I’m no stranger to fasting—I find a quarterly juice fast helps hit the reset button if I’ve been indulging a little too much (if you’re going to try a juice cleanse, I love my Breville Juice Fountain Plus), and I’ve even tried a three-day water fast as a way to try and treat a particularly bad skin condition (but that’s another story). While I recognize that fasting isn’t an option for many people, for me, someone who works from home and is relatively healthy, they work well.
I happily accepted a 16-hour intermittent fasting assignment—look up anything about intermittent fasting and you’ll find a laundry list of benefits, from mental clarity and concentration to an increase in natural energy.
So, considering how good I feel after a juice fast, I figured next-level intermittent fasting would be a welcomed change of pace from my current carb-heavy quarantine diet—and I was right.
Day 1: Wait, does coffee count?
My partner and I usually eat dinner quite late in the evening, which means I’ll spend most of my working day without food for fuel. I haven’t eaten since 10 p.m. last night, so I won’t be able to have my first meal until 2 p.m. this afternoon. I usually eat a late lunch anyways, so that’s fine… but… I really, really want a cup of coffee.
I end up guzzling water until 2 p.m. and break my fast with a cup of coffee and a scone. It’s strange but I’m not very hungry despite my initial hunger upon waking up.
Day 2: What about just a little smoothie?
I woke up today feeling a little lighter, I immediately drank three glasses of water, which helped keep my mind off of missing breakfast for a little while. My partner offered me a sip of his smoothie which I was extremely tempted to accept, but I held out. I read that even the smallest nibble of food ruins any benefits of fasting—and makes you even more hungry than before.
By 2 p.m. I’m more than ready for my first meal. I don’t even stop for coffee, I went straight for the leftover pasta my partner and I made the night before and probably ate more than my fair share.
Day 3: Since when is water so satisfying?
I slept a little later than normal today and woke up feeling pretty refreshed, even without my morning coffee. Interestingly, my face felt less puffy and my usual inflammation due to autoimmune issues was noticeably down. I drank two glasses of water and for the first time didn’t feel like I needed a snack to start the day.
By 2 p.m., I was feeling hungry, but not famished. I think my body had finally started adjusting to this new eating schedule. I made myself a protein smoothie in my Magic Bullet Blender (which has been a godsend during this pandemic), and had a piece of toast, which was more than enough.
Day 4: Wait, it’s already 2 p.m.?
My partner woke me up with a cup of coffee in bed, clearly forgetting that I’ve been fasting all week! The smell of dark roast was intoxicating and, I’m not going to lie, I snuck a little sip before putting it in the fridge to make iced coffee with later (sorry, not sorry).
I honestly don’t think it had much of an effect though. I drank my usual three glasses of water and actually had lunch at 2:30 p.m. when my partner reminded me to check the time. I was definitely hungry, but for the first time I wasn’t watching the clock waiting to break my fast. I had half a smoothie and some toast.
Day 5: Clear skin, clear mind.
By the last day, I’ve become hooked on intermittent fasting and will certainly be continuing practicing this ritual for the foreseeable future, even if it means losing out on breakfast food!
Not only do I feel lighter and less bogged down when I wake up, I’ve also noticed a big change in my skin and my general inflammation levels.
I’ve struggled with psoriasis for about five years now and my skin has never looked as good as it does now. The only lifestyle change I’ve added to my arsenal (I take a lot of vitamins, guzzle celery juice, and try to avoid gluten), was this 16-hour fast. While it might be harder to stick with once daily life continues after COVID-19, I think the health benefits I’m seeing in my body is worth it (and it’s only been a week!).