbal teas, and water, including sparkling water. She considers a little cream in your coffee, a cup of bone broth or a little coconut oil probably okay. As I write,  I’m enjoying a cup of coffee with a little (probably more than a little) cream. It’s delicious!

Ms. Stephen’s book contains an extensive list of resources that explain the reasoning behind the fasting lifestyle and includes the author’s own story of how other diets have not worked for her. What I found the most compelling had to do with focus. Though I still prepare three meals a day for my husband, I do not feel obsessed with food. I am able to focus more on my relationship with God and my writing. If this continues to work, intermittent fasting will be well worth the effort. 

Though this is my first week of the experiment, I’m making myself vulnerable in hopes that the accountability of my friends and followers will keep me from venturing off course. I still haven’t decided what my plan will look like, but I promise to keep you posted with both my success and failures. Gin Stephens’ book is available on Amazon. I would love for you to join me in this new adventure.