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44-year-old woman, finding IF very difficult: should I persist?

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  • 44-year-old woman, finding IF very difficult: should I persist?

    Hi all,

    I'll just jump in with both feet here. A little bit of background, I'm a 44 year old female, 5'4', 155 pounds and 28% body fat. Recovering cardio addict who now lifts 3X per week (once with a trainer) and does some form of cardio 2-3X per week. I am unsure of what my "ideal weight" is, but am shooting for 20% body fat at this time. I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, but am controlling that with Synthroid. No other health issues that I'm aware of.

    Thanks to working with a great trainer for the last 2 months, I've seen some nice changes in my body. I'm adding muscle and feel stronger than I have in my whole life.

    My problem: fat loss. I can feel the muscles in my arms, legs, etc. developing but they are covered with a lot of fat. I've been eating mostly Paleo/Primal for the last six months, and track my calories to avoid overeating. I average 1400-1600 calories per day, going up to 2000-2200 on my weekly "cheat" day.

    I've recently been reading a lot about IF (intermittent fasting) and it seems like this is a good protocol for someone like me who is trying to lose fat. BUT, I am finding it impossible (so far) to go 16 hours without eating. Even if I eat a protein-rich snack at 10pm, when I wake up at 7am I am hungry. By 10-11am I am ravenous.

    For the past couple of days, I've managed to make it almost 15 hours without eating any solid food in the morning - just cream in my coffees. I know this isn't a true fast, but I'm transitioning towards it.

    Does the hunger get any more manageable? I read all of these posts from people who say that going 16-18 hours is no problem at all for them, and I wonder if I just to keep at it? Any advice from those that have been there would be most welcome!
    "For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic ... we enjoy the comfort of opinions without the discomfort of thought."
    ---John F. Kennedy

  • #2
    First off, why have weekly cheat day? If that keeps you from eating junk the rest of the week, then by all means, keep doing it, but if you can live without it, you'll be better off. I used to do the same thing -- I would go out and have a big piece of cheesecake almost weekly. Now, I do that maybe once or twice a month at most.

    I've also just recently started fasting. Make sure you're eating enough food when you do eat. I fast on workout days, and after I work out, I'll have an "eating window" where I eat 3,000 - 3,500 calories.

    Keep yourself busy and drink plenty of water. Try to do something slightly active -- go for a walk or go run errands. You might find that you have more energy for it when you fast!

    Comment


    • #3
      There are a couple different issues here:

      Most people find it easier to not eat anything after their last meal, so if your last meal is at 6pm, you could eat again at 8am, which is 14 hours, the recommended period of daily fasting for women. That snack is likely sabotaging you.

      *For me* I just embraced the feeling of hunger as a positive. I separated it mentally from the weakness that eventually came from needing food. I embraced hunger as a positive.

      Fasting is a skill to some degree and does get easier.
      Lifting Journal

      Comment


      • #4
        >>>First off, why have weekly cheat day? If that keeps you from eating junk the rest of the week, then by all means, keep doing it, but if you can live without it, you'll be better off. I used to do the same thing -- I would go out and have a big piece of cheesecake almost weekly. Now, I do that maybe once or twice a month at most. <<<

        Thank you, Tarek. I should probably clarify a bit - it's a weekly cheat MEAL, not an entire day. So on Fridays, I'll eat clean up until dinnertime, and then my husband and I will go out for a meal somewhere. Last week it was a burger and a beer, but Saturday morning I was back on the "wagon", so to speak. I find that having this one meal to have something different keeps me going the rest of the week.
        "For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic ... we enjoy the comfort of opinions without the discomfort of thought."
        ---John F. Kennedy

        Comment


        • #5
          [QUOTE=Apex Predator;712189]There are a couple different issues here:

          Most people find it easier to not eat anything after their last meal, so if your last meal is at 6pm, you could eat again at 8am, which is 14 hours, the recommended period of daily fasting for women. That snack is likely sabotaging you.

          Oooo, somehow I missed that it was 14 hours for women. Since I started my (almost) IF experiment, my days have looked like this:

          7am: wake up
          8am - 4:30pm: work (sedentary, desk job, although I do stand a lot of the time)
          1pm: eat lunch
          5:00 - 6:00pm: work out
          7:00pm: eat dinner
          10:00pm: eat snack (usually 1/2 cup unsweetened greek yogurt with raspberries, or a small handful of macadamias)

          I've been eating the snack to help get me over the "no breakfast" thing, but if the window is 14 hours for women, skipping the snack
          should be doable, although a hard habit to break.
          "For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic ... we enjoy the comfort of opinions without the discomfort of thought."
          ---John F. Kennedy

          Comment


          • #6
            IFing does get easier then when first doing it. I agree with staying busy, moving etc. You want to focus on other things. You are free from the idea of needing to eat on those days. I find that many times it's late afternoon before I think man I am getting hungry. Energy levels are usually very high as well. Learn to get past those feelings of ravenous hunger. They pass. Focusing on it though will only make it worse and lead to breaking the fast. Also the cream in the coffee has to go. This is NOT fasting. Drink lots of water and move. No calories though.

            Comment


            • #7
              >>>Also the cream in the coffee has to go. This is NOT fasting. Drink lots of water and move. No calories though. <<<

              LOL, I know the cream has to go. It is just a "crutch" to get me through this first week of not eating every 2-3 hours. When I do IF for real it will be just plain coffee and water.

              Question: so do you all IF every day, only on the days you lift weights, or something else?
              "For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic ... we enjoy the comfort of opinions without the discomfort of thought."
              ---John F. Kennedy

              Comment


              • #8
                When I first tried IF I found it really hard. I would miss breakfast, and then by the time it got to lunch I was starving and it felt like I would stay that way for the rest of the day. I'm sure I would eat far more in my "eating window" that I would have done on a normal day! I only tried it a few times and decided that for some reason my body simply wasn't ready. I was about 2 months into primal at that point and I don't think that I was completely switched over into optimal fat burning or something like that

                I went back to eating good, primal food in three meals a day and then a month or so later I started to feel like I simply wasn't hungry in the morning so I started skipping breakfast and eating my lunch at my normal time, or a bit earlier. It didn't feel like fasting as I honestly didn't want to eat in the morning. I took that as a sign that something had healed or changed. It was interesting that over that time I didn't lose a huge amount of weight (after having lost a lot in the first two months) and since then, the weight has started slipping of again gradually.

                Now, I can easily go quite a long time without food. Sometimes I don't feel hungry in the evening (normally only on days when I've not been very active) and so skip dinner, and then only eat again the next lunchtime - so a 24 hour fast. I don't do it very often, but it is now rare for me to eat more than two meals a day. Its been really liberating but I'm not sure that I would have gotten here if I'd rushed it...

                Maybe its worthwhile giving yourself a few weeks of not pushing yourself to fast and see if you come to it more naturally?

                Another thought is what are you generally eating? I find IF much easier when I'm eating plenty of fat in my main meals and not too much in the way of extra carbs (e.g. sweet potatoes and rice). I find it much more difficult when I've been having fruit or dark chocolate as I get really bad sugar cravings if I have too much.

                Sugar is my nicotine...

                Comment


                • #9
                  [QUOTE=gempdx44;712204]
                  Originally posted by Apex Predator View Post
                  There are a couple different issues here:

                  Most people find it easier to not eat anything after their last meal, so if your last meal is at 6pm, you could eat again at 8am, which is 14 hours, the recommended period of daily fasting for women. That snack is likely sabotaging you.

                  Oooo, somehow I missed that it was 14 hours for women. Since I started my (almost) IF experiment, my days have looked like this:

                  7am: wake up
                  8am - 4:30pm: work (sedentary, desk job, although I do stand a lot of the time)
                  1pm: eat lunch
                  5:00 - 6:00pm: work out
                  7:00pm: eat dinner
                  10:00pm: eat snack (usually 1/2 cup unsweetened greek yogurt with raspberries, or a small handful of macadamias)

                  I've been eating the snack to help get me over the "no breakfast" thing, but if the window is 14 hours for women, skipping the snack
                  should be doable, although a hard habit to break.
                  I think that would be my first step.
                  Lifting Journal

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Have you thought of an evening IF? When I attempt IF in a couple months, that's what I'm going to try. I grew up eating breakfast and I feel faint without it. I'm not giving it up. But I found that if I have a bigger lunch, I often forget about dinner.
                    You might also think about working in Bulletproof Coffee as a snack. It fills you up, but it has a lot of fat calories.

                    (the jury is still out as to whether women need to count calories in addition to carbs.)
                    5'0" female, 45 years old. Started Primal October 31, 2011, at a skinny fat 111.5 lbs. Low weight: 99.5 lb on a fast. Gained back to 115(!) on SAD chocolate, potato chips, and stress. Currently 111.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gempdx44 View Post
                      >>>Also the cream in the coffee has to go. This is NOT fasting. Drink lots of water and move. No calories though. <<<

                      LOL, I know the cream has to go. It is just a "crutch" to get me through this first week of not eating every 2-3 hours. When I do IF for real it will be just plain coffee and water.

                      Question: so do you all IF every day, only on the days you lift weights, or something else?
                      I actually wouldn't stress about the cream.

                      I don't fast that often anymore- I need to eat too much(as much as 7k+calories some days) due to lifting. Though I will sometimes go 10-14 hours without food, I don't notice it or count it as a fast. What I used it for was healing.
                      Lifting Journal

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        >>>Another thought is what are you generally eating? I find IF much easier when I'm eating plenty of fat in my main meals and not too much in the way of extra carbs (e.g. sweet potatoes and rice). I find it much more difficult when I've been having fruit or dark chocolate as I get really bad sugar cravings if I have too much. >>>

                        Good points, maybe I just need to relax and ease into it a little slower.

                        A typical non-IF'ing day of food/bev looks like this:

                        7am: two shots of espresso with a TBSP of coconut milk

                        9/9:30am: breakfast at my desk. Usually a whey protein shake (2 scoops any whey + coconut milk + ice) OR 200-300 calories of breakfast meat

                        12/1pm: lunch. Usually a salad with protein or chicken/beef with rice

                        3/4pm: afternoon snack. usually a small apple with some fat/protein in the form of cheese, lunch meat, or nuts

                        7/7:30pm: dinner. chicken/pork/beef with veggies, potatoes or rice sometimes

                        10pm: evening snack. almost always 1/2 c greek yogurt with 1/2 c berries, sometimes with a few unsweetened coconut flakes

                        Beverages: I drink about 64 ounces of water per day (more on days I exercise) and a ton of coffee
                        "For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic ... we enjoy the comfort of opinions without the discomfort of thought."
                        ---John F. Kennedy

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I found the evening IF easier than the breakfast one, too. But I stopped IFing because I was getting really feezing-ass cold on my IF days, so cold I could not warm up enough to go to sleep.

                          Now what I have been doing is a bulletproof fast: bulletproof coffee for breakfast then some canned fish for lunch around 1 or 2. Then a nice big dinner. All my carbs are at dinner. It got me over a stall.

                          Also, whether I do a real fast or not, I always give myself permission to end the fast if I'm really super hungry. It isn't supposed to be hard.
                          Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Oxide,

                            >>>Have you thought of an evening IF? When I attempt IF in a couple months, that's what I'm going to try. I grew up eating breakfast and I feel faint without it. I'm not giving it up. But I found that if I have a bigger lunch, I often forget about dinner.
                            You might also think about working in Bulletproof Coffee as a snack. It fills you up, but it has a lot of fat calories.<<<

                            I don't think that would work for me. I cannot get to sleep if I am the least bit hungry, I would much rather skip breakfast. Come to think of it, when I was much younger (teens and twenties) I would often have nothing but coffee for breakfast and was fine. It was only when the weight started to creep on in my 30's that I bought into the "breakfast is the most important meal of the day, eat every 3 hours to keep your metabolism humming" type thing.

                            I have to say, when I eat every 3 hours I NEVER feel satisfied. Because I am trying to conserve calories for the next not-really-a-meal meal. But I ate over 500 calories just now for lunch, and I feel like I will be absolutely FINE until dinner at 7pm. I just need to get through my mornings somehow.
                            "For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic ... we enjoy the comfort of opinions without the discomfort of thought."
                            ---John F. Kennedy

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by gempdx44 View Post
                              >>>Another thought is what are you generally eating? I find IF much easier when I'm eating plenty of fat in my main meals and not too much in the way of extra carbs (e.g. sweet potatoes and rice). I find it much more difficult when I've been having fruit or dark chocolate as I get really bad sugar cravings if I have too much. >>>

                              Good points, maybe I just need to relax and ease into it a little slower.

                              A typical non-IF'ing day of food/bev looks like this:

                              7am: two shots of espresso with a TBSP of coconut milk

                              9/9:30am: breakfast at my desk. Usually a whey protein shake (2 scoops any whey + coconut milk + ice) OR 200-300 calories of breakfast meat

                              12/1pm: lunch. Usually a salad with protein or chicken/beef with rice

                              3/4pm: afternoon snack. usually a small apple with some fat/protein in the form of cheese, lunch meat, or nuts

                              7/7:30pm: dinner. chicken/pork/beef with veggies, potatoes or rice sometimes

                              10pm: evening snack. almost always 1/2 c greek yogurt with 1/2 c berries, sometimes with a few unsweetened coconut flakes

                              Beverages: I drink about 64 ounces of water per day (more on days I exercise) and a ton of coffee
                              The fact that you are eating every couple of hours is likely not helping. Consolidate your eating into 2-3 meals of real food(no shakes).
                              Lifting Journal

                              Comment

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