The Basics: What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting, IF, is basically time restricted feeding where you eat during a certain window of time during each day. You typically fast with lots of water or non-caloric beverages for the remaining hours of the day. The most popular is a “16-8 IF,” which is a 16 hour fast with an 8 our window of feeding. The healthiest way to do this is to eat dinner early and fast for 12-16 hours then break the fast ie “breakfast” with a balanced meal including protein, lots of veggies, healthy fats and some complex carbohydrates. There are also extreme types of IF that restrict water and showering, require days without food, include alternating feast – famine days and some allow water and coffee with MCT oil during the fasting hours or fasting days.
Why is Intermittent Fasting so popular right now?
IF is very popular because it’s so easy to do. You either eat or you don’t eat. Most forms of Intermittent Fasting do not require calorie counting. It is generally recommended to break the fast with a balanced meal. If your goals are long-term ketosis, you will also restrict your carbohydrate intake.
How do I know which type of Intermittent Fasting is right for me?
There are many types of IF, so I suggest you consult a trained practitioner especially if you are thinking about more extreme versions.
I usually recommend a 12 hour fast with most of my clients looking to lean down, improve sleep and gain energy. So, if you eat dinner at 6pm, your next meal will be between 6am-noon. I recommend exercising your “fasting muscle” by starting with 12 hours for a few days, increase to 14 hours for a few days then if you feel like it you can try extending to 16 hours. You MUST hydrate with plenty of water upon awakening, 16 ounces, and then keep drinking until your first meal.
Your liver will produce more ketones from fatty acids with a low carb or fasted state, which is a more efficient fuel for your brain than glucose from carbohydrates. The next 8-12 hours you will enjoy balanced meals. It may take a couple of weeks to get used to thus way of eating. Your hunger will diminish and you will burn fat for fuel instead of glucose.
Who is Intermittent Fasting recommended for?
Research shows IF helps with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, autoimmune conditions, neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimers and dementia which is now called type 3 diabetes, sleep quality, weight loss, muscle building, inflammatory markers, and autophagy, which is the recycling and cleansing of damaged cells, when the fasts are longer. Autophagy can be achieved after about 14-16 hours of fasting.
IF is very helpful for blood sugar control. When you fast, the body can’t get sugar into the cells for fuel, so it will use fat for fuel. Anytime you eat, even vegetables, your body releases a surge of insulin. If you eat a high carbohydrate meal, your body will spike even more insulin. IF stretches the time you are not eating, therefore, not spiking insulin at all. This makes the cells more sensitive to insulin instead of being resistant to insulin.
Who should avoid Intermittent Fasting?
Anyone with an eating disorder, pregnant, type 1 diabetes, undiagnosed thyroid conditions or endocrine disorders, adrenal fatigue, and children should avoid IF. I always recommend you speak with your doctor before any new regimen such as fasting.
If you’d like to experiment with a 12-14 hour overnight with intermittent fast, try one of my 14 Day Transformation programs!
Interested in Intermittent Fasting?
Consult with Karen by booking an appointment or sign up for a 14 Day Transformation that includes additional guidance to trying Intermittent Fasting on your own:
The Foundations – Focus on proteins, carbs, fats, water, phytonutrients, sleep, and movement with lots of healthy recipes and strategies for success. A wellness bag comes with the program and also a 25-minute private call with Karen. This is recommended for first-timers to the 14 Day Transformation series or anyone new to working with Karen.
Master Your Metabolism – Ignite your internal fat-burning machine in a mere two weeks. Shift the way your body utilizes and processes food (and fat!) and awaken to a body that is leaner, sharper, and brighter. Your skin will glow, you will feel firmer in all the right places, and you will have rewired your metabolism!