Matthew, a 31-year-old electrical engineer, tells Men’s Health how switching to a no added sugar intermittent fasting (NASIF) diet changed his life.
I have always been overweight. I was hunky as a child, and for the most part stayed that way. It wasn’t from inactivity; I’m a very active person, but I was usually overweight or obese, due to my diet. I hit my all time heaviest weight this year right after I turned 31. I don’t remember the exact weight, but I remember being at work one day and standing on a scale and seeing around 265 pounds.
2020 was hard on a lot of people for vastly different reasons. For my wife and I, it was having to endure back to back miscarriages at the beginning of the year. I started focusing on my diet as a way of finding something I could control, when everything else felt completely out of control.
My wife wanted to try a no added sweeteners diet, and I was interested in doing intermittent fasting, and so we decided to do both. The combination of doing these two things has been the healthiest, most sustainable diet or health plan I have ever done.
The intermittent fasting portion is easy. On weekdays I would fast 18 hours a day, and weekends I would fast 12 hours a day. For example, Sunday night I would stop eating around 10 p.m. and wouldn’t eat again until 4 p.m. when I got home on Monday. On the weekends I would stop eating around 8 or 9 p.m. and wouldn’t start eating until 8 or 9 a.m. the next day. People freak out at first when you float the idea of not eating for 12 to 18 hours, and it’s definitely an adjustment at first, but it works well. I started at 12 hours of fasting, and worked my way up to the 18 hours on weekdays. When not fasting, I ate as much no sweetened food as I wanted until I was full.
The most difficult part is doing no added sweeteners. No sugar, no artificial sugars, no natural sweeteners, no honey, no syrups, none of that. All of the hard work from completing this should be credited to my wife. She started looking up recipes and finding ways to make food without added sugar or sweeteners. She started baking loaves of bread since there were limited options in the store. She did all the cooking. A lot of her recipes we posted in our subreddit so others could use them. We still eat fruits, vegetables, potatoes, rice, meats, cheese, and legumes. We just don’t