Should I do it? What benefits will I see from it? Is it right for me? Here’s a break down on this regimented eating routine.
The low down on Intermittent Fasting.
Intermittent fasting is limiting your intake of food into a specific window of the day while choosing not to eat over the rest (fasting). Your fasting window is the time between your last meal in the evening through to your breakfast the following day – hence the name break-fast. Our bodies will usually kick into a fasted state after approx. 12hrs. This is when our fat stores become the body’s primary source of energy. IF can be a very effective way to get rid of stubborn fat by balancing our levels of insulin, our sugar-storing hormone, and glucagon, our fat-burning hormone.
It’s extremely important to listen to your body during your fasting period. Keep in mind that what works for one person may not work for another. Fasting for me is not a long-term solution, I use it from time to time when it feels right for me. Here’s what I do when I’m practising IF, and some tips for you.
My top 10 tips for IF beginners:
- Start your day with a hot lemon water – this is a great way to detoxify the body and allow for acid regulation.
- If you feel you need a pick-me-up in the morning, have a black coffee. A splash of milk is OK but stay away from lattes until you’re in your eating window.
- Focus on water intake during your fasting window, often dehydration is mistaken for hunger.
- Balancing your meals is important. Kick-start your digestion with a nourishing breakfast bowl with poached eggs, quinoa, avocado and some greens.
- When it’s time to eat, don’t undo all your hard work by eating carelessly. Be sure all your meals are nutrient dense, low GI and contain a good balance of good quality fats, carbs and protein.
- Eat slowly and mindfully, appreciate the foods you are consuming.
- Do your cardio during your fasting period. With limited to no glycogen left in your muscles (carbohydrate stores), your body will switch to using fat as its primary energy source, resulting in fat loss. A 45-minute walk or light jog/run is perfect.
- Do your TRM workouts or harder sessions in the afternoon when you are in your fed state – your body will perform better when your energy stores are full.
- Eat dinner early, if your last meal is at 6 pm you can enjoy breakfast at 10 am – adjust your fasting window to suit your body.
- If you’re an early riser or enjoy breakfast too much (!) you might prefer to eat between 7 am and 3 pm. Test it out and see what works for you. Keeping a food diary is a great way to review any dietary changes and how they’re affecting you.
Intermittent Fasting isn’t necessarily for everyone. Always consult a primary health care professional before making significant changes to your health regime.