So here we are, 33 days later and I have finished what I hope to be the second of many of these little challenges. (Potato diet being the first!)
I feel super chuffed in completing this, and I'm planning challenges like these, for the future.
Like many others, new years resolutions like "I want to be fitter" or "I want to read more" just haven't worked for me.
I think the reason that they don't work for me is due to the fact they require hard work, dedication and discipline. The sheer thought of doing that for an infinite amount of time just scares me. In addition, they are goals that you don't necessarily see the benefits from after one day or one week.
You have to 'do your time' and see your results as time progresses.
After watching podcasts that include James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, you look at the resolutions that are above and notice they're not a measurable goal. For example, wanting to "read more" is way too vague - compared with "I will read one book a month for the next 6 months." - There's an amount, a goal and an ending point.
In line with Stephen Covey's '7 Habits of Highly Successful People', you can see this as "starting with the end in mind" (habit #2).
What is Intermittent Fasting?
No I am not a qualified nutritionist, and no this isn't as accurate as other material out there in the internet. Google Intermittent Fasting for more / better information!
Intermittent Fasting is where you have a period of time during the day, that you don't eat. It's that simple.
The whole point of it is to get your body to use the 'stored energy' (fat) in order to function, rather than relying on the food you'd normally consume.
It is much easier for you body to burn fat when you are fasting because your insulin levels are low.
Personally, I stick to the 16-8 principle. Don't eat for 16 hours, and then have an 8 hour window to eat. (12pm - 8pm) This means you either don't eat breakfast or you don't eat dinner. I chose to miss out breakfast.
You can fast, whereby you don't consume any liquid as well during those 16 hours. But many YouTube videos later, I've found out that it's better to drink water / green tea during those 16 hours. Just don't have anything that would spike your insulin levels (anything with calories).
There's a lot more information that I read (or watched), which I will put links to, in the references section below.
What else did I change?
I saw intermittent fasting as a 'key stone habit' - a change you make which in turn affects other aspects of your life. At first, I just ate the same stuff I was always eating - but within the smaller time frame. Then I decided to change that.
I decided to `simplify' my food. For lunch, I'd have marinated chicken, brown rice and brocolli (so not as bland as plain chicken) Recipes here) - and for dinner I'd have a Greek Chicken Wrap (Recipe here).
Then I decided to start running. I did this for two reasons. One, I wanted to run a marathon at some point, so I needed to start somewhere. Two, I heard that doing cardio in the fasted state helps with weight loss, rather than running after you have eaten.
Just like Matt D'Avella, I printed off a 'physical' check off grid - which I stuck to my wardrobe door. Every morning, I would roll over and see this piece of paper. In the middle weeks, I started to record how much I weighed each and every day.
Out of the 34 days, I completed 33. That one day I missed I had one too many beers after cricket, came back and ate a whole lemon tart (one of the big ones).
At the beginning of the challenge, I found a new love...
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Oh my word, how have I not had that before! So although I stuck to the 8 hour window, there were two occasions where I indulged with some dessert. (I also ate a whole Dominos Pizza - to myself - that cost me 1kg right away).
Also, there were moments when it was tough, when I started craving things like chocolate or biscuits - in fact, there were days when I thought I was going to quit the challenge.
I didn't - and boy I'm glad I didn't.
I lost 7.5kg in 30 days. - (for you old timers, thats 1st 2lbs or 16.5lbs)
Stupidly, I didn't take a 'Before' photo at the beginning of this challenge. Although, I do have one from January (you know, when I set myself one of those BS resolutions) - and wow.
I look SO MUCH BETTER :) I've still got a lot of work to do, and I think this is now the motivation I need to start acutally going to the gym, but personally, I see this as a massive step in the right direction. :)
There were other benefits from this little challenge.
I lost 3.3% body fat since my last reading in April. (We had a machine at work that measured our body fat %).
My resting heart rate is down to 48! (This one shocked me as well!)
I learnt so much during the last 34 days, here's my top three.
Like seriously, there's method to the madness.
Drinking water helps curb hunger. Most of the time when I thought I was hungry, I actually wasn't.
It's okay to fail
That one day that I didn't check off so early on in the challenge was such a let down. But then I came to my senses and thought 'So What?!'
In too many instances, I am always looking for perfection. But for what? Sometimes, there's never a perfect time or scenario, but those that are successful, just make do.
One day out of thirty four... even with that day missed, I still achieved something great!
Success stories take TIME
That before and after photo was the biggest 'eye opener' for me.
There are so many times that you are so focused on the day to day, that you don't notice how far you have actually come.
Most people 'fail' either because they don't persevere (mainly cause they are often looking for instant success) or because they refuse to put the work in - if they don't have the 'perfect' scenario to work in.
"98.7% is still an A." - Caroline Lee
Hopefully this helps someone out there.
Thanks for reading :) x