*Post contains affiliate links. This means I will earn a very small percentage of for the sale of that item.
My mom used to say, “Enjoy your skinny body now because once you turn 40, you’re just going to gain weight. All the women in our family are heavy. It’s part of our DNA. You can’t escape it!”
Those were her wise words back in my itty bitty bikini days. Basically, enjoy the skinny now because the fat is going to come. It’s destiny. And, sadly, she was almost right.
When I turned 40, in a matter of a few short years, I gained close to 50 pounds. And, like many women in their 40’s, losing weight was (and still is) not easy. What worked in the days of late nights and long runs, no longer worked for a 40-something mom with two kids, a husband, and a crazy schedule. The rut I was stuck in seemed endless and the thought of “that” DNA making it’s inevitable appearance and taking its hold freaked me the hell out.
Is this really how it’s supposed to be? Was I really destined to be fat?
The usual suspects.
Until I gained 50 pounds, I had never really been in a position to lose a lot of weight. Maybe 5 -7 pounds max? Even after I had my kids in my early and mid-thirties I was able to lose the baby weight by the time both of my kids were 6 months old. Maybe that had to do with breastfeeding and having the time to focus on losing the baby weight? Possibly, but all I know is that during those times in my life, those “early days”, I had a method to weight loss and could, with “some” effort, lose whatever weight I needed to lose pretty quickly.
For me, when I stepped on the scale in my early forties and saw that I had in fact gained 50-pounds, I thought, “I have it. I gained it and now it’s time to get my shit together and get rid of this weight gain.” I got this! Easy peasy. Yeah? Right.
So, I went to work. I went back to the same-same method that had always guaranteed me weight loss success. I tracked my calories, I increased my workouts and I figured, “Meh. Six months and all this weight will be a distant memory”.
I mean, my same-same weight loss solution worked when I needed to lose 5 pounds and it worked when I needed to lose my baby weight, so why wouldn’t it work now, right?
Turns out, my guaranteed weight-loss method was no longer a guarantee. The addition of age, changing hormones and incredible stress made losing weight next to impossible. I was no longer in a stage of life were reducing calories and adding a hard solid workout to my daily routine would guarantee a drop on the scale. The struggle became very real. I felt like my DNA was wrapping it’s nasty hands around my neck and squeezing the life out of me. I felt hopeless. If I could no longer figure out how to lose the weight with “old faithful”, then what in the hell could I do??
Turns out, the change that I needed to make was much simpler that I thought.
Enter: Intermittent Fasting (IF)
In April of 2018 we bought the Peloton. (I will fully admit that I am a Peloton groupie. What can I say? I love that dang bike!) Anyway, at the suggestion of another Pelo-friend, I joined the Peloton Mom’s Page. It’s a really great and supportive group of moms and as you can imagine, several of them had the same issue that I had. They were in their forties, they tried everything to lose the weight, and nothing was working.
As I read through their threads I started to see a pattern. Something new that I had NEVER heard of. I started to see moms suggest intermittent fasting for weight loss. I thought, “FASTING?”, uh, no. No thank you. What do I look like? A monk? But after some time, and as the pounds remained, I figured, “what the heck”, let me check this out.
Turns out, the concept of intermittent fasting for weight loss isn’t difficult at all, in fact, it’s really easy. In a nutshell, you stop eating at a certain time, and then postpone when you start eating the next day.
For example, you could skip breakfast in the morning and start your day with lunch.
GASP! Skip breakfast? I know. Post cereals would be so disappointed to hear that you’re skipping the meal that THEY made the most important meal of the day. (Ugh, marketing made us fat.) Anyway, I bucked the advice of Post and skipped my breakfast.
How I began. 16/8 IF Schedule.
I’ll admit that I didn’t start intermittent fasting right away. I was a little skeptical that it was some sort of “starvation” diet type thing, and skipping breakfast, “who does that?”. I’ve spent the last 25+ years PERFECTING my breakfast. But, the reality was that my body needed a change. I wasn’t in my 20’s anymore, or even my 30’s, and I had to be honest with myself and accept that my body was changing in a way that would be difficult to maintain. I needed to try something new.
So, I started small.
I started IF with what is known as a 16/8 plan. This means that I didn’t eat for 16 hours straight and I’d have an 8-hour eating window. It’s probably the most popular IF schedule and one of the easier schedules to start with. I decided to begin my IF schedule by starting my fast (stop eating) at 7:00 pm at night and would open my eating window (start eating again) at 11:00 am the next morning.
Guess what? It worked! I lost 15 pounds! And, I felt really great! Just by nixng my late-night snack and postponing when I ate in the morning, I completely knocked out my early morning bloat. I felt lighter, had more energy, and just felt really amazing!
I will admit that the adjustment to not eating for 16 hours straight was a bit rough, but it didn’t take long to adjust. I’m an intermittent fasting master now! (Well, usually.)
Now, I talk about all of this at greater length in my FREE 3-Day IF Short Course, but during my first year of IF I pretty much ate what I wanted in my eating window and did not track a thing. Not a calorie. Not a carrot stick. Not a thing. Nothing! I ate what I wanted!
I ate pizza, Jersey Mike’s Subs, French Fries. Nothing was off limits in my eating window.
My average day looked like this:
- 11:00 am – open my eating window with a snack
- 1:00 pm – lunch (usually a Subway 6″ tuna with chips and a cookie)
- 3:30 pm – mid-day snack (if I felt hungry)
- 6:30 pm – dinner
- 6:45 pm – dessert
- 7:00 pm – close window
In terms of the amount I was consuming, it was pretty much the same as before I started IF. The only difference was the timing of when I started eating and when I stopped eating.
Honestly, all I really did was eliminate breakfast and late-night snacks in the first year and saw some pretty amazing results. Crazy!
I was really concerned about working out in the fasted state. I was so concerned that I didn’t work out completely fasted during my first year of IF! I would “dirty” my fast every morning with a pre-workout drink before my workouts. In the “clean fasting world” that’s a big no-no, but I could not wrap my head around working out in a fasted state. I mean, skipping breakfast, sure!, but working out without a fuel supplement? That’s blasphemy, no?! The workout gods would strike me down!!
Ok. It’s just fine to workout completely fasted. Keep on reading, you’ll see.
To date, I have consistently participated in, and still participate in, Power Zone Training challenges on the Peloton. As of the date of this post, I am on a 4 Ride Team so I complete four 45 minute rides per week on the Peloton. The Power Zone rides consist of Endurance, Power Zone, and Power Zone Max rides. Basically, they range from moderately easy to very hard.
So, with no breakfast, and (at the time) a pre-workout supplement, I was completing some pretty serious workouts at 6:00 am throughout the week. All in a (sort of) fasted state.
MUST READ: When can I workout while intermittent fasting?
NOTE: I do want to mention that I was working out on the Peloton before I started IF and saw no changes on the scale. I think it’s important to note that my weight loss catalyst was really incorporating an IF lifestyle.
It took me a few months to get into my IF groove, but once everything was said and done, I was down about 15 pounds. The last time I weighed before IF I weighed 180 pounds. I didn’t track the exact dates, but I know I started IF about August 2018 and I was down 15 pounds by Christmas 2018. That’s a 15 pound weight loss in 3 months! So, even with eating pretty much the same as I had before IF, and some dirty fasting before my workouts, I still lost weight by simply postponing when I ate! I could not believe it!
The Year 1 Plateau.
Like most good things, the losing part of IF came to a standstill. I stopped losing. But, I was no longer gaining and I really felt fantastic, so that was a major IF win.
I rode that plateau for about 9 months until I decided more weight had to go. Soon, in August 2019, I decided it was time to change things up to get that scale moving again. And, the best way to do that as an intermittent faster is to change your IF schedule.
Breaking the Plateau: 18/6 IF Schedule.
Even though I was freaking thrilled with my 15-pound weight loss, I knew that in order to stay ahead of my dreaded DNA, I had to lose more weight. My goal weight is 130 and I was sitting at 165 for months. Since I really loved the IF lifestyle, and knew that IF was working for me, I knew it was time to do a little more research into the why’s and how’s of IF. Like, why does it work so well and how can I make changes to make it work better for me?
Mind-blowing! I’m not going to get into the context of each book in this post, but just know that each book holds a special place in my heart when it comes to my 30 pound weight loss. I highly encourage you to read each book!
I decided to update my IF plan after reading Delay, Don’t Deny. In order to kick start my weight loss again, adjustments needed to be made to my current IF schedule in order to move the dial on my scale in the downward direction. So, I adjusted my current 16/8 schedule to an 18/6 schedule. This would mean that I would extend my daily fasting window by two hours every day and, in turn, shorten my eating window by two hours every day.
Keeping it clean.
Gin is big on the clean fast. If you’re going to fast, you might as well do as clean of a fast as possible to achieve the best possible results. What does this mean? No more pre-workout supplement before my daily workout. No more cream in my morning coffee. No more sweeteners. Black coffee and sparkling mineral water are my new best friends. I consume nothing that will “break” by fast (raise my insulin levels) during my fasting window.
I touch on food more in my Free Short Course, but the reality is that I was still eating too much in my eating window, and what I was eating did not fall into the healthy option category. I was still living by the “eat all the things” IF motto and, while I wasn’t gaining weight, I stopped losing. So, in order to further jump-start my weight loss, I adopted an OMAD (one meal a day) plan within my 18/6 fasting/eating window.
Now, most OMADers wouldn’t consider what I do a bonafide OMAD plan, but I’m cool with that. I only eat one main meal a day, so I consider it OMAD for me. In short, I open my window at 1:00 pm with a small snack, I might have a snack later in the day or when I get home, have a HUGE dinner, and then call it quits. And that’s it!
NOTE: Since adopting an OMAD approach, I’ve become a bit of a food snob about that one main meal that I do eat. Knowing that I only really have one shot everyday to get “all the good things” in, I have taken to cooking (really easy) whole food meals for dinner every night. If I’m only eating one meal a day, what I do eat has got to be good.
Check out: My Favorite OMAD Meals!
Removing the pre-workout supplement from my morning routine was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I still participate in the PZ Challenges and still ride four 45 minute rides per week. The adjustment to working out in the fasted state took about two weeks, but once my body adjusted, it was pretty clear that the pre-workout wasn’t really necessary.
My current pre-workout is black coffee and I have no issues completing my rides. My FTP scores still go up at the end of each PZ challenge, so working out fasted really hasn’t affected my workouts at all!
Read More: Are Fasted Workouts Safe?
Once I made these adjustments, my body shed an additional 15 pounds in about 3 months. This comes to a total weight loss of 30 pounds. Not too bad for someone who doesn’t track a thing!
Where I am right now.
How about that post workout hair, huh?? I’ve got so much freaking class.
Once again I’m sitting atop another plateau, but to be honest, I’m cool with it. Since losing the additional 15 pounds I haven’t been super diligent with my 18-hour fasts, and I might just sorta kinda admit that I’ve been eating too many sweets and processed foods lately, but I still haven’t gained a pound. AND, I still feel great! I take the 30 pounds I have lost as a HUGE win. I don’t intend on dying tomorrow, so I still have time to lose my last 20.
Now, have I beat my hereditary DNA? I think so. My mom has been intermittent fasting and has found weight loss success so, it looks like she too might be able to start distancing herself from our “destined to be fat” family beliefs. And, as I dive further into intermittent fasting, how it works and it’s amazing benefits, I firmly believe that everything we’ve been taught about weight loss is beginning to shift. It really is exciting!
At this point in my game, as a 45-year-old mom to a tween and a teen and as an aging woman who’s struggling with this new transition in life, intermittent fasting has become my anchor. It’s become a lifestyle that I can rely on for health, wellness, and weight loss. When everything else in life is chaos, I know I can rely on the simplicity of intermittent fasting to help keep me centered or…at least, less bloated!
The Intermittent Fasting Toolkit!
Check out my Intermittent Fasting Toolkit! This very simple toolkit has everything from the books I read to understand intermittent fasting, to the simple tools for my fast and my feast. Check it out!
- Read my post I Gained 10 Pounds While Intermittent Fasting and the steps I’m taking to lose that weight!
- Visit my Intermittent Fasting Schedules Defined post to learn more about intermittent fasting schedules that will work for you!
- Intermittent Fasting Side Effects? There are some. Read about 6 Funky Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting.
- Need help getting through a challenging fast? Head over to my 4 Tips to Get You through a Challenging Fast post.
Like it, Pin it!
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.