This is the candid story of my intermittent fasting journey. How I started, the changes I went through, and the reasons why I stopped intermittent fasting after doing it for more than a year.
I started intermittent fasting just about a year and a half ago. I had heard there were many benefits to intermittent fasting that were backed up science. Some of the benefits of intermitted fasting included:
- weight loss
- helping to lower cholesterol
- improved glucose control
- reduce liver fat
- improve blood pressure
- increased endurance
- improved brain function including thinking and memory
- better motor coordination
- improved sleep quality
But after intermittent fasting for over a year, I decided to stop and here are my reasons why.
Why I started intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting has been practiced by many cultures for years and has a long history. And with all the positive findings from scientific studies, I thought I would give it a try myself.
My goal was to achieve a generally more healthy lifestyle and be more mindful of my eating habits. I did want to lose about 10 lbs, but this was a more minor goal. Overall I was looking to experiment and see if intermittent fasting could enhance my overall lifestyle.
My intermittent fasting journey
Prior to intermittent fasting, I would typically eat 3 small meals throughout the day with small snacks in between. I led an overall healthy and active lifestyle, working out 4-5 times a week. I did have a bit of a sugar habit, but I wasn’t overweight by any means.
Right from the beginning I knew it would be hard for me to restrict my eating to a 9 hour window since I was so used to eating throughout the whole day.
Knowing this, I started my journey into intermittent fasting gradually. I would stop eating at around 12 am at night and not eat until 9 am the next day.
This was tough for me since I’m both a late night snacker and a regular eater of breakfasts. I knew I had to give up one or the other, but it was unrealistic for me to give up both. So I decided to forgo breakfast.
Every week I would gradually move the time of my first meal one hour later in the day until my first meal was typically around 3pm. This would result in a daily intermittent fast of 15 hours that lasted from midnight to 3pm the next day.
The outcome of my intermittent fasting
The first few months of this process of intermittent fasting went really well for me! I felt amazing about it and I loss the 10 lbs I wanted to. I felt less bloated during the day. And it felt good that I created this challenge for myself that I had accomplished.
But as time went on, I put the weight came back and then some. And I started to feel unhappy with the new restrictive schedule I was on.
I missed having breakfast, brunch and lunch. These were some of my favourite types of meals since I was never a big dinner eater. And it was difficult to coordinate meal times with my friends and family.
As I continued intermittent fasting, I found myself binging a lot more at night, knowing that I wouldn’t be able eat again for another 15 hours.
During the day, I also found myself feeling moody at work and having less focus because I was always thinking about how hungry I was, or how long it was before I could eat something.
About 6 months in began counting my calories and became obsessed with what I was eating, along with when I was eating. And over time I began to see myself develop an unhealthy relationship with food.
As the months went on, I felt like a huge part of my life had become focused around trying not to eat. I put gained more weight and it caused unnecessary stress about something I had previously not even worried about.
Long story short, the reason why I stopped intermittent fasting was because it made me miserable.
Why I stopped intermittent fasting
While I was intermittent fasting, I felt like I was ignoring the natural signals of what my body was telling me. This created a the binge-restrict cycle, where ignoring hunger signals—or rather, starving myself (let’s call it what it is)— naturally leads to bingeing and obsessing over food.
I had never had an issue with food before. Previously, would small meals throughout the day, and snack when I felt hungry or needed to. But after intermittent fasting, it created an unhealthy obsession around food for me.
So after a year of intermittent fasting, I gave it up. It really wasn’t doing anything for me. In fact, it had actually created more problems for me and I wasn’t seeing any health benefits.
Where I’m at now…
Now it’s been about a month since I’ve stopped intermittent fasting and I can say I am SO much happier and feel so much better about my body.
I naturally loss the extra weight I’d gained. I felt overall better about my body and eating habits. And I no longer need to count my calories and constantly worry about restricting myself.
Now I listen to what my body tells me and eat intuitively.
And for this, I feel like my body has thanked me. I feel less stressed, happier and overall healthier. I’ve been able to see more gains in my workouts and look more toned by actually working out less than before.
Though intermittent fasting didn’t work for me, it taught me a very valuable lesson about my relationship with my body and how to care for it.
Restricting and punishing my body with a restrictive eating schedule only caused unnecessary stress on myself and cause mental health to deteriorate.
But I’m still glad I tried intermittent fasting, because it has taught me that I needed to kind to myself and listen to what my body was telling me. I know a lot of people swear by this method of eating, but for me it just wasn’t right. and I just had to do what was best of me and my lifestyle.
Have you tried intermittent fasting?
Let me know about your experience in the comments below!
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MollyFebruary 17, 2021
Such an interesting post to read! Thank you for sharing your journey! I think it’s so important to listen to your body, especially if something is making you miserable!
EileenFebruary 18, 2021
Thanks Molly, I’m glad I tried it out and it taught me a lot about my relationship with my body.
ZebaFebruary 17, 2021
It’s so interesting to read about your experience with it – listening to your body is definitely the way to go, what works for some doesn’t work for others. I don’t think I’d enjoy intermittent fasting myself for the same reasons as you.
EileenFebruary 17, 2021
Thanks Zeba! I enjoyed it at first, but after awhile I felt like I was just punishing myself. But it was such a great experience for me to learn from.
TrishaFebruary 17, 2021
I thought this post was great! I love how aware you are of how it made you feel. Happy to read you are now happier!!!!
EileenFebruary 17, 2021
Thanks Trisha! It taught me such a great lesson about caring and listening to my body!
NinaFebruary 15, 2021
Thank you for sharing! I tried it but it didn’t work for me while I was at work. Have a great day!
EileenFebruary 17, 2021
Thank you Nina! It’s was definitely harder while I was working too.
jenniferpickering22gmailcomFebruary 14, 2021
Thanks for sharing this! I do something like intermittent fasting but I have fruit in the morning. It’s usually a smoothie. Sunday’s I have waffles or pancakes.
Curated By Jennifer
MicaFebruary 13, 2021
It’s good you were able to notice the negative effects and stop the diet 🙂 I know this wouldn’t work for me, I love breakfast too much, haha!
Hope you are having a nice weekend 🙂 We had fun with the family celebrating Lunar New Year with a big meal yesterday 🙂
EileenFebruary 13, 2021
Thanks Mica, it was a good lesson to learn. And it was so interesting how it changed my relationship with food!
Hoppy Lunar New Year!
Lenne ZulkifllyFebruary 13, 2021
I have definitely tried intermittent fasting in the past and I would say we’re on the same boat. The first few months went so great. I even picked an S size for my bridesmaids dress. No longer need that M. But just like you said, I was constantly restricting myself from eating. While my colleagues were all binge-eating, I was only get to see them eating. I feel like I’m punishing myself and my body so I had to stop.
EileenFebruary 13, 2021
Thanks for sharing your experience! We should never punish ourselves like that. And it taught me a good lesson to love myself and my body more!