When I started my weight loss journey a couple of years ago I was trying to decide what “diet” I wanted to go on.
I wanted a clean, balanced diet that did not exclude any food group, so keto and paleo just didn’t appeal to me at all.
A couple of possibilities were at the top of my list.
1st up was the 21 Day Fix. I loved the simplicity of the container system and the food list. It also allowed me to have an occasional treat. (here is a link to some information about the “FIX” https://mycrazygoodlife.com/what-is-the-21-day-fix/
This program was going to tell me how much of what to eat.
All that was left was to think about the when to eat.
I had failed at a few diet attempts because of the same diet “rules” that every diet encouraged. One rule I hated was HAVING to eat a good breakfast or I would “fail”.
They would tell me that if I skipped breakfast I would “be starving and not able to control myself when I did eat” and so 3 days into trying to eat within an hour of me getting out of bed and I would QUIT… disgusted with myself. Now don’t get me wrong, I love breakfast foods. I just don’t like the breakfast hour!
Another rule was to eat every 2 hours, six small meals per day. I don’t like to eat like that… I like a couple of larger meals and a couple of snacks tops. So if my weight loss depended on me doing both of those things I was doomed to be fat!
When researching diets I Googled “not eating breakfast and weight loss” and I was then I discovered intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting meant I could/would start eating later in the day and THAT had my full attention.
What exactly is intermittent fasting?
There are three basic methods of intermittent fasting (IF): alternate day fasting, whole-day fasting, and time-restricted feeding.
I am only going to address the time-restricted feeding type because that is the only one I did or would ever consider doing. Time-restricted feeding is eating only during a certain number of hours each day. An example can be 16:8 diets which advocate 16 fasting hours cycled by 8 non-fasting hours. There are many other eating schedules but again, I am only going to address 16:8 fasting here. It is the one that is the most compatible with the 21 Day Fix because you HAVE to be able to eat all of your containers in that 8-hour window.
My friend Becca over at My Crazy Good Life has a more in-depth post about all the forms of fasting right here https://mycrazygoodlife.com/intermittent-fasting-for-weight-loss/?fbclid=IwAR2sSxQ2TYqw72duShfTytcTlcouxlL_KtgQQN8EV7g6JUH66F6mQakgSI0
***right here I want to insert that the official Ultimate Portion Fix material mentions intermittent fast is not compatible with the “Fix”. I do agree that the higher brackets D-E-F would find it impossible to do IF, but brackets C-B-A are quite doable. Especially B and A because they have the least amount of containers to eat per day.***
What “window” of eating should you chose?
There are a few different versions of time windows to pick from. They are referred to by 2 numbers. The 1st number is how many hours you are in a fasting state, the 2nd number is how many hours you have to eat all of your foods. 16:8 is the most common way to count 24 hours of eating. Some people who are doing IF alone sometimes stretch those fasting hours out… 17:7… 18:6…19:5. BUT again I am only going to talk about one time window because I believe it is the one that can work with the “Fix” best, 16:8 or 16 fasting hours and 8 eating hours.
You might say “16 HOURS WITHOUT EATING?? I CAN’T!!” but what you have to remember is that you should be getting 8 of those hours in sleep!
Yes, you sleep thru 1/2 your fasting hours, after all, the word “breakfast” literally means “to break your fast”. If you look back in history to our ancestors, even just a few generations ago…people got out of bed at the crack of dawn. The family then took care of daily chores like feeding livestock and collecting milk and eggs, or chopping wood for cooking and heat before they got to eat breakfast… most times a couple of hours after they got up! So getting out of bed and waiting a few hours to eat isn’t some new age fad like some people like to claim. (Fasting has been done thru the eons of time for religious/personal reasons having nothing to do with weight loss)
To set my morning “start time” I had to 1st start with what time I went to bed. Why would my bedtime affect my eating time? Well, years ago a doctor had given me advice about an ulcer that included “do not eat for at least 3 hours before bedtime because the human body needs that long to digest food before you lay down” and he had cured my ulcer without medications. That advice stuck with me and I thought it would be a good place to start …. stop eating 3 hours before bedtime. For me bedtime is about 10 pm, so 3 hours before that would be 7 pm.
I stop eating at 7 pm.
16 hours of fasting later is 11 am.
I start eating at 11 am.
What do I have until 11 am? Black coffee, black tea and water. Period. You can research all you want but my experience is that if you have any calories or artificial sweeteners no matter how small an amount … you are “breaking your fast”.
So what does a day on the 21 Day Fix WITH intermittent fasting look like?
First off I always meal PLAN, if I don’t plan my day I WILL FAIL! I usually try to plan my largest meal, supper, 1st since I use the most containers for it. then brunch and snacks. I go into more detail on how I meal plan for my family here
Most of my days look like this: Brunch at 11 am. A large snack/lunch at about 2 pm. A large supper at 5-6 pm. A dessert/snack by 7 pm.
I am going to assume you are in Bracket A or B if you are reading this far… so I am just going to mention container “colors” and not how many containers I eat. I am in maintenance and I use B most days, but you can make any “schedule” that fits your needs. These are just examples
11 am. Brunch I like to start my day on foods easy to digest. A big cup of bone broth during the cold months is a favorite of mine. Think brunch foods. Like I said I like breakfast foods just not the breakfast hour so things like eggs, oats with fruit, a smoothie, waffles are great or I just skip to lunch foods simple proteins in soup/salad/sandwich style. I caution if you have a food that tends to give you gas every time you eat it that you do NOT “wake” your stomach up with it ( TRUST THIS ADVICE).
2 pm. Snack /Lunch This meal/snack on the large side because of the fasting time and needing to get all of my containers in. Since I only eat 4 meals in a days time I sometimes have a red container with my snack, but saving it for a double red at supper is what I do more often. A fruit with some nut butter or maybe a veggie with it. If I am having a red maybe some approved deli ham or turkey slices wrapped around pickle spears and a treat swap yellow of pretzels. Some nachos made with treat swap tortilla chips. I almost always split my blue apart into the 5 tablespoons that are in 1/3 cups, just so I can spread it out thru my day. Just plan how many containers you need for this snack and plan accordingly.
5-6 pm. Supper It tends to be my largest meal of the day. Double containers of some colors almost always happen. 2 Red-2 Green-2 Yellow-2 teaspoons and some or all my blue and/or orange containers. I almost always have some kind of salad or fresh veggie option with supper. I figure when I go out to a restaurant I almost always get an opening side salad SO I vowed to try to do that every day and I pick supper to do it. Sometimes it is only 1 Green container with some dressing, but it is still a salad!
One of my favorite ways to have a supper meal that feels like a real cheat meal is to have a Surf and Turf one like this…
(see that little side salad?)
If I eat this BIG at 6 pm I am full for hours, but here comes dessert.
By 7 pm. Dessert/Snack Maybe popcorn as my yellow containers allow. Popcorn used to be a treat swap but is now just a normal yellow. You get 3 cups of popcorn for 1Y, so if I plan a movie night I can just save my yellows all day and have popcorn as my yellow. If I saved them for WINE I have to count 1 5 ounce glass as a treat swap but it is so worth the swap some days!
I sometimes want something sweet as an evening treat. Fruit or fruit-based treat swaps can do the trick. Here are some great recipes for that https://thefoodieandthefix.com/22-amazing-ways-curb-sweet-tooth-21-day-fix/
I make chocolate covered bananas with this chocolate shell recipe because it doesn’t count as a treat swap but just my regular containers https://confessionsofafitfoodie.com/21-day-fix-banana-ice-cream-bon-bons/
Again just plan every single container for the day and stick to it.
BUT then at 7 pm. your kitchen is CLOSED. I eat right up to 6:59 sometimes! I drink water or herb tea until bedtime. Do I get hungry? Sometimes but for goodness sake, I am on a DIET sometimes I am just going to have to be hungry and ignore it. Mindlessly munching in front of the TV as to be exchanged for something. I like to crunch on ice…. yep just a glass of crushed ice, it gives my hands and mouth something to do, and puts control of what goes in my body to them.
I rarely sit for 3 hours from 7 to 10 just staring at the TV tho. I find ways to occupy my mind and hands. Obviously, I blog, so I find time every evening trying to pin down a post or recipe. Keeping my mind off of my stomach helps. Also if I need to fell “stronger” I reach out to my fellow ‘dieters” via my favorite Facebook group and get pumped up enough to make it to bedtime strong.
Another trick I use is to brush my teeth, signaling to my brain that eating is over with for the day. Period. At your next dentist appointment, you may get a glowing report 🙂 !
AFTER 3 OR 4 DAYS into eating on this schedule and your body will get used to the rhythm of the hours and it just won’t be as hard to make it till bedtime.
I think evenings are harder than mornings, for this reason, if you don’t ever “wake up” your stomach with calories in the morning you rarely get hungry till your “window” opens. (ONLY if you stopped eating at the right time the night before tho.)
At night your stomach has been awake all day and now you need to put it to sleep. Try to remember you are doing this WITH the 21 Day Fix and you have used up all the containers allocated to you for the day and you have gotten ALL your nutrients your body could need… you HAVE to stop eating. Period. To be truly fasting
Well, this is as much information as I can give you about how and why I combine the 21 Day Fix with Intermittent Fasting.
My results?? 55 lbs down in 12 Rounds or 9 months of doing them!
I hope this post helps and inspires you!!