I am someone who was the victim of medical errors. I was misdiagnosed and spent years on a medication I had no business being on. This is one reason why I choose to become a certified holistic patient advocate. I’ll explain what this means, and how it can help you.

I want to take some time to talk about intermittent fasting. I get a lot of questions about this trend from both clients and friends. I have tested it out myself, and I’ll share with you today a little of the science behind intermittent fasting, but also my personal experience.

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What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is based on a cycle of eating rather than a specific dietary plan. What we’re talking about is eating within a certain window. And we call that time-restricted eating.

Now, this is not for everyone. From the beginning, I will say that time-restricted eating is not for women who struggle or have struggled with disordered eating. I am very sensitive to this, both with clients and having been through an eating disorder myself. I recognize that when we use the term restricted in any way when it comes to your diet, many emotions can come up. Honor those, and understand this is not about what to eat and more about when to eat.

What are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF) gives your body a chance to fully digest your food and keep your blood sugar stable, leading to happier hormones. That’s the basic idea behind it.

IF can be a great way to restore normal appetite, so you actually start to crave nourishing foods. This can help lead to glowing skin, mental focus, and the energy you need to accomplish your goals. By avoiding the ups and downs of blood sugar imbalances, your hunger hormones start to work the way they are supposed to. The goal of intermittent fasting is to really help fix any metabolic damage that may exist in your body or has been caused since gaining extra weight.

Intermittent fasting may help support your immune system as well. It can help upregulate proteins that also protect our DNA and prevent cancer. There’s also been a study showing if intermittent fasting can lower white blood cells, which triggers our body to make new white blood cells that are a key part of our immune system. If there’s ever been a time to pay attention to the health of your immune system. This year is it.

Intermittent Fasting Eating Windows

There are two different ratios you will see when people talk about IF. There is the 16:8 eating window, or a 5:2.  The 16:8 window is the most common. It means you have eight hours of an eating window and 16 hours of fasting. For example, you would be eating from 10 am-6 pm, and not eating after 6 pm till breakfast time.

paleo meal plan sweet potato quiche

The 5:2 cycle is eating a regular healthy diet 5 days a week and practicing IF on two days.

You “break your fast” with breakfast at a later time in the morning than what you may be used to. What you’ve done is given your body ample time to digest your meals from the day before fully.

Side note: Breakfast is actually the worst time of day for starchy carbs and sugar because it spikes your insulin. Your body’s cortisol hormone is at its highest, and insulin and cortisol have opposite effects. Cortisol is about burning fat and energizing, whereas insulin is about building fat and making you sleepy and tired. You really want to focus on having a high-quality protein and fat-rich breakfast that will nourish you and sustain you till the next meal. Interesting, right?

How Intermittent Fasting Stops Snacking.

The key is learning how to eat meals to prevent unhealthy hunger and ditching the snack trap. Intermittent Fasting is very good at helping to reduce snacking, especially at night. Many women struggle with eating snacks, typically after dinner, or enjoying caloric beverages late into the night.

Intermittent fasting doesn’t work if you are still eating the wrong things. If you’ve been eating an unhealthy diet, you need to switch your diet first before trying intermittent fasting.

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Can I drink during my fasting window?

The eating window applies to both food and beverages, to a point. If you stop eating at 7 pm, that also means you are not having a glass of wine at 8 pm. (yes, even your clean-crafted wine.) You can, however, enjoy herbal tea, hot water with some essential oils, or seltzer. Those are all perfectly acceptable to hydrate, with no calories.

In the morning, you can have tea or coffee. There is mixed opinion on whether or not you are still in a “fast” if you doctor up your coffee with collagen and MCT oil. I’ve read often that if you keep the coffee add-ins to less than 50 calories, you are still in “fast” mode. In truth, to get the best benefits, wait on your coffee for a bit if you want to add anything to it (yes, almond milk included.)

 

Do I have to do Intermittent Fasting every day?

You can practice intermittent fasting on and off during the week and see benefits; it doesn’t have to be an everyday thing. Some people get into a routine and feel great with IF, so they practice it more often than they do not. It’s up to you to do some trial and error. The 5:2 IF ratio is about the 5 days of regular eating and 2 days of IF. These two days don’t need to be right in a row either.

 

Additional Intermittent Fasting Resources

Several people focus on intermittent fasting and can offer more resources to you.

Amy MD focuses on circadian fasting. Her review of the body’s natural tendency to sync with the sun rising and the sun setting and timing our meals to this natural cycle is explained with circadian fasting. I really enjoyed her take on IF and how to implement it with women’s menstrual cycles.

Jenn Pike did a great podcast cast episode via The Simplicity Sessions about intermittent fasting. She explains in detail how intermittent fasting lets your liver do its job more efficiently. She also recognizes that intermittent fasting is not necessarily for everyone, and especially not for all women.

Another view I appreciated is from Jessica Ash, who has an objection to intermittent fasting. I think it’s important to look at both sides of the argument to recognize that one dietary trend is not a solution for everyone. I think she makes great points about why it’s important to focus on nutrition first and foremost.

You can’t share IF resources without naming Dr. Jason Fung. He has written extensively about the benefits of intermittent fasting, and you can find a number of his books here.

 

My take on Intermittent Fasting

I hope this article about intermittent fasting lets you decide if you want to test it out for yourself. I’ve tried it and find that it has allowed me to become more cognizant of when I’m hungry and when I’m not. Instead of eating breakfast straight away in the morning, I wait a bit to actually feel hunger. This took time and some trial and error. (and I do love my 1/2 caf coffee in the morning, too, with a little almond milk and MCT oil.) Again, it’s not necessarily for everyone, just like any dietary trend. You can join the conversation about intermittent fasting over in my private FB group here.

 

If you want to learn more about your own health care, please book a free health evaluation. We offer webcam/virtual consultations for people across the country and around the world.

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Thank you for sharing!