A long-awaited, highly demanded blog post;
One day I decided that I was sick of eating my breakfast in my car, in a rush, on my way to work, at 6am, not even really hungry – because it was “time” to eat breakfast.
I’ve been low key intermittent fasting for about six months now and I absolutely love it. I will never go back to my old eating habits – not only because of the results that I’ve experienced, but more so because the way IF works with my lifestyle is a game changer.
And as always here is my super fancy disclaimer: I am not a doctor. You have no reason to trust me or my advice, this blog post is based off my own personal experience, research and results. Please consult with your doctor first if you have any preexisting medical conditions that could be effected by intermittent fasting.
Instead of telling you what intermittent fasting is, I think it’s easier to understand if you first know what it’s not.
Intermittent Fasting IS NOT:
An Excuse To Not Eat/Eat Less. This is not a diet. It’s not a fad. It’s not an excuse. It is a lifestyle. If you take nothing else away from this post, hear this: when you intermittent fast, you are still eating the same amount of calories (consuming the same amounts of food), your windows of eating are just different.
Having this perspective correct right from the start is so important when approaching this lifestyle. Many misunderstand IF for skipping a meal… you are not actually skipping any meals, you’re simply eating within a smaller window of time.
Hard. It’s not hard at all… In fact, I don’t even think about it. My body adjusted almost immediately and I haven’t once found myself feeling deprived, out of rhythm or not wanting to continue on with this lifestyle.
IF is not meant to complicate your life… Instead, it should simplify it. For me, it has taken away the stress of trying to make breakfast while I rush out of the door in the morning. And since I have a hard time stomaching most breakfast-type foods early in the morning, it’s taken the stress of trying to find healthy breakfast ideas (that I’d actually look forward to eating) away.
IF actually mimics how our ancestors ate, since food didn’t alway come along every two hours. So it should actually feel quite natural to you to fast for the majority of your day.
Here’s How It Works:
There are many ways to fast. From my own research and experience, I’ve found that the safest and most effective way to go about fasting is to fast for 12-16 hours every single day.
Some people fast a few times a week for 16 hours or they will do a whole-day fast, etc. I’ve found that this takes too much planning… You can’t workout on days that you don’t eat anything at all and I’ve found that it’s too hard on other people in your household. Plus, it’s not healthy – in my opinion – and makes IF very unachievable for anyone that has eating disorder tendencies.
So I’ve been successfully fasting for 12-16 hours everyday. It’s really as simple as I stop eating around 8:45-9:15pm (I eat late dinners), and wait to eat breakfast anywhere from 9:00-11:00am. That may not seem like a huge deal if you aren’t waking up until around that time, but I usually wake up at 4:30am… Where I used to eat breakfast at 5:00am, it was a little bit of a shift to wait a few more hours.
You can still drink lots of water and lots of (black) coffee in the morning while you’re fasting. But hold off on anything that would require digesting, the whole goal here is to give your entire digestive system a break.
You can still eat. If you wake up hungry AF and feel like you need to eat, then eat. You won’t fall off track and you won’t reverse any progress. It’s so important to listen to your body and what it needs in the moment.
*When you do break(the)fast, be sure to eat something super nourishing. I recommend warm veggies (a veggie bowl).
Here’s Why It Works:
All day long your digestive system is working (really) hard.
Somehow along the way, we’ve adopted this idea of eating six meals a day and labeling it healthy… There’s a reason why our ancestors only ate few, bigger meals and it’s because your digestive system demands a big break in-between.
Not only are we eating more often, but we’re sleeping less – which means that we’re eating more frequently and for a longer period of time within our days.
So while your body is struggling to keep up with the overtime hours it’s putting in to digest our six meals a day, it never has a chance to address the fat storage that we carry around.
Your body stores fat for obvious reasons, the biggest one being – should you need it later. But there is never a later. We’re in over our heads in food. We’re always eating, even when we’re not actually hungry. Your body’s default mode is to prioritize the food that you’re eating in the moment – it never has a chance to digest what we’ve stored.
This is where IF comes in. Not only does fasting for a period of 12-16 hours a day give your body a well-deserved break (where it can actually reset and restore itself) but it also allows for the digestion of everything we’re otherwise storing away for later use.
A break helps to restore all of the cells in your body. Digestion takes up a HUGE amount of energy and attention from your cells and organs.
It promotes fat to be converted to energy instead of always using glucose as a source of energy (like we just talked about). It helps to eliminate free-radical damage and inflammation in your body by igniting a cellular repair process called autophagy (removing waste material from cells). It slows down aging, optimizes mitochondrial function and gives you better protection against disease.
In my own experience, it has dramatically reduced bloat. It has increased energy. It has made eating easier and more exciting because I’m eating within a smaller window.
Intermittent fasting may not be for everyone, but it has been wildly successful in my life and many others! My best advice is to make it work for you and your lifestyle; if you eat late dinners and feel guilty because of the old “don’t eat past 7 rule”, then simply extend your fast longer into the morning. You’re still getting that much needed break.
If you have to eat breakfast before you go to work and you feel “thrown off” if you don’t, then stop eating earlier in the evening.
Imagine the fast as a sliding scale on the timeline of your day; shift and slide it until you’ve found an ideal window to give your body a nice break.
Worst case scenario, err on the side of 12-hour-fasting. Chances are, you’re probably already close to doing that right now!
I’d love to hear your IF experience, please share!