Growing up, I was constantly told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that I would be sluggish and tired if I skipped it. I've never been the type of person who wakes up early and takes my time in the morning, rather I always wake up at the last second possible because I far more enjoy sleeping over preparing myself for the day. Plus, I have never had much of an appetite in the morning as I am too tired to even think about food. I expressed my lack of desire to eat breakfast back home, but my mom always force-fed me even to the point where she would bring my breakfast in the car for me to eat on my way to school (I'm talking a full Korean breakfast with rice, soup, egg, kimchi all in one bowl).
INTERMITTENT FASTING (if)
College came around and I finally had the liberty to live my life as I wanted: sleep more than eight hours and skip breakfast. Simultaneously, I decided to have a healthier lifestyle and wanted to adopt an eating schedule that helped me be in my best shape. After researching for numerous hours about the most effective way to be healthy without cutting out the foods I loved, I stumbled upon Intermittent Fasting. Intermittent Fasting (IF) consists of an eating schedule with periods of eating and fasting and the ability to eat the foods you craved.
The typical IF schedule is a 16 hour fast and an eight hour window when you are able to eat while some other methods include fasting for 24 hours two days of the week. There were so many articles from websites such as The New York Times and Healthline and a research done at Harvard that shared the benefits of IF and the fact that it's been practiced for centuries due to religious and spiritual reasons. The main reason why I ended up adopting the 16/8 IF method was because it was so simple and basically stated that you didn't have to eat breakfast but eat whatever you wanted for lunch and dinner, which was everything I wanted.
I fully committed to IF at the beginning of my freshman spring semester two years ago and found it to be the easiest eating pattern. I didn't feel that I was fasting because I was never hungry in the morning and didn't like eating past 8 p.m. in general. However, the one downside I ran into immediately was if I had dinner plans that went until much later than my eating window, I couldn't eat until the full 16 hour fast and eat my first meal much later in the day and finish my last meal at 8 p.m. if I could. After 6 months, I was completely used to adapting the time that I ate throughout the day depending on the various social events that occurred and continued on with the 16/8 method even going as far as fasting 18 hours and only eating in a six hour period.
why I stopped Intermittent Fasting
I started running into some serious issues when I reached almost a year of IF: binge eating and checking the clock until it became noon. I had gone back home to California for winter break which meant that I woke up three hours earlier than I normally did, meaning that my day was longer. Since I would start my day at 6 a.m., I was stressed about the fact that I had to wait six hours before I could have my first meal of the day. I was productive in the morning which meant that I also got hungrier a lot earlier than usual so I would just roll around in bed and watch some shows, but the hunger did not disappear.
I was hangry the moment I woke up and started off the day with a bad attitude, then would start to countdown until 12 p.m. to devour all the food that my mom had made for breakfast and lunch. I was essentially crunching in two meals in one sitting which was terrible for my stomach and I would continue eating throughout the day because I was home for a short amount of time and wanted to eat everything I could eat back home as many times as I could possibly consume.
Due to the spike in my caloric intake, I had some serious weight fluctuation and gained more weight in a month than I had lost in the year. However, I thought that if I stuck to IF, my weight would eventually go back to what it was before but I knew I was lying to myself since I was going abroad to Florence for my upcoming semester. I didn't confine myself to the strict 16 hours of fasting and just ate two meals a day, skipping breakfast. Let's be real, you can't leave Italy without gaining some love handles from the delicious pizza, pasta, gelato, panini, and other complex carbohydrates.
The summer after going abroad, I decided to fully commit myself to IF again and was happy to see the amazing effects of it. I was back in shape and eating healthy but I feel that this was much easier since most summer meals are just salads and fruits (basically all I ate was watermelon).
Last semester was when I realized that maybe I should stop intermittent fasting as I saw the bad habits come back. I still relentlessly stuck with it because I had to prepare my body to go to Mexico for winter break so I could eat as many tacos and drink as many margaritas as I wanted. My relationship to food became really unhealthy in the fall as I was starting my days early with school and work which meant I needed to refuel before noon.
I'm eating breakfast again
After going back home from my tropical vacation, I decided to go back to eating breakfast. I didn't instantly start with eating a huge meal to eat first thing in the morning, rather I had an apple in the morning and maybe a 1/4 of a pastry because again, I am not a breakfast person. I found that by eating smaller portions frequently, I wasn't snacking a ton or binge eating and stopped when I felt full.
Ever since I've come back for this semester, I've been having breakfasts everyday that are super quick and easy to make as I enjoy waking up at the last possible minute to get to class on time. While I do enjoy eating the baked goods that I make such as my banana bread, apple bread, sweet potato bread, and more, I have been making a lot of yogurt bowls and green smoothies in the morning.
I think my relationship to food has become much healthier and I don't have the desire to eat so much food in one sitting. I know that IF is super effective and works really well for other people's schedules such as my dad who has lost a whopping 20 pounds from IF! However, not every eating pattern, diet, routine works for every person and IF just wasn't the right one for me. I can see myself doing it for a week again but for now, I'm going to eat three meals a day, thank you very much.