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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.
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?
In this post, I will briefly review how I gained 50 pounds, why my “usual” weight loss plan did not work and what steps I took to lose 30 pounds with intermittent fasting.
While it seemed like my weight gain appeared overnight, the reality is it took 2-3 years to gain 50 pounds.
Family life, stress, chaos, and not taking any time for myself, gave me no time to focus on what was taking place. TIme to SEE that I was gaining actual weight.
When I finally had a moment to breathe, a moment to actually step back and to take stock, I was up 50 pounds.
It was shocking.
I had worked my entire life to escape the destiny that was laid out before me when I was young, of my “fat DNA”.
Was this how it was going to be?
I decided that the answer to that question would be, NO. I would not allow that prophesy to see the light of day.
Resorting to “Old Faithful”.
Before I dive into the steps that I took to accomplish my intermittent fasting results, a 30-pound weight loss, I want to touch base on a few methods that I used in an effort to lose my 50 pounds, methods that has worked for me in the past, and why those methods didn’t work.
Method #1: Weigh, track, and count with Weight Watchers (WW).
In my 20s, when I was feeling a little puffy and my pants were getting a little snug, I would hit up my WW tools, implement the program, and very quickly lose the puff.
Weight Watchers in my 20s was easy and it kept me honest. It was my go-to weight loss plan to lose what little that I needed to lose at that time.
Like in my 20s, in my 30s, I turned to WW to lose weight.
I used WW to lose my baby weight with two separate pregnancies and once again, I found incredible success using the tools that WW provided.
Sadly, in my 40s I found following the program to be a challenge. A program that used to be so simple to follow had become so incredibly hard to maintain, at least for me.
It was frustrating.
What could be the problem? Why could I not find the same success with WW in my 40s than I did in my 20s and 30s? What made following this program, a program that worked for in the past, so very different this time around?
The answer was simple.
Why it didn’t work.
When I entered my 40s, I entered a phase of my life where my kids were getting older, my commute had gotten longer, and the chaos of my everyday life intensified.
Weighing, tracking, and counting food was the very last thing that I wanted to think about when faced with an already crazy day.
I needed simple and WW was no longer simple, for me.
Method #2: Workouts intensified.
As with my WW success, I had found incredible success just by slightly intensifying my workouts.
It was common for me to pick up my pace on the treadmill, on the bike or on the floor, as another go-to method to keep my weight in line.
Like my WW success, intensifying my workouts just didn’t cut it when I turned 40.
Why it didn’t work?
You can’t work off bad food choices.
I was eating all day, and while I thought that my food choices were healthy, they were not healthy enough to burn off with an intense workout.
Prior to finding intermittent fasting, I thought that my DNA had won. I thought that my body was doing what I was told it would do and that, maybe, it was time to throw in the towel. To accept the new body I was living in.
After weighing, tracking, counting, sweating a lot, and seeing no success, I thought that I was destined to, not only be overweight but to continue to gain weight well into my later years.
Was there even an easy way to lose weight that would fit into my life as a 40-year-old mom to two kids?
Yes. Yes there was.
Enter Intermittent Fasting.
Just when I thought all was hopeless, I ran across a post on the Peloton Mom’s FB page from a group of women that were very much like me. They were in their 40s, their go-to weight loss programs were no longer working, and they were desperate to find an easy solution that would work.
In that post, I found a common theme: intermittent fasting.
While the idea of “fasting” didn’t appeal to me, I too was desperate and figured “What the heck. It’s worth a shot!”
Losing my first 15 pounds with intermittent fasting.
I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical that intermittent fasting was some sort of “starvation” diet type thing, and skipping breakfast and (maybe) lunch, “who does that?”, did not seem like a reasonable solution to my problem, but I gave it a shot anyway. 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 decided to give intermittent fasting a try.
Choosing my schedule.
The first step that I needed to start my intermittent fasting journey with was to identify what my intermittent fasting schedule I wanted to implement. Intermittent fasting is all about the WHEN, the fasting and eating schedule, and less about the WHAT (the food).
Intermittent Fasting Schedules – Intermittent fasting schedules are broken up into two simple parts, the fast and the feast (eating window). If you are following a 24 hour fast/feast schedule, your schedule will be broken up so that the total fast + feast time will equal 24 hours.
- 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule: 16 + 8 = 24
- 18/6 intermittent fasting schedule: 18 + 6 = 24
- 20/4 intermittent fasting schedule: 20 + 4 = 24
- 22/2 Intermittent fasting schedule: 22 + 2 = 24
I chose to start my intermittent fasting lifestyle with what is known as a 16/8 intermittent fasting plan.
This schedule will have me fasting (not eating or consuming drinks that will “break” my fast) for 16 hours, and allows an eating window of 8 hours. This schedule is probably the most popular intermittent fasting schedule and one of the easier schedules to start with.
My schedule when I first began looked like this:
- 7:00 PM – Close eating window.
- 11:00 AM – (following day) open eating window.
- Rinse and repeat.
This schedule had me fasting from 7:00 PM at night until 11:00 AM the following morning.
While it was difficult to not eat for a full 16 hours in the early days on intermittent fasting, by body soon adapted and the fast became second nature.
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, carrot stick, not a thing.
I focused completely on the fast and reaching 16 straight hours in a fasted state.
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 intermittent fasting results. Crazy!
Intermittent Fasting Results with 16/8.
It worked! I lost about 15 pounds in three months of intermittent fasting. There was no weighing, tracking, or counting. I focused on consistently completing a successful fast and eating only during my designated eating window.
You can’t get easier than that!
NSV (non-scale victories).
While the weight loss was great, it wasn’t the only benefit that I experienced during this time.
Some other amazing benefits that I experienced were:
- Less bloating
- Increase in alertness
- Reduced inflammation, asthma symptoms reduced
- Increase in immunity
While NSVs may vary, it became very clear to me that intermittent fasting was so much more than a weight loss plan.
Intermittent fasting is a health and wellness plan that can carry you well into your later years.
Losing my next 15 pounds with intermittent fasting.
Shortly after losing my first 15 pounds with intermittent fasting, I hit a plateau. That plateau lasted about 9 months (or so).
While it was a little discouraging, I wasn’t that discouraged. I knew that intermittent fasting worked for this post-40-year-old woman (I just lost 15 pounds!), so I was confident that it would work to lose my remaining weight.
At this point it was time to take a step back and to determine WHY I hit that plateau.
It didn’t take long for me to determine that I experiencing homeostasis.
It became clear to me that my body had gotten used to my intermittent fasting schedule and the food that I was consuming. My body was onto me and made changes to slow my process and stall my weight loss.
Thanks a lot, homeostasis.
So, as an intermittent faster, how would I break this type of plateau?
Change it UP!
Using intermittent fasting to break my plateau.
Fortunately, when it comes to intermittent fasting, finding a solution to break a plateau is simple.
A few options that I could explore were:
- Check my fast (is it clean?)
- Change my schedule
- Check my food
I decided to change my schedule to get the scale moving again.
Changing my Schedule.
In order to break my plateau and to get the scale moving again, I decided to change my intermittent fasting schedule from a 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule to an 18/6 intermittent fasting schedule.
I would extend my fast by two hours.
My new 18/6 intermittent fasting schedule looked like this:
- 7:00 PM – Close eating window.
- 1:00 PM – (following day) open eating window)
- Rinse and repeat.
This schedule had me fasting from 7:00 PM at night until 1:00 PM the following afternoon.
Changing HOW I ate.
In addition to the schedule change, I also decided to change HOW I ate during my eating window.
Instead of eating two meals a day plus snacks, I decided to eat only one main meal a day plus a window opening snack.
I like to call this my OMAD+ plan (one meal a day + snack.). And, that one main meal would consist of real (not processed) foods.
I accomplished this by eating a small but satisfying snack to open my eating window and cooking a super easy, super satisfying, and super quick meal for my main meal, dinner.
My new eating window looked like this:
- 1:00 PM – open eating window with a snack (almonds, cheese, salami, pickles, and dark chocolate)
- 6:30 PM – eat a satisfying dinner, maybe include some wine and finish with an awesome dessert.
When I cook my one main meal a day I had to keep in mind that I wasn’t just cooking for me. I was cooking for the whole family.
I had to not only find meals that I would enjoy and find satisfying, but meals that the entire family would enjoy, too.
Side Note: I’m not a fan of cooking two different meals every night (one for me and one for the rest of the family) so that was not an option I was willing to explore.
Luckily, I found a very good solution to my meal making problems. Skinnytaste.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of Skinnytaste. I had! Gina’s recipes are so simple and so delicious.
I’ve been making her recipes for the family for a few years now and I can’t tell you how amazing they are. Not only am I feeding my family meals that they will eat, but I’m also providing myself an amazing, filling, and hearty meal for my one meal a day!
Tip: I bought Gina’s Skinnytaste One and Done Recipe book and it is amazing. I’ve made so many of those recipes. The family just LOVES them!
Check out: My Favorite OMAD Meals!
Intermittent Fasting Results with 18/6.
It worked again! I lost 15 more pounds in about 4 months. I lost a total of 30 pounds while intermittent fasting! So much success simply by changing when and how I ate.
Could it be easier?
I think not!
It was during this time that I decided that I wanted to learn more about intermittent fasting. I wanted to learn how it worked, why it worked, and about the many health benefits that intermittent fasters enjoy!
I suggest you read the following three books if you are interested in starting an intermittent fasting lifestyle:
- Obesity Code, by Dr. Jason Fung
- Fast, Feast Repeat, By Gin Stephens
- Power of Appetite Correction, by Dr. Bert Herring
These books can only motivate you to stay on track with this amazing lifestyle!
Where I am right now.
Unfortunately, I gained 10 pounds during the COVID stay at home order. Stress, chaos, and the unknown have impacted my daily intermittent fasting schedule and resulted in a gain on the scale.
But, I’m still at a 20-pound loss, and I just implemented my Intermittent Fasting RESET plan on myself to lose, not only the 10 pounds that I just gained but those additional pounds that I still needed to lose.
Check out my Month One Results!
How about that post-workout hair, huh?? I’ve got so much freaking class.
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.
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!
- Did you know that I gained 10 pounds while intermittent fasting? Check out what I’m doing to lose that weight and more with intermittent fasting!
- Want to know more about how to get started with intermittent fasting? Check out the following posts!
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