The Famous Intermittent Fasting Method…
Well, it seems like the world has now found a new “miracle pill” when it comes to diets. From benefits such as:
- Dramatic weight loss
- Insulin stabilization
- Cell regeneration
- Detox & Cleanse
- Growth Hormone release
- Increased energy levels
Intermittent Fasting is taking the world by storm and believe me when I tell you this is not stopping any time soon.
So What Exactly Is Intermittent Fasting?
Okay, first things first. I will begin by saying that this is not a “diet” and I know this goes against what most individuals think. You see, any type of “diet” has certain rules and restrictions on what you can and cannot eat. Some may severely limit carbs, while others may cut out entire food groups.
This is clearly not the case with Intermittent Fasting. Think of this instead as a way of eating whereby the ONLY rule you must follow is limiting the time when you eat your daily calories. At its core, it’s just a fasting window (don’t eat) followed by a feeding window (do eat). That’s it!
Try not to overcomplicate things and don’t overthink it. Take a look at the infographic below which basically covers IF in a nutshell.
So, Why Do Intermittent Fasting?
Well, honestly because there are incredible physiological benefits that come along with it. Yes, I know that probably the biggest reason you might want to try it is fat-loss but there’s a whole lot more to it. The biggest benefits come with fewer cravings, more energy, longer lifespan just to name a few.
In my personal opinion, this way of eating is substantially beneficial for those looking to make their fat-loss journey a whole lot easier. Think about this, you get to eat bigger meals less frequently which limits snacking and keeps insulin levels stable. That’s why this method works!
But, just because it works does not necessarily mean it’s for everyone. Keep reading because these few tips will help you determine if this might be something for you…
How To Do IF & Where To Begin?
I wish I could give you a concrete solid answer for this but I can’t because there is none. Remember, what works for one person might not be the best fit for someone else. You are unique and therefore you should schedule Intermittent Fasting to fit YOUR particular lifestyle.
The best place to begin is to look at your current day to day schedule to see where your feeding/fasting window would fit best. For instance, if you are someone who enjoys breakfast then your feeding window would begin and finish earlier. The opposite applies to dinner lovers.
The Fasting Window
This is where you’ll spend the vast majority of the time. What truly makes IF “different” is that the daily fasting window is relatively long and strict. The overall timeframe varies between 12-20 hrs (it’s up to you). My preferred method is a fasting window of 12-16hrs.
Why? Because less doesn’t give me the full benefit and more gets a bit too uncomfortable. BUT, feel free to experiment and do what works best for you. Keep in mind that during this time 0 Calories are to be consumed! Yes, this is the “hard” part but not really…
Sure, if you are already used to eating 4-6 times per day it is going to be a bit uncomfortable and you might feel “hangry” at times. It is perfectly OK. Don’t worry about muscle loss or going into “starvation mode”. Our bodies are smarter than that!
The beginning is always the most difficult part for most individuals but once you get past those initial stages and your body adapts you’ll be cruising. So now you might be wondering what can you eat/drink during this time? Here are your choices:
- Organic Colombian coffee (black only, no syrup, use erythritol)
- Sparkling water
- Tea (green tea or herbal teas)
- 1 Tbsp of raw organic apple cider vinegar
*It is KEY to stay hydrated during this time and drink plenty of fluids to curve appetite and increase metabolism.
The Feeding Window
Finally, what you’ve been waiting for all along. This is the time to feast! It is during this window where you get to eat your calories for the day. This, however, DOES NOT give you a free pass. The crucial concept to understand is calories still count. Regardless of whether or not you IF, calories are king.
So some people eat 1 big meal with IF, and others would prefer to eat 3-4 meals in the window. Regardless, you need to make sure your calories are in check. As always have balance and moderation in your meal selection and add a variety of color into your plate.
While the feeding window might be smaller it is still imperative to incorporate whole-foods, healthy fats, complex carbs, lean proteins, and limit sugar to an extent. Check out my post on how to keep it simple with macros if you find it a bit difficult to select healthy food choices.
Now, that we got that figured out it is up to you to determine how much time you will allow to your feeding window. This can vary from 4-8 hrs. The most common approach is 16:8 which implies 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of feasting.
Just by looking at the number 16 you might start thinking “how in the world am I going to be able to pull this off?” Well, it is not as hard as it looks. If you really think about it just know that assuming you are sleeping 8 hours per day it’s only 4 hours more either side of your sleep. Simple!
During this time it is important to determine your caloric intake and achieve your daily macronutrient ratios (protein, carbs, fat). While there is no set protocol on how to break your fast. The best way to do it is a high protein, high fat, and low carb meal. Why is that?
Well, the last thing we want to do after a fast is to give our bodies a HUGE insulin spike by consuming a meal loaded with carbs. Instead, a highly satiating energy-boosting meal comprised primarily of protein and fat will keep insulin levels at bay while promoting optimal fat burn.
There are also a wide variety of factors that can come into play here determining your food composition and selection during this time. If you plan of training during the day I recommend you eat something prior to fuel up and eat the majority of your carbs in the meal after your exercise session.
The rest of the time the food selection is up to you and it should consist primarily of non-starchy carbs, lean protein, healthy fats, and plenty of veggies. For the best organic and highest quality whole-foods check out Thrive Market (where I purchase my favorite healthy fats).
How To Determine if IF is Right For You?
Basically, you should Intermittently Fast if:
- It fits your particular lifestyle and schedule
- You feel better eating this way
However, you should not Intermittently Fast if:
- Your schedule does not allow it
- You absolutely hate it
- Sleep is suffering
- The world told you to eat this way (social media, friends)
- Food is always on your mind
- Stress is high
- You turn your feeding window into binging time
Here’s The Key Takeaway…
Intermittent Fasting is a science, it is not magical by any means nor is it superior to any other style of eating out there. It is simply a time restricted eating method. It could be a strategy that could help you fit your nutrition around your lifestyle if you are able to accommodate.
Intermittent Fasting is not a big factor in determining whether you will gain or lose weight. The only thing that determines that is your total caloric intake vs. your total caloric expenditure. I could fast for 23 hours and eat 5 thousand calories in one hour and still gain weight.
Perfect, I just wanted to make that clear. Non the less implementing IF is more of a personal choice than anything. Try it for yourself and see how you feel. See if it works for you and if you can maintain this long-term. Remember, is all about building HABITS and making this a lifestyle.
I got three words for ya; fast, feed, and repeat. Never forget that calories always rule regardless of when (or how often) you eat. Intermittent Fasting is NOT magical and it clearly doesn’t give you any “metabolic advantage.” All it does is give you another valid option to help you achieve your goals.
So now let me ask you…
Have you tried Intermittent Fasting?
If so, for how many hours?
What is the greatest benefit you have seen from doing IF?
If not, are you going to try it after reading this?
Please share with anyone who might benefit from this!
P.S. If you would like to get personalized nutrition coaching from me just fill out the free form and let’s get to work.