INTERMITTENT FASTING 101
Intermittent Fasting Diet?
You may have heard all the hype around the Intermittent Fasting diet, also known as IF, but what is it? Is it a new diet trend, a lose weight quick fad, a spiritual event, or could it be a total lifestyle change?
Because this article is focused on the basics of Intermittent Fasting, or Intermittent Fasting 101 as I like to call it, let’s start with really understanding what intermittent fasting is.
Here is an official definition to help you understand the concept:
Intermittent Fasting (IF) refers to mealtime scheduling that cycles between fasting and non-fasting or, simply put, eating vs. not eating. It is not a diet per se … it’s an eating pattern. Intermittent Fasting 101 doesn’t tell you WHAT to eat… it just tells you WHEN you should eat.
Does this mean that you can gorge on chocolate ice cream and cake and then starve yourself in between? If you take the definition literally, then technically YES! But, just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you should.
Fasting is nothing new, but traditionally it has not been thought of as a way of life or a daily eating pattern. Typically, we think of fasting as a necessity before a blood test, or surgery or an activity that is done during a religious holiday or holy event. Fasting as a form of nutrition is far from typical to most of us. If you want to try a more traditional approach, check out my post on how to lose 2 pounds a week.
How Do You Do The Intermittent Fasting 101 Diet?
Now that you’re intrigued by the whole process, how do you do it? If you don’t think you can handle those pangs of hunger or growling stomach, don’t worry! You have options. There are actually different ways to fast. At first, it may seem a little complicated, but when you breakdown the various options, it’s not that difficult to understand. Here are two common approaches that can be adjusted to fit your schedule and your needs which is also one of the main benefits.
The 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan
With any pattern change, following a schedule is sometimes the best approach to achieve goals. With the Intermittent 16/8 plan, you eat during an 8-hour period, say noon to 8pm, and then you focus on something other than eating and fast for the remainder of the time. Instead of getting up and eating breakfast, focus on something else. If time permits, sleep in a bit. Then, fill the rest of the time with exercising, reading, meditating, writing, working or anything else that does not involve eating. If you busy yourself with another task and start a routine, you will learn to quickly adopt that behavior. Once you adjust your mindset, it’s really not that hard. Often, we eat because there is nothing else to do or because we think we are supposed to eat at that time. Noon is synonymous with lunchtime, but it doesn’t have to be. If you fill your time with another activity, you won’t miss eating and won’t even think about it.
The OMAD/24 Hour Intermittent Fasting Plan
This plan takes a little more dedication, but basically, you would finish your dinner at 8 pm one night, and then you would not eat again until 8 pm the next night. This plan gives you 24 hours of fasting time. It doesn’t matter what time you start and stop as long as there are 24 hours in between. Sometimes this plan is known as OMAD or One Meal a Day. You can eat one time per day usually waiting 23-24 hours between meals.
Both plans are customizable to fit your schedule and offer benefits. It’s just a matter of finding what works best for you and that is the beauty of Intermittent Fasting. It’s flexible and adjustable to fit your lifestyle.
Why Does Intermittent Fasting Work
We run in a 24/7 society where we are always plugged in. This also means we have more time to snack these days. Limiting that snacking time and fasting in between allows our bodies to burn through more calories so that we can start burning fat.
Intermittent Fasting Pros and Cons
Of course, weight loss is one of the benefits. If you skip a meal and ultimately consume less calories each day, you will lose weight. Aside from weight loss and the potential for a flatter belly, there are other benefits associated with Intermittent Fasting. Intermittent Fasting 101 has been linked to lower cholesterol levels, blood sugar control, reduced liver fat, and improved blood pressure. Intermittent Fasters have also reported increased endurance, improved sleep, better motor coordination, and increased self-esteem and overall well-being.
What To Watch Out For When Intermittent Fasting
There are some cons and certain side effects that can occur during periods of Intermittent Fasting and should be taken into consideration when adjusting eating patterns. Being hungry or “hangry” can affect your mood and you may feel periods of low energy and irritability until you learn to manage the cycles. Binging or periods of excessive junk food eating may result after periods of fasting but maintaining a healthy diet through the process is ideal for optimal results. Digestive issues, like gas, bloating and diarrhea, can also occur as your stomach adjusts to a new way of eating. With anything new, maintenance is hard, and keeping a consistent schedule can be challenging.
Of course, you should always consult with a health professional before making a major nutritional change. There are certain individuals that may not benefit from Intermittent Fasting and should avoid trying it at all. If you are pregnant, diabetic, pre-pubescent, underweight, have an eating disorder, take meds that require food or are elderly, then Intermittent Fasting may not be the best option for you.
Is Intermittent Fasting 101 Right For You?
If you don’t fall into one of the categories, then Intermittent Fasting may be a great alternative to other failed attempts at weight loss and healthy living. There’s an old adage that says, “you won’t know if you don’t try” and that’s true in this case. If you think you’re ready for the challenge, I want to help you! My name is Michael Giannulis. You may have seen me on ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss Challenge back in 2012 where I lost 255 pounds in one year. Losing weight and being healthy is not easy. I know! And, it’s not something that you can do with a fad diet or new trend. It requires an overall shift in mindset and the desire to make a change for the better. This can be a difficult thing to do on your own and sometimes you need a gentle nudge or huge push to move towards change. A strong support system is key. I understand your struggle and I want to be that support system for you. Intermittent Fasting may be the start you need. To learn more or to talk about other options, contact me at using the contact form on this site.