July Update: Intermittent Fasting, What I Learned in 1 Month + Results

1:41:00 PM Christina Patrice 0 Comments

Have you ever had to have a "Come to Jesus" moment with yourself?

That was me at the end of June.

I was annoyed, frustrated, and feeling my 2018 fitness goals slip between my fingers. I was tired of not seeing the results I desired, tired of feeling like I could do better (but not actually doing anything about it)... Just. Plain.


So I got honest and gave myself an internal assessment. You know, the pros and cons. The end result? I was killin' it with my workouts, but also killing' my progress by not honing in on my macro and calorie targets.

After a lot of reading, a lot of research, and a lot of being honest with myself, I decided I needed another tool to help me get where I was going. And that tool was Intermittent Fasting.

What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is exactly what it sounds like - operating in a fasted state for a window of time, then breaking the fast, and starting all over again. You typically fast when you sleep for 6-8 hours, but Intermittent Fasting extends that period, giving you a finite window in which to consume calories. 

The most popular type of Intermittent Fasting is 16/8 - fasting for 16 hours and eating during 8. Before easing into the 16/8 model, plenty of people start off with 12/12, 14/10, and 13/9. I personally did 14/10 for 1 week, 13/9 for 1 week, and settled into 16/8 for the last 2 weeks of July.

How you set your window during Intermittent Fasting is completely up to you. My feeding window is 12 noon to 8pm, although I'll shift an hour or 2 down (1 or 2pm) if I know I'll be doing something social like going to dinner or the movies. This window works fairly well for me, because I'm in bed before 9pm due to my gym schedule. 

Why Intermittent Fasting?
The truth is, fat loss requires a caloric deficit - period. Not "ketosis", not "detoxing", not "clean eating". Losing fat (and not just weight) is a numbers game (among other things). Don't @ me.
And on the real, caloric deficits suck. Developing the discipline to stick to them sucks more. Just knowing that I could kill off my deficit with a couple hundred extra calories every day was probably one of the most irritating things I learned. Do you know how easy it is to overeat a few hundred calories? It's an order of fries here. A stop at Starbucks there. A Jamba Juice the next time. And over the course of a week - those calories add up, and show up as stalled progress on the scale.

I've personally found the combination of flexible dieting and Intermittent Fasting to work the best for me. It gives me the chance to fit in the foods I like without feeling guilty or derailing progress. But the real gem is that I'm able to actually manage my daily calories without going over, feeling hungry, or deprived. And that's the beauty of it all.

How I Combine Flexible Dieting and Intermittent Fasting
Pretty much since the inception of #30DaysofDope, I've been an off again, on again member of Avatar Nutrition. Since my time joining, I've learned a lot about macronutrients, calories, and cutting through the misinformed crap that permeates social media. Avatar Nutrition taught me that carbs aren't bad, you don't have to live on lettuce and do 8 hours of cardio to lose weight, and that Splenda won't kill me. But that's another post for another day. 

I already knew how to count calories. But through Avatar Nutrition, I learned how to count and prioritize macros. Because my goal is to maintain and gain lean muscle while losing fat, my protein goal is relatively high - 150g per day. It's doable, but tough at the same time - especially when you have a love affair with carbs.

Making flexible dieting and Intermittent Fasting work for me boils down to 4 key principles:
+ Protein is the priority for all meals and snacks during my window
+ Log EVERYTHING at the beginning of the day
+ It's ok to be a little hungry sometimes
+ Just hold on until Friday

Let's break each one of those down.

Protein is the Priority
It's pretty self explanatory in theory, but very, very difficult in practice. When roughly 40% of your calories for the day comes from protein alone, you start to look at meals and snacks differently. For example - many of my meal preps will contain 1/3 or 1/2 of a traditional "serving" of carbs like rice or pasta (or I skip them altogether), because I need those calories for protein. Yes, carbs and fats have their place in my flexible dieting plan, but to maintain my caloric deficit, I am learning to at all costs make protein my priority.

Some weeks, I just throw everything in the freezer on the grill. 
And to be frank, I'm making my fiber consumption a priority too - because when you're on a high protein diet, you need all the fiber you can get. And I'm just gonna leave it at that. 💩

Log EVERYTHING at the Beginning of the Day
The purpose for this is twofold. One, I'm not "forgetting" to log calories and accidentally going over when it's too late (i.e. I've already eaten them). When I put everything in for the entire day (lunch, dinner, snacks), I can literally just go through my lunch bag and into dinner without even thinking, because it's already there. One less thing to remember to do is always good in my book.

The second reason, it gives me a sense of freedom to eat. Psychologically, measuring, weighing, and counting calories and macros is ex-freaking-hausting. Most people can't be bothered, and I totally understand why. Logging all my food at the beginning of the day gives me the freedom to eat when I want (inside of my window) without feeling like I'm developing an unhealthy obsession with tracking food. It gives me a mental break for the rest of the day, and it feels good.

It's Ok to be a Little Hungry Sometimes
I couldn't find the original Instagram Post that inspired this one, but when I saw the graphic, a lightbulb went off in my head. When you're in a caloric deficit, there are times you're going to be hungry. Although our natural instinct is to consume something to stave off the hunger, your calories won't always allow you to do so.

And I don't know about you, but impulse food purchases and snacks when I'm hungry are like, never macro-friendly. To make Intermittent Fasting work, I had to get comfortable with being hungry sometimes. I manage my hunger by drinking water, plain green tea, or if it gets MAD real, I'll have coffee with a few spoons of plain powdered creamer (under 50 calories). I know the true Intermittent Fasting protocol calls for black coffee, but I ain't there yet. I'm doing just fine giving up adding sugar and sweet creamers. 

Once that noon mark hits, I'm free to eat as frequently as I want. I often have lunch, dinner, and a few small snacks in-between (protein shakes, nut butter, some random macro-friendly dessert I made), and I'm good. By the time 8pm rolls around, I'm ready for bed and not at all feeling deprived.

Donut recipe details here! Topping info is here.
Just Hold On Until Friday
One of the things I love most about flexible dieting is just that - the flexibility. With Avatar Nutrition, I'm able to set high and low calorie days, and the degree to which I'd like them to be raised or lowered. My profile is set for two high days, Friday and Sunday to the maximum caloric difference allowed. Yes, my weekday calories take a hit, but I did this by design.

Friday is date night, and there's a 100% chance of eating out somewhere. Sundays, I don't cook until the evening (meal preps for the week), and there's always a chance that we'll end up at somebody's restaurant after church. High calorie days give me something to look forward to, without freaking out too much about ruining my deficit. 

Another perk - by Wednesday, I've already decided what I want to eat on Friday. 😂

Live footage of me knowing exactly what I want on Friday. Lol.
Intermittent Fasting Results
This part is what I'm MOST excited about. Because in truth, counting calories, managing macros, and adhering to Intermittent Fasting is WORK. It takes commitment, dedication, and a total mindset shift to push through weak moments in pursuit of the bigger picture.

Without further delay, these are my results after only 1 month of more disciplined macro counting/tracking and Intermittent Fasting:

Full disclosure - the "before" picture is from mid-May. I didn't take a progress picture in June because it was a stall month (I explain on this IG post), and it didn't make sense to post a picture for mid-July to early August (not enough time between photos). I feel like this comparison accurately illustrates where I was before Intermittent Fasting, and where I am now.

Anywhoodles, I'm finally in a space where I feel like the pieces are coming together. Everything I'm doing is working - and it doesn't feel stressful. At times it's hard, and a bit frustrating (because when you're moving differently, you can't do what everyone else is doing) but worth every ounce of sweat and every minute spent meal prepping.

For those curious about my workout plan, during the month of July Samuel and I completed Jim Stoppani's Full-Body Five and Dime. I do NOT recommend this plan if you're a newbie or just setting foot into the gym after a long (years) break. It's mentally tough to complete, but so rewarding once you do. Check it out here if you're curious.

I can't wait to see what September holds.

If you need some high protein, macro-friendly meal prep recipes and inspiration, click here to see some of my faves.

To see what kind of workouts I'm hitting in the gym, and other fitness-related randomness, follow me on Instagram @30daysofdope

Have you ever had to have a "Come to Jesus" moment with yourself? That was me at the end of June. I was annoyed, frustr...