Intermittent Fasting?

Bonjour,

Intermittent fasting? Are you serious? This is something I would never advise my clients to do… Well, until today. When a client of mine asked me to help her optimise the way she was doing intermittent fasting, I was a bit in shock.

Intermittent fasting? No way!

Intermittent fasting? No way!

She was already a big fan of my approach to food (Real Food + Pleasure = Health©) and wanted to know how she could apply it to intermittent fasting. She was using the 16/8 method (fasting for 16 hours with an 8-hour eating window every day). I actually was totally against this ‘diet’, which to me was the best recipe to triggering eating disorders, nutrient deficiencies and weight gain.

I, however, have one principle in life: to be always open to considering new ideas, new ways of thinking and approaches, even if it is challenging at times

This client insisted. So I took up the challenge and replied: “You know I don’t like the idea of intermittent fasting. However, given you don’t want to give up on it, I’ll do my best to help you do it in the healthiest and most enjoyable way”.

I did a lot of research, asked my nutrition mentors for guidance, attended workshops and training. I looked at the nutrition literature, met with experts and interviewed people doing intermittent fasting.

I actually was blown away by what I found out: while fasting is not for everyone, many recent studies suggest it can drastically improve your health, from helping lose fat (and not muscles) to optimising metabolism and even extending your lifespan by preventing chronic diseases, reducing inflammation and slowing down the ageing process!

Who can say no to this… even if it sounds too good to be true?

I was so intrigued that I decided to go even further: to try intermittent fasting myself so I would be even better equipped to guide my client in the very best way! I decided to do it for four weeks, and then to go back to my normal diet. I thought a month would be perfect.

So here’s my own experience of intermittent fasting during these last four weeks.

Before starting intermittent fasting

Bye bye breakfast!

Bye bye breakfast!

The first thing to understand: intermittent fasting is not about skipping breakfast at all. Many people already do it but they don’t get the benefits as they often eat something by 10 pm and therefore break the fast. Intermittent fasting means fasting for 16 hours minimum for your body to use your body fat as energy.

When you fast for 16 hours straight, you have to decide what meal you won’t have anymore. You clearly have to choose between breakfast or dinner. For me, the choice was quick as not having dinner would have had too much of an impact on my social life.

However deciding not to have breakfast anymore wasn’t easy either. I love breakfast. I simply love it… The idea of not enjoying this delicious and nutritious meal was literally heart-breaking and against all my nutritional principles. This idea was so unbearable that I delayed the start of my fasting every day for at least 10 days!

One day, I was finally ready! Ready not to eat for 16 hours from after dinner (8 or 9 pm) until lunch (12 or 1 pm) on the next day. During the window of eating of 8 hours maximum, you can (have to) drink as much filtered water as you can (3 litres minimum) and coffee or tea – black with no sugar.

The first few days and week of intermittent fasting

I chose to start on a day when I knew I did not have too much on. Enough not to be inactive and not to think too much.

On the first two days, I was fine. Hungry but it was manageable as I, as advised, I drank a lot of water (and coffee!). I had to give up on my latte though (because of the milk in it), which for me is huge!

3 litres of filtered water a day!

I was fine until 11 am: the last hour was actually awful. I could only think of anything but eating. A totally out-of-control obsession. I was feeling dizzy, convinced that I would not be able to wait until 12 pm. I actually did and ate like a monster… This feeling, fortunately, disappeared from day 3.

The afternoon until dinner was very easy. The only unusual thing was to remember to have dinner before 9 pm if I did not want to have my lunch later than 1 pm on the next day.

I was so ready to suffer, feel deprived and miserable that I actually found week 1 much easier than I thought.

I realised that managing hunger is not the challenge (2 glasses of water STOPS hunger each time!), it’s actually totally doable. The challenge is the idea of not eating that can become very overwhelming. It was all in my head (and not in my stomach).

week 2 and 3 of intermittent fasting

Inermittent fasting means you can eat a lot.

Proteins and vegetables are critical.

It became easier and easier.

I was still hungry in the morning but less and less. I was surprisingly looking forward to my long black (actually a large black filtered coffee) and wasn’t missing my latte anymore. A huge beautiful surprise for me!

The key here was to drink a lot. As you soon as I was feeling hungry or obsessed by the idea of eating. Another critical rule was to eat enough proteins and vegetables so I could get as many nutrients as I needed not to feel hungry.

I found myself being much more alert and focused in the morning. I was not tired at all, with a lot of energy. Very impressive!

I could also feel that I was losing some body fat. Even if I did not have much to loose, I was feeling much lighter – a fantastic feeling!

week 4 of intermittent fasting

I weighed myself for the first time: I only lost 2kgs when I should have lost 4 kgs (the weight loss with intermittent fasting is usually 1kg a week). I was a bit surprised…

However, some friends at the beach, who did not know I was doing intermittent fasting, asked me if I was going to the gym as I was definitely leaner, with better muscle definition (always nice to hear!).

I actually stopped doing any exercise for the last four weeks as I was scared of not being strong enough. Once again, the power of the mind: to me, the idea of fasting could not go with exercising… with no good reason as I never experienced this level of energy before!

And now, what?

Intermittent fasting is challenging but eventually very manageable.

tartines

Enjoy your meals!

I don’t even miss having breakfasts, I gained in clarity and focus and I feel so much lighter. Very importantly I enjoy my 2 meals a day more than ever before. I eat what I love, with always a glass or 2 of my favourite red wine, while making sure I have enough proteins.

I’m so positively impressed that I have decided to do it for 6 months (at least).

It will give me enough time to form my own comprehensive view, assess the pros and cons and impact on my body, my mind, my life. Enough time to provide me with an in-depth knowledge and experience to guide my clients if they are interested in this approach, while still having a lot of pleasure with food and optimising their health.

I will now resume exercising as I need it for my well-being but also to experiment the impact of exercising on body fat loss and muscle gain, which is supposed to be drastically optimised by intermittent fasting.

I’ll share with you how I feel very soon.

Have a beautiful end of the week.

Yves

PS1.What do you think? Should I develop an online programme on intermittent fasting for my clients?

PS2. Did you like this article? Sign up to my nutritious tips here and you’ll get them straight to your inbox. It’s FREE.

Important: Nothing in this article or in my practice is intended to diagnose or treat any disease. My nutrition coaching is not a substitute for any treatment that may have been prescribed by your doctor or qualified health professional. If you suspect that you have a medical problem and/or before taking any supplement, always seek professional medical help. 

 

16 Comments
  1. Excellent piece… I’m doing it!

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    • Thank you very much, Ann.
      However, there are a few rules to follow and a lot of things to be aware of if you want to set yourself for success. I haven’t mentioned them today but this will be the program I’ll be designing very soon. Thank you again for your comment. Yves

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      • Yes please do a program and let me know the cost.Its something i would love to do but need your guidence.xxx

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        • Hi Barbara, thanks a lot for your support. I’ll keep you in the loop. Yves

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  2. Sounds very interesting. Would breakfast at 10or 11 and dinner at 6or7 work?. I will be interested to see your plan. And wine is ok with dinner?

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    • Yes, Marlene, as long as you fast for 16 hours minimum. However, before starting doing intermittent fasting, there’s a lot more to know and it’s not for everyone.
      I’ll share more info very soon.
      Yves

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  3. I have heard about intermittent fasting before. I have never been brave enough to try it though. The idea of giving up a meal is a bit scary! But, after reading this, I just might try it! I lost about 30 lbs. 2 years ago and have kept it off by eating real foods. However, I have never been able to shed this last 10 lbs. Perhaps this would do it!

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    • Hi Cynthia, 30lbs? That’s a lot! Congratulations! You made the perfect choice by deciding to eat real food only: it’s the best way to reclaim your health. When it comes to intermittent fasting, it’s true that it can be very scary. It’s important to be ready. So take your time. Don’t rush. I’ll share more of my experience soon. Have a great day. Yves

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  4. Hi Yves, I’ve tried intermittent fasting on and off recently and I find it quite easy and beneficial. I have found that I can continue with my gym programme and long walks in the mornings with no trouble. Like you I wondered at first if I would have enough energy for exercise, but no problem at all. I’ve watched a lot of Dr. Jason Fung videos on YouTube, he’s a big promotor of this way of living and especially with regard to diabetics for whom it is very beneficial. Very interesting to listen to his interviews with various people and I’ve got his book on fasting. There’s also Dr. Joseph Mercola who has lived like this for a number of years. Thank you for your article and I look forward to hearing your further reports on this way of eating as the months progress.

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    • Thank you so much for your comment, Claire. Great insights on your experience of intermittent fasting… I’ll keep you posted on how the next few weeks go. Yves

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  5. Hi Yves,
    I very much enjoy your blog insights. I have been dabbling with intermittent fasting, since I find it hard to eat breakfast early in the day anyway. Can you clarify what you said about drinking water and black coffee/tea? Do you drink outside your 8 hour eating window? The way you worded it, I got the impression that you only drink in the 8 hour window.
    Thank you, from Lily

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    • Hi Lily
      Thank you very much for your question.
      You actually can drink whenever you want and in particular during the fasting window as it will help stop hunger and very importantly help your eliminate toxins. So sorry if it was not clear. 3 litres a day is good.
      Yves

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  6. Hi Yves,

    I have been experimenting with IF over the last few weeks and am disappointed that I haven’t seen much in the way of results. I have done IF 4-5 times a week.
    I read that 16 hours may not be appropriate for women so I have usually gone between 14.5-16 hrs.

    I am concerned that maybe I have slowed my metabolism even though have continued with my weight training program as usual…..2-3 sessions per week. 20-30 minute walk most days.

    I would definitely sign up for a supervised program under your tutelage……bring it on!!

    Anne

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    • Thanks a lot, Anne, for sharing your experience. It’s true that IF needs to be adapted to each individual and this is where personal coaching can make the difference. I’ll let you know when/if I launch my program. Have a great week.

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  7. I’ve been doing the 5/2 and have found it very good. Any ideas would be welcome.

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    • Hi Kathy,
      Thank you very much for your message.
      The 5/2 diet is not about fasting but more about reducing the number of calories over a few days. Personally, I’m not recommending it but if your doctor approved and if it works for you, please don’t change anything!
      Yves

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