Intermittent Fasting: The “Diet” That I Live By
I have been practicing intermittent fasting for years! As it’s something I get asked about on a regular basis, I compiled it into a blog to explain what it is and the variations.
First and foremost, I am going to clarify that:
I am not a dietitian/nutritionist/doctor of any sort.
This is simply a blog post about a way of life that I have been living by. It may not work for everyone as everybody is different but I have had success with it and want to share with you guys. I interviewed my dad, Dr. Garrett Swetlikoff, a naturopathic doctor on this topic. My dad, my mom, myself, and now Mason are all currently engaging in this lifestyle so I’ve had first hand experience not only with myself, but others in my life.
Alright. SO what way of eating am I talking about? One of the trending “diets” or whatever you want to call it, is intermittent fasting. If you’ve never heard of intermitting fasting, you’re not alone. I didn’t realize this type of eating was actually a “thing” until a couple years ago.
So what is intermittent fasting?
“Intermittent Fasting: Fasting is not starvation. Starvation is the involuntary absence of food, while fasting is the voluntary withholding of food for health or spiritual reasons.
Fasting has been practiced by all civilizations worldwide for thousands of years.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. It’s not about what you eat, but more about when you eat. Fluids such as water, tea, small amounts of coffee etc. are not restricted in IF.”
Okay let’s stop there. That was one of my first questions when I looked into intermittent fasting. Can I have coffee? The answer is yes, you can. But it should be limited to black coffee as black coffee doesn’t contain calories. If you have coffee with all the sweetener and cream, then you’re indulging in calories which means you aren’t fasting. But I know what you’re going to respond with. But I like cream and sugar in my coffee…yes so do I. Who doesn’t? The options are either you wait until your 8 hour window to have your coffee with cream and sugar or you stick with black coffee if you have it before.
You can say “screw it” and just have it. That’s actually what I do. I don’t have sugar in my coffee but I do put in a splash of milk. Technically it’s not “intermittent fasting” but I don’t have coffee evey day so when I do, I don’t think twice about it.
Let’s go back to the 8 hour window. What 8 hour window am I talking about? Let’s continue.
These are the most popular methods of Intermittent Fasting:
“The 16/8 method: Also called the Leangains protocol. This involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as between 12-8 . Then you fast for 16 hours in between, until lunch the next day. Ideally, you do not want to eat later than 3 hours before bedtime.”
This is the method I do. My 8 hour window is typically 12-8pm or 1-9pm. But it doesn’t have to be for you. If you’re an early riser and need your breakfast, feel free to do 8am-4pm, or 7am-3pm. But that means 3 or 4pm is your last meal. I personally can pass on breakfast so that’s why I have my window shifted to later in the day. It’s all about preference.
“Eat-Stop-Eat: This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
The 5:2 diet: With this method, you consume only 500–600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, but eat normally the other 5 days.
IF has been shown to drop insulin levels and make insulin more sensitive. This forces more fat loss, thus assisting in weight loss. Growth hormone levels significantly rise in IF which help muscle growth and fat loss. Many immune and genetic functions balance and repair themselves with IF, leading to longevity and disease protection.
IF can help you lose weight, reduce inflammation, improve blood sugar and insulin control, improve brain and heart health, may reduce cancer risk and overall act as an anti-aging tool.
Pregnant, breastfeeding, underweight/eating disorder individuals and less than 18 years of age people should not IF. Diabetic, hypoglycemic, low blood pressure or seriously ill people should not IF without medical guidance or supervision.”
So there you have it. Easy right? Uh no lol. I try to follow this most of the time but there are days where I don’t. Especially on a weekend or if I’m on vacation (or with the coffee situation). And you know what, that’s okay. Life is about moderation and I know if I were to completely deprive myself, I would be unhappy. However, living and eating this way has boosted my energy levels and keeps my weight at a normal healthy level.
But for the most part, IF works for my lifestyle. For you, it may not. The reason I like IF is because it’s not so drastic and hard on your body. It’s doable and I can still eat the foods I like. IF is more of a lifestyle by changing WHEN you eat as opposed to WHAT you eat. I love that the focus is on health and that weight loss is SECONDARY. If you are looking for more of a drastic weight loss diet, this probably isn’t for you.
What are your thoughts on IF? Have you tried it? Do you like it? Share your thoughts with me.