In the world of health and fitness a common phrase that’s thrown around is intermittent fasting, however what it actually is sometimes gets lost in translation.
Intermittent fasting is a term used to describe eating plans that cycle between periods of fasting and non-fasting over a prolonged time. It doesn’t focus on what to eat but more so when to eat. Note that this doesn’t mean “starving” yourself or reducing your caloric intake, time restricted eating only focuses on when to eat and when not to eat. Most people intermitted fast without even knowing and once started its relatively easy to continue with.
There are many different types of fasting that elicit the benefits of:
- Weight loss
- Reducing belly fat
- Reducing insulin levels and blood pressure
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Reducing the risk of developing diabetes
The most basic form of intermittent fasting aligns with our natural circadian rhythm. A natural circadian rhythm fast involves not eating between dinner and breakfast, with the general principle of eating when the sun is up and not when the sun sets. Another key factor is not eating within 2hrs of going to bed.
An example of this would be a 12-hour fasting to a 12-hour eating cycle. The period of fasted:eating can be extended to a window of a 16hr fast and 8hr eating. Within times of fasting it is important to drink plenty of water and if needed black tea/coffee is allowed. During periods of eating it is important to pick bang for buck foods, this includes eating protein rich foods that will keep you fuller for longer.
When shifting towards a lifestyle that involves intermittent fasting it is important to:
- Get adequate sleep (8hrs and wake up feeling well rested)
- Avoid refined carbohydrates and sugars such as white bread, white rice, starchy vegetables
- Manage stress effectively through exercise, meditation and quiet time
Remember it is always important to consult your health/medical provider before making drastic changes to diet and lifestyle, and remember keep moving!