18/6 fasting, otherwise known as Leangains fasting, is a type of intermittent fasting used to boost metabolism, increase energy, and help manage blood glucose. The name “18/6 fasting” refers to an 18-hour window of fasting and a 6-hour eating window. This style of fasting has improved daily life and increased the health of many who have successfully integrated it.
This type of intermittent fasting will automatically reduce calorie intake thus resulting in weight loss for most who participate. With room for 2 full meals and 2 snacks per day, packing in nutrients during meals is extremely doable while maintaining a calorie deficit. 18/6 fasting is really great for people who are on the go as it requires even less food prep than other health maintenance and it’s easy to keep up with once the body is fully adjusted.
How to Incorporate 18/6 Fasting
Most people begin by easing into 18/6 fasting by starting with 16/8 fasting. 16/8 fasting is less intense when it comes to intermittent fasting beginners. With a decreased fasting window and an increased eating window, people can choose to fast from 8 pm-12 pm, 9 am – 5 pm, or even 10 am – 6 pm. It will help the body recognize a smaller eating window over time and provide a gentle transition for those who wish to try 18/6 fasting next.
It’s that easy. Those who use 18/6 or 16/8 fasting can choose to skip breakfast and start with a late lunch or having a later breakfast and early dinner. Some people even do breakfast with and early lunch and then fast the rest of the day. Intermittent fasting is great because it can be adjusted however is needed. Whether it be brunch dates or late dinners with the family, all it takes is the shift of a window and everything stays on track.
The Benefits of 18/6 Fasting
During fasting hours the body has lower insulin levels which help burn fat, increases HGH (Human Growth Hormone) levels which aids muscle gain, and boosts cellular repair. When the body is given a rest from constant digestion, it becomes free to regulate and repair other parts that might have been neglected before.
Intermittent fasting beginners might be surprised to notice increased energy throughout the day. While it might take some time for the body to adjust, once it does, it becomes more efficient at regulating energy levels and can even improve a positive mood. Improved mental function and endurance-based performance have also shown to increase with 18/6 fasting. This makes it the perfect choice for those who want to maintain weight or enhance their strength with training.
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Dealing with Cravings
The most difficult part of sticking to any intermittent fasting plan is dealing with cravings. Many fasts have been broken early by a mindless trip to the kitchen or a food craving that you can’t stop thinking about! Here are a couple of strategies for reducing cravings:
- Drink Water
Are you hungry or just thirsty? It can be hard to tell the difference. Sometimes all you need is a big glass of water to fill your stomach to keep cravings at bay.
- Take Electrolytes
There is a phenomenon called “salt hunger.” Being low on sodium, potassium, or magnesium can trigger a hunger response, but all that the body is looking for is electrolytes. It’s best to take electrolytes dissolved in water.
- Take Citravarin
Citravarin is a cannabinoid that gives you “the anti-munchie.” It can be really helpful for getting through the last few hours of a fast or calming your cravings when they’re at their worst – whether that’s night, morning, afternoon, or evening.
Best Foods to Eat While 18/6 Fasting
A lot of people who are accustomed to ‘diet culture’ want to know what they should be eating during their 6-hour eating window. But one of the great things about intermittent fasting is that when you do eat, you can eat whatever you want. Not just that, but it’s important to have meals that you find satisfying. Those satisfying meals make the next fast easier!
I said that you can eat what you ‘want,’ and that’s important because you’ll notice what you want might change when you start practicing intermittent fasting. The physiological changes from IF will affect what food you find satisfying.
If you want to get a head start on eating the kind of foods you will find nourishing, these are the best foods to consume while 18/6 fasting:
Lean protein such as meats, tofu, plant-based alternatives, nuts, and legumes are extremely beneficial to those who fast regularly. Bone broth is a great way to break a fast.
- Complex Carbs
Carbohydrates are not the enemy as they directly fuel the brain. Choose complex carbs packed with fiber such as sweet potatoes, whole grains, corn, strawberries, and okra.
- Good Fats
Unsaturated fat from natural sources is wonderful for skin and hair, but also for keeping the brain and joints “well oiled”. Incorporate high-fat whole foods avocados, nuts, fresh olive oil, and flaxseed. The fats in meat and dairy fats have long had a bad rap. But from a whole-food perspective, the fats in meat and dairy do not change one of the main risk markers for heart disease.
But remember! The most important thing is to listen to your body and eat meals you find satisfying. MFN If you’re worried about adequate nutrition take a multivitamin, but honestly it’s hard to be malnourished.
Beginning an 18/6 fasting routine is a simple effective way to boost overall health, increase energy, and maintain weight. Enjoying delicious food in an adjusted time window might seem like a simple change, but the benefits are incredible. If feeling healthier sounds like a good goal, 16/8 fasting is a great way to get there!