I’m taking several pedagogy courses this semester, one of which is called Comprehensive Health Education for Secondary Educators. It’s a rather cut and dry course name, isn’t it? One of the first assignments for the class was a review of the Center for Disease Controls Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. It’s a biannual survey of adolescent health which provides data on risk behaviors such as smoking, drinking, drug use, diet, and physical activity. Once analyzed, the data provides information that contribute to the nation, states, localities, and individual schools to better plan their curriculum. Pretty cool, huh?
While I was completing my own survey, I ran across a question regarding diet:
69.) During the past 30 days, did you go without eating for 24 hours or more (also called fasting) to lose weight or to keep from gaining weight? A. Yes B. No
For the first time in my life, I actually had to think about it. I’ve always been a food fanatic, and I’ve spent the past few years eating on a rather consistent basis. We’ve all heard about eating every 3-4 hours, right? Some people even say 2 hours, because any longer kills your metabolism. I’m not that convinced, because I had to answer ‘Yes’. For a month now, I’ve been experimenting with some intermittent fasting.
The definition of fasting is not eating, so intermittent fasting would be repeated periods of not eating. Defining it isn’t exactly rocket science, is it? What does become pretty scientific is the difference between simply not eating, and strategic not eating. Huge difference there! Before I began any of my own explanations, I’ll share some links with you that you should probably check out. (I’d recommend Roman’s FitCast interview the most because he discusses a variety of protocols.)
- John Romaniello’s recent FitCast interview regarding Intermittent Fasting
- Brad Pilon’s website
- John interviews Brad for his blog
- Eat Stop Eat website
- Martin Berkhan’s Blog
- Mark Sisson discusses IF
Now that you’ve (hopefully) read up on some of the Intermittent Fasting protocols that are out there, you’re probably wondering what I’ve been experimenting with. My personal guinea pig experience is closest to a delayed breakfast on non-training days. I’m just simply waiting until later in the day to begin eating. My schedule this semester feeds really well into this. (Get it?!) I’ve been completing two full-body workouts during the week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’ve been observing in schools on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I’ve been using the school day to detail my fasts. I’ll simply delay eating my first meal, or breakfast, until the school day lets out. The math on that ends up being a 16 hour fast window from going to bed until I eat for the first time, which is usually just before 3pm. From there, I have 8 hours to eat the same quantity of food that I’d normally consume for the rest of the day. I’ve also been trying to ‘wave’ my eating and training days, so that the overall quantity of food is based on the overall intensity of training. On days that I’m going to use full body workouts (and lifting slightly lighter weights) I’ll typically eat less than on the days that I head into the gym looking to pull or push a max. Make sense? Perfect!
I’m not a fan of dieting, especially the way that most people do it. Most of the time, it seems to me (as an outsider) that there’s a lot of complaining about what they can or can’t eat, which still amounts to poor nutrition habits. No, Ms Calorie-Counter, your Skinny Girl margarita isn’t healthy. Regardless of if you’re eating in a deficit, energy balance, or surplus:
My goals aren’t exactly to drop a ton of weight, because I don’t weight that much to begin with, but I would like to be slightly leaner. This past month has worked rather well, but I can’t give you a true ‘weight loss’ number because, well, I hate scales. The mirror is a much better indicator of progress, as is how your clothes feel on your body. I’m going to need to punch another hole in my belts if I keep this up, but I’m not looking for a big weight loss as much as I’m looking for fat loss. (For those of you who need a scale number, it’s been about 13lbs from 195-182ish.) While I continue to figure out how intermittent fasting is affecting my body, I’m curious as to if any of you (Yes, you!) have had any experience with intermittent fasting or dieting in general, and how it’s affected you. Although I’m not a huge proponent of caloric restriction, and would rather people start with cleaning up the quality of their food, and having solid workouts, I’m certainly excited to see how intermittent fasting is working. In my next post, I’ll discuss some of the different tweaks I’ve added to my training recently as well. Let me know your thoughts on the matter!