A Guide To Intermittent Fasting
There are always new diet trends and fads that come onto the fitness and nutrition scene. Some are backed by science, others not so much. Recently, there has been a lot of buzz around intermittent fasting. Many celebrities credit intermittent fasting for their weight loss before an event or filming their next movie. I have decided to add intermittent fasting into my daily plan and want to share a few things about it with you.
What Is It?
Intermittent fasting is an eating schedule that involves eating within a specific window of time and fasting within a specific window of time. You see, the body has two phases, the fed state and the fasting state. While you are eating, your body is in a fed state, which means that your body has ample glucose to use for energy. Basically, the food that you just ate is your body’s first choice for fuel. The fed state can last for 12 hours after you finish eating. It is after this 12 hour mark where the fasting state really comes into play. During the fasting state, your body is out of the immediate energy because you haven’t eaten in over 12 hours. It HAS to use the body fat that has been stored for energy.
I want to state that, when referring to fasting, I am talking about anything larger than a 12 hour window. If you have gone 8 hours without eating, it is not yet considered a fast. The fasted state doesn’t start until you hit that 12 hour mark. I also want to state that this isn’t for everyone. Please don’t start a fast (or any new diet really) without doing your own research and discussing it with your doctor.
Why I’m Doing It
One of the biggest things that I struggle with while restricting my calories are the cravings. While I know that the only way to lose weight is by eating less calories than you burn, this is easier said than done when a chocolate cake passes by. This is why I have started intermittent fasting. The fasting actually helps reduce your cravings when you do eat. I’m not even really sure how this works, but it does.
I started my first day of intermittent fasting after a night when I consumed WAY too many calories in a sugar craving frenzy. I was fed up with feeling like I wasn’t in control of myself. By creating rules to follow, I was able to gain this control back. Intermittent fasting is my tool to control my appetite and it works!
How I’m Doing It
So, how do I do it? There are different versions of intermittent fasting depending on how long you want to fast. You can fast anywhere from 14 hours to 24 hours (and longer!). I am doing one of the more common fasting lengths that celebrities, like Hugh Jackman, have done. I am doing a 16:8 fast, where I fast for 16 hours, and eat for 8 hours. For me, I like to eat between the hours of 12 and 8pm, and then fast from 8pm to noon the next day. I find this to be the easiest schedule for my life. These hours literally don’t matter though. As long as you are observing the 16 hour fast, it doesn’t matter which hours you pick.
12pm – 8pm = Food Time!
8pm – Noon The Next Day = Fasting
One important thing to remember is that during the 8 hour eating window, you need to log your calories and maintain a caloric deficit. If you go crazy and eat extra calories during your eating window, you WILL gain weight. This is where people go wrong. Don’t eat all your calories back!
Another thing to remember is to keep yourself hydrated. It’s easy to forget to drink water when you aren’t eating, but that will make it worse. Staying hydrated will help your body function without calories. You can have the occasional zero calorie drink as well to help get you through the fast. Make sure that you aren’t drinking your calories though! That means no cream and sugar in your coffee and diet drinks only.
A Tool For Success
Intermittent fasting is a great way to control your appetite and cravings. When combined with reducing your calories, it is a great way to lose some weight and feel your best. Have you tried intermittent fasting or have been thinking of trying it? Leave your questions and comments below!