I have been asked many times how to do an Intermittent Fasting Diet for Weight Loss and Improving your Health.
An Intermittent fasting Diet is probably the easiest diet to understand and follow. Rather than reducing your caloric intake very much or cutting out certain food group, it simply restricts the hours during a day in which you will eat and when you will fast.
Having been following the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet for over 18 months myself, I haven’t been surprised by how popular it seems to have become. Everywhere you look there’s an article about it. Even my daughter has started talking about it, so it has, without any doubts, reached the mainstream diet market.
It’s much more than just the latest fad. An Intermittent fasting Diet isn’t anything new in fact its roots can be traced back to many ancient religious and cultural practices. For thousands of years, fasting has been promoted as a spiritual healing practice, employed by religions around the world. For Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan requires nightly fasting from sunrise to sunset, and weekly fasting on Mondays and Thursdays is also recommended by Muhammad. Judaism has 25 hours of fasting during the day of atonement, Yom Kippur.
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”Matthew 6:16-18
Fasting is one of the most powerful dietary interventions for weight loss, yet for so long it was completely ignored in the diet world. Yet I believe there is nothing better because an intermittent fasting diet benefits people physically, emotionally and mentally.
My chosen form of intermittent fasting diet is known as 16:8. This is a form of time restricted feeding which requires eating only during a few hours of the day – say between 10am and 6pm giving the body a long break from food each night, and also reinforces beneficial circadian rhythms.
“He who eats until he is sick must fast until he is well.”English Proverb
You fast for 16 hours. This gives you an 8 hour ‘eating window’ (e.g. 9am-5pm, 11am-7pm, 1pm-9pm.) With Intermittent Fasting diet 16:8 the eating window can be adjusted to suit someone’s lifestyle and preferences, making it a realistic approach for many.
If you finish eating at 8pm at night, your first calorie-containing meal or beverage the next day should be consumed at noon the next day.
I finish eating by 7pm and then consume nothing until 11am the next morning. Yet how hard is that considering I’ll be sleeping for 7 to 8 of those hours. When awake I can drink water, green tea or black coffee. Nothing with calories. Then I have an eight hour window to eat. Generally for me its from 11am to 7pm.
Choose the best starting time for you. Try to keep this time at least for the first month.
Let me add at this point that women have a more difficult time with longer fasts, so many women adjust this schedule to include a fast period of 14 to 15 hours, instead of the recommended 16.
This fasting period means consuming no calories. No food or even caloric beverages. During the fasting period you can drink as much water as you wish, black coffee and various zero calorie herbal teas. No milk!
BENEFITS OF AN INTERMITTENT FASTING DIET
There are so many advantages of doing intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to:
• Increased testosterone;
• Lower bad cholesterol;
• Reduce blood triglycerides;
• Promote weight loss;
• Reduce blood pressure;
• Slow the aging process;
• Improve blood sugar levels;
• Decrease inflammation;
• Increasing Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in men;
• Reduce the risk of chronic disease;
• Improve bothersome skin conditions
• Possibly extends lifespan.
In addition to the strong benefits for longevity, weight loss, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, & neurodegenerative disease – intermittent fasting has wonderful benefits for the gut.
It gives the body a rest from digestive activity something it hasn’t been allowed due to our normal modern eating habits which force the body to work non stop. The effects of years of poor eating can be reversed in as little as just a 7 days of intermittent fasting.
“Fasting is the first principle of medicine; fast and see the strength of the spirit reveal itself.”Rumi
Despite for many years as a gym instructor I preached the message that you must “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper” I have now come to learn that there are many benefits of having a no breakfast regime.
By missing breakfast you are going your body additional time to masticate, digest, assimilate and eliminate food’s already in your system instead of burdening your body within a short time of waking up.
An Intermittent fasting diet shifts your body from burning sugar to burning fat as its primary fuel, which can lead to a truly amazing health transformation.
WHAT DO YOU EAT DURING THE EATING WINDOW
Many so called professionals say that you can generally eat whatever you want within your 8 hours eating window. I say this is dangerous and dreadful advice. Sticking to the principles of healthy eating will boost results far more. I am an advocate of healthy eating and making healthy choices when it comes to eating.
You need to avoid the temptation to load up on junk food, sugar, and processed items in your feeding period. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits, and make sure to eat plenty of proteins so that your energy level stays high.
My main meal is always the one before the fast begins. But it is always healthy. I suggest eating no more than 2,000 calories for men or 1500 for women.
If you are looking to lose weight you can never forget you need to take in fewer calories than you metabolize. I recommend you ditch all processed foods, which are very high in processed salt and low in potassium and other essential nutrients, eat a diet of whole foods, ideally organically and locally-grown to ensure optimal nutrient content.
GIVE INTERMITTENT FASTING TIME
You may struggle the first few days. Hunger pangs may try and get you to eat earlier than you should. Don’t! Normally in no more than three days your body responds and adapts, and you will no longer feel hungry during the fasting period. In fact you don’t think about food at all, and have to remind yourself to eat at the right time. In essence, your body is now ‘eating’ its own fat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and therefore is no longer hungry.
So give it a week and not only will it be easy I guarantee you’ll notice big changes. Like more energy, better concentration, more intense focus on the things you’re doing.
Those of you looking at this for weight loss, I assure you its great, but you will benefit massively by combining it with exercise. I strongly suggest doing a workout at the end of your period of not eating. Your body generally uses stored carbohydrates in the form of glycogen to power you through your workout.
During a fast, when your glycogen reserves are depleted, your body will be forced to turn to other energy sources for fuel – like fat. You’ll find your workout performance improves.
PLAY IT SAFE
I’m a great believer in playing it safe. So some of you will worry about getting a lack of vitamins and nutrients so I recommend taking a multivitamin. It won’t hurt!
An Intermittent fasting diet can have a dramatic effect on your daily metabolism. Do not fast without consulting with your doctor if you are pregnant or are unwell.
I am not a medical doctor, simply once the owner of a chain of gyms, a life coach and someone whose life was changed by intermittent fasting.
What are your experiences with fasting? Do you have questions that are not answered above? Please feel free to leave a comment below and I will respond to them.
“The light of the world will illuminate within you when you fast and purify yourself. “Mahatma Gandhi
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