Despite eating a relatively balanced and healthy diet, I’ve continued to gain weight over the last three years. I attribute this to a number of causes: switching to a sedentary job, becoming a father, getting older (and thus my metabolism going from “slow” to “sleeping”), a variety of minor injuries (knee, ankle), and consuming waaaaaaaay too much coffee creamer on a daily basis.
I recently sprained my knee and have been struggling to fully recover. Again, part of that is simply getting older, but another huge part is that working out is very important for my weight control. I’m the type of guy who could look at a piece of cake and gain half a pound. When I’m not able to work out, there is no hesitation – I’m going to gain weight immediately. It’s just what happens, no matter how hard I try to combat it. And that excess weight is murder on a busted up knee. Slower recovery means more weight gain which means an even slower recovery which means…a vicious cycle.
It’s time for a change. Beyond weight control, I’m typically pretty healthy. I eat a healthy diet (mostly), my blood work at my annual physical always looks pretty good, and my immune system usually does a pretty darn good job keeping me from catching whatever virus-of-the-week might be making its way around my kids’ daycare. But my weight is just an issue that I can’t seem to get under control.
I decided to give intermittent fasting a try. Specifically, the 16/8 version. Basically, you fast 16 hours each day, only eating in an 8-hour window. My 8-hour window is from 12PM to 8PM, which means I fast from 8PM to noon the following day. Prior to trialing intermittent fasting, I typically stopped eating by 8PM each day anyway, so now it’s just a matter of skipping breakfast and making it to lunch without passing out.
I’m not going to get into the science behind it all, but this seems like a relatively simple (don’t confuse ‘simple’ for ‘easy’) way to attempt getting my weight a little more under control. There is pretty decent evidence that suggests intermittent fasting can help with weight loss. So I’m going to give this a try and see what happens. I may even do a weekly check in as way to stay accountable to it.
Having said all that, I thought it might be entertaining to share a running diary of what this looks like for me on a day-to-day basis. Enjoy.
7:55PM – Monday:
Eating ends at 8PM! Smash a protein bar real quick and gulp down the rest of my wine from dinner. This is going to be it until lunch tomorrow.
8:02PM – Monday:
Tummy ache from smashing a protein bar and gulping wine. Maybe take it down a notch next time, chief.
9:30PM – Monday:
Take a short walk around the block to get in a few extra steps for the day. Have to counteract the sedentary lifestyle of a Supply Chain Specialist somehow.
10:00PM – Monday:
Bed time. Part of the reason for choosing a 12-8PM eating window instead of, say, a 7AM-3PM eating window is because I don’t want to try falling asleep when I’m starving. No thanks.
5:00AM – Tuesday:
Alarm goes off. Tuesday morning’s workout starts at 0530, so I grab my water bottle and head out the door. I don’t typically eat anything before my workouts (I had a bad experience), so this is still a fairly routine day so far.
6:35AM – Tuesday:
Workout is over, and now we’re heading to get coffee down the street. This is the first real test – black coffee. I’ve been a coffee drinker since college, but to be honest, the taste of coffee isn’t necessarily what brings me back time and time again. It’s the addiction to caffeine. Because of this, my coffee is usually loaded with cream and sugar. But not today. This is the first deviation from a typical day. Here we go.
7:45AM – Tuesday:
Chugging water like a champ. Getting ready to leave for the office, I make up my lunch and the hunger pangs start hitting. The sight of food isn’t helping, but I’m good. The first wave of hunger usually passes pretty easily.
8:18AM – Tuesday:
Todd brought donuts. You know, I’ve never liked Todd.
9:00AM – Tuesday:
The second wave of hunger pangs hit. A little more intense than that first wave, but still manageable. I drink a little more water, and wash that deliciousness down with a little more black coffee. Yummers.
9:15AM – Tuesday:
First meeting of the day is in 15 minutes. The hope is that the meeting will offer a good hour-long distraction. The other hope is that I don’t get irritable. Should be interesting.
10:32AM – Tuesday:
Yeah, that worked well. Good distraction, stayed positive. More black coffee, more water. Sure I’m hungry, but 16 hours really isn’t that long, is it?
11:11AM – Tuesday:
Forty-nine more minutes. The positive self-talk is becoming less effective. The hunger headache is starting to intensify, but only slightly.
11:41AM – Tuesday:
Effin’ Todd came by with a half box of donuts and his big, goofy face asked if I wanted one. NO, TODD!! NO!!!!!
11:43AM – Tuesday:
Make a note to apologize to Todd later and explain intermittent fasting.
11:58AM – Tuesday:
Walk to the break room to grab my lunch. Oh happy day!!
12:01PM – Tuesday:
Back at my desk, rip open my lunch bag and start salivating. Snatch out the hard-boiled eggs and get to work.
12:03PM – Tuesday:
Make a note to pre-peel the hard-boiled eggs to avoid wildly cursing in my office. People are staring, and frankly, I really don’t care about their feelings.
12:04PM – Tuesday:
Smash two hard-boiled eggs, then wait about 10 minutes to finish the rest of lunch. I learned a trick from a buddy who is currently observing Ramadan – eat something small, then wait a little bit before eating more to give your body a chance to get used to food in your stomach. Helps keep you from getting a stomach ache.
12:10PM – Tuesday:
Six minutes is basically ten minutes, right? ♦