I’ve been a practitioner of the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle for about 2 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, and even now out to 2 years. If that sounds good, let’s go!
Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series on Intermittent Fasting.
Hi, I’m Mike, That Helpful Dad. I’ve been living the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle for about 2 years now and it’s changed my life for the better. I hope it can help you too.
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
- 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 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 vs Baseline
- 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
As we approach the two year mark for Intermittent Fasting, I’m still going strong, however it should be noted that I adjusted my goals a bit vs the 1 year mark.
My new goals for year 2 (and beyond) are to 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 was probably a bit too low for my target weight given that I still wanted to have some decent 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 nearly 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 vs Baseline
- 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’t 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.
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 2 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
What Else to Read?
There’s more to life than Intermittent Fasting. For something else interesting to read check out…