What is Intermittent Fasting?
Simply put, intermittent fasting is a way of eating where you cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting. There is more than one way to do it, of course. Here are a few of the more common ways.
The 16/8 Leangains method:
The 16/8 method of intermittent fasting is described as 16 hours of fasting, followed by an 8-hour window for daily nourishment. You would eat all of your meals for the day during this 8-hour period of time. For example, you could eat breakfast at 9am, lunch at 1pm, and dinner at 5. Or you could eat 2 meals instead of 3. In this case, you could eat brunch at 10 or 11am and then dinner at 6pm.
This method reestablishes rhythmic living in a modern culture that forgot the benefit of boundaries with food, sleep, and time. When you have an easy, predictable eating rhythm that relies on your body burning fat as a renewable energy source, your body feels better and you feel better.
The benefit of setting the 16/8 method into motion is you get the hang of it quickly and feel the benefits. With today’s massive variability in daily and weekly schedules, this 16/8 method offers a stabilizing effect for even the busiest of people with the most unpredictable schedules.
The 5:2 Fast:
This would be considered more of a partial fast, as practitioners never truly abstain from solid foods – it encourages normal eating for five days of the week, with two days of restricted calorie intake, generally between 500-600 calories per day.
It allows for an easier adjustment for people who have never counted calories before – but in order to achieve the benefits of the fast, it’s important to eat healthy and nutritious foods both during the fast days and on regular diet days.
The 24-hour Fast:
Whether you decide to begin fasting after breakfast, lunch, or dinner, under this diet plan, you wouldn’t eat again until the same meal the next day – after 24 hours of straight fasting.
It’s important to ensure that your diet remains healthy, and that you’re not overeating during your feeding periods – especially if one of your goals is to lose weight. It can be difficult to adjust to this type of fast, so experts recommend starting with 14 to 16 hours and working your way up to a full 24-hour fast. One day per week is challenging enough, and those who plan to attempt to 24-hour fasting periods each week should take care to get enough rest and limit physical activity during the fasts. During the 24-hour fasting period, non-caloric beverages like water or coffee are permitted.
The Alternate-Day Fast:
This is a rather extreme type of fast, which can be undertaken in varying degrees of intensity. Some practitioners don’t eat at all during the fasting period, while others do a partial fast with a drastically reduced intake of calories, around 500 for the day.
Since this type of fasting is difficult, it’s not recommended for beginners or people who are looking to introduce a sustainable lifestyle change. However, it has proven to be very effective in helping practitioners gain a wide range of health benefits.
The Random Fast:
This type of fasting is something we all do from time to time – skipping a meal on occasion, when you’re not hungry enough to eat or when you’re too busy to take the time to prepare a meal and sit down to eat it. There is a misconception out there that if you don’t eat every few hours, your body will go into “starvation mode” and start burning muscle, but this kind of eating is actually fairly typical of how our ancestors lived.
Before we learned how to preserve foods for later consumption, meals were eaten whenever food was available. Following this kind of eating schedule can provide similar benefits to any other type of fasting, but is much easier to accommodate into a busy lifestyle. A Paleo type diet is recommended when practicing a spontaneous type of fasting, and can be a challenge for people who need structure and routine.
11 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting:
- Weight loss
- Improves glucose tolerance
- Better metabolism
- Establishes healthy habits
- Stimulates brain function
- Boosts immune system
- Rejuvenates skin
- Improves heart function
- Helps prevent cancer
- Speeds healing and recovery
One thing to consider is easing into intermittent fasting. Don’t get discouraged if you try it and fail the first day. Try again the next day. It takes a little practice, just like everything else.
If you still have questions and would like to talk about how to incorporate intermittent fasting into your day, especially if you have autoimmune issues, diabetes, or other concerns about your weight, let’s talk. Schedule a call with me here. I’m here to help!