Intermittent Fasting Results: How It Works, and My Before & After Pics

January 13, 2014: Holiday eating had come to an end (burp). My workouts were strong and I felt great, but I hit a plateau and looked bloated.

March 3, 2014: These are the results after 8 weeks of intermittent fasting, coupled with short Tabata workouts for cardio and lifting heavier during strength training.

intermittent fasting Intermittent Fasting Results: How It Works, and My Before & After Pics

I shed 5 pounds that were previously stuck in cement and would not budge for months. I built muscle and saw abs progress. You would think that a greedy chick like me who, in the last 8 weeks, has gnawed on pizza every weekend, multiple Cinnabons (damn, they were good), birthday cake, pastries, food from ‘da hood, Alfredo pasta, ice cream, and carbtastic dinner rolls at every weekend restaurant outing — shouldn’t I be tipping the scales right now?

Nope. Not with intermittent fasting.

That right there paints a wonderfully tasty picture of what Intermittent Fasting is NOT:

  • It is not starving yourself.
  • It is not deprivation.
  • It’s not even reducing your daily caloric intake (if it was sensible to begin with)
  • It is not the elimination the treat meals. Hell naw!

Yep. You are fasting, yet still taking in the same amount of calories you normally would as if you weren’t fasting. If this sounds as frivolous as those mysterious dog turds that appeared in my front yard recently, then do not fret. I’ll break it all down for ya.

WHAT IS INTERMITTMENT FASTING?

Intermittent Fasting (or “IF” for short) is deliciously inhaling your normal allotment of food/calories for the day within a specified “eating-window” instead of spreading your meals throughout the entire day. Each day, you have an eating window and a fasting phase.

During the fasting phase, your body taps into fat stores for energy, opposed to utilizing food for energy that’s fed on around the clock. That’s the basic, simple principle of it.

There are 3 standard methods of IF:

  • Method #1. Eat Stop Eat: Fasting for 24 hours straight, once or twice per week. This method does not interest me. Abstaining for that long will make your breath stink. Don’t ask me how I know.
  • Method #2. Warrior Diet: The gist of this is eating very light throughout the day, then having a HUGE meal at night within a 4 hour time frame, while also avoiding certain foods like meat, dairy and bread and sweet stuff . This method is pretty rigid and I personally would never do it because I’m all about eating freedom when I fro-down. Too many rules to this method.
  • Method #3. Leangains: Fasting for a straight 14-20 hours (you pick how long), then gnawing only during your eating window.

Method #3 is what I have done 5-6 times per week consistently over the last 8 weeks (and will continue to do). On the 1 or 2 days that I’m not fasting I tend to stick to the “5-6 small meals per day” rule of thumb. My non-fasting days are when I treat myself to the good stuff (helloooo pancakes!!!)

“…but, Josie, what about catabolism? If I don’t refuel after my workouts, surely I will starve, have zero energy, and my muscles will waste away, so please shut up about this fasting nonsense.”

When I first began fasting, I kicked around the idea of supplementing with BCAA’s (Branch Chain Amino Acids) due to fears of catabolism, the loss of muscle mass. After doing a ton of research, I embraced BCAAs, not for unfounded fears of muscle wasting, but because they have proven to fuel my workouts wonderfully, provide for excellent muscle recovery, and aid in muscle building  — all without costing me any calories to consume it.

Thanks to science we know that catabolism does not begin to happen until about 48-hours of going without food. Delaying your meal by much less time for the sake of intermittent fasting is not detrimental to your muscles. But note, when you do eat, it’s important to feed your body the proper protein-rich foods that do build muscle.

MY PERSONAL INTERMITTENT FASTING SCHEDULE

  • 18 hours of fasting + 6 hours of eating  = 24 hours

I stop eating at 8pm and don’t eat again until 2pm of the following day. That’s 18 hours of fasting (drinking only water, tea and my BCAAs). I workout at about 6am each morning, so I don’t get my “breakfast” until 8 hours later when 2pm rolls around. If this specific plan scares the hell outta you, alternatively, you can structure your eating & fasting phases so that your fasting period ends soon after your workout is over, or simply shorten your fasting phase and give yourself a longer eating window.

As a precursor to the grand start of my Intermittent Fasting journey, I slowly began reducing my morning eating over a period of a few weeks (breakfast was typically carrots, almonds and tea). I also reduced nighttime grazing as a precursor, which honestly needed to happen anyway.

BUT WON’T I GET HUNGRY WHILE FASTING? 

Yes. At first you might feel ravenous. It may require a small bit of mental fortitude in the beginning, but eventually those ferocious feelings of hunger will fade away until it’s only an occasional, small belly grumble that doesn’t have the power to interrupt your day. The more you practice fasting, the less hunger is an issue. Follow the fasting precursor tips in the previous section if you want to gear up for success.

UNEXPECTED RESULTS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING

  1. Victory Over Food. We — you and me — possess the full power to control bad eating habits. Intermittment Fasting puts you in the hot seat to gain that control. Fasting has reinforced that fact that my day does not have to revolve around food.
  2. Less Cravings: Cravings still happen, but on a much smaller scale. When they do rear their ugly head, it’s very easy to squash it and move on. Cravings no longer have a real say in my life.
  3. More Treats: Yep. I’m finding that my treat meals can be more luxuriously indulgent without fear of weight gain. The treats during the eating phase of my fasting days are limited to a small square of milk chocolate, a bowl of crappy cereal or my lovely Eggo smathered in honey, or sometimes, an ice cream sammich. I’m able to have more treats on non-fasting days than I ever could under the “5-6 small meals everyday” rule of thumb. This is living, baby!
  4. No More Bloat: Even when I do have an indulgent treat meal, bloat is a non-factor. My scientific explanation for this is that I enter back into the fasting phase so quickly that my body doesn’t have a chance to get stuck working overtime on digestion around the clock. I fart less, too. Just sayin’.
  5. Overeating is VERY Hard To Do: All in all, I just can’t stuff myself the way I used to. Even when indulging, my body somehow manages my portions more effectively — I get full quicker and the urge to overeat switches off. Overeating to the point of discomfort and regret happened only one time in my 8 weeks of fasting. That right there is a remarkable anomaly.

I began Intermittent Fasting as an experiment. I was super skeptical and concerned I would feel starved while getting no results. I thought all the wonderful progress other IF’ers had couldn’t possibly happen to me. Never did I think it would become a lifestyle, but it’s become a sustainable way of approaching my diet. This is not a fad diet.

Fasting phases during the week while having a fro-down on the weekend, control over cravings, better digestion, no bloat AND losing more weight faster??? …yep. I’m glad I signed up for that.

Related YUM: Branched Chain Amino Acids for Intermittent Fasting

Are you intrigued? Want your own Intermittent Fasting results? Then go for it! Be sure to leave your questions for me in the comments! Even if doing IF long term isn’t your cup of tea, it can be downright effective for things like: preparing for an upcoming vacation, getting ready for a wedding, blasting out of a plateau, making your ex-boyfriend jealous (hehe), etc etc and so on….

Oh… I’ve also been eating grilled cheese and bacon slices. Forgot about that. ((winks))

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Comments

  1. Allie says:

    Who knew there were so many ways to fast? Apparently you did but I’ve never heard of most of these?! Very interesting but I definitely need to EAT every three to four hours and then I workout like an animal!! You look great by the way. I love how you’re holding the paper in the first one like a hostage!
    Allie recently posted..I’ll Tell You What I Really Think

  2. Carla says:

    I remember having a long conversation once with ALFONSO the ANGRY TRAINER about this.
    he almost had me convinced :)
    YOU MAY HAVE ME WITH THE NO BLOAT.
    Carla recently posted..A Charming guest post.

    • yumyucky says:

      This whole fasting thing appears to be looney bin logic on the surface, but once you do it, it’s like, “ohhhh okay!!”

  3. Barbara says:

    I need to try this again. Working on some gut healing and easing digestion would be good!

  4. yumyucky says:

    Hey Barbi. This might sound weird, but I’ve realized that, for myself, that temporary empty feeling in the stomach isn’t a bad thing. I really think our bodies are working way too hard on digestion from overeating. Not only that, but the crappy food people typically are trying to digest is doing damage. I truly believe that many sicknesses, but also health, begins with the gut. Thanks for stopping by today! I hope your babies enjoy their gymnastic lessons!

  5. Wow, you totally rocked it!

    My experiment with IF didn’t go quite as well (forgive the link) : http://www.crankyfitness.com/2013/07/intermittent-fasting-shortcut-to.html but I’m thinking you were probably more kick-ass with the tabatas and just more awesome and badass in general in the way you went about it. Or maybe our metabolisms are just different. Mine adapted and I plateaued after a couple pounds. I loved all kinds of things about it though, and this post is a great resource for those considering it.

    I have to confess I’m a bit jealous. Happy for ya, but still jealous. I suppose I am Hellous.
    crabby mcslacker recently posted..Crabby Hits the Jackpot: Cranky Readers are Ultra-Awesome!

    • yumyucky says:

      Totally have your post open right now! Gonna read through it. As for adaption, I’m thinking if/when that happens, I’ll change my fasting/eating phases and, of course, change my workouts. You Hellous, gal, you…

  6. katie says:

    Very interesting, I’ve always wondered what IF was and how it worked. I’ve started using BCAA’s too, I always thought they were only for “heavy lifters” but someone recorded them to me to help with my new training plan for a Half Iron Duathalon. I’m doing so much cardio that hopefully the BCAA’s will help prevent some muscle loss. YOU LOOK AMAZING!! and inspiring as always :)
    katie recently posted..Spring Training Week 3

  7. That Guy... says:

    Posts like this are you at your very best!

  8. I’ve heard about this… but never tired. You have me super curious though! Fasting over night definitely helps with the hours too.
    Kimberly (Manifest Yourself) recently posted..Thursday’s Thoughts

  9. Lisa says:

    Fascinting!!

  10. Cody Smith says:

    Very informative! I like Method 1 the best! Feeling hungry makes me feel like I’m doing something right.
    Cody Smith recently posted..Dr Oz Smoking Alcohol Poisoning Risk

  11. Margo D. says:

    This sounds so interesting! I don’t know if I can wait until two pm to eat but maybe just switch window of time? (Hmmmm)
    Margo D. recently posted..What Did We Learn This Month? Health magazine with @AliSweeney @goodhealth

    • yumyucky says:

      yeah girl. Just switch up your eating window! I love that this method is so flexible based on individual needs.

  12. mimi says:

    It sounds like something to experiment with. It also sounds more like how our bodies were designed to eat, back when we had to hunt and gather.
    mimi recently posted..They Lent It To Us

    • yumyucky says:

      I agree with you, mimi. For some reason this way of eating feels “at home” to me. And interestingly, I tend to feel hungrier on the days that I’m not fasting. For instance, I’ll go for pancakes on the weekend and then be hungry again an hour later. Makes no darn sense!

  13. I had seen a DR discussing this type of fasting on some talk show and was skeptical, but wow. That was some fast progress! I have so much ish to do throughout the day, this would easily be manageable for me!
    Christina@A Soulful Twist recently posted..Ten Tips for the Perfect French Toast + Just Peachy French Toast

  14. Oh and you are totally right about “hungry breath”! Don’t ask how I know either! :)
    Christina@A Soulful Twist recently posted..Ten Tips for the Perfect French Toast + Just Peachy French Toast

  15. StarvingDiva says:

    I love leangains and when I did it I saw the fastest results in my body. This post just solidifies I have to get myself back into doing it.
    StarvingDiva recently posted..Linky Roundup

  16. So interesting!! Happy you found something you liked & could do!!! Me, as much “willpower” as I have – nope – can’t do this. I like to eat too much! :)
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Biggest Fitness Mistakes People Make in Losing Weight & Getting Healthier & Fitter

  17. Kim says:

    I have done this for years – I usually skip breakfast and lunch many days and then eat an entire days worth of calories in the evening. I didn’t set out to do IF but most days it is what I do and it works. And, since I work out first thing in the morning I usually work out on an empty stomach!
    Kim recently posted..You Take the Good, You Take the Bad

  18. Coco says:

    Glad this works for you. I have hypoglycemia, so even pushing a meal 1-2 hours late makes me shakey, headachey and not to mention b*tchy!
    Coco recently posted..Three Things Thursday (The Foreign Travel Edition)

  19. I’ve known people who have done this and it works for them. You look great by the way!
    Diane Fit to the Finish recently posted..How to Avoid Shame on the Scale

  20. Dee says:

    I ♥ IF, my eating window is 9 – 5 and it works for me, well cept on Saturdays when I’m up later, LOL.

  21. Valerie says:

    There is another variation to intermittent fasting – 5 days of regular meals and 2 days of fasting (500 calories per day). It’s called the 5-2 diet. I’ve lost a pound a week after 3 weeks. It takes a little getting used to – I eat 3 small meals to keep under 500 calories. There’s a book written by a doctor describing the eating plan – it’s called the fast diet.
    Valerie recently posted..The Common Food That Is Eight Times As Addictive As Cocaine

  22. bunnie says:

    girl you look amazing. very informative. keeping this in my back pocket, THANKS!

  23. This is super interesting. I appreciate you sharing all of these interesting ways to fast. You can’t deny the results though!
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted..5 Ways to Stay Mentally Engaged In Your Healthy Living Goals

  24. Amelie says:

    This information is very true and nice. Thank you.
    Amelie recently posted..How to Loss Your Weight

  25. blackhuff says:

    I know people doing this and they claim it works. Glad you like your new way of eating. You look great.
    blackhuff recently posted..Doomsday tomorrow

  26. Robin says:

    Fantastic results! Could you please tell me which BCAA you took, how many scoops, how many times per day, and what you mixed it with. Thank you.

    • yumyucky says:

      Hi Robin. I’m working on a BCAA blog post, but I can tell you I’m use NOW Foods powder form of BCAAs — there are no artificial flavors to cover up the terrible taste, so I did some experimenting: I use a 5 calorie packet of True Lemon (sweetened with natural stevia) and it works wonders at masking the BCAA taste. Tastes just like lemonade. I fill my Blender bottle to 17 ounces of filtered water, pour in the True Lemon packet, and add about 2.5 heaping tablespoons of the powder. I do this twice in all during my workout — 17 ounces pre-workout (about 10 minutes before) and then another 17 ounces during workout. It doens’t mix that well if you drink it immediate, but give it few minutes and the powder dissolves a bit better. It honestly has its pros & cons there (will explain more in the blog post) but overall it does what it needs to do excellently as far as fueling the muscles. It really makes a difference. Thanks for asking! Here’s the product link: http://amzn.to/1me0teL

  27. merri says:

    hmm i guess i do this on accident on a lot of weekends, especially vacation ones. eat dinner, go out dancing, and time gets out of hand and before you know it, it’s the afternoon and oops you’ve got to eat again before more dancing. :) i do come back from those vacations nice and trim!
    merri recently posted..Music Friday, Throwback, & Ice Cream Sandwiches

  28. Dannia says:

    Cool post! i tried fasting, but man do i get grumpy when i’m hungry! my fiends can’t stand me hungry, so they specifically ask me not to call them unless i’ve just eaten :) is it just me?

  29. Josie, this is very timely. I have been fighting all sorts of bloating and ickyness in the tummy and was thinking that I’m due for a fast. But this makes a lot of sense. Thanks; I will be trying this for sure. Will get the BCAAs too.
    Alison Hector recently posted..Getting my gratitude on

  30. Dianna says:

    I really want to try this, I will start in the next day or so and let you know how it goes! Thank you!

  31. Literally I was reading about IF yesterday and here you are posting about it. Normally I fast on Saturdays for a few reasons. I like the idea of doing IF during the week and being able to eat on the weekends. I’m going to start this next week as well as getting some amino acid to help with muscle recovery. I will let you know how it goes. At that point I might have some questions. I’m pretty excited about this.
    Niekka McDonald recently posted..Surviving My Liver Detox

  32. Diana Li says:

    lol i think ive been unintentionally doing this for years!! i never liked the 6 small meals, i always thought it was kind of a crock because i never really felt full and never really felt hungry! it was an annoying in between feeling and i always felted bloated! sometimes i dont eat all day and just have dinner or ill have like a piece of fruit for lunch. plus i don’t think people realize it takes 48 hrs for food to process through your system entirely so you’re not gonna starve. if i have a big dinner im usually not hungry until dinner the next night, i’ll just have tea and water all day. glad to know i’ve not been crazy all these years! great post!
    Diana Li recently posted..giant paper flower

  33. This is the right site for anyone who wants to find out about this
    topic. You understand a whole lot its almost tough to
    argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa).
    You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject that’s been written about for years.
    Excellent stuff, just wonderful!
    win your ex back again recently posted..win your ex back again

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Disclaimer: Not all exercise programs are suitable for everyone. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Neither Josie, YumYucky.com, nor anyone else associated with this website will be responsible or liable for any injury you sustain while exercising.