Intermittent Fasting, Is It For You?
If you’ve been listening and taking in everything we’ve shared since Monday, you’d see that we are focused on Prioritizing Our Wellness, specifically this week Improving Our Relationship With Food.
As challenging as we know this is because of course, we have bad food habits, it is very possible to break them. Not with fad diets but by starting with a process that helps you navigate eating in a healthy way.
Some of you asked and we are delivering. As promised, here is our take on Intermittent Fasting. Let’s start with what it is and isn’t.
What Is Intermittent Fasting (IF)
Intermittent Fasting an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating.
It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them, and it’s not a diet in the conventional sense but more accurately described as an eating pattern. IF can help your body burn fat and scientific evidence points to some health benefits, as well. Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Mark Mattson, Ph.D., has studied intermittent fasting for 25 years. He says that our bodies have evolved to be able to go without food for many hours, or even several days or longer.
You’d be happy to know that there are several different ways to do IF. Keep reading!
1. The 16/8 Method
This method involves fasting every day for 14–16 hours and restricting your daily eating window to 8–10 hours. Within the eating window, you can fit in two, three, or more meals. You can drink water, coffee, and other zero-calorie beverages during the fast, which can help reduce feelings of hunger, and eat healthy foods during your eating window.
N.B NOT for junk food eaters and those that consume an excessive number of calories.
(It’s generally recommended that women only fast 14–15 hours because they seem to do better with slightly shorter fasts.)
2. The 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 diet involves eating normally 5 days of the week while restricting your calorie intake to 500–600 for 2 days of the week. On the fasting days, it’s recommended that women eat 500 calories and men 600.
3. Eat Stop Eat
Eat Stop Eat involves a 24-hour fast once or twice per week, for example from dinner one day to dinner the next day.
Feel free to choose times you fast from and to, but be mindful to eat normally during the eating periods. Water, coffee, and other zero-calorie beverages are allowed during the fast, but NO solid foods.
4. Alternate-Day Fasting
Alternate-day fasting means you fast every other day. For beginners, this is NOT recommended as it may be hard to get your body to adjust.
With this method, you may go to bed very hungry several times per week, which is not very pleasant and probably unsustainable in the long term.
5. The Warrior Diet
It involves eating small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables during the day and eating one huge meal at night. Basically, you fast all day and feast at night within a four-hour eating window.
6. Spontaneous Meal Skipping
One last option is to simply skip meals from time to time, such as when you don’t feel hungry or are too busy to cook and eat. You will not ide of starvation, so don’t panic!
As with any decision to go without food, the idea is when you do eat, you eat healthy and wholesome so that your body has the nutrients to take you through periods of no food.
Before getting into any new experiment with food and your body, you should understand the science behind it.
So What is the Science Behind IF?
Glad you asked! After hours without food, the body exhausts its sugar stores and starts burning fat. Dr. Mattson refers to this as metabolic switching.
In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, he suggests that triggering the metabolic switch in the body through intermittent fasting, frequently and for longer durations, can benefit your health in many ways – starting with shedding the extra kilos.
He suggests if IF is paired with exercise or physical activity, this metabolic switching results in the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and fatty acids from adipose cells. It also triggers autophagy, which is the body’s way of flushing out damaged cells which can be replaced by newer and healthier ones. This replacement happens when the period of fasting is over and the body goes through a recovery period by eating, resting, and sleeping.
Benefits of Metabolic Switching
The benefits you can reap from metabolic switching are many:
- Weight loss
- Regulating blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and blood pressure
- Suppresses inflammation
- Reduces the resting heart rate
- Builds resistance to stress and
- Improves brain health (especially memory and cognitive function)
If you’re 35 and older, you are probably already seeing the change in your metabolism and can no longer rely on your body’s natural rhythm to keep your weight intact. And we can tell you, it only gets worse after 40.
So now would be a good time to get a handle on your eating and weight. Take your power back!
What to Eat While Intermittent Fasting
A Mediterranean diet is a good blueprint of what to eat, whether you’re trying intermittent fasting or not. You can hardly go wrong when you pick complex, unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains, leafy greens, healthy fats and lean protein.
Who is Intermittent Fasting Safe For?
Disclaimer: We are not doctors so before you try intermittent fasting (or any diet), you should check in with your primary care practitioner first.
Some people who should steer clear of trying intermittent fasting –
- Children and teens under age 18.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- People with diabetes or blood sugar problems.
- Those with a history of eating disorders.
Everyone else can reap many benefits from intermittemt fasting and it can be a real lifestyle change.
Both Founder Mell and Joy from Joy FitWorld did a period of IF in 2019, and the results were amazing. They can attest to it.
Last year, Joy did a video on the topic. We are sharing it with you here. Check it out below.