Intermittent Fasting For Beginners
Recently I started a new nutritional journey that includes a low carb lifestyle with intermittent fasting. I must admit, when I first heard the term intermittent fasting it scared the crap out of me...fasting?? really? When I pictured fasting I pictured Gandhi...
No disrespect to Gandhi, but I wasn't prepared to starve myself. Luckily intermittent fasting doesn't mean I'm not eating for days and my dramatic self realized that it is actually a really cool concept! Intermittent fasting has been something that is completely doable for me and is now my preferred practice.
The one that most people are familiar with and what most people start with as well as what I follow is called a 16:8 hour fast. Basically, all that means is that within a 16-hour window you are fasting and within an 8-hour window you are consuming your food for the day. All of your food will be consumed in that 8-hour window. For example, my first meal is at 12 noon and my last meal is finished by 8pm. I don't eat any food before noon or after 8 with the exception of exogenous ketones in the morning which because they are under 50 calories, do not break my fast.
You can still eat the same amount of food that you would if you were not doing IF, it is just that you will only have them during your 8-hour window. Personally, I like to have all of my food in 2 separate meals, lunch and dinner. Although you can have the same amount of food, I avoid eating a bunch of small meals during that time. I like to space them out and eat as few meals as possible.
Some days instead of breaking my fast with a meal at lunch, I will break it with a Keto Kreme coffee. This is a great way for me to get my fat in and fills me up the same way a meal would.
Having larger meals with fewer snacks in between is ideal because of insulin spikes. We don't want to spike insulin hormones because that is what causes fat storage. We can't lose fat while insulin is present. The actual goal of insulin is to help your body store fat. If I really need a snack between my two meals during my 8-hour window every now and then I might sneak a light one in, but for the most part, I am eating fewer meals and spacing them out.
Supplementing in the morning with exogenous ketones has helped me not to feel hungry and have that burst of energy I crave in the morning. As long as the ketones I choose are under 50 calories, I am not breaking my fast and am also satisfied. Also, if I find in between meals that I am feeling hungry or wanting a snack, sometimes I will supplement with exogenous ketones instead of eating a snack which holds me over until my dinner.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting? The most well-known benefit of IF is the weight loss benefit. As you start out on IF, during that 16-hour fast period you are giving your body and digestive system the rest that it needs. Giving your digestive system that rest is really beneficial to weight loss because it is giving your body the time it needs to start healing itself and start running on its own stored fat. That means you're burning fat which also means you are losing weight. When people are not fasting and are eating every couple of hours your body is constantly using its energy to break down and digest foods never really getting to the stored fat.
What's the best way to get started? If you are also starting to eat a ketogenic or low carb diet, I would suggest first becoming comfortable with that and then implementing the fasting once you have become accustomed to your new way of eating. Why? In my opinion, it is better to take small steps rather than make all of these changes at once. For myself, if I am feeling overwhelmed and take too much on at once, I am more likely not to stick with it. If you have already been following the keto diet for a while and your body is adjusted, go for it! Once your body is adjusted to the keto diet, you're actually able to go longer periods of time without eating making the IF that much easier.
If you are ready to go with IF, should you jump right in with the 16:8 hour fast? You can, but, some people like to ease their way in. If you are ready to jump right in, most people including myself have their first meal at noon and last meal before 8pm and then fast the remaining time. Just remember the fewer meals the better. If you are ready to start IF but don't want to jump all in, you can ease your way in. How? Each day move the time back a little further for your first meal. For example, if you usually have your first meal at 8am, the first day push it back to 9am, then 10, 11...you get the picture. Why not just jump all in? Your body is used to is normal eating regimen which means that at your normal breakfast time it is releasing a hunger hormone making you hungry! By slowly pushing back the time you eat each morning you are allowing your body and hormones to adjust.
The cool thing about fasting is that it helps your body to rejuvenate and heal during the time that you are fasting. I for one find this to be really cool! This is why so many people feel amazing when they are doing IF. Their bodies are actually able to rest and heal. An even cooler fact, your body actually creates the human growth hormone during that fasted time. That is what is helping you to repair your body! If you are really wanting to maximize your results, start healing, and feeling your best, don't cheat during that 16-hour window!
That is basically how you can get started with IF. If you have any questions about exogenous ketones or anything regarding this post, fill out the application below! I hope that was helpful for you.
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