Intermittent Fasting: What and Why?
I have heard about intermittent fasting for years and for years have considered people who partake to be absolutely insane. How could it be healthy to go so long without eating food? I think I was really just making excuses for myself so I could indulge in frequent meals. A little over six months ago I reconnected with someone who converted to Islam. Why is that relevant? Well, Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from consuming food and drink (including water) during daylight hours. This is a little extreme for me, so I immediately proclaimed him crazy and insane for partaking in the practice. However, with the rising popularity of the Ketogenic diet, I decided to do some more research. Ketosis is a state wherein your body is more easily burning through fat. Now, I don't necessarily believe the Keto Diet is best for everyone, but reaching the state of ketosis is highly beneficial. So what did I do? I implemented intermittent fasting.
HOW DO I FAST?
Because I am hypoglycemic and do believe in multiple small meals, I fast mainly while I am sleeping. Most people do not reach ketosis until hour 10-12 of fasting. What that means for me is I stop eating between 6 and 7pm most nights and refrain from eating again until at least 8am the next morning. This is very manageable! Will you lose weight? Not necessarily. Unless of course you are a frequent late night eater. The biggest benefit that I have noticed is less belly bloat and more restful sleep.
In addition to a minimum of 13 hours per night of fasting I also pick one day a week to do a 18+ hour fast. This is a bit more rough, but a great way to help detox the liver! How does it work? I stop eating at 2pm (usually on Mondays) and do not eat again until 8am the next morning.
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT, REALLY?
There are a few ways intermittent fasting becomes challenging. First off, having a social life. Telling yourself you won't eat after 7pm means no late night dinners with friends or midnight snacking after drinking. In fact, it means no drinking alcohol past 7pm. If I do want to have drinks with friends I will limit myself to one day per week where I can drink and eat past 7pm. However, when I do this, I will push back when I can start eating again the next day.
The most challenging thing for me is that 6 hour window before bed on my 18+ hour days. I make sure to eat right before 2pm and eat something high protein, low carb. This gives your body more to work with and will sustain you for longer. From there I sip on water as I get hungry. Also, avoid leaving the house after you stop eating for the day. If you insist on working out on your long day, do it in the morning and make sure you take it easy, whatever that means for you!
WOULD I RECOMMEND FASTING?
Absolutely, even if its as little as 12 hours per night, because it really does reduce the belly bloat and all around make you feel better!