I decided to try intermittent fasting for the month of April.
I had thought it fit into the category of "fad diet" until I read an article about it by Johns Hopkins, which is a well-respected medical group. It turns out that I didn't really understand what it was. I thought that people were literally fasting all day, a couple of days a week. That didn't appeal to me at all because I tend to get a headache when I don't eat, and it just didn't seem like a healthy idea.
But it turns out there are a number of ways to do it - the two most common seem to be limiting yourself to eating just one meal a day, or during certain hours of the day.
I decided to try the 8/16 plan, where you eat for 8 hours of the day and fast for 16. That meant that I skipped breakfast and didn't start eating until noon. I had lunch and dinner, and a snack or two, and was finished eating entirely by 8pm.
They used to say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I've read recently that it's not actually true. I have to say, I thought I would miss it, but I really didn't. But if I had wanted breakfast, I could have eaten it at, say, 9:30, and finished dinner by 5:30, and still done the 8/16.
I kept the rest of my plan the same. The most important one for me is keeping my SP food journal faithfully, writing every bite and sip and staying within my calorie range. It keeps me honest and makes me really think about what I eat, rather than eating mindlessly. I also aimed for 20 min or more walking daily, weighed and measured my food, tried to consume more freggies, and tried to make healthier choices in general.
I found intermittent fasting to be surprisingly easy. Probably the best benefit was that it kept me from wanting to snack all evening, which has always been a struggle. Mentally, once 8pm came, I was done, and the idea of snacking didn't tempt me. That's huge for me!
Weight-wise, I think I lost roughly the same this month as I have in previous months (6-7 lbs), so I don't know that it made a huge difference, although on the other hand my weight loss has often slowed down by this point so maybe it made more of an impact than I know.
I do feel as though it's probably good to shake things up once and a while, and this certainly did that.
For the month of May, I'm going to go back to eating a healthy breakfast, but continue to stop eating at 8pm. I think I'll do the intermittent fasting every other month, and see if maybe it helps me avoid getting to a plateau where the weight doesn't keep coming off.
One benefit of the experiment is that I started drinking my coffee black (because you can have coffee, tea, or water while fasting) rather than with cream, so that saves a few calories. I don't plan to go back to using cream except possibly for a special treat now and then.
I'm not necessarily recommending intermittent fasting because I think everyone has to do what works for them, but if you're stuck on a plateau and there isn't a medical reason that you couldn't try it, you might want to read up on it. If you're interested, this is the article that got me started: