“Periodic fasting can help clear the mind and strengthen the body and spirit” Ezra Taft Benson
Intermittent fasting is by no means a new way of eating, but I’ve noticed a gain in its popularity as of late. With anything that gains popularity comes advocates, skeptics and haters, but what intrigues me about this way of eating is its pure simplicity and easy-to-incorporate nature.
There are no intense food restrictions, because intermittent fasting isn’t a diet.
Intermittent fasting isn’t telling you what to eat, it’s giving you a shorter time window to consume calories, structured around giving your body the time and ability to burn fat and build muscle with ease. The more nutritious the foods are that you consume during your eating window, the better this schedule will work for you.
It worked (by accident) for me!
I had been practicing intermittent fasting for months before I noticed it trending in the health and wellness community. It happened naturally for me. I decided to not hold a strict structure around eating and simply eat ONLY when really hungry. When I felt hungry in the morning, I drank water and tea/coffee. It led me to not eating until the afternoon on a regular basis. Some days I was really hungry and would simply eat more and eat earlier. The next day, I’d balance it out by returning to intermittent fasting, and eating less during calorie consumption hours.
Contrary to what you might think, when I first break my fast I generally eat less, whereas I expected to be ravenously hungry and overeat. (Science behind why you’re less hungry during a fast in the video here)
It worked, and continues to work for me. It also added a calmness and simplicity to my way of eating. This study concluded that intermittent fasting is an effective weight loss strategy because subjects quickly adapt to the new way of eating.
I shed an extra few pounds and gained muscle back quicker than I expected. To my surprise, I found that science has a simple explanation as to why this worked so well for me.
How does intermittent fasting help you lose fat and gain muscle?
There are a few components to the answer of why intermittent fasting helps you lose fat and gain muscle. To start, when people eat every few hours they never allow their insulin to decrease enough for their body to easily burn fat.
When you eat, insulin rises and produces glycogen. When you have too much glycogen, the incoming carbohydrate is stored as fat. Insulin’s job is to help you absorb and store nutrients, so when it’s constantly on the rise, it will constantly do its job.
When your body is in a fasting state:
- Insulin and glucose levels are significantly lowered, which facilitates fat burning.
- While this is happening, the blood flow of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) increases as much as 5-fold. HGH is a muscle building and fat burning hormone.
- Metabolic rate increases by 3.6-14%
- The body also induces cellular repair processes, such as removing waste materials in cells. (1)
- Can reduce insulin resistance
- Reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
- Reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation
- Beneficial for heart health
- Improves various metabolic features vital for optimal brain health (2)
How to implement intermittent fasting
The most important thing to remember, is that the weight loss is actually extremely simple: to lose weight you need to consume less calories than you expend. Intermittent fasting assists people by helping them eat less meals in a day.
If you fast for 16 hours and then eat 4,000 calories in the next 8, (and aren’t working out like Michael Phelps) you will not magically lose weight. Remember, you need to be an a calorie deficit to lose weight regardless of when you eat. The perk of this schedule is that it enables fat burning and muscle building, while helping you control your calorie consumption.
There are many different versions of this diet, but I have the most experience with 16-18 hours of fasting and 8-6 hours of consuming calories. If you use the skipped meal as a chance to develop the habit of consuming less calories, that’s when you’ll notice intermittent fasting working it’s magic on you.
- 16 hours of fasting (minimum)
- 8 hour window of eating
- Wake up 6a: drink water, tea or coffee, and make sure to stay hydrated!
- First meal after 12pm
- Dinner at 6:30pm
- Food consumption ends no later than 8pm
- Water, tea and coffee (AM) until tomorrow after 12pm
You don’t have to eat at 12pm or 8pm, it’s simply the outline of an eating window.
In the 16-hour fasting period, water, tea and coffee are permitted.
I can’t stress this enough- remember to drink plenty of water.
BEWARE: If you’re already on a schedule of eating at X time every morning, then for the first three days you will likely feel extremely hungry at the time your body is accustomed to eating. When you reset your body’s clock of when to expect food, it will be much easier to wait until the 16th hour to eat. Practice some patience for the first few days, and you’ll be set.
Want to know an easy way to optimize intermittent fasting? Drink more water, eat more food that comes from plants (and not made in plants), and get your body moving every day.
Have you tried intermittent fasting?Contact me and let me know your thoughts!