Intermittent Fasting... What is it?

With summer right around the corner, we are all working on that summer bod. For me, I am not a big fan of dieting. Cutting out foods I love just doesn’t work for me. I try, but I fail. I want to be healthy and have a weight that I am comfortable with, but I don’t want to eat salad every night. Four months ago, my boyfriend introduced me to intermittent fasting. All I heard in that name was fasting and I thought, “yeah, no, I love eating, so fasting does not sound interesting to me.” After a few weeks of doing this, he said he felt so much better about himself and saw results within a few weeks. After that, I gave in and started to do some research and became very intrigued.

Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but more of a pattern of the way you eat. There are multiple ways to do intermittent fasting. These are the most common methods people use:

  1. The 16/8 Method: Also called the leangains, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to eight hours. So if you stop eating at 8:00 pm then you won’t eat again until 12:00 pm. So that you have a consistent sixteen hour fast.

  2. Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example, you would skip lunch one day and then you wouldn’t eat anything until lunch the next day.

  3. The 5:2 Diet: On two non-consecutive days of the week, you would only eat 500-600 calories and then you would eat normally the other five days.

Personally, I do the 16/8 method. I find it to be really effective, and I feel healthier which gives me more confidence. I also find it to be the easiest one as well. While fasting you still need to exercise. I like to workout during the fasting period, which at first was challenging, especially when I woke up hungry, but once you get into that routine of not eating, you forget about the hunger and look forward to 12:00 pm. By drinking a lot of water during that time frame will help ease your hunger as well.

A big argument for this method is that skipping breakfast is bad for you because that is the “most important meal of the day.” Maybe that’s true, it’s really just your own opinion, but think about this...back when cavemen were around they would go weeks without eating a single meal. As humans developed, we somehow became addicted to food, so our bodies think we need it three times a day when in reality, we don’t. A person could technically go three weeks without food before dying of starvation (Do not, under any circumstances, attempt this). So will those sixteen hours hurt you? Will skipping the meal where you probably eat the most sugar during effect you? Probably not. Others that have experimented with fasting also say that not eating breakfast gives you one last thing to worry about in the mornings. I mean eight of those hours you are asleep anyway, it’s just the next eight hours you have to work on. You just need to get past that waking up hungry stage and you’ll be golden.

There are plenty of benefits of fasting as well. In an article written by Joe Cohen, he explains the different advantages intermittent fasting has on the body.  I’ve compiled them all here as well:

  1. Weight loss

  2. Improve tolerance of glucose

  3. Boost metabolism

  4. Longevity

  5. Understanding hunger

  6. Establishes a routine

  7. Stimulate brain function

  8. Boosts immune system

  9. Rejuvenates skin

  10. Improves spiritual well-being

  11. Reduces stress

  12. Improves heart function

  13. Helps prevent cancer

  14. Speeds healing and recovery

  15. Triggers autophagy

  16. Improves memory

  17. Lowers your risk of type II diabetes

To me, those are very legitimate reasons as to why everyone should fast. If not all the time, then at least a few times a week. You never know, you may love it or you may hate it. You’ll never know unless you try. Of course, everyone is different and you should run it past your doctor first, but from my experience, I think it’s a great thing. I have seen results and everyone should give it a try provided their doctor approves.