There is no other way to put it, being a dad with young children is exhausting. I am always on the go, whether it's helping to make breakfast, lunch, dinner, then cleaning up, getting kids dressed, changing nappies, then loading the car, unloading the car, baths, dressed, nappies... oh and then there is still the business side, calls, emails, meetings. I always feel like I should be doing more and there just isn't enough time in the day.
It didn't matter what time I went to bed or woke up, I was constantly exhausted, stressed and feeling on edge. My GP gave me no hope saying, "well you do have 2 kids under 3 that's just the way it is." Maybe for him, but I wasn't going to make that my reality. I decided to take matters into my own hands and try out what research is showing is the best way to increase energy, build muscle, and feel better overall. I started intermittent fasting/time-restricted eating and I have never felt better. I have energy, more time, better sleep, and even feel fitter.
There are countless studies out there now documenting the benefits of intermittent fasting/constrained eating. Fasting gives your body a chance to reset, digests food and work through any toxins in your body. There is another benefit; I save time in the morning by not having to eat breakfast. Crazy as it sounds it frees up my morning routine so I can spend more time with my family doing the things I love.
Over the last 2 months, I have been experimenting with intermittent fasting. I fast for basically 15-16 hours a day. So I will stop eating around 7 pm and have nothing but water until 10 or 11 am the next day. During the work week, it is easy, here is how I do it:
Intermittent fasting has freed up a lot of time in my mornings and allowed me to help my wife get some time for herself. I get up early and get in some exercise. Whether it's a run, surf or yoga. If I feel hungry I just drink more water. My wife preps a smoothie while I prep a big salad/lunch, then play with the kids. I head off to work and keep busy until around 10 am.
When I break the fast I make sure it's with something healthy. My wife makes a big Micronutrient smoothie loaded with Greens, healthy fats, veggies and blueberries.
I also have a coffee which I add MCT oil to keep me from having that caffeine crash. Plus MCT oil is great for the brain, so not only do I have more energy but my mind is sharper as well.
From here on I eat pretty much eat anything I want. Usually, I have a big salad with my wife at lunch with protein. We follow a whole foods diet so just adding a lot of fruit, vegetables, eggs, cheese, meats, avocados, nuts and seeds and dark chocolate. Then I try to finish eating by 7 pm.
It may not sound exciting, but 5 days of the week I follow this routine, then allow myself 2 days of the week off. This way I can still live a little, having dinner with friends or going out to breakfast with the family. Overall I love it, maybe it's not for everyone, but if you are a tired mum or dad looking for something to give you more energy, fitness and overall wellness intermittent fasting is the answer. If 15/16 hours seems impossible then just start with 12 hours of only water, you will even notice the changes from 12 hours.
Give it a try for a week and see how you feel. Let us know in the comments below.
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