Working in the wellness field it is part of my job to be on top of the latest ideas. I usually avoid trying most of the fads I research, because if it does not fit into my lifestyle, I likely will not keep it up. Intermittent fasting has always come naturally for me, if fact I did not even realize there was a name for what I was doing until it became a recent fad. So, what exactly is intermittent fasting and why would you want to try it? Intermittent fasting happens when we go an extended time with little or in some instances no food intake. One of the things I like about this technique is that there is plenty of room to customize the degree to which you practice it. I change the times I eat instead of the foods I enjoy. First decide what feels the best for you because you have two approaches to consider. You can choose to try time-restricted eating or perhaps if you are a proponent of going hard or going home, an entire 24-hour fast.
I personally do not feel anywhere close to my best when I attempt a whole day fast. I have not been good at it since childhood and was known to sneak in a snack even when our school participated in an annual fast, apologies to my sponsors. Knowing this about myself I select time-restricted eating. By shrinking the window of hours I eat during each day I allow my body a longer time to assimilate. Typically, this involves extending the duration of my overnight fast, anywhere from 12 to 16 hours (some individuals will extend up to 20 hours). I prefer skipping the dinner hours instead of breakfast, so this is where I adjust my schedule. If you are someone who likes to eat later into the evening, you may choose to fast in the opposite direction.
Intermittent fasting is not the fountain of youth, but it is worth considering having shown to be a powerful tool for health in a variety of ways, such as decreasing inflammation, reducing cravings, improving efficiency at fat-burning, and supporting healthy blood sugar levels by making your cells more sensitive to the hormone insulin (a key player in regulating blood sugar). Studies have also found that certain behavioral changes occur during the fasting period, including increased alertness and increased mental sharpness.
Life is about finding your perfect balance and intermittent fasting gives my body the time it needs to reset. I choose intermittent fasting because I know I was designed to feel great and this technique helps me embody my belief. When you take a break between meals, your body produces less insulin, your blood sugar levels can stabilize, and your physical body has a chance to clean up shop so to speak. This technique can support major benefits such as weight loss and longevity or even the vain pursuit of flat abs and summer bodies.
If you have never done a fast before, consider starting with something simple and limit the hours of the day when you eat. You may still eat three meals between 7 am and 3 pm, or 10 am and 6 pm - allowing 12-16 hours until your first meal the next day. If you are not quite ready for that, another option is to start by avoiding snacks or choose not to eat anything after dinner, and yes this includes desert. If you are already enjoying the health benefits of intermittent fasting, perhaps unlike myself, you are one of the individuals ready to try the whole day fast. I always love to hear your feedback!
There is no one size fits all approach and skipping meals and severely limiting calories can be dangerous for people with certain conditions. Note: Individuals with advanced diabetes or those on medications for diabetes, people with a history of eating disorders including anorexia/bulimia, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and children are some of the individuals who should not attempt intermittent fasting unless under medical supervision. Safety first, so consult your primary medical professional before trying something new to ensure it is a right fit for you
Fare Thee Well @Kasyholisitcgirl