Intermittent Fasting: Benefits And How To Get Started
Have you heard of intermittent fasting? It was a pretty new concept for me prior to this month. A handful of friends had mentioned this concept in the past, but I never gave it any thought or mind because it wasn’t something that I was previously interested in. Fasting sounded… hard. But after chatting a bit with someone who found REAL results, I realized that there are quite a few people who live their lives eating this way on a regular basis. It’s not a fad, it’s a thought process. Intermittent fasting is a mentality. If you understand the way your body works, you start to realize that intermittent fasting makes sense. Let’s break down what I’ve learned so far.
Before we take one more step further, I want to let you know that I am not a doctor or a nurse. I’ve never played any of those roles on TV. I’ve never walked into a school that’s offered those classes. I’ve might have shaken hands with a doctor once or twice… but osmosis isn’t real, so none of their smarts transferred into my body. I’m not a professional. Don’t take what I am saying as GOLD. If you have any medical issues, move on. If you are curious and just want to learn more about the concept of intermittent fasting, let’s party.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Basically, in a nutshell, intermittent fasting means that you bring your body between stages of fasting and not fasting. There are segments of your day where you are allowed to eat and when you are not. Easy enough, right? I am doing a 16:8. This means that for 16 hours I do not eat any food. It’s only within my 8-hour window that I get all my nutrients in.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating andfasting. It does not say anything about which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them.
I’ve been told by other people that you don’t have to commit to the 16:8 split. Other people do 12:12, but I don’t think that is enough time to get your body to full start to digest what you’ve eaten. If you really think about it… I feel like most people pretty much LIVE on the 12:12 right now, right? I don’t know? By the time you eat dinner, go to bed and wake up… hasn’t 12 hours of fasting passed? I could be wrong. 16:8 feels like more of a challenge.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
Basically, fasting simply allows the body to burn off excess body fat. By cutting off 16 hours from your day, you are giving your body a chance to WORK off the food you’ve put into your mouth. If we continuously stuff our faces, how can our bodies actually burn off what we consume? It’s impossible. Think about it in the most simple way… if we don’t eat, then our bodies will start to “eat” our personal fat for energy. That’s how you lose weight. It won’t focus on the new batch of Nutella we just shoved down our throats at 8PM because… it DIDN’T happen!!! It will – instead – focus on the storage of it that I already have in my a**.
Did I mention that I’m not a doctor?
Can I Drink Coffee During My Fasting State?
I just want to get right to this because I know that’s where your head is going. Yes, you can. I’ve read a few sites that have PROMISED that you can drink things with less than 50 calories (think of a splash of milk) during your intermittent fasting state. So, in the morning, you can still have your cup of coffee AS NEEDED. You don’t have to just have water until your first meal. They don’t want to KILL YOU. Don’t worry. Coffee is still part of the intermittent fasting program.
In A Nutshell, What Are You Saying?
This is the easiest way to think about this – don’t eat anything after dinner. Start eating around 10AM. If you can do this, then you are pretty much on the program. Don’t worry about the fancy names. Don’t tell people you are fasting, because they are going to think that you joined a cult. Just quietly do this and you will eventually see results. I wish I could show you the picture that got me started, but it isn’t my story to tell. This woman I know lost a good 30 pounds doing this. And I am firm believer that if someone can do it… then so can I. If SOMEONE can figure out SEO, then so can I. If SOMEONE can jump off a cliff in Malta into the Meditteranean sea and not die of fright, then so can I. So… if someone can not have chocolate pudding after dinner… then so can I.
Can I Eat Fast Food And Candy And Drink Soda During My 8-Hour Window?
Don’t be ridiculous. If you are trying to lose weight, be responsible. I’m not even going to say more here. You know what you have to do.
But Are You Hungry?
Here’s the truth. I’m not hungry at night. Strange to say – but it’s true. It doesn’t bother me so much to not snack after dinner. The real HURT comes in the morning. I am a breakfast eater. So, to not eat until 10AM is a PAIN POINT for me. I feel like my body is doing most of the work in the morning. There really isn’t a lot of activity happening at night – which leads me to believe at this point that perhaps I am overeating at dinnertime because I KNOW that I won’t eat again until 10AM. This is something I still have to work on.
It seems – for me – the breakdown occurs between 6AM and 10AM. And I just need to be strong enough to let my body do what it has to and get through the intermittent fasting process!
What Are Some Benefits Intermittent Fasting?
I mean… weight loss. But if you want to hear actual health benefits, I can give you some too…
- lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes
- reducing cholesterol levels
- may prevent Alzheimer’s disease
- may expand your lifespan
- enhancing the body’s resistance to oxidative stress
- reduces inflammation
- and of course, weight loss!!!
What About The 5:2 Diet? Is That The Same Thing?
Honestly, I can only handle one thing at a time and I cannot process the 5:2 diet. I’m only focusing my energy on the 16:8 intermittent fasting split. If you want to read about the 5:2 diet, click here.
Things To Consider While Trying Intermittent Fasting:
It’s not just about eating 8 hours a day. If you eat Cheetos for 8 hours straight, you know that’s not going to help. Let’s not fool ourselves here. This whole thing has to come with a warning tag. I have a HUGE obsessive personality. I don’t want this plan to make me crazy. I don’t want it to destroy my happiness. If it’s 6:09 and I still haven’t had dinner yet, I’m not going to cry myself to sleep. It’s a lifestyle – not a prison sentence. Diets don’t work because they have an expiration date. This is for the long haul. If you just look at this new idea and think that at a bare minimum… you won’t eat anything anymore after dinner, you will be ahead of the curve. Start there, ok! Don’t make yourself sick. We all know that food is one of the most difficult relationships we will know. People who don’t struggle with food cannot possibly understand. People who love to workout and eat kale and drink eggwhites or whatever the hell they do… they just don’t understand. It’s hard. Pizza is easy. This is hard. So, take it slow.
I think that the first step you should do is to think that you won’t snack anymore after dinner – start there. Make the commitment right NOW. Then, after a few days, start to add in the morning. Nothing until 10AM. Build up to it if you must. Get there! You can do it! Once you get there – start to look at what you are eating during the in-between. Are you making the right choices That matters too and you know it!!! Once you have all three under control you are part of the intermittent fasting program.
Here are a few other things to consider while intermittent fasting:
- Calories still count – no matter when you eat them.
- Start to watch if you are overstuffing yourself during your “eating window”
- Make sure you stay hydrated
- Try to get 30 minutes of exercise in a day
- If it starts to feel like it is controlling your life (aka an eating disorder)… stop immediately
What do you think about intermittent fasting? Something you’d like to try? I’m only a few days in and I feel good about it all. I will report back in a few weeks and let you know how I feel! Stay tuned!