I decided to try a crazy experiment this summer —
My Eight Week Feeding Experiment
Rules of the experiment:
Consume more calories
Low carb/keto choices
Fit my meals into no more than a 12-hour window, leaving at least 12 hours to fast between the last meal of one day and the first of the next.
Here’s what I learned:
I very much like how I feel when I keep my insulin low with no snacks and the fasting window. My energy and focus feel steady. By eating to satiety at each meal, I wasn’t bothered by the “no snacks” rule.
When I eat to uncomfortably full, it also shows on the scale or at my waist. When I eat enough to be satisfying but not over-filling, the scale/waist seems to remain in place.
So what about losing extra weight? There’s enough debate about that to fill a library. Some say it isn’t about calories; it’s about a hormonal imbalance. Some say it’s both. Some say it’s about being healthy and happy no matter what your size. Others say our perception is now so skewed by ultra-thin models that we wouldn’t know “healthy” if we saw it. I’m told metabolism will eventually reset itself to need more, and that for some of us it takes a long time. Two months may not be long enough. Lucky us.
Here’s what I think:
It’s important to find YOUR balance—what works for you. It’s trial and error to find your sweet spot of giving your metabolism the incentive to burn body fat but not dropping low enough to create stress on your body. Stress raises cortisol, which increases blood sugar to the point that we release insulin to balance the blood sugar, which signals the body to store everything.
It’s also important to manage any emotional eating. If you are eating to soothe yourself, you’re responding to stress. See above for stress raising cortisol, creating a never-ending loop of fat storage. So one could say responding to emotions with eating sabotages you on many levels – the cortisol, the guilt, the extra pounds/inches, frustration, etc., etc. Find what’s driving the behavior and face that – and then find a more effective way to soothe yourself.
What will I do from here?
I’ll stick with my rules, and I’ll play with my eating windows. Shorter windows like 16:8 are essentially intermittent fasting, and I’m intrigued by the positive effects of fasting for more than 24 hours – helps with the metabolic reset, does not lower your metabolic rate, increase in growth hormone (which can improve bone density and lean muscle mass), etc.