A few weeks ago when we published a piece on Biohacking, the Marketing Team here at Success Resources UK got to chatting about the concept of intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting involves limiting your food intake to within a certain window of time every day, and fasting for the remainder of the day. The idea behind it is to optimise health by taking advantage of the benefits of being in a ‘fed’ state and a ‘fasted’ state. You can read more about it here.
We were curious about it’s purported benefits (lose weight? improve cognitive function? yes, please!) so we decided to give it a go.
Most of us opted for the ‘starter fast’, which involves a fasting period of 14 hours and an eating period of 10, recommended for beginners to ease into intermittent fasting. Mark went for the more intense 16/8 because he’s done it before, and also that’s just a very ‘Mark’ thing to do.
Read on to find out what happened!
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Karly: Cheated a bit the first morning with my morning cup of tea with milk and sugar as I had been up late the night before, but didn’t eat any actual food during the fasting period. I ate more than usual for breakfast, and generally felt really full all day. Was a struggle to eat all my dinner before 8pm.
Elena: It was very hard on my first day! I’m used to having breakfast and I felt kind of dizzy and all my thoughts have been about food… But I have to say that the first meal I had this day was the best and tastiest I ever had! I also remembered what it’s like to be actually hungry. I think nowadays we forget about that feeling because we have food available whenever we want it.
Naomi: Caught the office cold/flu bug so stayed at home and rested. Had my first meal at 3pm as I was so exhausted. This fasting business doesn’t seem so bad after all.
Wande: This was the day I started my morning with a 7K run! So I had to make sure that I broke my fast earlier than usual in order to get the proper nutrients and so I wouldn’t faint on the way to work. This meant that I had to stop eating earlier which wasn’t as bad as I anticipated.
Alena: It was really easy, so I didn’t even realise that something had changed. Maybe it’s because in the early morning I forgot and ate a small piece of chocolate?
Mark: I usually skip breakfast and start snacking by 10:30am. So the only real challenge for me were those few hours before 1pm…
Karly: I didn’t realise how much I rely on my morning cuppa as part of my breakfast. Had green tea this morning instead and was already feeling really hungry by 8am!
Elena: I feel very weak in the mornings, and when I went for a run I didn’t feel as strong or energetic as usual.
Naomi: Still unwell so fasting was easy.
Wande: Woke up feeling a bit bloated, which was weird because I didn’t eat the night before and I didn’t work out early this time so I ate a bit later than the day before. For the most part, it wasn’t hard but I did start getting cravings closer to when I had to stop eating.
Alena: Today was hard! In the morning I really wanted to eat something and was extremely hungry by midday. The most difficult part is not ‘not having proper food’ because I never have it in the morning anyway—the most difficult part is not having snacks! I used to have a lot of them in the morning and in the evening.
Mark: So apparently I eat a lot of snacks throughout the day, even just before bed! It’s like I’ve been on autopilot the whole time. This is not as easy as I thought…
Karly: Still very hungry in the mornings, and then by the end of the eating period I’m feeling uncomfortably full. Otherwise, it’s been easier than I thought it would be.
Elena: I’m hungry every morning, and after breakfast I’m full until 3pm. Intermittent fasting is difficult when you have a social life because you can’t drink wine, or go out for a late dinner.
Naomi: With a backlog of work from being off sick, I wanted to eat but catching up kept me busy. By 11:27am, my stomach was rumbling audibly! After eating, I felt happy again. Also managed to eat dinner by 9pm.
Wande: I did a work out class early in the morning that meant I had to eat early again. It was pretty easy for me to handle as I didn’t start too late in the day, but I did end up eating when I got home as my mum made some super yummy food and I couldn’t resist!
Alena: Again hungry in the morning, I miss my morning croissants. But I feel that my digestion is improving.
Mark: I had a day off work today, so I spent the whole day exploring London with my girlfriend. Usually we start off our adventures by getting breakfast at a cafe, but this time I could only drink black coffee while she had a wonderful meal. That was pretty tough at first, but we found a way to laugh through it and enjoy the process.
Karly: Finding it difficult to finish cooking and eating my dinner in time, as I don’t usually get home until around 7:15. Cheated with a glass of wine while watching a movie with my husband. I left the popcorn alone, though!
Naomi: In the morning, I did start thinking about food but ginger tea helped postpone that thought. In the evening, I broke the intermittent fasting when I made a giant chocolate peanut butter cup and the melted chocolate went everywhere.
Wande: Due to my slip up the previous night, I decided to eat later. I began eating at 11 am, which wasn’t too bad.
Alena: Morning hunger didn’t go anywhere, I still feel it, but I’m getting used to it.
Mark: Back in the office, the morning was much easier than the previous day.
Karly: I decided to end my fast at 10am on Saturday (Day 6). This was the hardest part of the whole week—my husband made a full English fry up at 8:30am and it smelled so good! I had to tidy the house just to keep myself distracted until I could eat.
Naomi: We had to adjust our hours due to the team breakfast starting at 9:30am, which meant we had to have dinner by 7:30pm. With a trampoline class at 7pm, I knew I was going to have to break the rules again and have dinner later…
Wande: Although we only had one day left I folded as we had a free breakfast buffet at the airport. I couldn’t resist FREE FOOD GUYS COME ON TELL ME YOU WOULDN’T FLOP TOO!
Alena: Now I think that it’s better: I don’t eat as many snacks, and I feel like I have more control over what I eat. I’m getting completely used to it, and I’m thinking about doing it permanently.
Mark: On the last day it was all relatively easy, possibly because I knew I just had one more day until I could eat whatever I want… but that just shows that it can be easy as long as I approach it with the right mindset. I just need to work on creating some lasting positive associations with eating the right foods, and some negative associations with eating late at night.
Karly: I can’t say I noticed much of a difference in my overall health or weight, maybe I would if I kept going or reduced my eating period even further. Mostly I felt either hungry or overly full, but I did sleep very well all week. Overall, not something I’m likely to keep doing.
Elena: I ate less this week and I also lost 1 kilo… I also overate much less than before. I’m not going to continue because my body really wants to eat in the morning. I think every body and every person is different–there’s some people who don’t eat breakfast and don’t miss it, but I’m not one of them!
Naomi: The most challenging part was not eating breakfast till 10:30m and making sure I ate dinner by 8:30pm. It’s possible to do, but probably not the best if you’re unwell or have no set routines. I definitely drank more water to combat my hunger and the change in my eating habits though!
Wande: Overall take away? When I did it properly two years ago (for 18/6) it worked for me. I feel like it has to be taken very strictly and done at least for two weeks to see results!
Alena: I continued the fasting through the weekend, and it was very easy not to eat in the morning because I was sleeping. The days also went really smoothly, and I didn’t feel any discomfort. Now I’m continuing on (I’m on Day 10) because I felt much better this week. I still feel hungry in the morning, but I think I’ll get used to it in time.
(P.S. I will allow myself to eat my favourite chocolate croissant in the morning from time to time, because if not in the morning, then when?!)
Mark: My weight hasn’t changed, I don’t feel any different physically (It was only a week after all…). But it was very important because it forced me to pay more attention to my eating habits, and I became aware of just how bad my eating habits have become. The official challenge is over, and I’m going to start eating more in the mornings, but I’m never going back to my late night snacks.
So there you have it—most of us didn’t see any major changes, but it was useful for making us all more aware of the food choices we were making on a daily basis.