That word makes most cringe.
Until I discovered intermittent fasting. I’ve been practicing it for about 2 years now.
There’s much literature out there that describes intermittent fasting in detail. This article, in particular, is the best out there on the subject.
Intermittent fasting is a specified time of going without food, allowing only a window of time to consume food.
I practice the 16/8 method. I fast for 16 hours. My window of time to eat is 8 hours. Actually, I only give myself a 6-hour window of time to eat.
I fast until 2:00 pm. Then I eat between 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm. I do this 3 – 4 times per week.
The brief window is no excuse to gorge or eat unhealthy foods. You ruin the benefits doing so. You still eat healthy—protein, healthy carbs (potatoes, rice, etc), and veggies. But you can eat more.
I typically break my fast with a protein shake, a scoop of greens powder, and a banana. A later snack might be a tin of sardines and flatbread crackers.
My evening dinner is a feast. I eat big but healthy. But I allow myself a good portion of dessert.
I’m done before 8:00 pm.
Why intermittent fasting
Done rightly, it’s a significant and strategic way to be fit and healthy.
There’s evidence that intermittent fasting:
* Reduces inflammation, which is a key culprit in chronic diseases
* Reduces all factors that lead to heart disease
* Helps to prevent cancer
* Increases brain function and health
* Potentially prevents Alzheimer’s Disease.
Who should NOT practice intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is not for everyone. There are articles out there which give plenty of reasons not to try it.
But don’t let nutrition myths stop you, like breakfast being the most important meal of the day and 6 meals being necessary for higher metabolism to burn more calories.
If you want to try intermittent fasting, you need to take into consideration your life stage and history. A 2015 piece in the Huffington Post states that you should abstain if…
* You’re pregnant
* You have a history of disordered eating
* You are chronically stressed
* You don’t sleep well
* You’re new to diet and exercise
No matter who you are, just play it safe and talk with your doctor.
Why I practice intermittent fasting (and perhaps you should too)
The health benefits are great. But that’s not the only reason I practice intermittent fasting. Here are my favorite reasons to do so:
1) It simplifies my day.
I get up. I go through my morning routine. I’m off to the office. I work. I don’t have to decide what to eat. I don’t have to make time to eat. I’m in my flow until 2:00 pm.
2) I’m mentally sharper.
I still drink coffee with my mushroom elixir. I’m sure the caffeine helps on an empty stomach. Either way, my mind is hitting on all 8-cylinders. Even if I feel hunger pangs they’re brief. My mind is so focused on the work that I don’t think about hunger much at all.
3) It provides some extra calorie space.
I eat a huge healthy dinner. Lots of chicken or beef, a good helping of rice or potatoes, and lots of salad. Then I have a big desert—a cookie or five, a generous serving of ice cream, or a bowl of sweet cereal.
4) It’s helping me win (mostly) the battle of the bulge.
My dad joked with me once about “the Jones belly.” Yes, look at family portraits of relatives on my dad’s side and you’ll behold nice, round, pot-looking bellies.
I’m 45 years old. The battle is on. Though my belly says hello to all more than it once did, I’m still ahead of it getting too far out ahead of me.
5) I have afternoon energy.
My energy lags in the afternoon anyway. When I eat lunch it especially does. Fasting until 2:00 pm, then downing a protein shake, greens, and banana, I don’t lose my stride. In fact, my energy is renewed. The fasting has carried me most of the way. And the 2:00 pm feed carries me home.
6) I don’t have to exercise as hard, long, or often.
I once exercised 1 hour a day (or more), 7 days a week. I felt tired constantly. But I exercised like that because I ate what and how much I wanted (which I’m sure added to the fatigue). Now that I practice intermittent fasting, I workout 4 – 5 times a week, between 20 – 30 minutes. And I feel great and look fit.
7) I don’t have to feel guilty about a cheat day.
A cheat day is a must in my life. It’s a day I pick my poison and indulge. For a while, I stuck to only a cheat meal. But with intermittent fasting, I can pull off a day and sleep well that night.
BEFORE YOU GO