As a Health Coach we study a LOT of diets. Intermittent fasting has gotten a lot of buzz lately, and for good reason. Intermittent fasting for weight loss has proven to be helpful for a majority of people who try it, while also improving other health factors.
Here are the major benefits of intermittent fasting and how you can give it a try, without starving.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
When most people hear the word fasting, they think of starvation. The whole idea between intermittent fasting is that it doesn’t feel like a starvation diet, but more of a shift in the times or patterns of your eating. Essentially, intermittent fasting just changes when you eat, not how much or what.
When you eat food, your body spends hours digesting and absorbing the nutrients to power your body. It makes it hard for your body to burn fat during this time because your insulin levels are so high and it will use insulin for power instead of burning fat. Twelve hours after your last meal, your body will enter into a fasting state–the state where you can burn fat easier.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
When you do intermittent fasting, you don’t have to count calories or watch what you eat, you just need to eat only within your allotted time frame. This takes the burden out of dieting. It is not so much a diet as a lifestyle.
When you restrict the time that you can eat, this also naturally leads to eating fewer calories. You simply can’t eat as much as you normally could if you spread your meals out over the whole day and evening. This can help accelerate weight loss and can maybe even help extend your life. There have been numerous studies done on people who restrict their calories and how your body adapts to extend your life. The benefit of intermittent fasting is you don’t have to starve to get these benefits.
While the jury is still out, there has also been some research done regarding intermittent fasting and reducing cancer risk and cardiovascular disease. While more research obviously needs to be done, the idea is still promising.
How to Try Intermittent Fasting Yourself
While you can choose between daily, weekly and alternative day intermittent fasting, daily is the most widely used, and I think the easiest. With daily intermittent fasting, you allot yourself an 8 hour window to eat and fast for the remaining 16 hours of the day. The recommended eating window is 8:00am-2:00pm, however this is hard for many people to stick to. Socially, most people want to eat dinner with their friends and family and don’t want to be left sitting at the table with a glass of lemon water. If you work, lunches out are also a big part of your work week that you will also not want to skip. For that reason, it is much easier to move your first meal later in the day. A window of 10:00/10:30am-6:00/6:30pm is a much more sustainable option that won’t require much sacrifice.
In the end you’ll want to experiment with what times work the best for you. For some people a longer eating time makes things easier and they end up feeling better. For others, a much shorter time span is best. Try out different time frames and meals to make it work for you.
You can find a lot of resources online and numerous books on the subject to give your even more detail and insights, but in the end it really is just as easy as it sounds.
Let me know if you’ve tried it and how it worked out.