Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
First… What is it Exactly?
Intermittent fasting is a term for an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It is currently very popular in the health and fitness community.”
Some people advocate a 16 hour fast. I personally like a shorter version of 12-14 hours. I do not think a woman should go over 14 hours so that she does not disrupt her hormones.
So, a last eating at 7:30 at night and NOTHING until 7:30 a.m.
The good news is that you don’t have to think about food, you just think about timing. Which I think is easy!
And, if you want, you can have your carbs because Intermittent Fasting doesn’t tell you WHAT to eat, simply WHEN to eat. Of course, to enhance weight loss results, you want to avoid processed foods and any white carbs. Unlike other diets that can give you the dreaded “yo-yo” effects… weight loss and gain, studies on intermittent fasting conclude it can cause long-term weight loss, improve metabolic rate, protect against disease, and also help us live longer
You may be thinking there is no way you could go 12-14 hours without food, but you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to do. Most people report feeling more alert and energetic on this plan.
But those are only a couple of the amazing benefits of this eating pattern. Let’s take a look at some of the others.
1) Weight Loss & Body Fat loss
As I mentioned earlier, Intermittent Fasting has been proven to be an effective way of losing weight AND keeping it off. But one of the most exciting things about IF is that it helps people lose that dangerous fat around their midsection by increasing fat burning. It also enhances the function of your hormones. This happens because insulin levels are lowered while growth hormone and noradrenaline levels are increased, increasing the breakdown of body fat for energy. Intermittent Fasting has been shown to increase your metabolic rate by as much as 14%, helping you burn even more calories. Some of my ladies have said they lost 2-3 pounds in a week. Body fat is merely food energy that has been stored away. If you don’t eat, your body will simply “eat” its own fat for energy.
2) Lower blood sugar and insulin levels, lowering the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Intermittent Fasting has been shown to greatly benefit insulin resistance, resulting in a significant reduction in blood sugar levels.
In human studies, fasting blood sugar has been reduced by 3-6%, while fasting insulin has been reduced by 20-31%. Some studies say Intermittent Fasting can reverse Type 2 Diabetes3
3) Reduction of Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in The Body
Oxidative stress is basically what happens when unstable molecules (AKA free radicals) react with other important molecules in your body, like protein and DNA, and damage them. It ages the human body and causes many chronic diseases.
4) Intermittent Fasting is Good for Your Brain
Studies have found that intermittent fasting may increase the growth of new nerve cells to optimizes brain function. So you get improved mental clarity and concentration
Intermittent Fasting also increases the level of an important brain hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Decreased levels of this hormone have been linked to depression and other cognitive problems.
5) Increased energy throughout the day
6) Lowers blood cholesterol.
Intermittent Fasters saw some dramatic reductions in LDL. LDL is the “bad” form of cholesterol. So, your HDL (good form) gets back to “ruling the roost”.
7) Intermittent fasting may have some of the same benefits as calorie restriction
8) Intermittent fasting does not have to feel like a diet.
You can choose whatever version of IF works for you so that you can eat what you want within a certain window of time that suits you and your schedule. You may not even notice that you are going longer between meals.
The Rules of Intermittent Fasting
The only hard and fast “rules” of Intermittent Fasting are that no food is allowed during a fasting period. However, you can have these beverages: plenty of water, black coffee and tea (no creamer or sugar added) and seltzer / sparkling water.
Taking supplements is generally allowed while fasting, as long as there are no calories in them.
1) Make Sure You’re Fit to Fast
Not everyone should take up fasting. Those who shouldn’t consider fasting include pregnant or lactating women, diabetics, kids under 18 and anyone with underlying medical problems.
If you are using insulin or oral medication to manage blood sugar because of diabetes, then I strongly recommend discussing intermittent fasting with your doctor or medical professional before making any changes to your diet.
2) Fit Your Fast into Your Lifestyle
Avoid fasting during high-stress times or events that cause excess exertion
3) Avoid junk food.
It may sound as though you can eat whatever you want during your “eating hours’ but junk food and sugary drinks will sabotage you.
4) Stay hydrated.
Keep drinking your fludss. Dehydration will cause headaches, muscle cramps/ and or constipation. Also, sipping water throughout the day will help you feel less hungry.
Give it a try. If you already participate in Intermittent Fasting, drop me a line and let me know how you are doing and if you have any tips for the rest of us. I’ll share with everyone!
Check out my Youtube Channel for videos on Intermittent Fasting:
Email me if you need more help!