Oh well hello there friends. It’s me. Your friendly neighborhood Savvy. I’m back from my mini vacay and I can say it was much needed. Who knew that a few days of silence and doing nothing but reading would be the best medicine? But I’m officially back in action and ready to chat about one of my new favorite topics: Intermittent Fasting.
If you’ve been around the inter-webs for the past few years, you’ve probably heard about it. Maybe you’ve tried it. Or maybe you’ve just dismissed it because it didn’t seem right for you. Either way, I thought we’d have a little chat about IF (aka Intermittent Fasting) and all the things you might want to know. Let’s get started, shall we?
WHAT THE HECK IS INTERMITTENt FASTING?
First things first, what the heck is IF? Unlike other diets, intermittent fasting isn’t really a diet. It’s a way of eating. There are a couple of different ways to go about it. But essentially, you have a window where you eat and a window where you don’t. The most commonly followed from of IF is 16:8 or 14:10. This means you are fasting for either 16 or 14 hours and eating for 8 or 10.
There’s also the 5:2 method that involves restricting your calories for 2 days of the week. During the rest of the time, you eat as your normally would eat. And if you’d rather just fast one day a week, it’s also an option with IF. But there’s quite a bit of flexibility with intermittent fasting. You just have to figure out what works for you.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
Depending on which form of IF you choose, this can change. But for the sake of consistency, let’s use the 16:8 method. So for 16 hours of your day (including sleep), you’ll fast. And the other 8 hours of your day will be your eating window. I’ve found it’s most common for people to break their fast around 12 or 1 pm. However, I know that’s not for everyone. Personally, I’ve opted for an earlier window and typically use 10:30AM to 6:30PM as my eating window. It really depends on how it works for you.
HOW LIVABLE IS IT?
The nice thing about intermittent fasting is that it’s actually quite flexible. You aren’t restricted in what you can eat. It’s more about when you eat. Because females are more prone to hormone changes* with intense fasting, I like to keep my fasting windows flexible. Some days I’ll have a 14 hour fasting window and other days it will be 16. But I try to make the best choices that fit my schedule and how I can best fuel my body. It’s really all in what you make it though and what works for your lifestyle.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
One of my favorite things about intermittent fasting is its many benefits. Reducing insulin and helping to break down stored fats are both high on the list (1). Some people have noted having more energy, less brain fog and less bloat. If you’re constantly in a state of feeding your body, switching to intermittent fasting can really help give your digestion a much needed break.
WHERE DO I START?
As always, please make sure you consult a medical professional before making any major changes to your diet if necessary. But if you’re looking to start today, I’d suggest going easy on yourself. Getting into the swing of a new lifestyle habit can take time. If you’re brand new, maybe even start with a 12 hour fast and work your way up.
And don’t be afraid to do whatever version works best for your body. I found that a lot of people broke their fast later in the day but it didn’t work so well for me. Now I break my fast earlier and stop eating a few hours before bed. It’s what works for me, however, it took some trial and error to figure that out. Practice showing yourself some grace while you figure out what works for you. t
WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE?
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW?
If you’re female and considering IF, there are a few things you should note. As a woman, our bodies are far more sensitive to extended fasting and it can impact our hormones. This is part of the reason I practice a very flexible form of intermittent fasting. When we fast for too long, it can negatively impact fertility in our bodies. If you’re already prone to missed periods or other hormonal issues, be mindful before jumping into IF. It’s also recommended that women don’t fast every day because of this.
There is an adjustment period. Everyone is different so please don’t compare your journey with IF to someone else’s. A lot of people say around day 3 they felt great. I wasn’t that person. It took me about 1.5 weeks to really find a good place with intermittent fasting. I experienced headaches and just the general adjustments that come with making lifestyle changes. But eventually I noticed my head was clearer, I had better energy and I could really see what affected my digestion.
Overall, intermittent fasting is probably one of the easier lifestyles to follow. But like any diet, just because you cut down your eating window doesn’t mean you’ll magically lose weight. If you’re bingeing as soon as your fast ends, you’re probably not going to lose weight. If you aren’t eating enough calories, same probably. IF isn’t a cure all for everything but it can be a helpful tool. Don’t be afraid to do your work research and see what works for you.
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