When it came to eating healthy and taking care of my body, my inclination was to categorize it as a ‘long-term’ task in my list of To-Dos and then brush the thought under the carpet of my mind. However, in the last year or so, this issue became a priority for me, as fixing the daily, routine stuff grew in importance for me. I know, it sounds silly to look back at what I just wrote – wouldn’t it be an obvious thing to fix what you do daily? Apparently not.
Reasons Why I Tried Intermittent Fasting
Over the last few years, I had somehow lulled myself into an acceptance of lack of quality sleep and feeling lethargic throughout the entire day. I’d even become OK with intermittent bouts of prolonged knee pain as a constant in my life. I had attributed these as a side effect of the fast-paced modern life, and particularly in my case, managing my two jobs (as I like to fondly call them now). During the day, I work as a social sector consultant in a multilateral institution, and evenings and nights, I pursue my second career as a stand-up comedian. I did get my knees checked with a couple of orthopaedics. But my MRI scans didn’t reveal any reason for the severity of the knee pain. I felt I had done enough for the time being, and again, forgot about this issue to focus on the day-to-day.
My Informed Plunge To Fast Intermittently
However, sometime around September 2019, I decided I should stir things up a bit, that it was not OK to spend most days with bouts of searing knee pain and a lethargic state of being. Again, obvious! It began with some research on functional medicine and intermittent fasting. For the first 2 weeks, I’d say all I did was try to gather as much information as I could about the subject of healthy nutrition and intermittent fasting. I figured out some good sources of info (can be a difficult task considering the sheer volume of content out there), gathered some basic knowledge and then took a plunge. Also, to be more data-informed about this, my wife and I also got our gut analysis done and we both decided to cut out, albeit reluctantly, dairy and gluten from our diet.
What I Wanted To Change Through This
My key objectives were – to feel good about my body and diet, not feel lethargic during the day, reduce my tummy (I have a slim body with tummy issues, as I put it) and reduce my knee pain.
There are many ways to practice intermittent fastingg or IF, (tons of research and material out there), but I started with the 16/8 method (8-hour window of eating with a 16-hour fasting window), as I wanted to adopt something which repeated itself every day, thereby making it easier to integrate it with my daily routine. So I started following a 16/8 fasting/eating window, combined with a healthier than before the diet. Gone was gluten, combined with much-reduced intake of starchy carbohydrates and an increased portion of a variety of greens and leafy produce. Also, my YouTube research demonstrated the need to take essential supplements, to ensure that vital vitamins and minerals were being absorbed by my body, and also make up for deficiencies that weren’t being covered by my diet.
My daily supplements consisted of – Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin B12, Fish Oil (for Omega-3s) and once a week Vitamin D tablet (60,000 IU).
My Intermittent Fasting Plan: Review and Adapt
For about a couple of weeks, I would have breakfast (eggs and gluten-free bread toast on most days) at 8 a.m. and lunch (rice, a small portion of lentils, and a good chunk of raw, wholesome veggies) at 2 p.m. However, I noticed that on all days, I had fairly severe hunger pangs by evening. So I switched my fasting routine from 12 noon to 8 pm. This was a way to include lunch and dinner, and skip breakfast. And my body adjusted pretty well to this. I realized that I don’t really get hungry in the morning, and can survive without food till 12:30/1 p.m. (morning black coffee excluded of course!). I also upped my good-fat intake (eggs and avocados) and started eating a lot more greens and salad. Over a period of time, I also incorporated Apple Cider Vinegar (with warm water) into my daily routine. I would add here that while I was fairly disciplined (compared to before at least) about following IF and the new diet (especially for the first month), I would have off days, especially on weekends, where I would take it easy (I would say once in 10 days would be the frequency on average).
My Diet When I’m Fasting Intermittently
Eating Window: 12 noon – 8 pm
Fasting Period: 8 p.m. – 12 noon
Morning Water: Apple Cider Vinegar and lemon water
Coffee, Black, No Sugar (an hour or so later)
Lunch: Salad with fresh greens, boiled and grilled vegetables with paneer/avocado OR 1 cup Dal and rice
Evening Snack/Lunch: Vegetable Soup + 2 boiled eggs OR 2 boiled eggs + 1 avocado toast OR 1 Smoothie Bowl
Daily Supplements: Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin B12, Fish Oil
Results Of Intermittent Fasting: Time To Go To The Tailor
In about a couple of months of following this new routine, I noticed changes internally and externally. The most visible change was that I lost a few inches on my waist (2 inches) and lost 8 kilos. This required alterations for a few of my clothes. Thankfully, we have a great tailor, who is also easy on the wallet, a hundred or so meters from our house. 🙂
It didn’t stop there – my knee pain has almost disappeared, I enjoy better quality of sleep, and I definitely feel more energised. I think it also helped that I viewed these as lifestyle changes, and not as some chore which had to be completed where I had to suffer for a while to see the benefits. I would say that the mental make-up you have determines how you end up adopting changes, and my intermittent fasting journey so far seems to have validated the assumption for me.
I currently plan on continuing intermittent fasting and following the same diet, and further adding things like exercise and meditation to my daily routine.
I hope this blog helps you in your health journey. If you have any questions, please reach out to Srijan on Instagram.