Monday, April 6, 2015

Time Restricted Eating- intermittent fasting- did it work for me? 2015 observations

 In January, Dr. Berkeley invited us to give the Time Restricted Eating Window a try. Yes, some might call this intermittent fasting. I know myself really well, so if this was "dangerous", binge promoting,  or just not right for me, I could pull the plug at any time on my experiment.

 Read Dr. Berkeley's post here:
 Time Restricted Eating- does it work, you tell me (Barbara Berkeley, MD, Refuse to Regain)

Here are the inputs to my experiment

n= 1  Self experimenting is the best thing I can do, even 3 years into long term weight maintenance.

Self-efficacy : Yes, I can think and choose for myself. I know it doesn't work for everyone. That's okay.


1. Yes, a time restricted eating window works just fine for me. Another great tool in my weight maintenance practice.  

2. I found time restricted eating to be an effective way to eat very low in my calorie range with little to no hunger.

3. Weekend time restricted eating windows are the best fit for my current life.

Here are the observations that I made during my experiment.

Dates:  1-19-2015 to 2-2-2015

Food Template: Paleo-ish, modified AIP, already what many would consider "Fat Adapted" :

 Imagine any of my lunches or dinners with a fried egg and 1 more serving of veggies. For more photos of what I eat in weight maintenance:  Follow my Paleo inspired account here

Protein,  eggs, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, lamb, salmon
Carbs from lots of non starchy veggies and occasionally berries, squeeze of citrus on salads and fish
Fats from natural sources: coconut, olive, and avocado oil, grass fed beef, liver
Spices: sea salt, other spice mixtures made at home
Life into Living: a square or two of 85% chocolate per day.
Coffee: yes, black or with cinnamon, 3 cups before 2pm

Food strategy: Take my regular lunch and put a fried egg or two on top of it. Delish!

Eating times:  9:30am and 6 pm

Weight: I stayed in stable weight maintenance +/- 2 pounds. Normal for me. I did lose about a pound the second week, probably more from the cold than anything.

Hunger: Wow! Not hungry between meals. A little hungry some mornings, but nothing bad.

Calorie intake:  Here's were I learned something. I could not eat above 1,300 calories at all. 

Normally I eat between 1,400 to 1,700 per day*

*NOTE: (Please, don't lecture me about not enough calories,  I'm super short and post menopausal, post thyroid disease, desk job most days.) I've never fit any BMR or TDEE calculations in my whole life. If I ate the way books and trainers told me, I'd be sick. I feel full. I like well. Thanks!

 Here's a good example where thinking for your self is critical.  Think. for.yourself.

Macros- Fat- Protein- Carbs: Seems like I did eat slightly higher carbs say 50-60 grams per day vs 40-50 grams. All from veggies and a few berries. It was not noticeable, really.  15-16% per day vs 11-14% per day of my total intake.  **

**Note: If I eat above 16% carbs, don't sleep. I like to sleep. So be it. Sleep quality is queen at my house. I highly prioritize sleeping and food quality and home food prep. Such a happier life.

 Good sleep is a huge component of a great life. most. dangerous.of. all. Boom y'all.

Glucose prior to IF
Glucose monitoring:  Week 1 was usual. Week 2 I had a cold virus, so I ran higher than my normal, but overall good glucose control, without spiking after the larger than usual meals.

I was concerned that the higher protein amounts in my 2 meals a day could effect my glucose (spiking or higher) but I did not see this effect.

Strength: Yes, I was able to work out on my normal gym 2X schedule.  Strong as ever. Great energy.

Endurance: Yes,  I walked 5-6 miles per day.  No problems there.

Fasted Walking: I did 1-2 miles fasted walking with no problems at all. I felt energetic and lean. Fat adaption for the WIN!

Sleep: Yes, I slept well, most nights.

Mind: Yes, clear. Positive thinking.

Note: There's a lot of negativity out there. Have you noticed? Eyes on your own recovery, plans, circus, the only monkey mind you must manage is your own. ;)

Social fit:

Morning meal: Not as great at work. My eating time didn't fit with my current work schedule. My co-workers are used to me eating Paleo, but heating up a big bowl of curry or bison bowl at 9 am was a bit of a change. Plus, it didn't work well with my  current meeting schedules in the morning.

Evening meal: It did fit well into my dinner plans with family and friends.

Weight during IF
Weekends: Yes, it fit the best into my weekend schedule. Lots of time to run errands, walk, and be active between meals.

What works for me:
1. Current practice. I do feel pretty good when I eat in a restricted window, any weekends or holiday. I will practice a 2 meal day ONLY if I wake up feeling not that hungry. If I feel hungry early in the morning, then I'll eat 3 meals. Typically I can have a 2 meal day once or twice a week. Maybe three  times max,if I have a 3 day weekend. Example: I'm currently on a 3 day weekend but only time restricting 2 of the 3 days.

2.  I enjoy thinking for myself.

What didn't work for me
1.  Past Practice:  Eating lots of carbs and processed foods many times a day because my blood sugar was spiking so high, I almost got type 2 diabetes. I got hypoglycemic "shakes", too.

2. I did what other groups told me should work and fell off the cliff like a lemming. I didn't think for myself.

My final take aways:
Okay. Another great tool in my weight maintenance tool box. I love experimenting and thinking for myself is another adulting practices that I feel are not used enough. When did we stop thinking for ourselves? Ugh!

Have any of my readers experimented with this? I know people in real life who either are not fat adapted OR have metabolisms that just don't allow for this style of eating. They have to eat every 3 hours or so or they will pass out cold. That would be dangerous for them. That's okay. We are all different and should think and do for ourselves.


  1. I have experimented with intermittent fasting and still do from time to time. Last summer, I could not exercise intensely and skipped breakfast for several weeks--and I did lose some weight. I ate around noon and finished snacking (I snack after dinner) around eight or nine. I know Dr. Berkeley likes to eat a light dinner. That is harder for me because I look forward to dinner (yes, I know we should eat fewer calories as the day goes by, but I know what works for me) and because during the work week, I do cardio in the morning before work on an empty stomach. If I did not eat enough for dinner the night before a cardio session, I don't think I would have enough energy. Therefore, I prefer to skip breakfast from time to time. Also if I skip dinner or do a light dinner, I find myself feeling very snacky around that time.

    Right now I am focusing on snacking less in between meals. I have come to really rely on protein heavy meals, which is new for me. I have found that two eggs with a little bit of grass fed bison and 1/3 of a sweet potato or a regular potato (cooked in coconut oil) can fill me up for hours. I am still trying to rid my diet of the small amount of wheat and sugar I eat. I think you eat very balanced and healthy meals (once again, I am a huge fan of your instagram account--how many times will I tell you that??? : ) ). I see some paleo people who only eat salads with lettuce, cucumbers and a piece of meat. Um... that would never fill me up!

    1. Ali, I find I do better with very low carb in the morning, more carbs mid day, then as many veggies as I want at my evening meal. Just works out better for me that way. All my carbs are from the veggies, plus occasional fruit.

      Yeah on the more protein. I love the photo record of some of my meals. Helps me remember what I ate. Sometimes, my favorites change ( season dependent- asparagus). Glad you enjoy that IG. I switch between the two accounts. Thanks for stopping by the blog.

  2. Another great post Karen ...... which will give food for thought to many (no pun intended).
    It is so helpful to exchange and share experiences.

    Take Care and.....

    All the best Jan

    1. Lol on the Pun, Jan. Thank you for stopping by the blog.

  3. It is an indeed another benefit of IF - less time spent preparing food and cleaning. Works great for me too.

    1. Galina, yes! I enjoyed less messing around with dishes and food prep. Glad you are seeing benefits.