Personal experience, benefits and meal planning
Previously we covered one of the most controversal diets out there, full of fatty foods but with a weight loss goal : The Ketogenic diet! I explained what it is, what my personal experience with the diet was, some of the benefits and some tips on how to enter ketosys and get out of it!
Today I want to talk a bit about Intermittent fasting. Of course if you google it, you will find a thousand articles pro fasting, and as many con. So how do we pick a diet that`s good for us? We just have to try it on ourselves.
Let`s first clear up what is intermittent fasting ( IF ) .
Simply put, IF is a eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and fasting. It`s not one of those diets that restricts certain foods, but more it restricts time. It`s pretty popular in the health and fitness community.
This diet was always practiced throughout human evolution, considering ancient hunters and gatherers didn`t have the posibility to find or hunt food every day , they didnt have supermarkets or refrigerators to store food aswell.
Humans evolved to be able to function without food for long periods of time, so basically it`s more common to fast than to eat 3 - 4 times per day. The ideea of IF can be a bit overwhelming for some , especially if you didn`t do it before, but it can actually be a lot easier than other types of eating plans. You`ll be eating less food and will eliminate the stress arround cooking your meals.
There are different ways to do intermittent fasting splitting the time between eating and fasting.
- The most common IF plan is the 16:8 method. It involves skipping breakfast and your food intake is done on a period of 8 hours, such as 1-9 PM or your hours of choice,and then you fast for 16 hours. I know there are A LOT of people that cannot even accept the ideea that skipping breakfast is a good thing, and even consider it to be one of the most important meals of the day..but what if skipping it helps you with optimum human performance, mental and physical health improvement, maximum muscle retention, and body fat loss? You can always give it a try..
- The eat – stop – eat method – meaning fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week. That might mean eating dinner tonight and waiting for the next day`s dinner hour. If you can do only 18 hours fast, or 20 or 22 that`s ok too. Adjust the time frames and see how you and your body responds. You need to experiment with this diet and see how and if it fits in your lifestyle.
- The 5:2 method , not as popular as the other 2, means eating normally 5 days in a week, but the other 2 ( non- consecutive) eat only 500 600 calories. Reducing calorie intake should cause weight loss, as long as you don`t compensate by eating too much during the eating periods.
My experience with Intermittent Fasting.
I had a blast on it! It worked, and I simply loved it. My program mostly consist in training clients in different hours of the day, every day . So that means I can never have a program when it comes to eating, if I don`t want to carry my tupperware at the gym and eat next to my clients.
I loved it because it gives you a bit of freedom when it comes to food choices. I`d go for more fatty foods if I`d crave them, skipping the lean chicken breast. Some nights I`d go for a naughtier dinner ..
The mental focus..went up the roof, I felt really "light" in the gym and lots of energy . Now, I have to be honest, fasting is not the Best for women. There are some cases where it worsened blood sugar control, or menstrual period stopping when they went on IF, so my advice is don`t do it for too long. Try the 16:8 just a few days a week. If you have issues with fertility or trying to conceive , better to hold off the fasting for now.
Why you should consider IF?
It can get you closer to your goals. Since caloric restriction plays a leading role in weight loss , when you`re fasting you are also making it easier to restrict your total caloric intake. Over the course of the week/ month leading to a consistent weight loss and maintenance.
It takes less time ( and maybe less money ) - 6 meals of day vs 2 meals..hmmm.. ( I used to have 1 huge meal for dinner after I`d get home). It will also allow you to enjoy a bigger meal, and still have fewer calories on average .
Promoting a stronger insulin sensitivity and increased growth hormone secretion. Lowering blood sugar by 3–6% and fasting insulin levels by 20–31%, which should protect against type 2 diabetes.
Mental Health and Focus - Intermittent fasting increases the brain hormone BDNF and may aid the growth of new nerve cells. It may also protect against Alzheimer’s disease
Anti – aging - Intermittent fasting can extend lifespan in rats. Studies showed that fasted rats lived 36–83% longer.
Keep in mind that most research is still in the early stages, but so far the diet has many positive sides and benefits. You won`t know untill you try. I am a fan of trying out new things and this was provocative since I used to eat pretty often , but it was worth it. At least experimenting.