Updated: Aug 3, 2018
I've been witnessing a pattern recently. Each time I introduce myself and explain what I do, 75% of the response is "so what do you think of intermittent fasting?" and I realized that while this concept is well known in the wellness world, it's not very known amongst the masses.
I remember the first time I heard about intermittent fasting— it was daunting, but intriguing. Essentially, "intermittent fasting" is a calorie controlled lifestyle where you go through periods of eating and periods of only consuming water. While it's definitely not for everyone, such as expecting mothers or those with eating disorders or diabetes, it's proven to have a long list of health benefits for others, with weight loss as an added perk.
When you fast, the level of human growth hormone in your body raises while the level of insulin lowers, making stored body fat more accessible as fuel. Weight loss is the most common reason people try intermittent fasting, but is also common among naturopathic medicine to help detox the body of disease and pollutants. Intermittent fasting helps to clean out your cells of old protein build up, clear digestion, fight inflammation and burn fat as fuel.
The best part about intermittent fasting in my opinion is that it's sustainable, as opposed to extreme calorie restriction for weeks on end to "look good in that dress" or "be ready for Cancun" that ends up in a crash & burn. It's totally up to the individual. You take it as far as you feel comfortable, and in turn you end up with lower insulin levels, more mental clarity, lower LDL cholesterol, consistent energy, clearer skin and a sculpted tummy.
OK enough, Isa. So how does it work? There are a dozen different ways you can practice intermittent fasting. You can opt to eat your meals within a 3 hour time period for 2-3 days a week (fasting the rest of the hours), or you can opt to eat them within a 12 hour time period for 2-3 days a week. The most common methods involve fasting for 16-24 hours, 2 days a week. This is the method I personally practice, because I've found it the most sustainable and flexible for my schedule.
My Intermittent Fasting Schedule (2 days/week)
7:30 a.m. - Wake up
8:30 a.m. - Protein shake & small breakfast (chia pudding, nut bar, fruit bowl, etc.)
3:30 p.m. - Large salad and side meal (lentils or beans, acai bowl, grains, etc.)
10:30 p.m. - Sleep
Total fasting = 16 hrs
Something that is absolutely crucial to intermittent fasting method is what you put in your body. When you're intermittent fasting, your body is going to absorb whatever you put in it as it needs the nutrients. This is why it's important to treat food as fuel when practicing intermittent fasting. When it's time for your meal, it's best to opt for a plate full of dark leafy greens or some sort of nutritious vegetables, a side of protein (whether it be plant based or organic meat), healthy fats (olive oil, coconut, nuts/seeds) and fiber (cruciferous vegetables, whole grains or nuts). It's also extremely important to make sure you're drinking enough water, particularly on fasting days when your body is working hard to clean itself and detoxify. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces.
If you ever experience lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea or any other symptoms interfering with your daily function, it's best to eat something and fuel yourself. Try to be in tune with your body, as it will tell you when it's time to break your fast.
If you have a medical condition or are on prescription medications, you should definitely consult with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting. If you feel like intermittent fasting might benefit you and decide to give it a try, feel free to message me with questions or update me on your progress!