Tag Archives: weight management

Fitness: the skinny on intermittent fasting

Reposting – this might be my most popular post and it’s still getting daily hits. I thought it would be good to share again – I’m doing terribly at IF right now. I’m back to IF and it’s working great.

Some of you know that I moderate a fitness group on a (nameless) adult forum. When I joined the group, I was adamant that fasting was unhealthy for you. But then I did a lot of research into what fasting is. Not only for my own personal curiosity, and most definitely not to prove that I was right (well, maybe), but I wanted to make sure I was sharing information that was correct.

It turns out I was dead wrong about fasting. And I’m more than willing to admit that. Once I learned what intermittent fasting was (IF) – I sat back and had a look at my own eating schedule. And thought, holy crap. In a way, I did IF – and I didn’t even realize it!

So, let’s get right down to the basics.

What is intermittent fasting? (IF for writing purposes)

In laymen’s terms, because I am not a doctor or nurse, according to Wikipedia, IF simply means cycling your eating between voluntary fasting and non-fasting over a given period.

There is a lot of good information on youtube. So many great videos to check out if you want more information on fasting schedules. But first, let me explain how fasting works for me.

How does fasting work?

The answer for this question will vary from person to person. For example, I realized that if I didn’t eat after 8:00 pm at night until 10:00 am the next morning – then that was my fasting window.

Now that I’m off work, my schedule is a bit off in terms of sleeping. So, my eating windows now can vary. On a typical day, if I’ve slept in, this is what my schedule looks like.

  • 11:00 – 1:00 pm – breakfast or lunch
  • 3:00 – 4:00 pm – mid-day snack
  • 6:00 – 8:00 pm – dinner which is my largest meal of the day getting in all my protein

If I’m hungry later, I might have a high fibre snack like cereal or oatmeal or a bowl of yogurt with some fruit.

I found it a little more challenging to stick to a routine when I was working. Some days if I didn’t feel good, I’d skip out on lunch all together. I seem to do better when at home or when I can be more flexible with meal times. This is why I’m hoping to find work that I can do from home in the long run.

If working, my schedule goes like this:

  • 10:00-10:30 mid morning snack, no breakfast
  • 11:00 – 1:00 lunch which was usually a sandwich or soup
  • 6:00 – 8:00 pm dinner – and then late night snacking because I found I was always hungry

Here are some other schedules that people follow on IF:

The 16/8 method: skip breakfast every day and eat during an 8- hour feed window such as from 12 noon to 8pm (so, apparently, this is what I’m doing).

Eat-Stop-Eat: do one or two 24-hours fasts each week (I can’t do this, I need food)

The 5:2 Diet: only eat 500-600 calories on two days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days. (I don’t recommend this – but it’s better than not eating for a full day)

The trick here is not over eating on those days that you are eating normally. I think for me, this is why the 16:8 schedule works much better. I can’t go much longer than a day without getting hungry. Now, some days I might eat more than others. And some days, less. I generally aim for at least 1500 calories. Some days might be more – others might be close to 1000. You want to make sure your body is getting enough food to sustain your energy spent in a given day.

How does IF help us lose weight?

That’s a great question and the answers again will vary from person to person. Using my current schedule, I’ve dropped ten pounds since Christmas and have managed to keep it off. I’m the lowest I’ve been in weight in two years. I’m hoping the weight loss will continue. It’s been a real struggle with hormones and stress.

For me, this schedule helps me to feel like I’ve eaten more. Certainly, the types of foods I’m eating now can help with that. Filling up on things like kale, chicken, and other vegetables are also important when trying to lose weight.

Kale is a super food in itself and is quickly becoming one of my favorite snacks.

Why I’m trying IF…I’m desperate.

Simply put, nothing else has worked for me. I’ve tried dropping as low as 1200 calories but I always felt hungry at the end of the day. For the past month, I’ve switched to eating things like kale and chicken or another kind of meat for lunch – homemade soups and left over stews are also part of my daily eating. I cut back on bread. I cut back on coffee. I can still snack on granola bars and cereals. But for the most part, my diet is mostly clean or whole food.

With PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) – I have to watch what I eat. PCOS can really mess with your insulin levels which can make it easy to gain weight and make it even harder to take that weight off.

Insulin increases as we eat more. When fasting, insulin decreases which in turn lowers the levels of insulin facilitate fat burning.

When fasting becomes dangerous

There are plenty of other benefits for IF – however, only if done properly and in a safe manner.

What is unhealthy?

Not eating for more than a couple of days at a time. This is starvation and will be counter productive. But not only that, it’s just dangerous and could cause you to become very ill.

I surveyed a group of medical professionals for their opinions on what is safe fasting and what isn’t safe fasting. I’ll write that up in another article this week. But the gist of it is:

Don’t go more than a couple of days without eating food.

Think of it like this. Your body is a vehicle. Vehicles need fuel in order to get from point a to point b. Without fuel, the vehicle will shut down. The same goes for your body. Food is fuel. If you’re an active person, then you need fuel to sustain your energy levels. The more you move, the more fuel your body needs.

So, in conclusion.

Will IF work for me? We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted over the next few weeks. Today was my cheat day. We had an evening service at church which was lovely. Cake and pancakes were served. I’ve had my quota for carbs for the week.

Let me know in the comments – do you do IF or other kinds of fasting? Let me know what works for you!

Disclaimer: if you have any serious medical issues like diabetes or insulin resistance, please talk to your primary care before fasting.

Related posts: Fitness Tips

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Fitness Goals: Healthy Eating

I celebrated Mother’s Day with the women in my family today. It was a lovely afternoon. And since we were downtown, we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and walked around the River Valley.

I was not dressed for the walk. I’m not big into wearing dresses so I had worn black dress pants, a blouse and my black comfy shoes. Plus dresses never really fit me right. I’m in between sizes right now. I’ve dropped some weight in recent months but not nearly enough.

Ten years ago, I had dropped seventy pounds and kept it off for three years. A blown out knee while hiking resulted in gaining sixty of those pounds back over a couple of years. I gained even more pounds when I got sick a couple of years ago.

I’ve been working hard to lose the pounds but it is seemingly taking forever.

My brother in law commented at how much weight I had lost when I saw him at Easter. I didn’t think it had been that much. Until I measured myself. I had dropped nearly five inches all around.

But I still have a lot more to go.

A hormonal disorder, age, genetics and bad knees really makes it difficult to lose the pounds now. When I was in my thirties, it was much easier. Now I need to really watch what I eat and take it slower.

How have I lost the weight so far? Painfully, slowly. Really freaking slowly.

I’ve had some success recently with a high protein and moderately low carb diet.

What does that mean? It means that while I watch what I eat, I can still enjoy the foods I love in moderation. Things like bread, cereals, fruit, and treats every now and then.

Bread is my number one weakness. But I’ve cut back to every other day instead of having bread twice a day.

Here is what a typical day looks like. Keep in mind that meals vary from day to day.

Breakfast Options 

All breakfast options typically include one or two cups of coffee and a bottle of water

  • 1 cup of low fat yogurt, fruit (berries), granola or Special K cereal
  • 1 piece of bread (whole wheat if you’re watching calories), with peanut butter and a glass of milk, banana on the side
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, 1 piece of fruit
  • 1 granola bar or protein bar (watch the calories and sodium intake)
Photoby Irina Edilbaeva on Pexels.com

Lunch Options

For drinks I typically drink bottled water. Sometimes I go for diet soda if I’m having a craving for bubbles. 

  • Tuna or egg sandwich on whole wheat bread, 1 or 2 pieces of fruit
  • 1.5 cups of raw veggies, 2 pieces of cheese (packaged kind), 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 2.0 cups of salad (I love tomato-cucumber salad, it’s my favorite), with fruit or yogurt on the side
  • Frozen smart meal – again this will depend on what I eat the rest of the day
lunch table
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Dinner Options

Dinner is where I make sure to have a good sized portion of protein. Fish, chicken, pork are all things that I try to keep on hand. Drinks are either water, one cup of coffee, or a diet soda if I didn’t have one at lunch. I try and mix it up.

  • Roast chicken with the skin removed, brown rice and a serving of veggies
  • Grilled salmon served with rice or a side of salad
  • A variety of meal sized salads with a serving of protein. I also adore avocado and sometimes when lazy, just chop one up, add a bit of salt and pepper and eat it with a hard boiled egg.
  • Other times I just munch on slices of meat, raw veggies and low fat cheese. Goat cheese is really great too.
brown fish fillet on white ceramic plate
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


I gave up sugary pop. The only time I really have sugar in my diet is with my morning coffee which I cut back to a maximum of two cups a day. Sometimes I cave and drink diet pepsi which is like my crack. I know, I know. It’s just as terrible for you. But juice, while tasty, has so much sugar and empty calories. Sometimes I will brew herbal tea and chill it in the fridge. Green tea, black tea, ginger tea and lemon tea all taste great cold. It’s also fantastic for skin. Every now and then I’ll buy a jug of Clamato juice and that helps me get my fill of veggies for the day.

Water is important for weight loss. It also helps to flush out toxins and clear up your skin. Here are some other drinks that I enjoy every now and then.

  • Coffee (black is best for weight loss)
  • Green tea, black tea, chamomile tea (caffeine free teas)
  • Tomato Juice
  • Sparkling Water (lemon)
  • Diet soda on occasion
  • Glass of wine (special occasions) – red is good for the heart


Snacks vary from day to day depending on how active I’ve been and how hungry I am. Some days I eat more than others. Some days, not so much.

  • Cottage cheese with crackers
  • Apple slices and peanut butter
  • Avocado and a hard-boiled egg
  • A cup of fruit (berries)
  • Rice cakes or rice chips (low calorie)
  • Low fat yogurt with a dash of dark cocoa to give it that chocolaty flavour
  • Freshly made popcorn with a dash of salt and margarine

Blog Updates & Progress Reports

Now that I have more time to devote to cooking and healthy eating, I hope to post my progress and update this blog often. I’ll share new recipes and exercise routines with you. This is my focus. My goal. I need to get back into shape and to get healthy – before the end of summer.

I hope you’ll join me for the ride.