Intermittent Fasting for Beginners – New Year Challenge

landscape photograph of body of water

Well, hasn’t January just flown by?! No? Me neither. But here we are in February nonetheless. It’s time for an update on my ‘gentle’ weight loss challenge. Really, it’s intermittent fasting for beginners.

That’s because, if you recall, I wanted to ease into things, focusing on improving my behaviours after a Christmas of binge-eating and drinking. I didn’t want to make it too hard to implement into my daily routine – I wanted sustainability. But, of course, I still want to lose weight and feel better.

This was the plan:

My plan is to focus on healthy behaviours and less on a weight loss target. I’m going back to intermittent fasting, eating only between midday and 6pm every day, cutting back on caffeine, cutting out alcohol, and aiming for a balanced diet. Alongside this, i’ll be walking regularly, and I plan to get back on the Couch to 5k challenge.

Me, January 2022

So, have I done that? Well, yes and no. I’ve been pretty good at keeping to me eating window, albeit I have allowed myself slack at the weekends. I haven’t been beating myself up about that at all.

I have been walking regularly, sticking to no caffeine after 11am, I haven’t had any alcohol and my diet has improved simply in terms of cutting out crisps and other things I know are just a bad idea. Saying that, yesterday I ate a load of cake.

It has been incredibly easy and hasn’t felt like i’m on a diet at all actually. As a result, I strongly suspect I haven’t lost much weight!

Ok, off to the scales to find out…

Weighing in

Here I am on 7th Feb, compared with a month ago:

  • Mass: 94.7kg (down from 96.6kg)
  • Body fat: 33.4% (down from 33.9%)
  • Visceral fat: 13 (same)
  • Resting heart rate: 59bpm (down from 78bpm)
  • Respiration rate (awake): 13brpm (down from 14brpm)
  • Active minutes (last 7 days): 284 (up from 0)
  • Waist: 102cm (down from 104cm)
  • Belly: 111cm (down from 115cm)
  • Chest: 108.5cm (down from 111cm)
crop person on weight scales
Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

Well when you consider that i’ve really put VERY little effort into it, you’ve got to be impressed with that. A couple of small lifestyle changes, and eating between 12 and 6pm 5 days a week has resulted in steady weight loss of nearly 2kg, with centimetres off the waist, belly and chest. More importantly, my resting heart rate has dropped right down, taking some strain off my heart.

Remember, it’s ‘intermittent fasting for beginners’

I want to remind you that my approach to this whole thing was to ease into it as gently as possible. You might think that skipping breakfast isn’t gentle, and maybe that’s harder for some than others. I wouldn’t start by fasting until 12, I would start day 1 at 10, for example, then increase that gradually.

And don’t forget, you could eat early and skip dinner if you wanted. In fact, according to plenty of research, we are probably better off finishing eating earlier in the day. There are all sorts of reasons you don’t want a meal before bed (reminder to look at Dr Fung’s Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting for more on this (aff link)), but I just find it much harder to skip dinner than to skip breakfast.

This stuff is flexible.

So if you’re not impressed with my 1.9kg weight loss in a month, and you’ve been bombarded with people losing 10kg or more over January, remember that this is supposed to be a long-term effort that can change your life (well, mine at the very least!) for the better and result in sustainable benefits. This is NOT a crash diet approach, although if that’s what you wanted to do, you could look at my other posts on OMAD, for example.

The plan for February

So for the rest of this month, i’m going to be carrying on with my 18:6 eating window. If the mood takes me, I may throw in the odd 24h fast. I haven’t been disciplined with what I eat at all, but I have that in the bag if I need it. For now, I want to keep it easy.

However, I do need to step up my exercise levels. I walked regularly, but quite short distances, usually a 30-45 minute local walk 3-5 times a week. Later this month, I start cricket training, which is often where I get an injury or two. In an attempt to prevent that, i’m starting my resistance bands workouts, and this week i’m going to jump back in on Couch to 5k. I’ve put it off as long as I dare!

So that’s the plan for February – 18:6 eating window, walking, resistance bands, a bit of jogging.

I’d like to think i’ll be 2-3kg down by the next weigh-in in early March. See you then!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: