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"I tried intermittent fasting for a week to see if it's the miracle non-diet it's made out to be."

You know those people who say they just ‘don’t get hungry in the morning’ or ‘forget to eat breakfast’?

Yeah, can’t relate.

I love breakfast. Whether it’s porridge, toast, muesli, pancakes or even a random concoction of whatever leftovers are in the fridge, there is something about it that just makes my soul happy.

Plus, as we all know, it’s the most important meal of the day.

Or is it?

Speaking of diets… Brigid Delaney tried the 101 Day Detox Diet so you don’t have to. Post continues after video.

Recently, the wellness world has begun ditching breakfast in the name of health. They call it ‘intermittent fasting’ or ‘IF’ and claim it can promote weight loss, decrease inflammation, increase mental sharpness, improve digestion, and magically transform you into a glowing goddess.

Okay I made that last one up, but the alleged benefits did entice me, and I decided to give it a try.

How does intermittent fasting work?

Essentially, IF involves fasting and non-fasting periods. Proponents of intermittent fasting claim it’s not a diet; it is a ‘way of living’.

I mean, anything that places strict rules around eating seems like a diet to me, but okay.

According to my very scientific research, there are a couple of different styles of intermittent fasting. I opt for the 16:8, wherein I would fast for 16 hours of the day and eat for eight. Basically, just skipping breakfast and eating bigger meals later in the day.

Simple, right?

Wrong.

My experience and the lessons I learned

I would compare my experiment with intermittent fasting to the early stages of dating somebody new. It began well and had all the signs of a beautiful relationship. The sun was shining, the world looked bright, and I felt amazing.  I naively thought I had found… the one.

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Slowly but surely though, the cracks began to appear, and after days of disappointment I was left pining for chocolate and wondering what I had done wrong.

Looking back, I should have known it was too good to be true.

On the first day I slept in, went for a long run, did my grocery shop and suddenly it was 1pm. I made a big plate of pancakes for my first meal of the day and began to wonder whether this could be the easiest eating plan ever???

This was the end of my positive experience. From night one onwards, things did not go so smoothly.

Does intermittent fasting work
This was the end of my positive experience. Image: Supplied.

I was out for the afternoon and due to awful traffic, I didn’t get home until almost 9pm. With my eating window closing fast, I ate my dinner of tacos in such a rush that I didn’t enjoy them at all. I felt… betrayed. By myself.

The next few days all followed a similar pattern. My stomach would growl angrily before work, I would drink coffee (strictly black, no milk or sugar allowed) and my hunger would dissipate throughout the morning to the point where I actually felt nauseous after my coffee or tea. One of my colleagues tried to explain something about how caffeine can upset an empty stomach, but I was too busy staring at the communal chocolate and daydreaming about baked goods to really hear anything he said.

During the day I began feeling personally victimised every time I checked my watch. It turns out that not only does fasting make you grumpy, it also has the magical power of slowing down time while you wait to eat. HOW COOL IS THAT??!!

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In the evenings, I had to rush to a) fit my dinner in around my eating window and my sporting/social commitments and b) make sure I was eating enough food.

Also, it turns out eating a full meal and a smoothie before sprinting around a football field is not a great idea. Groundbreaking, I know.

When it comes to results, I didn’t really notice any changes apart from a bit of bloating, which I guess some might say was due to excessive cheese consumption one afternoon when I ate an entire pizza to make up for the fact that I’d barely eaten all day. I’m no expert though, so to me it’s a mystery.

Basically, eating an entire day’s worth of calories in only eight hours is not only difficult on the stomach; it is STRESSFUL.

As I lay awake in bed with my stomach rumbling on the final night after my early dinner (and no time for dessert), I began to look back on some of the highs and lows of my brief fling with intermittent fasting.

Upon reflection, it’s not that IF is necessarily a bad person way of eating. It just wasn’t right for me. If I’m being honest, I made some mistakes too. For example, it probably wasn’t wise to try out IF on a week where I had commitments after work every night. But also, that is what my life looks like right now and it’s not changing anytime soon.

It’s hard to accept, but I guess IF and I just weren’t meant to be.

Final thoughts

For something that people say is ‘not a diet’, this felt a LOT like a diet. Sure, I didn’t have to cut out carbs or force down cauliflower rice but squeezing my daily intake of food into a strict time frame was almost harder.

And look. I realise that to get used to a new diet or ‘lifestyle’ you need to try it for more than a week. But frankly I’m impatient and busy, and I don’t have time to be counting down the minutes until I can eat. I really didn’t feel any benefits, and physically my body definitely didn’t agree with the bigger portion sizes.

Mentally though? IF was stressful AF.

For some people this would probably be a great way to eat. If you don’t like breakfast and prefer eating big meals, maybe you’ll love it.

For me though? It’s a solid no. Now, please pass me the pancakes.

For more from Jessica Bahr, you can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Jessica also tried the keto diet for one week. You can read about it here:

I tried following Kourtney Kardashian’s keto diet for a week, and it was... hell.

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