As a wellness professional, one of the biggest differences that sets my “practice” apart – in this very saturated market – is how I go about educating clients. It can be EASY to say “do this, do that, and let’s see how it goes.” Basically, this is WHAT you need to do to yield results.
Yes, easy. But what is it truly teaching you, the client?
Instead I take it one step further and give the very tools, tips, and strategies to show you HOW to successfully go about achieving goals in a realistic, sustainable manner.
Now you may be wondering how any of this lends itself to intermittent fasting. Beyond falling under the health and wellness umbrella, this is a great analogy to use when being introduced to the concept of fasting in general.
It’s not about “what to eat” but about the timing of “when to eat.”
Let’s take a peek at what exactly intermittent fasting is all about, how it works, its “rules,” and the various ways in which you can fast based on your lifestyle (yes, there is more than just one).
What Is Intermittent Fasting
The concept of fasting is nothing new. It can be dated back to the early years of civilization. The biggest difference with intermittent fasting [than with any other diet] comes down to when you can eat. While eating well during these windows of time should be emphasized, for fasting purposes, it’s all about the timing and all about no food. There are some fasts, however, that allow for a minimal, low calorie intake during the non-food hours but most stress to fast completely, although you may consume non-calorie beverages (i.e. water, tea, coffee, etc.).
Research continues to show the amazing benefits fasting can have on your health, and has been used by many as a way to increase energy, improve body composition, and burn body fat more easily. In fact, you already fast between your last meal of the evening, and when you eat your 1st meal the next day. When you think about it, intermittent fasting means taking it one (or two) steps further.
How Intermittent Fasting Works
It’s really pretty simple; intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that affects both the cells and hormones in your body. From the cellular level, it “cleans out” the build up of old, “flawed” proteins stored in your cells. This process is called autophagy. Additionally, it changes the expression levels of your genes – known as epigenetics – which correlate to disease prevention and life span. From the hormonal level, insulin levels drop allowing for easier access to stored body fat and your Human Growth Hormone (“HGH”) – responsible for metabolism, cellular repair, body composition, and growth – increases tremendously too!
Intermittent Fasting Rules
You may be thinking “Okay, this sounds easy. All I have to do is eat within a window of time and, voila.” Yes, once you have a few days under your belt, it will start to feel like “clock” work; BUT, there are some intermittent fasting rules that need to be adhered to in order to have great success (because you deserve nothing less)!
- The most important piece to this fasting puzzle is not breaking your fast! As mentioned in the beginning of this article, intermittent fasting is not concerned about what foods you eat, or how many calories you consume (although both are extremely important), it’s all about when you eat and when you do not eat.
- When Will You Fast? To have success with intermittent fasting it has to be conducive (and realistic) to your schedule. The best way to begin is deciding what times you will eat and what times, you guessed it, not eat. In a moment, you will learn about the different types of intermittent fasting which will lend to how you set your schedule up. Remember, these time tables are KEY!
- Beware of beverages! A calorie is a calorie and, if enough is consumed, it adds up and, ultimately, will break your fast. Stay mindful with your non-caloric beverages, and make sure they are just that – non-caloric! That said, if you need a splash of milk in coffee or crave your coconut water, by all means, go for it. Low calorie drinks won’t do too much damage to your routine and once you know the rules, you can also learn how to bend them.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
When reading about intermittent fasting, it may be overwhelming to see all the ways in which you can go about your fast. More importantly, you may wonder which one is right for you. If you are looking to start intermittent fasting, here are the most common types from which to choose.
- 16/8 Method: The most popular fast among individuals, this requires a 16 hour window of non-eating followed by an 8 hour window of eating. For women, a shorter fast of 14-15 hours may be more appropriate and effective.
- The 5:2 Diet: On this diet, you will eat “normal” for 5 days out of your week and then, for the other 2 days (non-consecutive), you will have a restricted caloric intake. Ideally, men should aim for around 600 calories and women around 500 calories.
- Eat Stop Eat: Two days out of your week you will do a complete 24 hour fast. For example, if you finish breakfast at 9:00 am on Monday morning, you will fast until 9:00 am on Tuesday morning. You can do this lunch or dinner depending on what is best for your schedule!
- Alternate-Day Fasting: 24 hour fast, every other day, and are allotted a few hundred calories during these periods. You can, also, eliminate the food altogether and just stick your non-caloric beverages.
- The Warrior Diet: This protocol emphasizes a 4 hour window of eating which will be your largest meal in the evening. During the day, you will focus on eating raw fibrous carbohydrates (i.e. fruits and vegetables).
Our product Citravarin is a great supplement if you are looking for an added boost to your fasting. These easy-dissolve mints are a wonderful way to help curb hunger, and help you stay focused on your fasting journey. Check out this article to learn more!
As you can see, there are so many avenues from which you can utilize intermittent fasting protocols. Just remember, the most important part of the fasting process is to not break your fast, and make sure it is realistic for you and your lifestyle!