I'm sure we have all heard about intermittent fasting. It's on Instagram, it's on podcasts... it's everywhere. More and more people are getting into this eating pattern and I am convinced it is because they are seeing major results. It is the number one question I receive from you guys, so obviously it is a topic of interest. Let's jump in.
About five months ago I started hearing about intermittent fasting on The Skinny Confidential, which is one of my favorite brands and podcasts. Lauryn, the author, spoke with numerous doctors who had all experienced intermittent fasting and raved about the benefits. Different doctors and specialists, like Vani Hari (author of The Food Babe), Dr. Steven Gundry (author of The Plant Paradox) and Ingrid de la Mare (author of The Method) all had amazing things to say about intermittent fasting. Honestly, if this many doctors and specialists are talking about it, why not try it?
This is my personal experience with intermittent fasting, which may not work for everyone. Consulting a doctor and doing your own research is key because I simply do not think it is for everyone.
Basically, intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It is not necessarily a diet since it doesn't restrict any types of food, it simply just gives your body a break. Although there are different types of intermittent fasting, they all tend to split the day (or week if you are insane) into fasting periods. Obviously, we are all "fasting"every day. Sleeping, waiting until 12 to eat breakfast, postponing your meal until after your workout (which is an amazing tip, by the way) - most of us are fasting and don't even know it. This was the case with me. I am such a night owl and could kill someone if I am up before 9 am. Once I am up, I am constantly running to class, heading to a workout, shooting photos. I get so busy and literally forget to eat. I am also not a breakfast person, so you can see how fasting would be easily incorporated into my lifestyle.
Once I started to implement fasting into my routine, I would try to have dinner earlier in the evening (around 7-8) and then wait until 1 or 2 pm the next day to eat lunch, giving me a 16-17 hour fast. Let's be real though, I am so busy by 2 in the afternoon that I tend to push it until 3 or 4 pm. If you know me, you know that I love food. Being hangry is 100% real and I experience it regularly, so I am not the person to ask favors for at 10 am. Sorry, Bryce. Fasting also means I am restricting my eating to an eight hour window. For that reason, this is known as the 16/8 method.
This is the method I try and stick to at least five days a week. If I am hungry and hangry and have a long day ahead of me, I don't feel like waiting 5 more hours to eat so I will go ahead and have a chai and a Lara bar, or an avocado toast. I am not one to deprive myself to the point where I am distracted or being consumed by it, and I personally don't think anyone should do that. As I always say, it's all about balance.
As strange as it may sound, incorporating this into my lifestyle has given me an overall calming sense. Aside from the bitching at Bryce when I am 15 hours in, I have really noticed myself feeling relatively calm about things I used to stress over. It is said that intermittent fasting lowers your cortisol levels, or your stress hormone (which we all know I need), and I can attest to this. Many people who have troubles losing weight are experiencing an imbalance in cortisol. It controls so much of our bodies, so lowering it as much as possible is my goal. When I first started, I lost 10 pounds in about two weeks and I attribute it to the combination of fasting and cardio at least three times a week. Fasting also alows my digestive system to take a break. When you are giving your digestive system a break, you are putting it through less stress and activity. This helps balance your leptin hormones and will train your body to crave less food, overall. If you think about it, it makes sense. The more digestive periods you put your body through, the more frequently it will demand food. I also have to tell you that I have never slept better in my life. I don't know if it is because I am burning more stored energy throughout the day, or just because I eat earlier, but I am not complaining.
If you are anything like me, you like to have fluids throughout the day. One thing my dad always stressed to me growing up was to always have fluids. Since fasting requires a no calorie period, food and drinks with calories are not an option. My favorite is water with lemon. I fill my water bottles with a fresh squeezed organic lemon and water every day. I also love green tea with no sweetener. Some people are able to do black coffee with no cream or sugar, but that is not my cup of tea.
Of course, this is not blanket advice, this is simply what has worked for me and how I was able to easily incorporate it into my lifestyle. You can definitely tailor it to your own lifestyle and what you think works best.
If you're interested in more information, because you can never be too informed, I recommend listening to podcasts and doing research. The Skinny Confidential has episodes with Dr. Steven Gundry, Ingrid de la Mare and Dana James, and Joe Rogan has an episode with Dr. Rhonda Patrick that is fab.