Disclaimer: I write health articles based on my own experience and research. In case you want to start intermittent fasting, kindly speak to your doctor beforehand, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.
I started my health journey in May 2018 and started intermittent fasting in June 2018. So, it's been 4 years of intermittent fasting. How time flies!
Most people think that I practice intermittent fasting because I want to lose weight. Yes, it does help with weight loss, but it also helps with :
Tackling insulin resistance.
Improving focus and self-control.
Making one more resilient.
(Read "Why I Love Intermittent Fasting.")
The last 12 months have been pretty rough for me. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant and doing my Diploma in IFRS, I started working last year. However, due to a number of reasons, my stress levels increased drastically. I tried my best to eat healthily, but it wasn't always possible because my work timings were not fixed. I also skipped my daily exercise, and due to all the above reasons, I gained 6 kgs in 8 months. I tried my best to increase the hours of fasting, but that could not make up for the extra calories I ate during my eating window.
Like in 2018, I reached my lowest point (both physically and mentally) in Feb 2022. I knew that I had to make some changes before it was too late.
Now, after moving on to a better work opportunity, I have started inculcating good habits back into my lifestyle since a month -- meditating, exercising, and eating healthy.
It is not only physical health that should be given importance, but also mental health and emotional well-being. You need to eat healthy food, exercise regularly, sleep well, meditate/introspect/journal, and be in an environment that promotes a healthy lifestyle -- all those things combined will give you a healthy body and a healthy mind.
Be your biggest motivation:
Yes, it is difficult to get back on track.
Yes, I've cried for hours, wishing all my extra fat would just melt away.
Yes, I've hated myself for losing control over my body and mind.
I could hate myself for weeks, but that wouldn't suddenly make me healthy again. I realized that getting back on track will be difficult, but not impossible, especially since I've done it before.
I realized that despite gaining weight, I am much healthier now than I was before 2018 :
I fast daily.
My stamina has improved tremendously over the years.
I know a lot about proper nutrition and exercise form, and I know how to implement the same.
Whenever you feel demotivated, remember the times you achieved your goals and conquered your fears. Have faith in yourself and your abilities, put in the effort, and you will achieve everything you set your mind to.
A progress photo:
My weight is the same as it was in April, but my body composition has definitely changed. I feel so much healthier and happier now than I did before, mainly because I have taken control of my health once again.
Tips on how to get back on track:
1. Accept your situation:
The first step to change is acceptance. There is no point fighting the truth. If you've gained weight and gone off-track, it's completely okay. You can always find your way back.
2. Change your mindset:
Thin does not equal healthy and fat does not equal unhealthy. Instead of focusing on becoming thin, focus on becoming healthy and fit. Focus on gaining strength and stamina, because that is what a healthy body is all about.
3. Make a plan:
Set a goal and make a plan. What I've learnt from my journey is that once you change your habits and concentrate on your overall well-being, your weight will automatically reduce. Your goal should not be a number on the scale, and should instead be something like:
- Exercise for a minimum of 15 days a month
- Eat healthy (80:20) for at least 4 days a week
- Meditate daily
- Log your food into a food tracking app daily
4. Challenge your body and mind:
I love challenging myself by increasing the number of reps I do while exercising or increasing the number of hours I fast.
5. Be consistent:
In order to be consistent, you need to start small, and then slowly increase the time and effort. (Read "Want To Lose Weight? Start Small.")
The first few days will be extremely tough. When you shift from a diet of junk food and sweet treats to a healthier one, you are bound to have mood swings and you will want to give up. The thought of exercising when you're in a bad mood will make your mood even worse. But you have to fight those thoughts -- fight your inner critic! And trust me, if you do that, you will feel so proud of yourself the next day, and you will want to inculcate even more healthy habits into your lifestyle, because you know how amazing and confident you feel with just a few changes.
All of us have unrealistic goals when it comes to weight loss and we usually want all that extra fat to disappear as soon as possible. But we have to keep in mind that we didn't gain all that weight in one day, and we sure won't lose it all in a day. Be consistent, have patience, and you'll be fit and healthy in no time.
You can check out my other Health & Weight Loss posts, here.
Thank you for reading! Stay blessed!