I've been doing a lot of research into IF and find some saying it's less effective for women than men, and can even have negative consequences for women. Some of that has to do with hormones and fertility - at 51, fertility is no longer a concern for me. But this article by Nia Shanks discusses the "Dark Side of Intermittent Fasting" and I think some of the downsides she points out do apply to me. There is a video embedded in the article where she and Marianne Kane discuss their experiences with IF and why it wasn't such a good fit for them. It's about 15 minutes long but was very interesting.
For example, she says she's a bit OCD and soon found she was being very rigid with the eating window. She started eating at 1pm and if she found herself starving at 12:45 she would insist she could not eat for another 15 minutes. Or if it was getting late she would eat by herself rather than wait for her spouse to come home because she might fall a bit outside of the eating window. I confess that I do have OCD tendencies, and I've been a bit obsessive about that as well. That's not to say there were no times I finished eating at 8:05 pm, because I did -- but then I might make myself wait until 12:05 pm to eat lunch the next day to compensate.
The other thing she experienced was a tendency to eat larger meals within that window because she rationalised she would not be eating again for 16 hours. Normally when I have breakfast, I would only bring a main meal to work for lunch, e.g. a portion of the Lazy Cabbage Casserole. I would eat that and be satisfied until dinner. After dinner I would eat one portion of a main, perhaps with side veggies or salad, and after dinner I might have one low carb bar as a sort of dessert. I never ate between meals. But so far on IF I find that I pack my container for lunch and add in some sugar free gelatin and maybe a low carb snack bar as well. Or after dinner I will also have a low carb shake mix because I don't feel full enough and I know I won't be able to eat anything again until noon the next day.
Part of that is just not feeling full soon enough - that's been my experience since I started Dr Poon's diet frankly. Whereas when I used to eat carby foods, I would feel full right after eating, but would be hungry within an hour again. Now that I don't eat those foods, I find I don't feel full or satisfied right after a meal, but if I wait about 20 minutes, then I do and I'll be quite satisfied for hours. I much prefer that feeling but when you finish eating and are waiting to feel satisfied ... and your 8 pm cut-off is fast approaching, it's tempting to quick eat something else while you have the chance just to ensure you'll be full.
I don't know that I want to give up on it just yet, because I understand it can take weeks to start having a positive effect on your weight. But at the same time, I don't want to waste time on something that isn't working, if I'm one of those women who it's not so effective for. What to do? Will I give it another week or two before deciding? If I am conscious of my OCD tendencies and ensure that I don't consume extra food during the eating window, it might still work. But one of the things I have loved about Dr Poon's diet is not having to count and measure and obsess about whatever I put in my mouth -- so maybe counting the hours until I can eat isn't a good idea for me? I don't know.
By the way, Nia Shanks has another interesting topic on this page with another embedded video that may be of interest, the topic is "My biggest nutrition mistake" where she again addresses how too many rules were stressing her out and how making it all really simple, e.g. just eat whole real food as much as possible, has worked for her.
So will I continue with IF? Do I maybe need to change to 5:2 instead of the 8 hour window method? If any of you have tried IF I would love to hear your experience with it. Please share your thoughts.