I’m pretty sure that everyone is looking for a fitness and diet regimen that fits their lifestyle. If you’re a foodie like me, you can’t always be off trying new food and indulging every single day. It’s also important to keep a balance between your health, and what makes you happy. This is why a lot of people are considering intermittent fasting.
There’s a lot of talk about intermittent fasting, also known as IF. So many celebrities are trying it, people have been trying it out and loving the results. But I think there are some misconceptions about this type of diet that I wanted to shed light on.
Many know of the basics of IF: you have a certain window of time to eat, then you fast for twice that period or longer. Many follow a 16-hour fast and 8-hour eating window schedule, but there are several options.
With intermittent fasting, you don’t have to change what you eat. All you have to be mindful of is your eating period and fasting window. However, it seems like a lot of people take this to mean that they can eat whatever they want, how much ever they want, as long as they can fast. This is not true! Let me break it down.
The science behind IF is to manipulate your body into producing more ketones. There are two ways to do it: by going on the ketogenic diet, or by intermittent fasting. Ketones are byproducts of the body that break down fat for energy that occurs when your carbohydrate intake is low.
In layman’s terms, when your body has no more calories or carbs to burn, it starts burning up your stored fat to produce energy. Research shows, however, that IF is a lot more effective than changing what you eat. Because it’s not so much what you eat but rather when you eat.
The reason it’s so effective as well is that you eat normally, but you should skip a meal. So depending on your schedule or enthusiasm for a certain meal, you might skip breakfast or dinner. IF doesn’t give you free reign to, say, completely let go at a buffet every single day as long as you follow the window.
Personally, I fast for about 16-18 hours a day. It depends on what you’re comfortable with; you can even start with a 14-hour fasting window if that’s what you can manage. I start counting my hours right after dinner. They say it’s best to start fasting at the same time every day. But I do enjoy a yummy dinner out with my friends every once in awhile, so I adjust. There are a lot of free apps that can help you track your timings. This is so that you’re sure that you’re getting the most out of IF.
If I fast for 16 hours, I get an 8-hour window to eat. If I do 18 hours, it’s a 6-hour window. I normally skip breakfast because of this. But apart from that, I eat whatever my tummy desires. Be it rice, pasta, pizza, or bread. It helps that I don’t have a sweet tooth, but if I’m craving for a slice of cake, I’ll have it.
When you’re fasting, you are allowed to have water, tea, or black coffee. Yup, this means no milk, cream, or sugar. You need to allow your body to produce more ketones, and confusing it with calorie-rich drinks won’t help you get the benefits of IF.
Since you’re on the IF path already, maximize the benefits you can get from it. Stay away from processed and junk food. I don’t eat chips and sweets nor do I drink sodas or powdered juices. Tip: When grocery shopping, avoid those aisles! If you don’t have it in your house, you won’t be tempted to eat them.
For maximum effect, you can also try going on the ketogenic diet, but that means saying bye bye to carbs and sugars. That’s right! No rice, pasta, pizza, juices, anything that grows underground, sodas, sweets, chocolate and even quite a high number of fruits! That’s a gut-wrencher, so intermittent fasting is good enough for me. But if you do want to try the keto diet, there are some resources online that can help you make the shift so that it’s easier to prepare the food you will eat.
I don’t think you should see IF as a diet, but a lifestyle. There are so many long-term benefits to IF besides weight loss. You can expect lower insulin levels, boosted energy, and increased metabolism. It can reduce the effects of stress, improve factors that contribute to heart disease, and generally give you a longer life. Not a lot of other eating plans can give you that!
If you’ve tried IF, or are just beginning to test the waters, I hope you stick with it to see what good it can do for your body! I’m happy I made this change. Let me know if you have more questions, or if you have great experiences to share about going the fasting route!