What is Intermittent Fasting (IF) and How do I Start?

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Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a term used to describe various meal timing schedules.  These timing schedules cycle between a feasting time and a fasting time.  There are many different ways you can intermittent fast. You have to choose the method that will work with your schedule and that will fit into your daily routine. The key to a successful intermittent fasting lifestyle is to make it work for you. 

How do I start?

Make sure you are mentally and physically ready to begin intermittent fasting.  You may just want to try it out for a week or even a day, just to see how you would feel.  No matter how long you decide to try it for, you have to be in the right frame of mind if you're going to be successful.  If you're thinking negatively about not being able to eat all day long, you're already starting off on the wrong foot. An easy way to begin is to just skip breakfast and only have lunch and dinner.  If you feel like having a snack, have it between lunch and dinner. There are more structured ways to intermittent fast and you can find those in the next section. 

Which Fasting Method Should I Choose?

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PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:

Anyone who falls within the following groups, SHOULD NOT FAST:

1. Persons with a history of eating disorders should NOT fast as this can lead to triggers resulting in unhealthy behaviors. 

2. Although intermittent fasting has led to a reversal of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and others, if you have any of these illnesses, it is important to talk to your doctor first before embarking on the fasting train.

3. If you are pregnant you should not be fasting. 

4. If you are nursing, you should not begin an intermittent fasting regimen without talking to your doctor.  

I know it can be difficult to lose that baby weight, believe me I have been there, however what I did was wait until I was no longer nursing my baby to begin on my intermittent fasting journey. Please be conscious of this and make healthy decisions for you and your baby.
5. Children and adolescents should not intermittent fast. 

Let's Define Some of the Lingo:

  1. Fasting: the act of voluntarily not eating for a specific amount of time, So you’re not starving yourself
  2. Fasted state: when your body has not had any food for an extended amount of time
  3. Fed state: when your body has been fed
  4. Eating window: this refers to the times when you are not fasting, when you are eating (or feasting)

The Types of Intermittent Fasting Schedules:

1. 16:8 

This is the most common and the one that most people find easiest to introduce their body to. This is when you fast for 16 hours and have an eating window of 8 hours. So let’s say you may open your eating window at 10am and close it at 6:00pm. This typically works for some people because they think of it as just skipping breakfast (or having a later breakfast) and having an early dinner. 


2.18:6 

This is similar to 16:8 the only difference is that the eating window is shorter. Sometimes people may start with this or decide they want to shorten their eating window if they feel the window is too wide


3. Alternate day fasting or ADF: 

This is just what it sounds like. You fast on alternate days so for example you might decide to fast on Tuesdays and Thursdays so you end up eating on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (if you’re just starting off on your fasting journey, I recommend not including the weekends until you feel more comfortable with the process). 


4. 5:2 or FAST DIET:

With this option, for 5 days you eat regularly (so you might have 2 meals or 3 meals) and for 2 non-consecutive days you eat a meal that is under 800 calories (it was initially 500 but the founder Dr. Micheal Mosely has sinced revised it to 800 calories).


5. 20:4 or Warrior Diet:

Allows you to eat very small amounts of low calorie foods within the 20 hour period and then you eat big full meals within the remaining 4 hours. 

Within the 20 hours, You are allowed to eat things like:

 · Raw fruits, including apples, bananas, pineapples and berries

 · Raw vegetables, such as broccoli, leafy greens, mushrooms and carrots

 · Vegetable juices

 · Dairy, such as yogurt and cottage cheese

 · Clear broth

 · Hardboiled eggs


6. OMAD: 

My favorite, One Meal a Day, where you fast for 23 hours and eat within a one hour time frame. You decide when your one hour will be but you want to try and keep it as consistent as possible so that you get all the benefits of fasting for 23 hours. See Section on WHAT IS OMAD for more!

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CLEAN FASTING

If you are fasting for weight loss, fasting clean is the best route to take. 

What is clean fasting?

This means when you are fasting you can have coffee, tea, water or sparkling water. However, you should not add any cream, milk, sweeteners (that includes no or low calorie)  to your coffee or your tea. Your sparkling water should not contain any artificial sweeteners or flavors. Adding any additional things to your drink can cause an insulin release which will certainly break your fast. Check out the OMAD Mama's Intermittent Fasting Tips in the  "My Blog" section!