In 2017, I weighed the most I've ever weight in my life: 317 pounds. I was wearing a snug 3XL and suffered from sleep apnea through the night. I was miserable, unconfident, and felt worthless. At the end of that year, I was invited to try something that could help me change my life, intermittent fasting (IF). In 2018, I explored different ways of doing IF and the journey was life-changing. I ended up losing 100 pounds. Even though I have about 30 pounds to go (give or take), I'm closer than ever to reaching my goal.
Different Types of Intermittent Fasting
If you're new to intermittent fasting, it consists of a period of fasting for a certain amount of hours followed by a period of eating. There are several ways to do it.
I chose the 16:8 method, which means I fasted for 16 hours and ate for 8 hours – usually from noon to 8 pm. Other popular methods include the 20:4 hour method (fast for 20 hours, eat for 4 hours) and the 5:2 method (eating for 5 days and fasting for 2 non-consecutive days)
After a while, I switched to the 20:4 method because of my work schedule. As a teacher and coach, I’m usually busy from 7 am to 7 at night. Eating from 7 - 11 pm worked best for me and I used this method for all but one month during the year I lost the bulk of my weight.
Common Mistakes of Intermittent Fasting
IF can seem simple enough and for the most part it is, but it's not uncommon to make a few mistakes along the way like the ones listed here.
1. CHOOSING THE WRONG PLAN FOR INTERMITTENT FASTING
Take everything into account: your body, your schedule, and any other factors that could impact the flow of your day. I recognized pretty early on that the 20:4 was better than the 16:8 plan for me. By paying attention to the factors of your life, you'll be able to find the right plan for you.
2. EATING THE WRONG FOODS
When I first started, I ate whatever I wanted as long it was in my window of eating time. Not eating healthy is counter-productive. After talking to a certified nutritionist, I figured out the right way to eat for my goals and lifestyle.
3. EATING TOO MUCH OR NOT ENOUGH
I was on a solid 2,000 calorie per day plan. Some days, I would eat 3,000 calories and some days 1,100 calories and this was just as harmful as eating the wrong foods. Making sure you eat the right amount of calories is essential for making long-term progress.
4. NOT DRINKING ENOUGH WATER
Part of my plan was to drink 64 ounces of water a day. It's easy to forget to drink water, but getting in your fair share is important for flushing your system and staying hydrated.