Earlier this year I tried IM Fasting.
When I first heard about it towards the end of last year it sounded like the most bonkers idea ever.
Only eat for 8 hours a day.
Like seriously- how are you supposed to do that!?
But I am strongly of the opinion that you can’t say something doesn’t work for you if you haven’t given it a go. I also know people who do it and it works for them.
So for two months earlier this year I experimented with IM Fasting.
Quick summary in case you aren’t familiar with the concept:
- You eat for an 8 hour window each day. That could be 10.00-18.00 / 12.00-20.00 / 8.00-16.00 or any 8 hours to suit your day.
- Then you fast for the other 16 hours.
- You eat normally – no other gimmicks
- You eat the same number of calories you need to eat as per any normal healthy eating plan just in a shorter window
- Whilst fasting you drink water and black coffee
- Some people suggest adding coconut oil to this (some say this means it’s not fasting!)
Day 1 was hard. I decided to do 12.00 to 20.00. After teaching spin at 7.00 waiting another 5 hours to teach was torture. This slowly subsided over the next few days and my body got used to functioning in hanger mode.
I experimented with my windows and found different slots worked better on different days depending on my schedule.
Evenings were tough- once I got home I wanted to eat. On some levels IM fasting was good for this as it stopped me eating just because I was sat on the sofa. On other levels it was a mild form of torture.
I tend to teach both first thing in the morning and also last thing in the evening with an office job in between so my days are long and moving for 16 hours a day on 8 hours of eating took its toll.
I’ll be honest – a large amount of this toll was mental. There were days I would have felt so much happier if I’d have eaten and by sticking to my plan I actually made a bad mood worse.
PMT symptoms were timed by ten!
I’m active and my TDDE is pretty high. I struggled on a lot of days to hit my calorie target.
If I ‘broke’ my fast I felt guilty- guilt is never great for the mindset.
I did find I could eat more carbs and fatty food with less effect on my weight.
I discovered I like coconut oil in black coffee.
I realised I won’t die if I don’t eat for half an hour (always a worry previously).
But ultimately, I realised for a happy headspace I need to eat when my body tells me it needs to eat.
So after a couple of months I decided to stop, take another look at my eating habits and find a system that worked better for me.
Upshot- IM Fasting is (in my unqualified opinion) safe and works for some people. If it works for you that’s great and I wouldn’t dissuade people from trying it. For me and my schedule I need the flexibility to eat when I want and find the restrictions of a feeding window negatively affect my mood.
I’d love to hear other people’s experiences with this method of eating.