Intermittent Fasting As A Teen

Back in 2017 my father wrote this blog post talking about intermittent fasting and describing what it is and isn't. (And I highly recommend you give it a look if you've never had it really explained to you. It's accurate and complete, and the read is short.) However there's a big difference between knowing what something *is* and knowing what something *means*.

In the time since we wrote that we've been consistently living that lifestyle. I want to tell you exactly what intermittent fasting means to me, now that I've been doing it for three years.

That was me in June of 2017, right before we started this program. You'll notice that while I'm not a total sack of dough I'm... on the heavy side for a teenager. What you won't notice is that during that time I also wore glasses and had braces. At seventeen years old--the prime of my metabolic life--I was pushing 210 pounds at 6'3" (and that's assuming I didn't shave off 10 lbs for the record, which, I very well may have).

Let's say I was Honest Abe though. Plugging those numbers into a BMI calculator puts me about +1.2 points into "overweight". It's not terrible, but I'm sure most of you dear readers underwent enough insecurity in high school to know that combining overweight with glasses and braces... doesn't exactly feel good.

And it didn't feel good. I compensated with a vibrant sense of humor with a tendency toward self-deprecation, a sharp mind, and an endearing attitude of "Hey I don't want to step on any toes, how are you feeling today?" It worked well. I had friends, I'm pretty sure they un-ironically enjoyed my company.

But it didn't feel comfortable in my skin. I hated it when cameras entered the room, and had to paste on a smile and try my best to suck it in when I had no choice.

Thick Brian Jr

(As you can see it didn't work)

And I knew that my metabolism was only going to slow, and then things were going to get worse. And I want to be clear for folks that may read me and think I should have a more positive body image and more tolerance--I understand the harm of assuming that because someone's overweight they have no self-control or are otherwise not responsible. I get that lots of folks have bodies that simply won't cooperate.

I have a family member that developed Hashimoto's disease. A quick google will tell you that that's an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland. Its most visible symptom is dramatic weight gain. This family member is otherwise very active, healthy, and productive. I know of other folks with medications that list "weight gain" or "obesity" as a side effect. They didn't have a choice on their weight, and have to fight hard to lose it.

That wasn't me though. I got my weight through an indulgence in sedentary habits and generally overeating. I had earned my weight, and for me it was a mark that I indeed was lacking in self-control and responsibility. 

From that point I began to take health more seriously--slowly. I began working out, but the biggest problem with that was consistency. I was eating healthier, broke up with my youngest love of ice cream, but I was loathe to calorie restrict.

Then came intermittent fasting. My mother discovered it from a book and wanted us all to try it out, and after I read what she read I completely latched on.

The first day I remember well. The last two hours before it was time to eat were agony, and when the clock finally ticked over I was ravenous. I ate my fill (and then a little more; again, self control issues) and went about my day happily. Second day was the same thing. And so was the rest of the week.

The second week I noticed that the last couple hours weren't quite so agonizing. By the third week I got into the groove. I found that my body was developing a biological clock around when it was time to eat, and it worked well for me. I barely even felt the fasting hours; sometimes I'd realize with a start that I was supposed to be eating an hour ago. I had become independent from food. The need for raw willpower to continue intermittent fasting disappeared, and it simply became habit.

Then the results started coming.

By 2019 I had left the "overweight" category and my jaw started coming in. (I have a thing for jawlines, always wanted one of my own.)

2019 Less Thick Brian Jr

I gotta tell you, the day I felt my chin and found bone instead of pudge was like Christmas in July. I won't lie either, the braces also taking their leave did wonders for me too.

This is me today:

Okay so I'm not a model, but... it feels so much better to be in my skin. It feels so much better to be able to smile genuinely instead of gluing one on for cameras, and to look back at pictures of me and not immediately cringe is a blessing I'll never take for granted.

I did all that without having to diet restrict or calorie count, which we all know is not sustainable. I did that without keto's exhaustive lifestyle requirements, and without intensive gym training--although because of this new body I have the energy and strength to workout in any variety of ways I choose. It took a small change, a decision to work with the way our digestive systems are designed, instead of against them.

I'm not the only success story. There's an entire facebook group dedicated to tracking and sharing intermittent fasting success stories, and frankly some of the transformations are shockingly amazing.

At least once a day I'll be struck with gratitude for the fact that intermittent fasting came into my life, and I make a point of sharing it with everyone I know, and now that includes all of you. No one's going to pay me for getting people to try intermittent fasting; I legitimately love this, and I truly believe you will too. This post gives you a breakdown of what it is, the book featured there (disclaimer: the author is completely unaffiliated with us) is really good at giving a complete understanding of what I.F. is about and what it does for you.

I'd ask you to check I.F. out. And I'll really hope it does for you what it did for me. It's really something special, I hope you enjoy.

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