Tag Archives | Intermittent Fasting

2018 Challenges | Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to the first post in the brand new 2018 Challenges series!

While some of this year’s challenges will be somewhat short, others will be on the longer side. That’s because things like diet changes and shifts to a training program require a larger chunk of time to see viable results. This first challenge, however, will be one month-long.

Enter – The wonderful wide world of Intermittent Fasting (“IF”).

Here are the first two questions EVERYONE asks when you mention Intermittent Fasting.

  • First, what does that even mean?
  • Second, why would you do that?

Before I get into my experiences with IF, let’s answer those two questions.

(1) What exactly is IF?

There are different approaches to IF, but the basic concept is the same. You fast for a set number of hours and then consume your meals during the remaining hours of the day.

This isn’t a diet. I will be eating the same types of food, it’s just a change in the timing of my meals. There’s daily fasting, alternate day fasting, and weekly fasting. AND there are different suggested periods for fasting – From 10 to 20 hours {20 HOURS – OH HELL NO}.

I made my choice based on what would be easiest to implement in my schedule and settled on fasting for 14 hours – Feeding for 10. That means I will stop eating at 7pm, fast through the night and early morning, and then break my fast around 9am. I get up before 5am, but it’s still doable since you can have black tea and water while remaining in a “fasted” state.

(2) What are the benefits of IF?

Fasting is a part of many cultures and while long-term water or juice fasts may have questionable, if any, health benefits, there are long-term studies and data points relating to fasting in general. During a fast your insulin levels decrease, cellular repair has more time to do its thing, hormonal and brain functions are shown to increase, and it can help reduce inflammation throughout the body. The last one is the biggie for me. Inflammation is thought to be one of the root causes in everything from aging to chronic Western diseases like heart disease and various forms of cancer. I add lots of things to my diet to reduce inflammation, so why not try taking something out?

Now that we’ve gotten the questions out-of-the-way, it’s time to see what happened!

Intermittent Fasting Diet Vegan Gluten-Free Vegetarian Paleo San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifetyle Blogger Challenge

Week 1:

I’ll start by saying that implementing IF wasn’t effortless.

In part, that was because I’m very used to my routine and had trouble adjusting to the morning part of the fast. The second part was about breaking my habits and thinking before consuming things.

The first few days were almost entirely about changing my habits and routines. I was just so used to doing things that I completely forgot to think first and just did them automatically.

Week 2:

By Week 2 I wasn’t waking up starving most days, or if I was, a glass of water usually calmed the beast.

Since I wasn’t focusing on remembering that I was doing IF anymore, this week I was free to start thinking more consciously about my meal spacing and sizes. I’ve struggled with binge eating for years and while I can definitely eat large quantities, I try not to really stuff myself since it can trigger disordered habits. That meant that I needed to eat larger meals during my “feast” period, but space them out somewhat.

Week 3:

This was the week that I had my last long training run before a February half marathon that I had planned well before I started this IF adventure.

I prefer to run in the mornings on an empty stomach, so for shorter runs it has been no problem to keep up with my IF routine. But this week I had a 9 miler and a girl needs some energy to pull that one-off!

My start time got delayed by a BBQ delivery {woot woot}, but I ended up heading out around 8am. I had a bit of easy-to-digest glucose and took a high-carb bar with me in case I crashed mid-run.

Since I was planning to have some calories in the morning, I adjusted my dinnertime the night before so I would still get 14 hours of fasting. The key to remember is that it’s the fasting period that really matters, not when you’re breaking it.

Week 4:

This week I just happened to read Miss Whitney’s I Tried a Fasting Mimicking Diet and watched her YouTube video featuring Dr. Valter Longo on fasting, protein intake, and longevity. Fascinating stuff, I highly recommend it.

It was very interesting, and I might add inspirational, almost a month into IF, to hear so much about the benefits of fasting. It definitely kept me fully engaged in the challenge and motivated to finish the challenge strong.

Overall thoughts:

I’m a fussy sleeper so forcing myself to stop eating at 7pm ended up being great for me. I can’t fall asleep when I’m super full, so I slept much better this month.

That was, honestly, the only concrete result I experienced. It may have been that this wasn’t too far from my usual habits so I didn’t get the flashy benefits I would have if I’d made a huge change. {My normal fasting period is 7pm-7:30pm until 8am, so it was really only an hour or an hour and a half different timing wise.} Or it may be that one month just isn’t enough to see any concrete changes.

Since I did enjoy the 7pm forced shut down on eating, I think I will continue with that. And since fasting is beneficial, I think I’ll plan to do 12-14 hours a day, but not overstress myself when it comes to scheduling.

What do YOU think? Would you try IF?

Stay tuned for my next challenge!

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The Man Behind The Camera

Other than my dear friend Liz, the remainder of the MCLV Personal Style photographs are taken by the current boyfriend Sean. He has written a guest post for us in the past and trained me in the ways of CrossFit, but has never been featured on the blog for his fashion prowess before.

That is, until today.

True, he spends the majority of his waking hours in workout clothes, but when he does deign to put on street clothes, he has a great personal style.

When we initially met in our senior year of high school he was extremely preppy – Polo shirts, button downs, and wool or cashmere collared coats. But over the years his style relaxed, becoming more and more low-key, and when we got back together two years ago he wore very little other than t-shirts, jeans, and flip-flops.

But miracle of miracles, over the last two years his sense of style has begun evolving again. And more than that, he has actually started to enjoy clothes and fashion more, like he did when he was younger. Now he shops online, asks for advice on putting together pieces in his wardrobe & picking things out, and genuinely has an interest in shopping and expanding his wardrobe.

These days he prefers to keep his daily look low-key and minimal, and primarily wears black, white, and navy. Jeans are usually his preference and he traditionally pairs them with a Lacoste Pima V-Neck, a button down, or a Polo shirt. As for brands, we’ve found that the shirts that fit him best are Express for Men and Lacoste, they both have slim fit versions that work well for his frame.

When it comes to shoes he’s tried virtually everything, from boots to slip-ons to boat shoes to loafers. He loves slip ons and its all I can do to make sure he doesn’t wear his rubber soled slippers out of the house. The most worn pair of shoes he has are his tan, lace-up Banana Republic loafers, but he did just get a new pair of slip-on boat shoes that are very versatile.

They can even be worn with pink!

And a style post wouldn’t be complete without mentioned his creativity, he picked a kick-ass Halloween costume last year that suited him quite well despite being an incredibly last-minute choice – The Travelocity Gnome! 🙂

In the mood for more? Check out my Let’s Hear It For The Boys post filled with tips, ideas, and inspiration for putting together a complete and stylish wardrobe.

What do you like most on the men in your life? Are there certain styles that appeal to you more than others? When it comes to mens accessories, do you think less is more?

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Links You’ll Love

Health/Fitness:

Did you watch the recent 60 Minutes piece Is Sugar Toxic? Raise your hand if that guy scared you a little! I consider myself very well-informed when it comes to health and nutrition, and I don’t consume much sugar, but that guy was still creepy intense. Doesn’t mean the message was wrong though, to be sure, let’s just try to hear it from a different, more palatable source. The Difference in How Fructose and Glucose Affect Your Body from Kimberly Snyder, Do We Need Better Advice About Eating Well? I Vote Yes from Marion Nestle, and The Sugar Blockers Diet from Prevention.com.

Need some healthy snack ideas? Obviously you should reach for fresh fruit & veggies, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit before anything packages & processed, but sometimes you just need to throw something in your purse or keep in your desk in case of a snacking emergency. Check out the Hungry Hungry Hippie‘s suggestions or my Lollihop review. I’ll also be reviewing my Healthy Surprise box soon!

Are you a fan of yoga? Since I’m going through physical therapy for a back injury and trying to strengthen my core and stay flexible, I’m going to give it another try. Here are some beginner and not-so-beginner yoga sessions to give a try:

Did you enjoy Part I and Part II of the Mark’s Daily Apple series called Why Fast? that I posted here? The next installment in this series is a great beginners guide to fasting – Why Fast? Part Six – Choosing a Method.

Healthy motivation to start your week off right tomorrow! 4 Great Ways To Use Chia Seeds from Canadian Living, professional triathlete and author Brendan Brazier’s favorite ingredientsfrom leafy greens to pseudograins, seeds and nuts, and In Defense of Fat: 7 Surprising Facts from The Huffington Post.

 

Fashion:

As we get ready for Spring why not take inspiration from the Aussie’s who are finishing up their warm weather dressing – Sydney Snaps: Street Style From Down Under.

I read lots of pieces on how to be a good hostess – from menus to glasses to centerpieces, but I was excited to read this article from Apartment Therapy on Hosting Overnight Guests Without A Guestroom. San Francisco is a city of apartment living and when a one bedroom is usually over $2000 a month, most people don’t have an unused bedroom, so this is incredibly relevant!

Nothing but fabulousness from the arrivals at the Gucci Fashion Show After-Party in Shanghai. If you need inspiration for a night out on the town these ladies are a great place to start!

A great look for Spring is a crisp button down shirt. You can pair it with cropped pants, a pleated mini, over a flowy maxi dress or even tucked into jeans. And why not mix up the classic white button down and try a Chambray shirt. Do A Little Chambray! from Eat Breath Fashion.

Whether you’re breaking out your Spring dresses for weekends or planning a shopping trip for your Summer wedding season, take inspiration from FabSugar’s Ultimate Spring Dress Guide!

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Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

Need a tutorial on mixing colors for Spring? Cristina’s Blog has the goods – Mixing Colours… Blue & Yellow.

If you love glamour and a slinky, retro vibe you’re bound to be a fan of Russian stylist, photographer, and designer Uliana Sergienko. Couture et Cuisine has a collection of phenomenal pictures of her here for your viewing pleasure.

If you’re in the market for a new girl crush I highly suggest checking out Modelinia’s Elisa Sednaoui Continues to Reign as Our #1 Girl Crush or Vogue UK’s catwalk piece on the stunning Jourdan Dunn. So hard to choose!

Curious what the fashion industry is up to between the shows? Here are some of the recent events and launches: The New Museum’s 35th Anniversary Gala, The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Dinner, H&M’s 2012 Conscious Collection hit stores 12 April 2012, get a tour of Rachel Roy’s office, The 9th Annual New Yorkers for Children event, and, as I’m sure you’ve heard, Raf Simons from Jil Sander has replaced the disgraced John Galliano at Christian Dior.

Check out this casual, cool look from Coachella queen Kate Bosworth on Frugal Fashionista to get you in the mood for the music festival. If you need for inspiration read my Hippie 2012 Breakdown for everything you’ll need for Coachella!

Health/Fitness:

Marion Nestle is an author, professor & nutritional expert who has written books, chaired government committees, and writes a column for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her blog, Food Politics, always has great posts on food, nutrition, grocery shopping, farming, buying organic, meat processing… I highly recommend checking out the following pieces:

I found myself nodding along to Choosing Raw’s Building a Better Snack: Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Snack Bars. Sometimes you want something quick and easy to snack on, but when you read the ingredients in products you realize that there are very limited healthy processed options. Making your own snack bars (or energy bites) are great options! Next week I’ll be sharing my energy bite recipe or you can try Choosing Raw’s Super Speedy, No Bake Omega-3 Vegan Snack Bars, Hungry Hungry Hippie’s Peanut Banana Oatmeal Bars, or OhSheGlow’s Homemade Banana Bread Larabars.

7 April Superfoods from The Huffington Post – All in green and red!

Still looking for great breakfast ideas for Spring? I’ve shared overnight oats recipes and smoothiesgalore, what about breakfast porridge? Check out Chatelaine’s Gluten-free recipe: Sweet breakfast porridge with fresh toppings.

Have you read about or tried intermittent fasting? These are both interesting reads: Dr Michael Eades, M.D.’s Could intermittent fasting or caloric restriction make the heart more resistant to damage? and Stop Eat Stop.

Do you workout with your significant other? Do you want to…? I suggest taking a look at Rachel Wilkerson’s piece Living In Sin: How CrossFit Has Helped My Relationship, Holly Would If She’s Could’s CrossFit Love: How Sharing Fitness Has Improved My Relationship, or my post Health & Your Relationship.

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Health & Your Relationship

When I read Rachel Wilkerson’s How CrossFit Has Helped My Relationship it got me thinking.

A lot.

Rachel said that by encouraging her boyfriend to take up a healthy hobby – in this instance CrossFit – their relationship ultimately benefited despite the fact that in the end it actually meant less alone time. I have no trouble at all believing this. In my experience, if there’s a substantial disconnect between how much two people value health & nutrition in their lives it can potentially lead to problems down the road.

I don’t believe that you need have all the same views, do the same workouts, or approach food the same way. But if only one person takes their health seriously and devotes time, energy, and effort to maintaining said health, the other individual may become resentful, jealous, threatened etc. Or things can go the other way around and as one person becomes healthier and more fit they begin to pity, worry about, and/or neglect their partner.

Take a look at this piece by the Primal Parent entitled When Good Health Destroys a Marriage. It’s written from the perspective of a woman who changed her diet and was feeling her best, while her husband was… Not. Ultimately their marriage couldn’t survive because she has a strong, well-tested belief in the importance of good health & nutrition, and refused to settle for someone who couldn’t – or wouldn’t – put forth the effort to investigate improving his own health.

Kyle

{Kyle & Rochelle – The authors of Eat Drink Paleo}

If you can find someone who shares your views, that’s fantastic – like my friend Kyle & his lady-love who write the oh-so-entertaining Eat. Drink. Paleo – Two foodies who fell in love and are now transitioning to a paleo lifestyle. But at a minimum you need to show an interest in the other’s routines and goals, and be able to talk about and share your successes and failures.

Take my relationship for example, on the surface my boyfriend and I have virtually opposite views on all facets of fitness and nutrition:

  • He eats an incredibly regimented high protein, low carb diet composed primarily of chicken, eggs, and vegetables which he tracks on a daily basis. I eat a mostly vegan, gluten-free, high raw diet.
  • He does intermittent fasting – meaning that he doesn’t eat until early afternoon & only eats three meals a day. While I eat at least every two hours after my 4am wakeup time.
  • He follows a lifting schedule & does CrossFit-style workouts that leave him wheezing, covered in bruises, scrapes, and rope burns, and stress his nervous system for days. I run, do circuit workouts & go to Pilates, martial arts & boxing classes.
  • His ultimate goal with his work outs and eating regime is to retain & increase strength while dropping body fat. I’m only interested in being healthy and not having daily back pain.

Pretty different, right? But the truth is that those are fairly superficial differences – underneath it all we’re both incredibly passionate about health and fitness, and that’s what really matters.

We love going for walks & hikes, cooking, eating, going to the farmer’s market, and planning our meals and workouts for the week, and most of all, we love debating our positions on these topics. If you looked through our emails, Facebook messages, Tweets, and text logs you’d find photos of our meals, new recipes to try, books to add to our Amazon basket, articles to read, great blogs we’ve found, documentaries & movies to add to our Netflix queue, and questions about what we’ve eaten, what workouts we’ve done, and how far we’ve walked that day.

Every day.

{Hers vs His}

It doesn’t matter that we’re not spending our days doing the same things, what matters is that we both approach our lives with a profound respect for our bodies, what we put them through, and how we fuel them. Yes, we debate topics like veganism versus paleo eating, different types of fat, which oils to use in cooking, fasting, detox programs & cleanses, and strength training. Yes, sometimes I question his sanity when he comes home with his hands shredded from doing hundreds of pull-ups or muscle-ups or toes-to-bars. But mostly, we just talk about it.

Our shared passion for health and nutrition was not what brought us together 12 years ago, nor is it what has kept up together, but it does give us something to talk about and share every single day. And because it’s important to us both, we appreciate the other’s routines and ambitions, even though they’re different.

Like Rachel said:

One more lovely side effect of the fitness revival: Eric and I are back to bonding through nerdy, fitness-related conversations. (We’re also bonding over our sore muscles.) I’m really enjoying little things like talking about our workouts and progress, discussing an article about diet or exercise, trying new healthy foods together, or going shoe shopping for new athletic shoes.

You don’t need to be 100% in sync with your partner, you just need to be with someone who has the same appreciation and respect for health and fitness as you do. Added bonus if it becomes something that you can share and bond over!

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