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The Full Suburban: Intermittent fasting not so bad as long as you’re sleeping

By Julia Ditto For The Spokesman-Review

For the past several weeks, my husband and I have been doing something called “intermittent fasting.” Also often referred to as “starving,” intermittent fasting is the latest dieting trend to sweep the nation, or at least the three websites that I stumbled upon during my exhaustive 30 minutes of research about it.

There are a few different methods of intermittent fasting, but the one that Logan and I are doing is called the 16/8 method. Basically, you starve – I mean “fast” – for 16 hours (this includes sleeping hours, which seems like a pretty good deal), and then you restrict your eating period to the remaining eight hours of the day.

According to a couple nameless studies on the Internet, this accomplishes a couple things. First, since you’re essentially skipping one meal, your calorie intake decreases, and, second, because of hormone changes brought on by starving (forgive me, “fasting”), your metabolic rate increases.

You should all of a sudden be able to eat like your former 20-year-old self who consumed jars of store-bought frosting for lunch without gaining a single pound. In theory, both of these factors combine into a beautiful symphony of fat reduction and inner peace.

And having done it for close to two months now, I can honestly say that it really hasn’t been too bad, especially now that I’ve started sleeping 14 hours a day. When it comes to intermittent fasting – and pretty much every other aspect of our lives – Logan is much more disciplined than I am.

He likes to exercise early in the morning and then fast until noon, at which point he’ll eat a sensible lunch of a sandwich and a couple pieces of fruit. This apparently doesn’t even phase him.

My hunger, on the other hand, is at Donner Party levels before the clock even hits 10:30, at which point I’ll grab a bag of Doritos and start palming them into my mouth like a toddler whose mom has stepped out of the kitchen for two minutes.

I’ve found that for me, never a real champ at moderation in anything, intermittent fasting is just a way to conveniently condense my weight gain into fewer hours of the day, which has been a huge time saver. It didn’t start out that way.

When I first began this journey (that’s the current buzzword, right?), I was very much into the whole “wellness experience.” During my non-fasting hours, I filled up on healthy foods like hard-boiled eggs, salads, yogurt and five servings of fruits and vegetables.

I exercised if only for an excuse to watch “Call the Midwife” while on the treadmill. I lost a few pounds and felt great. But as the weeks went on, my id starting taking over – and my id thinks it will die if it doesn’t get some chocolate. Right. Now. I started adding a cookie in here or there.

Then a handful of chocolate chips. Then two handfuls. Then pretzels dipped in Nutella. Then Dairy Queen Blizzards. Oh, the Blizzards. The path I spiraled down was not a pretty one, albeit delicious. I’m no health expert, but I’m pretty sure that “eat your calories within an eight-hour window” does not translate into “eat everything you want within an eight-hour window.”

But for all my misinterpretation of intermittent fasting, it is doing some good. The hold that beckoning snacks had on me during the after-dinner hours isn’t really an issue anymore.

For the most part, once I hit my eight-hour mark, my brain knows that feeding time is over and my 16-hour hibernation period has begun. My weight loss results might be as intermittent as my fasting, but, at this point in my life, I’ll take what I can get. And so will my id – right now, it’s asking for a cookie.

Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and random menagerie of farm animals. Her view of family life is firmly rooted in Spokane Valley. You can reach her at

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