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Intermittent Fasting - Part 2


Last week we started a discussion about Intermittent Fasting (IF) and the different protocols or methods recommended. Today I'm going to provide a bit more information about why you'd choose one method over another. Next week, I'll share more about what fasting does and how to make it a bit easier so that if you do decide to add IF to your health and wellness toolbox, you won't struggle as much with it. 

Did you know?

Intermittent fasting is simply a meal plan or way of eating that allows you to choose periods of time throughout the day when you are not eating (which we call fasting) and eating. I'm sure you've heard about all the different ways to do IF, so how do you know which one to choose? Well, that's a great question and I'm hoping by the end of this discussion, you'll know which method, if any, is best for you. First know, that if you decide to introduce IF into your way of eating, what you choose today does not need to be a forever decision. Many people start with one plan and depending on their needs make changes all year long. Most of these plans "build on each other", so people will start with a first step and eventually graduate themselves to longer fasting periods.

Why one to choose?

  • Time Restricted Eating
    • This method is perfect for anyone and everyone. Why? It's simple to start so anyone can do it. You don't need any special equipment and it's a great way to help you pay attention to why and when you typically eat. We have been force-fed the idea that snacking, grazing, and eating every couple of hours is best for our bodies. Well, this simply isn't true. Studies have shown for over a century that constantly putting food into our mouths (especially since most of our foods consumed are sugar-spiking carbs) all day long is not how we stabilize our blood sugars and thrive as human beings. Following this constant eating schedule has also prevented us from being able to tell when we are physically hungry or emotionally hungry. Ever heard the phrase "emotional eater"? Yep! We rarely eat because of hunger, but emotions can trigger the best of us. So to get started on retraining your body to eat when hungry, start here with time-restricted eating. 

      • Step 1: Stop snacking between meals
      • Step 2: Limit the time spent per meal to no more than 1 hour. 

That's it! No snacking and fast between meals. If you eat in the morning, afternoon, and evening, then only eat during those mealtimes and not in between. 

  • Skipping one meal per day 
    • Once you've mastered Time Restricted Eating, many just naturally progress to skipping one meal per day, the second fasting method. Why? When you start paying attention to when you are actually hungry, you stop eating all the time and you eat when you're hungry. Humans are meant to eat one or two times per day, so it's natural for our bodies to start moving in that direction. Instead of eating morning, afternoon, and evening, you choose to either eat morning, afternoon, or afternoon and evening. Which you choose is up to you. If you are currently skipping meals each day and struggling with hunger pains or have hit a weight loss plateau, reduction in energy, headaches, poor sleep, or other negative side effects, please reach out to me for assistance. Skipping a meal isn't about starving yourself and it shouldn't "hurt" to follow this method.

  • Intermittent Fasting & Prolonged Fasting 
    • Why 24-hour fasting? This method is often used for disease prevention, for those looking to lose weight with a body fat % of less than 40%, those diagnosed with PCOS, pre-diabetes, or Type 2 diabetes (on no medications), or if you are ill (virus, infection, etc).  Some examples of how to follow this were mentioned in last week's Intermittent Fasting article here.
    • Why 36, 42-hr, or prolonged fasting?  A prolonged fast is usually suggested for those with body fat % greater than 40%, those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes who are on medications, but are not on dialysis, have no congestive heart failure (CHF), and are relatively healthy.

Now that you know a little bit about the most common fasting protocols or methods used, I'm curious.  Which would you choose and why?

BOTTOM LINE: As I said last week, fasting isn't new. It's been used in all cultures, in religious ceremonies and to improve health for thousands of years. Of course like with everything, there is a right way and a wrong way to fast. There are also steps that can be taken to make the fasting process less challenging. The more you know about why and how fasting works, the easier it will be for you to decide if fasting should be added to your toolbox for better health and improved quality of life. Next week we'll chat about what fasting does and how to make it easier to do.

If you don't make time for your health,
you'll be forced to make time for your illness.

What is healthy eating anyway?
Intermittent Fasting