Intermittent Fasting – Should you try it?

There is always some to “shiny” new diet on the market. As with all of these new promising diets it is wise to use caution and do your research. Jumping into anything without reading up on it can be dangerous to your health and lead to more health complications and weight gain.

However, there is often something to these diets and I found that to be true with intermittent fasting. I personally decided to dig in and learn about intermittent fasting and learn what it is all about. I wanted to know what the pros were and what the cons were.

After my research, I did give it a try and found that I loved it! But first, let’s discuss what it is. I used several resources while researching this and share the links at the bottom of this article.

What is Intermittent Fasting

  • Basically, it is not eating for a period of time. For diet purposes, it generally ranges from 14-24 hours of only consuming non-calorie beverages, mostly water.
  • The off hours and days are spent in what is called the “feeding time”. It is important to note you don’t diet or restrict calories during this time. You would eat a normal healthy diet. Due to the fasting period, your meals will generally be a bit bigger than usual and contain more calories. But you will still come out with deficit overall since during your fasting period you will not be consuming any calories (or minimal).

Intermittent Fasting Methods

  1. Leangains Fast for 14 hours (women) and 16 hours (men). Then you would feed for the remaining 8-10 hours. This is actually my preferred method. It is easy to do and I find I am able to strike the perfect fasting vs. feeding period. The hard part was that I am constantly watching the clock and calculating the hours, but the easy part is that 14-16 hours of not eating is not very difficult. I have learned to make a SET time for myself and try and abide by it.
  2. Eat Stop Eat This fasting involves fasting for 24 hours for 1-2 days per week. The nice part about this is that you don’t have to watch the clock as much each day. The hard part is that 24 hours can be a very long stretch to go without eating. I have tried it and found it a bit hard. I would suggest that you build up to the 24 hours if you are going to do this method. I have read this book and will be doing a full review on it. Watch for it!
  3. The Warrior Diet  With this method you fast for 20 hours and eat one large meal per day. Eating the right foods during that meal would be crucial to your health. For that reason, if you were to attempt this method you would want to make sure to read up on it first. During the 20-hour fast, you can eat a few servings of raw fruit or veggies, fresh juice, and a few servings of protein, if desired. The small snack would help you to get through the fasting phase without extreme difficulty, but this extreme schedule could get very hard with our busy fluctuating lives.
  4. Fat Loss Forever This option kind of takes parts of the three options listed above and puts them together. You get one cheat day each week which is then followed up by a  fast for 36 hours (ouch). For the remaining days there is different fasting protocols and so it would once again be crucial for you to research this option if you are going to try it. Since we all have periods of the day where we don’t eat already, this program will help you maximize those periods. The biggest problem is that if you were to get out of control on your cheat days you could reverse any of the benefits you received.
  5. UpDayDownDay  Just as the title says you would have days where your caloric intake is up and somewhere it is down. Women would have 2000 calories and men 2500 on the up days and then on the down days they would have 400 to 500 calories. Use this tool to calculate how many calories you would personally get. The good part about this program is that if you are looking to lose weight this option will definitely do that for you. Unfortunately, due to the low-calorie days, this option can lead to binging so it is crucial that you plan your meals as much as possible.

What Are The Benefits

Now that we know what options are available to us we need to know what the advantage is. Here are the key advantages:

  1. Your body goes through several positive healthy changes including; Insulin levels, Human growth hormones, cellular repair, and gene expression
  2. It can help you lose weight and body fat
  3. It can reduce insulin resistance, lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes
  4. It can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body
  5. It may benefit your heart health
  6. Induces various cellular repair processes
  7. May help prevent cancer
  8. Is good for your brain
  9. May help prevent Alzheimer’s disease
  10. May help extend your lifespan, helping you to live longer

One of the biggest things I have learned from doing intermittent fasting in the past (I use option 1) is that I have become dehydrated very easily. Make sure to drink plenty of water. I keep it handy and next to me all of the time. One resource I read said that you could have up to 50 calories during the fasting period. So I typically consume about 30-50 calories during my fasting period for creamer in my coffee and my pre workout energy drink.

Fasting may or may not be a good option for you. The best thing you can do is to research it and learn more about it. I was very skeptical about trying this but have found that I really like it and that is was very easy to incorporate into my eating routine. I took off two pounds the first week and my muscle mass has been increasing much faster than it had before which is a huge bonus to intermittent fasting.

Have you tried intermittent fasting? If so I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Contact me with questions or for support.

Resources:

http://dailyburn.com/life/health/intermittent-fasting-methods/

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting/

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