Monday, February 2, 2009

A Typical Day of Intermittent Fasting

Water is an integral part of intermittent fasting.
Water is an integral part of intermittent fasting. (Photo by Koshyk)

If you're wondering what intermittent fasting (IF) is like in practice, look no further. In this post, I'll describe a typical day (well, two actually) in the life of an intermittent faster.

As I mentioned a while ago, I've been doing intermittent fasting for more than six months now. During that time, I've gotten into a kind of routine where how and what I eat is pretty much fixed from week to week. I don't mean that in a boring way; it's just that when you combine working or studying with fasting, your eating schedule tends to gravitate towards certain patterns.

Since I'm doing the 24/24 hour cycle version of intermittent fasting, it means that at any given day I either start or stop the fast in the afternoon or evening. This moment, known as the break point, may vary slightly from day to day, but recently it's been more or less 6 PM.

Here's a typical day, beginning with a fast (continued from the previous day):

8:00 AM - Wake up
8:15 - drink some water, get to work
8.45 AM - A cup of coffee
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM - Sip on water, drink green tea
2:00 PM - Another cup of coffee
4:15 PM - 5.30 PM Get off work, go to the gym
6:00 PM - Break the fast, eat a warm meal
8:00 PM - Eat some dark chocolate
9:30 PM - Make a smoothie
01:00 AM - Go to bed

The eating window then continues to the second day, which usually looks something like this:

9:00 AM - Wake up
9:15 AM - Drink rest of the smoothie from yesterday, get to classes
10:00 AM - A cup of coffee
12:00 PM - A warm meal
2:00 PM - Another cup of coffee
5:00 PM - A second warm meal
6:00 PM - End the eating period with some dark chocolate
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM - Several cups of green tea
01:00 AM - Go to bed

And repeat from beginning.

Though it may look like I'm eating very little, that's not the case. I'll explain my current diet in more detail in another post, but based on my calculations, I average about 2,000 kcal per day.

How is this possible? By eating large meals. For example, the warm meal that I break the fast with is usually close to 1,300 kcal, much more than an average lunch or dinner. The smoothie is slightly over 300 kcal, and the chocolate is close to 400 kcal.

On the second day, the first warm meal is often something like two chicken breasts, which is about 400 kcal. The second warm meal is again over a 1,000 kcal. The rest of the calories come from the smoothie and the chocolate.

When it's time to break the fast I'm naturally very hungry, but not starving. When I began this experiment, I wasn't working, so I had much more free time. I also slept more and exercised less than I do now, and yet keeping up with the 24/24 hour routine hasn't gotten more difficult as my activity level has increased.

Patience and adaptation, that's really all there is to it.

For more information on intermittent fasting, see these posts:

Intermittent Fasting Improves Insulin Sensitivity Even without Weight Loss
Intermittent Fasting Experiment – Update after 5 Months
The Psychological Effects of Intermittent Fasting
Controlling Hunger During a Fast: Does Green Tea Help?

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3 kommenttia:

Anonymous November 3, 2010 at 10:15 PM  

tnx for the post. i haven't tried the 24-24 cycle yet. about a week ago i started a 19/5 cycle. i haven't been using it religiously, but it's definitely helped me to get over a plateau. why i'm hesitant to do the 24-24 cycle is that i tend to get really nauseous after a while, which can be a problem during the daytime.

Anonymous January 10, 2012 at 11:20 PM  

I started IF yesterday, your post is very useful.. i was looking around for example schedules, to give me an idea of when to eat, how much, etc..

One question.. do you have cream with your coffee? Does that count as breaking the fast? As much as i would love to do the IF, i cant function well on an empty stomach.. i need some calories..
what i'm trying to do is have breakfast at around 6:00 am and then dinner at 5:00 with a couple of cups of coffee with cream in between..

JLL January 11, 2012 at 10:20 AM  


Cream does have some protein in it, but I'm not sure it's enough to really count as breaking the fast. Worst case scenario is you won't be getting maximum benefits out of the fast, but you'd still be getting some of them.

And, if you're doing IF for weight loss reasons, then all you need to do is check whether you're losing weight with your method or not.


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