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My intermittent fasting results cannot be overlooked. It still amazes me. 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!”
Yup, 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. Unfortunately for me, losing weight in my 40’s 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.
Here’s the deal. I had 50 pounds to lose and my usual suspects weren’t working. Tracking, insane workouts, massive calorie burn, all resulted in the same thing, Disappointment.
So many tears. So many tight clothes. 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 not longer figure out how to lose the weight with prepping, tracking and working out to exhaustion, then what in the hell could I do??
Phase 1: Intermittent Fasting (IF) – 16/8.
In April of 2018 we bought the Peloton and at that time I joined the Peloton Mom’s Page (an unbelievably supportive group of women, by the way). As you can imagine, several women had the same issue that I had. They were in their forties, they tried everything to lose the weight, and nothing was working.
Shortly after joining, I started to see moms suggesting intermittent fasting for weight loss. I thought, “FASTING”, uh, no. No thank you, but after a while, when the pounds remained, I figured, let me check this out.
Turns out, the concept of intermittent fasting for weight loss isn’t difficult, in fast, it’s really easy. You stop eating at a certain time, and then delay when you start the next day.
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.
I decided to stop eating at about 7:00 pm at night and wouldn’t start eating until 11:00 am the next morning. A schedule I still, just about, follow today.
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, but I was very diligent and only ate during my eating window.
I will admit that the adjustment to not eating for 16 hours straight was a bit rough, and IF’ers online said I could eat “all the things” during my eating window, soooo I pretty much did. I ate all the things.
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
How much food?
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.
As mentioned before, we bought a Peloton in April of 2018. Shortly after, I started participating in Power Zone Training challenges. I was a member of a 5 Ride Team so I would complete five 45 minute rides per week. These rides consisted of Endurance, Power Zone, and Power Zone Max rides. Basically, they ranged from moderately easy to very hard.
I was really concerned about working out in the fasted state. So much so that I didn’t work out fasted during my first year of IF. I would “dirty” my fast every morning with a pre-workout drink before my workouts. In the early stages of IF I seriously could not wrap my head around working out in a 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. My weight at the end of year 1 was 165. 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. 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 delaying 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 entered Phase II of my intermittent fasting plan. Time to change the schedule.
Phase II: Intermittent Fasting (IF) – 18/6.
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. 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?
Welp, read the books to find out! Gin’s book it so readable you can devour it in about a day or two. Dr. Fung, maybe not so much, BUT, there is so much mind blowing information about how and why our current calorie-counting mindset doesn’t work, that it’s totally worth the time it will take to read it.
I’m still buying and reading books on this lifestyle to this day, IF seriously intrigues me that much. I mean, this has been around for centuries, why am I just hearing about this now?
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 everyday 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. 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 touch on food more in my Free Short Course, but the reality is 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 five 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.
Read More: Are Fasted Workouts Safe?
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!
Once I made these Phase II 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!
Why it works.
This works for me because it’s simple. I am at a point in my life where I just don’t have enough time to figure out the calorie crap anymore.
My plan is to live to be 90 years old, and I know I’ve said it before, but I am not going to spend the next 45 years of my life tracking my calories. So, right now, this IF lifestyle is looking pretty livable and its shelf life should take me right up until the day I die.
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