Is Intermittent Fasting For You?
Your mother said it…“Eat your breakfast.”
There are still some advocates that say it….”Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
But maybe, just maybe, breakfast isn’t for everyone.
Intermittent fasting (I.F.) is a concept that is becoming very popular in mainstream society, and there is a lot of debate about it. But what is it intermittent fasting?
I.F. is simply taking a temporary break from eating.
Within the intermittent fasting system you will still be drinking water, and can even include zero calorie drinks, such as green tea, zero calorie flavorings, or even diet soda (gasp!). But you will go through fasting blocks, typically lasting 12 hours or more.
During the fasted state your body doesn’t have a recently consumed meal to use as energy, so it is more likely to pull energy from the fat stores in your body.
I.F. also teaches you what true hunger feels like, versus what we, the generally well fed population, perceive as hunger. Having this true sense of what actual hunger feels like is useful when traveling, during stressful situations, or even when boredom hits, to help prevent over consumption.
I.F. will also help your body learn to eat intuitively. Rather than following a breakfast, lunch, supper schedule because it is socially acceptable and habitual, you will break this mold of expecting calories at certain times of the day. Practiced regularly, this method will decrease the body’s anticipation of, and expectation for, calories throughout the day.
Also, by starting to eat later in the day, and creating a shorter “eating window”, you will most likely find yourself eating fewer calories in total throughout a day or week. And boiling it down to pure X’s and O’s, weight loss equates to energy in vs. energy out.
One key with I.F. is to make sure that the calories you are consuming are from nutrient dense foods (fruits and vegetables) and protein at every meal. We recommend starting with a 12 hour fast, where typically most of the fast occurs during sleeping hours. As your body acclimates to this fasted state, you can begin to extend your fasting period upwards of 15 to 24 hours at a time, generally once or twice a week. (If you have a preexisting medical condition, consult with your doctor first).
Although some people will train during an extended fast, we don’t recommend it right out of the gate. Giving your body some time to acclimate to this new eating pattern is a good idea. Once you have two or three of the extended fasts under your belt, then you can consider some extended fasted training.
When utilizing intermittent fasting, it’s important to set yourself up for success. Therefore we don’t recommend trying an extended fast on days you anticipate lots of stress at work or home, days with known social obligations, or days with multiple activities scheduled.
Intermittent fasting is not for everyone, but it may be worth trying if you feel you eat out of habit, boredom, stress, or even dehydration.
If you are intrigued by I.F., but not sure where or how to start, our Nutrition Coaching Programs can be a great guide in the right direction.
With both our Sprint and Evolution program we assess the specific and individual factors of your nutrition, lifestyle, and life scenario to create a plan that is realistic and sustainable for you and only you.
No stuffing square pegs into round holes, but rather, determining your best path to a better you, which could very well be some form of intermittent fasting, and we would love to escort you along the way. To learn more, or get signed up for a consultation click HERE.