Lately, a few women have asked me about intermittent fasting – what is it and why do I do it? This post is going to answer those questions for you so hopefully after reading this, you’ll be able to determine whether or not you think this is something that you’d like to experiment with in your own diet.

WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?

Intermittent Fasting is not a diet, it’s an eating habit. It’s a way of eating that encourages you to go longer than you usually would without eating and you can do this by continuing to eat the same amount of food but in a smaller time-frame during the day. The time frames can be different for each person however the two most common are –

16HRS Fasting Overnight | 8HRS Eating OR 14HRS Fasting Overnight | 10HRS Eating

Studies have shown that women tend to do best on the 14 | 10 time frame as this is more effective at keeping our hormones balanced and our bodies working as they should. The most important thing to remember about Intermittent Fasting is that it is not about restricting food. You need to consume the same amount of calories/ nutrients that your body needs despite doing it in less time.

MY APPROACH

I’ve been practicing Intermittent Fasting here and there for about 12 months. I don’t do it every day and I’m not strict with how often I do it but I’ll aim for a maximum of about 3 times per week. This means that I’ll eat my last meal (dinner or dessert) by 6pm at the latest and not eat again until at least 8am the next morning which is a 14HR fast. I like to think of Intermittent Fasting as not something that I need to do but simply one of many lifestyle strategies that I can do to improve my health.

THE PROS

FAT LOSS – Probably the most known and the most experienced benefit is fat loss. To put it simply, food is energy and when you remove food for a longer than usual period of time, your body can’t use food for energy so it taps into your body fat to get the energy it needs. Fasting is brilliant if you’re wanting to shape up for an event or slim down to fit into a pair of bikinis.

IMPROVED CLARITY – When you fast, you gain clarity and lose a common diet-related symptom known as ‘brain fog’.

IMPROVED HORMONAL PROFILE – Fasting is one of the most efficient ways to boost the growth hormone which is great for the brain and helps to preserve lean muscle mass. Another big plus for those wanting to build up their strength.

REDUCED INFLAMMATION  – Intermittent Fasting dramatically reduces inflammation in the body. All chronic diseases are caused by long-term inflammation so this is a really effective way of keeping illness & disease at bay.

REDUCED BLOATING – If you suffer from bloating or pain associated with digestion then fasting is a great way to get rid of this as it gives your body the time it needs to digest food properly.

MORE TIME – One of the best benefits for me as a Mum of two is the convenience of fasting and the extra time I gain throughout the day. When fasting, I usually have 2 larger meals than I usually would to ensure I am still eating enough calories and because I live for dessert, I’m able to have dessert too. This essentially cuts out an entire meal for me which means I spend less time in the kitchen. If I don’t have dessert (which is very rare), I might have a big lunch, a smaller meal such as a smoothie and then another big meal for dinner.

THE CONS

MISSING CALORIES – One of the biggest mistakes people make with Intermittent Fasting is not eating enough calories during the day. For a lot of people, they just aren’t hungry by the time dinner rolls around and so they miss out on those valuable calories/ nutrients. To avoid this, I experiment with portion sizes until I find an amount that works for me – perhaps I have a slightly smaller lunch so I can still fit in my smoothie and my dinner or I’ll remove the smoothie and just have a piece of fruit instead.

HUNGER PAINS – When starting out expect that you may not feel that good and you may experience hunger pains. This improves dramatically as your body adjusts and gets used to this way of detoxing/ digesting.

EATING DISORDERS – Intermittent Fasting can lead to too many thoughts about food. For some, this can cause a negative relationship with food which leads to potential eating disorders. If you are prone to this, I would not suggest Intermittent Fasting.

Tagged with: , , , , ,