You may have heard intermittent fasting for healthy living before. The mere mention of the word ‘fasting’ may have had you running a million miles away (which isn’t that bad because at least you’re running, right?). We understand why it may seem daunting and scary, especially if food is your ultimate love in life. But fear not, we are here to break it down.
What is intermittent fasting?
In short, intermittent fasting is the term used for an eating pattern that cycles between fasting (not eating) and eating. This is more about when you eat, rather than what you eat. It is not considered a ‘diet’ in the conventional sense and is more accurately described as an ‘eating pattern’.
Fasting is not a foreign concept for us homosapiens. Think about our forefathers who picked berries from trees and speared animals for meat: they didn’t have supermarkets, refrigerators or food available all year-round. Our bodies could, and have done so in the past, function without food for extended periods. Intermittent fasting is therefore a more natural way of eating as opposed to the usual three to four (or more) meals a day.
How does it work?
Unlike dieting, which one normally does every day, intermittent fasting is something you commit to about twice a week, depending on which method you choose (there are various different kinds of fasting).
Here are some options: eat between 10am and 6pm daily, then fast from 6pm to 10am. Some people only eat during an eight-hour window.
Alternatively you could fast for 24 to 36 hours once or twice weekly (this is true bravery).
Tackle your body’s cravings by sticking to water, coffee and green tea. Bone broth is a great option as it offers a little savoury flavour.
So, is intermittent fasting for you?
Intermittent fasting is not for everyone. However, it is certainly not for pregnant women, women with infertility issues, those with adrenal problems, blood sugar imbalance, or diabetes. Women in general need to be a bit more regimented because they are known fat storers. Their systems are generally a bit more complicated so they need to monitor this eating plan a bit more stringently than men.
If it is for you, read this first
If you are thinking about going forward with this new way of healthy living, it is important that other aspects of your life are in check, too. Make sure you are managing your stress levels, that you are getting at least seven hours of sleep a night, and that you are doing short burst exercises (High Intensity Interval Training. Read more about it on our blog).
Stop snacking in between meals. Snacking (even the tiniest little snack) in between meals will still spike your insulin levels, and it prevents fat burning, ultimately encouraging the storage of fat. In an attempt at curbing this plan your meals accordingly: have protein, fat and fibre at each meal. Space out your meals: fat-burners can go four to six hours between meals, and even skip a meal, with no issue.
An effective method of intermittent fasting
A method that has been proven to be the most effective is if you fast for 12-14 hours. Yes, we know, that sounds way too long! But it isn’t as bad as it sounds. All you have to do is have breakfast within one or two hours of waking up, eat every four to six hours, and then close your kitchen three hours before bed.
For example, you can eat at 9am, 1pm, and 5pm. The bonus of this method is that the majority of those 12 to 14 hours are spent sleeping, which is obviously a really easy way to pass the time until your next meal.
Hang tight, we aren’t done just yet! Read Part 2 of this blog to read more about the effects of intermittent fasting on your brain as well as the benefits for strength athletes.
There is still an abundance of information out there on this amazing eating habit. We have covered as much as we can! If you like our approach then let’s get in touch.