The first meal of the day is at 12pm and the second is around 6pm. By 7pm we have finished eating and begin our 17-hour fast until the next day.
Leaner, stronger and energetic are just a few words to describe how we’re currently feeling. But skipping breakfast, isn’t that bad for you? Not having three meals a day, isn’t that bad for you? The simple answer is, no.
We first began circadian rhythm fasting over a year ago and are feeling great but that wasn’t always the case
Being vegan doesn’t mean you’re 100% healthy and eating clean all of the time and as much as we love to be healthy, it’s not always the case. By no means are we unhealthy but we both have a major sweet tooth issue and late night snacking can be a real problem. We wake up feeling more tired than we went to sleep, how is that even possible?
Waking up feeling full, lethargic and uncomfortable is just not good and not the road we want to be heading down on a regular occurrence. Yes, the majority of our diet is fresh fruit and veg but we find that the effect of the “bad food” is so much worse on our bodies because of how healthy we usually are. The bad times are just not worth the few seconds of a sweet treat. As one of us is an IBS sufferer, eating late can be absolute hell on the body (fellow IBS-ers you know what we mean). We needed a change.
We first started to hear about circadian rhythm fasting through a podcast with Joe Rogan and Rhonda Patrick, who has a Ph.D in biomedical science and a long list of other qualifications - to read more about her check out her site FoundMyFitness.com.
Your circadian rhythm dictates when you’re active and when you sleep and eat. Modern lighting and the dreaded midnight-snacking can all affect our bodies rhythm and interrupt our natural patterns. A theory published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science by Mark Mattson et al suggested that our health isn’t just dictated by what we eat but when we eat.
We already knew a little about what it was but we only began to try out circadian rhythm fasting after discovering the app Zero, which helps you track and log when you start/stop eating. The app is based on research by Dr. Satchin Panda, a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California.
With Zero, you can track 5:2 and circadian rhythm fasting as well as create your own custom intermittent fasting window. 5:2 fasting is based on the diet of the same name so you would have five normal days and two days of reduced calorie fasting days. Circadian rhythm fasting is based on fasting for 13 hours per day, starting each fast at or before sunset.
The term fasting can sound a bit scary but once you get used to shortening your eating window, it’s simple to follow. You’re not starving yourself, you’re just choosing when you eat.
By no means are we medical professionals but this is something we have both tried out and have found that the effects on our body have transformed not only our workouts but also sleep quality and increased energy-levels. Please consult your doctor before any big diet changes or health queries.
How Does it Work?
Fasting is a great way to lose fat without restricting your diet. When you eat, your body then spends a while processing it so you have all this energy ready to burn. Your body chooses to use the new energy from what you just ate instead of the fat that you currently have stored. Therefore when you’re fasting, your body doesn’t have new energy to use as you haven’t eaten a meal so it’s much more likely to get to work on the fat that’s already in the body.
What Have we Learnt so Far?
By using circadian rhythm fasting, we’ve experienced several benefits. Despite the term fasting, we don’t feel hungry and if anything, feel so much better than we did before.
The below benefits are only what we have found from our own experiences.
1. Not eating late
Turning down something sweet and tasty late at night is hard, almost impossible. Eating late isn’t good for you, it sits on your stomach and doesn’t digest properly. You can always feel it in the morning if you’ve eaten late the night before. However, knowing that doesn’t always stop us reaching for some late night nibbles. As the app tracks the time you eat, we’ve found that it stops us eating so late as we can see when we need to stop eating. It becomes a bit like a game to keep our eating window down to a minimum, keeping it exciting and sustainable.
2. Better sleep quality
We’ve found that the quality of sleep has improved and we’re waking up feeling much more refreshed and ready to start the day. From the first night of our new eating routine, we noticed an immediate improvement in sleep quality.
3. Increased performance
We’re feeling stronger and performing way better in workouts. Having done both fasted workouts and regular “fed” workouts, we’re pushing our bodies and feeling great. We found that we were able to run much faster than normal.
4. Eat better
As the window that you eat is smaller, the quality of food that we are eating is so much better. Using fresh fruit and veg and feeling really satisfied after each meal. Don’t think we’ve ever eaten so many vegetables ever in life! It was like there was more pressure make the most out of the meals we were eating, so they were much healthier.
5. Bigger meals
Again, because of the small eating window, the size of the meals are bigger as we need to eat all our food in shorter space of time. We are massive foodies and things get primal when the food comes out. There’s no constriction on size, we feel great and are loving it.
We’d love to hear about your experience with fasting in the comments below.