Intermittent Fasting 101

Most people look at intermittent fasting as a tool for weight loss, but intermittent fasting is way more than a way to lose those extra kilos.

Intermittent fasting is actually more of a lifestyle and brings a whole package of health benefits, weight loss being just one of them.

Let´s have a look into the intermittent fasting concept: intermittent fasting is the practice of occasionally going for extended periods of time without eating, and yes, your sleeping hours do count as fasting time. All that means is that you eat within a given window and then fast for the rest of the time through the day.

There are different formulas for intermittent fasting, some of them are: 12/12 (you have an eating window of 12h), 16/8 (the most popular one, you fast for 16 hours and have a eating window of 8h) and the 24h (where you can fast for a full day). When it comes to the last option, please bear in mind that there is a limited number of days you can go doing this type of fasting and is not advisable for beginners. We also recommend speaking with your physician before going through such long periods of fasting.

We normally suggest to our clients that want to explore Intermittent Fasting to start with 12/12 and see how the body responds, so that they can become aware of the physical and energetic changes in the body and see how their body is reacting to this new way of eating. Once the body and mind has acclimated, we recommend moving to the 16/8 method.

During the fasting period, water and zero-calorie beverages such as black coffee and tea are permitted. But have in mind that during your eating periods, “eating normally” does not mean going crazy. You’re not likely to lose weight or get healthier if you pack your feeding times with high-calorie junk food, super-sized fried items, and sweet treats.

It’s important to try methods that make you happy and work for you.

The timelines for fasting also vary from person to person and are depending on the goals that one has for themselves. Regardless of the fasting method you choose it’s important to highlight that your success in implementing this habit depends on setting a method that works for you and that can be sustained over a long period of time

Human evolution gave us the ability to go without food for many hours, several days or at times, even longer. In prehistoric times, before humans learned to farm, humans were hunters and gatherers who evolved to survive and thrive for long periods without eating due to scarcity of food. It took a lot of time and energy to hunt game and gather nuts and berries, therefore they simply had to fast.

Nowadays, our eating habits, the ease of getting food by ordering it on your phone, tv or internet, entertainment available 24/7, long working hours seated in front of a desk, online chatting, etc… are changing the way we live with a huge impact in weight gain.

Scientific evidence shows that intermittent fasting does more than burn fat. This metabolic switch will affect both your body and your brain. The fact that our body is not focused on digesting food, several things happen during intermittent fasting that can protect your bodily organs against chronic diseases, low grade inflammation, type 2 diabetes and more.

Some benefits of intermittent fasting according to research includes:

  • Boosts verbal memory in adults
  • Improves blood pressure and resting heart rates
  • Young men that fast for periods of 16h showed fat loss while maintaining muscle mass

It’s important to try methods that make you happy and work for you.  If following a set of rules of when you eat seems stressful or uncomfortable, then intermittent fasting may not be right for you.