Intermittent Fasting. Fad, Fiction, or Fact?
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends. People are using it to lose weight, improve their health and simplify their lifestyles. Many studies show that it can have powerful effects on your body and brain and may even help you live longer
Intermittent Fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It doesn't specify which foods you should eat in particular (although, I would still advocate for a wholesome nutritious lifestyle to reap the most weight loss and health benefits).
The health benefits are NUMEROUS. Intermittent Fasting can:
Aid in weight-loss
Reduce inflammation (which is the leading cause of every disease state!)
Balance hormone levels
Increase longevity- the length and quality of your life
Improve insulin sensitivity
Increase fat loss and boost muscle building
Improve and maintain brain health
There are several different ways to implement it making it easy to find a good fit for you.
Do some research and try some things and find what works best for you!
My take and how I implement Intermittent Fasting:
In a society that is inundated with fast and processed food, poor nutrition, poor dietary habits and lifestyle, and a society that is ravaged with obesity, poor health, and chronic disease, I definitely think it's worth considering and implementing!
How I implement (IF) and why:
I tend to follow a 14-16/8 eating cycle, meaning I allow myself a daily eating period of about 8 hours followed by a fasting period of about 14-16 hours. I usually have finished eating by 5 pm in the evening and will "break-fast," have breakfast around 7:30 am.
I allow myself to eat a variety of foods during this time, still choosing quality nutrition; lots of veggies, quality proteins, fruits, complex carbs, healthy fats, etc., and usually will allow myself a small, sweet treat: yogurt, dark chocolate, etc. On the weekends I may allow a special treat like a scoop of ice cream, a cookie, etc. Snacking during this time is also allowed when I feel I need it, and I still reach for fruit, nuts, veggies, and proteins.
Then around 5 pm-6 pm, I am usually finished eating for the day and use that time to work on the rentals, take evening appointments, exercise, play, hydrate, play with my pups, connect with friends, strength train, or even watch a movie. Not being burdened down by food really frees up a lot of time and energy!
What I love about this IF pattern
What I love about this eating pattern is I know that by the time I go to bed my stomach will be empty and not burdened or weighed down by food. It gives my body and organs a chance to rest, detox, and replenish. From a weight-loss perspective, that means I don't go to bed with a belly and body full of calories.
I am consistent with the the16/8 eating cycle, but not super rigid about it. It's never about deprivation, starvation, or restriction. If I have a day when my body needs more or my schedule gets offbeat, I've learned to roll with the punches and then just pick back up the next day. It is about consistency, not perfection!
I have lost 40lbs and have kept it off for over 20 years implementing this eating pattern along with a daily, consistent commitment to muscle building, cardio, staying active, getting quality sleep, managing my stress, and taking time for myself when needed.
What IF will work for you?? Why not “try on” different ones?
Now, having said all of that, this is what works for me, but you may find an eating cycle or pattern that works better for you. Maybe your last meal would be 7 pm and your first meal around 7 am-12 pm. And that's ok! Or maybe you'd like the 5-2 IF, where you eat normally during the week and include 2 fasting days. Or why not mix and match and come up with your own eating pattern and cycle! There are many options to "try on" to see what works for you!
Have you tried Intermittent Fasting? Are you interested in trying it? What has worked for you? Do you have a favorite eating pattern or cycle? Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear your thoughts and input!