Joshua Keel

Intermittent Fasting: Day 1

August 5, 2014

This morning I was up at six and quickly out the door to hit the gym before work. Mondays are my back and shoulder days, featuring chin-ups, shoulder press, rows and lateral raises. I switched from evening to morning workouts recently, thinking it would be better for my social life. It has given me my evenings back, so in that way it has worked out well. However, it is sometimes challenging to wake up and go straight to heavy lifting. Today, as usual, I worked out fasted. Sometimes I’ll have a small pre-workout snack, trying to get in some carbs and protein, but I’m not sure it makes that much difference, and obviously today I was preparing to fast until noon.

My workout was decent, but I wasn’t able to bring quite the intensity I wanted to. I’ve seen coffee or caffeine pills recommended to help with fasted morning workouts, but I have abstained from caffeine for maybe a year or two now, and I haven’t yet decided if I want to risk re-introducing it or not. So I guess maybe I’m at a bit of a disadvantage compared to some intermittent fasters. Most of them seem to use the coffee to get through the morning. All I had was water.

I felt pretty good most of the morning. There was definitely a substantial amount of rumbling in my stomach, bringing a feeling of mild discomfort, but no big deal. The first four hours I really didn’t miss food much. I was focused on trying to get something accomplished at work. But the last couple of hours were a bit harder. I kept my eye on the clock, biding my time until I could chow down on some Chipotle. I did feel quite focused and productive, and not spending time thinking about food (because I knew I wasn’t getting any) was actually kind of a relief in a way.

Previously in the mornings, I would allow myself anywhere from 300-700 calories worth of breakfast. I would try to minimize it, knowing that anything I ate now meant taking away from later in the day, but oftentimes I found it hard to resist the call of food. With the idea that I wasn’t going to eat until noon this morning, I actually almost found it easier to resist. Having a rule that says “no eating until noon” freed up my mental resources to focus on making the most of my morning without food. No using food to make a dull morning a little more lively, no distracting myself with it, no worrying about how much I’m going to eat, what I’m going to eat, etc.

Along with the feeling of focus came a slight headache and the sense that maybe my body wasn’t getting all the energy it was used to. All in all, though, it was a good morning, and by the time I actually did get to eat my first meal, I was more than ready for it. I broke my fast with a bowl from Chipotle, which came out to just over 800 calories. I ordered double chicken, as usual, so the meal had a high protein content, and I really didn’t feel hungry until it was almost time to go home, around five.

It was almost like I was playing a game to see how long I could go without eating, and to go without snacking in the afternoon, knowing that as I racked up points, I was going to get to spend them all on a glorious feast. And that’s exactly what I did. For dinner, I had 0.7 lb. of chicken breast, about 350g of zucchini, and over 700g of Russet potatoes, about 1,300 calories all told. That meal kinda made it all seem worth it. And the amazing thing was, after all that food, I still had over 400 calories left to spend before the night was over.

And spend I did. I scooped myself out a half pint of Talenti Double Dark Chocolate gelato. Boy was that ever delicious. Full fat, full sugar, full goodness. I ended the day with 15 calories to spare, feeling pretty stuffed, to be honest. It has been almost two hours since the gelato now, and I still feel completely satisfied.

Chocolate gelato in a bowl

So all in all, I’m calling this first day a smashing success. If I can adapt to this way of eating, and continue to enjoy it, this really could make dieting much more manageable. It can be hard to feel satisfied with several small meals scattered throughout the day, but when you get to feast in the evening, it starts to feel less like a diet and more like fun. Stay tuned for my week one update, coming on Sunday.