Intermittent fasting is a practice that involves giving up food for a specific period of time each day or week.
I decided to try the 16/8 intermittent fasting method, so I ate normally for eight hours and then fasted for 16.
After 10 days, my GERD improved, and I shed a few unexpected pounds.
Here are seven things I learned from intermittent fasting for 10 days.
For over a decade, I have maintained a gluten-free diet, because I have celiac disease. Although my weight has remained fairly stable over the last 10 years, every so often I will gain a few pounds that I want to lose. Because I already restrict what I eat, diets that include food elimination are challenging for me.
I recently gained a few pounds due to a shoulder injury that prevented me from participating in my daily barre class, so I wanted to change my eating habits to shed the extra two or three pounds. I came across an article about intermittent fasting, a practice that involves giving up food for certain periods of the day or week.
Intermittent fasting, a diet popular in Silicon Valley, can produce a number of health benefits whether you shed pounds or not. By restricting calorie consumption to a specific time period each day or week (for example, only eating between 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.), you could lose weight, decrease your risk of cancer, reduce blood pressure, and improve blood-sugar control, as Business Insider previously reported. Intermittent fasting is unlike most diets in that it allows you to eat whatever you want, as long as it’s within the consumption period.
Intermittent fasting can take many forms. Some people fast for 24 hours every third or fourth day of the week, according to Healthline. Others opt for the 5:2 diet, meaning they take in a normal amount of calories for five days, then only eat 500 or 600 calories for two days.
Because I am prone to migraines, I worried about choosing a fast that would be too drastic a change from my normal diet. I chose the 16-8 method, where you fast for 16 hours and eat for eight. Here’s what I learned after 10 days of intermittent fasting.
1. It’s normal to be really hungry at first
I decided to do my daily fast from about 8 p.m. until noon the next day. This meant all of my eating for the day occurred between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. At first, I woke up starving.
I discovered that eating a high-protein snack around 8 p.m., like egg whites or cheese, prevented the hunger pangs that came the following morning, making it significantly easier to fast until noon.
2. I got headaches the first few days, but they slowly went away
Although I (luckily) didn’t have a migraine during the experiment, I did get a handful of dull headaches the first few days, particularly toward the end of my fast around 11 a.m. or noon. After three or four days, my body adjusted to the diet and the headaches dissipated.
3. It’s a good diet if you already skip breakfast
PROIan Irving/Attribution License/Flickr
I don’t eat breakfast and never have, which made this form of intermittent fasting fairly easy for me. The stretch from about 10 a.m. to noon was difficult, but I always made it.
I did drink coffee with creamer every morning upon waking up. (Some experts suggest only drinking black coffee when intermittent fasting, though opinions vary, according to Popsugar.) I can go 16 hours without eating, but I definitely can’t write without my usual morning cup of java.
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