I’ve been a practitioner of the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle for about 5 years now and I can honestly say that this ‘diet’ has changed my life in many positive ways. I’ve written about the benefits of Intermittent Fasting on this blog numerous times in the past and today I’d like to share more of my Intermittent Fasting Results with you – providing transparency of results for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years and now even 5 Years!
(Article originally published 2017, updated Dec 2022 to post 5 years results)
Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series on Intermittent Fasting.
Intermittent Fasting – How Did I Get Started?
Back in 2017 I realized I had a problem – a ‘growing’ problem: I’m my mid 40’s and for the last few years my waistline has been getting bigger while I’ve been getting tired a lot more. I kind of felt like this…
At first I thought maybe it was Low-T but blood tests confirmed that wasn’t the issue.
Next I turned to my diet – being honest with myself I knew my diet could be improved, so I experimented with various lifestyle changes (vegetarian, paleo, low-carb diet, etc) – unfortunately, nothing felt right.
That’s when I heard about Intermittent Fasting for weight loss and decided to look into it.
Now, as we’ve discussed before, there are many different types of intermittent fasting diets. Here’s a link to an article I wrote about the various IF diet plans…
For my part I just wanted to do the EASIEST kind of intermittent fasting because, to be brutally honest with you, I didn’t really believe that IF would work for me so I was mostly doing it just to say I tried it but not really expecting to stick with it.
Boy am I glad I was wrong!
I chose the 14/10 Intermittent Fasting schedule to get started – basically what that means is that I didn’t eat for 14 hours and then ate all my food in a 10 hour window.
What does that look like in real life?
Basically my plan was to stop eating around 6pm (dinner) and then not eat again until 8am the next day. That boils down to simply skipping late night snacks.
Now while that may not sound that hard to you, I didn’t think I could do it. After all, I love having some snacks and a beer or two while watching a ball game with friends or Netflix with my wife.
Furthermore the idea of not eating anything for 10 hours was really scary!
As someone who’s battled low blood sugar and ‘hanger’ issues all my life, I thought there was absolutely no way I’d be able to go that long without eating.
- Late night snacks while watching tv? No!
- Breakfast in the morning? No!
- Can I at least get an egg or something? How about a power bar? A glass of OJ? No, no, and no!
Although I am a big believer in the power of positive thinking and I love the saying ‘The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right’, quite frankly I gave myself little chance of success on making Intermittent Fasting work. My mind quickly thought of all the things that could go wrong…
I’m going to die!
Without food I’ll be even more tired.
Without my protein I’ll lose muscle.
But in spite of my fears, I decided to give Intermittent Fasting for weight loss a try. After all, if it didn’t work it would just be another failed experiment to throw in the fad pile. No big deal. Been there, done that.
Intermittent Fasting – My Initial Goals
I believe in transparency with my reader so in this article I will clearly describe my goals and results.
My goal was to use Intermittent Fasting for weight loss to get down to 155 lbs and reduce my waist/belly measurements to 32 inches. I gave myself 3 months to accomplish this goal. I knew that was a tall order since I’d been gaining an inch on my waist each year since 2014 but a man can still dream, right?
My Baseline measurements from October, 2017
- Height: 5’7
- Weight 166
- Waist 36.25
- Belly 37.5
(Note: all waist/belly measurements in this experiments were using a tape measure loosely – AKA no pulling snug to enhance results).
My First WEEK of Intermittent Fasting
After the first couple days of intermittent fasting back in 2017 I remember thinking…
OMG, I can’t believe it – I’m not dying.
Shockingly Intermittent Fasting was not nearly as hard I thought it would be.
In fact, not only did I NOT have much difficulty fasting 14 hours, but I discovered that by not eating first thing in the morning I was able to avoid a lot of the daily intestinal issues I’d suffered from for so long. Additionally, I was surprised to discover…
- I had tons more energy.
- I had more clarity of mind in the morning.
- I thought I’d be tired, I was anything but.
Combine these unexpected benefits with my SMART Morning Routine and my mornings quickly turned into super productivity sessions!
Things went so well with my 14/10 intermittent fasting experiment that I quickly upped my time to 16-hour fasts using the 16/10 Intermittent Fasting Schedule.
(I gained so much confidence that I honestly felt I could do 24-hours if I wanted to – although to date I haven’t done that yet because well, quite frankly, there’s just too much good food in the world and I love cooking).
After ONE MONTH of Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss using 16/8 IF
Results vs Baseline
- Height: 5’7” (FYI unfortunately I learned that IF doesn’t affect your height – too bad, huh?)
- Weight: 160 (-6 lbs)
- Waist 36 (-.25 inches)
- Belly 36.5 (-1 inch)
To say I was satisfied with Intermittent Fasting was an understatement. I felt outstanding.
And remember these results were achieved during the Thanksgiving Holiday period. Wow!
After TWO Months of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
Thinking I’d discovered the holy grail of weight loss, I got a little cocky.
I tried experimenting with a few variables (skipped days, bad diet days, more beer(!) etc). I wanted to see if I just how well Intermittent Fasting could overcome bad habits.
Reality check – I learned that Intermittent Fasting is NOT a magic cure-all for overcoming bad diet habits – eating a bunch of bad food and drinking more beer is too much for Intermittent Fasting to overcome.
(Thanks, Captain Obvious).
At the end of Month 2 here’s where I was…
- Results Vs Prior Month:
- Weight 161 (+1 lbs)
- Waist 36 (no change)
- Belly 36.5 (no change)
- Results Vs Baseline:
- Weight (-5 lbs)
- Waist (-.25 inches)
- Belly (-1 inch)
Good News: in spite of the bad habits I tried in Month 2, I didn’t lose a lot of my gains and I was still in good shape vs my baseline. Now that’s a pretty forgiving diet!
After THREE MONTHS of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting
Things were still going well for my intermittent fasting for weight loss experiment, and during this time period I tried experimenting with a few Fasting Cardio routines — basically doing 8-20 minutes of HITT (High-Intensity Interval Training) just before breaking my fast.
I found that I had more energy when I did Fasting Cardio, but it was a fine line because if I pushed too hard I ended up with intense pounding headaches (something I’ve never had trouble with before) and I also couldn’t’ go very long on the cardio routine (15-20 minutes tops) before getting those headaches, so that limited my ability to burn a lot of calories over a longer session. As a result, I’m still not sure how much more effective (if at all) Fasting Cardio is vs longer HITT later in the day (after I’ve had something to eat for energy).
I also added in some CrossFit workouts for my alternate cardio and muscle building options during the day and I felt like this worked well.
I still kept my bad diet/cheat days (read: chicken wings) and even a few beers as a reward for a good week and this seemed like a good balance for long-term lifestyle change success.
My Results at the end of THREE months of Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss:
- Results Vs Prior Month:
- Weight 157 (-4 lbs)
- Waist 35.25 (-.75 inches)
- Belly 35.75(-.75 inches)
- Results Vs Baseline:
- Weight (-9 lbs)
- Waist (-1 inch)
- Belly (-1.75 inches)
So basically, by the end of the 3-months…
- I’d taken off almost 10 lbs, shaved an inch off my waist, and nearly 2 inches off my belly by simply not eating late night snacks and delaying my breakfast. This was a couple pounds shy my weight goal (155) and a far cry from my belly/waist goals (still 3+ inches away!!), however…
- I learned that Intermittent Fasting for weight loss wasn’t hard, I felt great from an energy standpoint, and it’s a lifestyle change that seemed to be doable for the long term for me.
It’s true that at the end of my initial 3 month experiment I didn’t achieve my goal (155 lbs and a 32-inch waist) but I also didn’t kill myself to get there either. I put Intermittent Fasting for weight loss into my “Average Joe” lifestyle and was able to get some real positives from it (especially in terms of how much more energy I had).
Therefore I decided to keep going…
After SIX MONTHS of Intermittent Fasting
Here’s where I was at the end of 6 months with Intermittent Fasting for weight loss…
- Weight: 156 (10 lbs below baseline)
- Waist: 34.2 (2.05 inches below baseline)
- Belly: 34.5 (3 inches below baseline!)
A note on weight – during this time period I started doing more workouts and my muscle mass increased so I was fine with still being over 155 lbs goal.
A note on measurements – I used a loose tape measure and let my stomach out as naturally as possible in order to know my ‘real’ results. (Kind of like not moving the ball in golf and playing it where it lies). Although my belly measured 34.5 incheas with a loose tape measure I could finally comfortably wear 32-inch waist pants again. Woo Hoo!
For me Intermittent Fasting proved to be been a grand success – but after 6 months I wasn’t about to give up…
After ONE YEAR of Intermittent Fasting
I didn’t stop at just 6 months. I couldn’t.
By now I was addicted to Intermittent Fasting.
Most every day I used 16/8 Intermittent Fasting but a few times a week I also used 18/6 Intermittent Fasting and sometimes even 20/4 Intermittent Fasting. Why? Because I just wasn’t hungry and I really liked being able to save time by not worrying about food.
You’ll be surprised how much extra time you get when you use intermittent fasting.
In any case, after a full year of Intermittent Fasting for weight loss and here’s where I stood vs baseline…
My Results in Oct, 2018 vs Baseline Oct, 2017
- Weight: 149 (-17 lbs)
- Waist: 32.9 (-3.35 inches)
- Belly: 33.1 (-4.4 inches)
Well it took me a year, but I made it well beyond my goal weight of 155 lbs and at this point I made a new goal to get to 145 lbs.
I still had a bit of work to do on my belly measurement (I wanted to drop another inch) but that was proving a bit more challenging.
I want to stress again that I was able to achieve these results WITHOUT extreme dieting, calorie counting, or doing anything beyond tweaking a few of my normal eating habits.
I say that because I realized that, at my age (47 at the time), if I wanted to get my belly measurement under 32 inches I was coming to grips with either paying more attention to what I ate (in addition to Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss) or else giving up on that goal.
After TWO YEARS of Intermittent Fasting
I reached the two year mark for Intermittent Fasting in October 2018, and while I continued to love the IF lifestyle, it should be noted that I adjusted my goals a bit vs the 1 year mark.
My goals for year 2 (and beyond) were changed to focused on maintain a weight between 150-155 with well-defined muscles and a waistline of 32 inches. A few notes about this:
- I made these changes because I realized that 145 lbs was a bit too low for my target weight given that I still wanted to have well-defined muscle architecture.
- The ‘well-defined muscle’ component may sound like a new goal from the IF standpoint but actually it’s not new to my overall life goals since the maintenance of muscle structure has long been a goal for me.
- The definition of well-defined muscles is likely to be different for everybody. For me it’s basically an upper-body goal focus on chest, arms, and abs. Briefly, for my size at 5’7″, my goals are a 40-inch chest, 13.5-inch arms (not flexed), 15-inch arms (flexed), and a belly < 32 inches — all of which boils down to having a clear muscle definition when I look in the mirror – in short a body that makes me feel good about myself.
More importantly for our discussion is this…
After 2 years, I can honestly say that my intermittent fasting routine is such an easy part of my lifestyle that I don’t really pay a lot of attention to it.
16/8 Intermittent Fasting is simply my normal daily routine and on the days I didn’t do it (for travel or other miscellaneous reasons), I feel out of balance. Therefore I live the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle as often as I can.
HOWEVER that doesn’t mean it’s been all roses — during the past year there have been multiple months where I:
- got a bit lax and got into the habit of eating late night snacks (I tried making up for this by not eating until lunch the next day but this shifting calorie thing didn’t work well).
- enjoyed too many beers with friends too often (which leads to eating too many snacks).
- didn’t eat enough protein.
- got lax on my workouts.
I point these things out because this is real life. I’m nearly 50 and not the spring chicken I once was. As I say on this blog all the time, I’m must an Average Joe, and as such I have Average Joe style problems too.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t keep trying.
In any case, here are my current results…
At 2-years, My results from October 2019 vs Baseline Oct 2017
- Weight: 152 (-14 lbs) – goal achieved
- Belly: 34 (-3.5 inches) – goal not achieved
- Chest: 40 inches – goal maintained
- Arms: 13.8/14.9 – goal not quite achieved (not enough definition)
In terms of Intermittent Fasting for weight loss I was able to achieve AND maintain my goal weight (150-155), however I did not achieve my belly/waistline goal (32 inches) and I haven’t yet got the definition I want on my arms.
I attribute these delays vs my goals to the following:
- In spite of Intermittent Fasting, I often ate too many calories this past year.
- There was a period of time where I was on a bit of a ‘dessert’ kick.
- Summertime chicken wings + beer don NOT add up to washboard abs even with Intermittent Fasting – who knew? 🙁
- Even when I did watch calories (or at least pay attention to them), when I consistently shifted more eating to later in the day (when I didn’t need the calories for fuel), I felt like I still gained weight. (In fact I know this to be true because it was one of the many things about IF that I religiously tracked on my daily spreadsheets – yes I keep spreadsheets on IF (and lots of other things) – but that’s another story.)
And yet, in spite of all these real life challenges where I let myself fall off the wagon in terms of proper eating, when I ate too many wings and had too many beers, when I did so many things wrong, I firmly believe that it was Intermittent Fasting that played a big role in keeping me relatively healthy and in shape.
Now you might say – duh – this isn’t rocket science, Mike – when you use Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss and you consistently do NOT eat for 16 hours per day, it’s only natural that you’ll tend to consume less calories overall then if you DO eat during the 16 hours you’re up each day.
That’s probably true.
And maybe it’s just common sense.
But you know what? Sometimes common sense wisdom is the best kind there is. Maybe that’s what Intermittent Fasting is – just common sense.
After THREE Years of Intermittent Fasting
I reached the 3 year mark for Intermittent Fasting in October 2020 and honestly I wasn’t even paying attention. I have completed a 14/10 or 16/8 fast almost every day since October 2017 and it’s just a normal part of my lifestyle – I really don’t even think much about it anymore. Fasting is simply as much of an everyday occurrence for me as brushing my teeth, sleeping, or just breathing.
That being said, because I haven’t actually focused on my fasting or my diet, I let myself dip a bit in 2020 – although the Covid-19 lab leak that spawned lockdown life and quarantines and the resulting depression it caused me had a lot to do with that!
In any case, here were my 3-year results from October 2020 vs Baseline October 2017
- Weight: 154 – which is within my 150-155 target
- Belly: 34.8 – no where near my goal of 32
- Chest: 40 inches – goal maintained
- Arms: 13.5/14.9 – goal not quite achieved
A few notes on my waist/belly and muscle goals – if you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know that I am always transparent with you, therefore I will be here too. For most of 2020 I have been depressed about how the world has suddenly changed as a result of Covid-19 and the #Fear that we’ve allowed to control our lives. For most of 2020 I didn’t work out much, I’ve drank way too much beer, and I ate a lot of crap food. Most of my fasting was only 14/10 instead of 16/8. As a result, my efforts to reach my body image goals failed for most of 2020 – and this only added to my depression.
And yet, once again, in spite of everything that I did WRONG, Intermittent Fasting helped me maintain my weight within my target range! That’s pretty freakin’ incredible in my book!
Furthermore, in spite of all the negative events at home and abroad, I decided to listen to my wife’s advice and focus on our inner circle and cherish the Now Moments of our family. I’m also taking my own advice and seeing The Beauty That is All Around Me.
Additionally, my wife and I were able to overcome our fears about Covid-19 and take advantage of the fact that Florida is NOT a lockdown state, therefore we are able to venture out and live a little. As a result, in mid-Nov, 2020, I joined a gym again and rededicated myself to a 16/8 fast, along with consistently exercising.
After 5 Years of Intermittent Fasting
It’s now December, 2022, I’m 51 1/2 years old, and it’s been over five years since I started Intermittent Fasting. This will probably be the last update I make because if you’re still reading this I’m sure you’ve realized by now that Intermittent Fasting has a LOT of benefits. It’s not really something I even think about, it’s just part of my normal everyday lifestyle.
At the 2 year mark, you’ll recall that I updated my body-goals to include a focus on adding some muscle vs just weight loss and I joined a gym at the 3-year mark. At the time I started that process my body goals were to build a 40-inch chest, 13.5-inch arms (not flexed), 15-inch arms (flexed), with a belly < 32 inches, and in the 150-155 range. Things were going good for me at the 2-year mark…and then Covid was unleashed and threw my world and yours upside down. I went through a period of depression, stopped blogging, and lost focus on my body goals.
However I never stopped the Intermittent Fasting – at least getting in a 14/10 fast on most days. As a result, even though everything else in the world was going badly, the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle was something I could count on to help me feel better. And it worked!
At the 3-year mark (towards the end of 2020), I was feeling better – Florida was free from Covid madness and my family was enjoying that freedom. With things looking up, I decided to get back in the gym and I’ve been a regular at the gym now for over 2 years. Like the Apostle Paul, I keep running the race God has given me – and I continue to hope for the best.
Because I’ve now been focused more on muscle building than weight loss, my body goals changed again. My new goals were to be in the 155-160 lb range with 40+ inch chest, 14 inch arms (not flexed), 16-inch arms (flexed), and with a waist in the 34 inch range. I wanted to have defined muscles. Additionally I wanted to reduce my alcohol consumption and clean up my diet.
So how did I do? Where am I now after 5 years? (December 2022 Picture)
- Weight: 163 lbs: Yes muscle weighs more than fat but regardless my goal was not achieved because this is 3 lbs above my upper limit goal. I’ve been below 160 this year but not consistently. I know I can get back consistently under 160 with a little more focus – I’ve had too many times where I engage in mindless eating of late snacks watching Netflix at night – that’s not what I want.
- Waist: 34 inches: Goal achieved and I have defined abs when I flex them but I’d still like to further flatten my belly over time.
- Chest: 41.5 inches: exceeded goal;
- Arms: 14.25 inches (non-flex), 16 inches (flex): achieved goal;
- Heck, I’ve even started doing some leg workouts too and I never did that in the past!
- My muscles are somewhat defined but there’s more work to do. As always, it’s a journey over time, right?
Alcohol consumption: In 2017 I had 148 days with a drink and 253 total drinks; in 2020 it was 147 days and 267 total drinks. In 2022 it was down to 109 days and 211 total. I did reduce my consumption so I achieved that goal but I’d love to see this get under 50 days and 100 total drinks so there’s still work to do here too and I know if I can reduce this I’ll increase my chances of achieving my overall body goals.
Diet Overall: Intermittent Fasting, my body-goals, and some lingering depression related to how America and the world are changing for the worse have completely altered my diet. Recall in the beginning that I used to love to eat chicken wings and drink beer and the effects of that was creating a big belly for me which is why I turned to intermittent fasting in the first place. As it stands now, while I still drink beer sometimes, but I rarely eat wings anymore. Not because I don’t like them but because I hardly ever grill out anymore (that’s the depression piece) and because I don’t want to pay the price of eating poorly (that’s the body-goal piece). I can’t say I am happier as a result of not eating wings, it’s just a different lifestyle now, I guess.
On the plus side my daily diet usually starts off with a healthy smoothie around 10am and a high protein + healthy carb lunch. I’m also pretty good about getting to the gym (4-5 days/week). And 99% of the days I get in at least a 14 hour fast, if not 16-18. On the negative side I’m up/down with dinners and I sometimes struggle with late night mindless eating + beer (especially when I’m depressed). I’d love to clean up my diet further and I believe I can do that.
In December 2022 I started using MyFitnessPal to keep track of what I’m eating because I discovered that I was eating a lot of extra calories I didn’t know about. I don’t necessarily want to be a calorie counter every day, but I do want to be educated on where some of my ‘hidden’ calories might be so that I can clean that up and make it easier to achieve my body-goals.
In the end, Intermittent Fasting has given me so many benefits and it’s made me feel so great that I hope I never have to stop doing it. I want to live to be 100+ years old full of vitality and energy and I’m half way there. How about I check in with you at the 100 year mark and give you another update at that time? 🙂
Until then, God bless and Good Luck with your own Intermittent Fasting Journey.
Intermittent Fasting Results – The Bottom Line
I started using Intermittent Fasting for weight loss and I did achieve my weight loss goal with it relatively quickly, but what I discovered were a host of other benefits that I did not anticipate.
And it is those extra benefits that keeps me going with Intermittent Fasting.
I have another article about the full benefits of Intermittent Fasting, but to summarize they are:
- With 16/8 Intermittent Fasting I have more energy;
- I love the extra time I have (especially in the morning) with 16/8 Intermittent Fasting;
- I have less intestinal problems with 16/8 Intermittent Fasting (especially in the morning);
- I am more conscious about what I eat (well, most of the the time);
- I have more mental clarity throughout the day;
- I just feel better overall.
I realize there is something called the Placebo Effect that might account for some of this, however I’d argue that after 5 years that mental trickery is not likely to continue and that instead the real life physiological effect of Intermittent Fasting shows through. Maybe that’s true, maybe not, but for me, Intermittent Fasting is the way to go.
What about YOU?
For more on Intermittent Fasting, check out these articles…
- Intermittent Fasting – Beginner’s Guide
- Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
- Intermittent Fasting Schedules – the many types of IF
Intermittent Fasting Calculator
If you want to make Intermittent Fasting easy, take advantage of this awesome intermittent fasting calculator from our friends at FITNESSVOLT.com. Click the pic above or use this link to see their calculator in action – best of all, it’s FREE to use!
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