You’re either completely terrified or intrigued. I am beyond obsessed with the technique and here to share my own positive experience!
Let’s start with the basics…
What is it? Intermittent fasting is an eating technique that cycles between periods of eating and periods of not eating (fasting). A key thing to keep in mind is that this diet does not tell you what to eat, but simply when to eat.
- 16/8 method: One of the more common methods that consists of eating between 12:00 pm and 8:00pm, creating a fasting period mostly during sleep. You can of course alter this time frame to work with your schedule, but the general rule is to fast 16 hours with an 8 hour eating window. >>> This is the method I practice.
- 5:2 Plan: Choosing 2 days a week (does not matter which days) where you consume 500-600 calories consisting mostly of protein and fats.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: This is a 24 hour fast once or twice a week. You could fast from breakfast to breakfast, lunch to lunch or dinner to dinner for example.
- Alternate day fasting: Pretty much what it sounds like, you fast every other day. This method can be somewhat extreme and difficult to maintain.
*** I would like to point out, with all the different methods, it is often best to not just jump right in. I encourage those who have never practiced fasting before to ease into the process.
Why should you consider? Intermittent fasting has been shown to have the following benefits:
- Lower inflammation
- Improved gut health
- Aids in quality of sleep
- Can aid in weight loss
- Increase in metabolic rate
- Aid in cellular repair and removing of waste from cells
- Increase of growth hormones
- Has been shown to improve brain function
But, here is why I personally love the technique and why I have stuck with a fasting diet for over two years now! I have struggled with gut issues, IBS, extreme bloating and discomfort, digestion problems, and food sensitivities almost my entire life. I have tried countless remedies, diets, seen doctors and nutritionists, but nothing has seemed to have a permanent effect, ACCEPT intermittent fasting.
The reasons I have gathered that fasting has been the solution for me is a combination of things.
- My body has more time to process and digest what I am giving it before adding something else into the mix.
- It has forced me to be more mindful of what I am eating and making sure I am getting all the nutrients required for a day within my eating time frame.
- I consume more liquids… I drink more water, have my greens, collagen and of course my coffee, all before having eaten a single thing.
When I first dabbled in the 16/ 8 method I worked out either in the morning before work or in the evenings with a full work day between. I honestly thought there was no way I could implement this technique into my lifestyle. I was a breakfast person to the T, making sure I woke up with ample time to prepare a fairly large breakfast, pack my snacks, lunch, and pre workout regimen for the day. I would eat about every 2-3 hours after breakfast until I went to bed… I know that’s a lot, but I also need a lot of calories (that’s just me). But, I knew people personally that had amazing success and wanted to give it a solid chance.
MY success resulted from easing myself into the time frame. I started with not eating breakfast until about 9am and cutting back in the evening an hour. I did this a couple of weeks until it felt normal and moved my time frame up to 10am and back in the evening 2 hours. I followed this routine until I was in the 12pm-8pm window and have been able to maintain it ever since. Like anything it takes time and consistency and results were not immediate. If this is something that you want to try, give yourself a fair chance and a couple months to adjust before writing it off completely.
I have maintained the 16/8 method for two years about 90% of the time (because no one is perfect) and I absolutely love how I feel using this technique!
Written by our personal trainer Mercedes.