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What is Intermittent Fasting? What makes it so interesting and popular? I am sure you have heard about it from others or read about it online but haven’t quite understood where to begin. Welcome to my beginner’s guide to Intermittent Fasting.

Intermittent Fasting is a unique dietary plan in that it does not refer to what you eat; rather, when you eat it. The participant goes through periods of eating and non-eating (or fasting). The period of fasting allows your body to properly access stored energy (body fat) due to changes in your hormone balance and nervous system activity. Not to mention you will be taking in less calories with less opportunity to eat throughout the day.

Risk of Diabetes

Intermittent fasting can reduce insulin and blood sugar levels.

Weight Management

Intermittent fasting has shown to reduce weight (particularly belly fat) through reduced caloric intake and increased metabolism efficiency.

Heart Health

Intermittent fasting can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Overall Health

Intermittent fasting will increase the proficiency of numerous bodily functions and have a positive impact on your long-term health and ability to fight disease.

The Right Intermittent Fasting Schedule for You

There is more than one way to complete your intermittent fasting regimen and it is important to choose one that suits your lifestyle. By selecting a schedule that assimilates with your own commitments, you will improve your chances of success. I have outlined three of the most popular intermittent fasting schedules each with two different variations. This will give you a good understanding of which fasting schedules are currently working for others and what you can do to ensure your own success.

1. 16 Hour/8 Hour Schedule

The 16/8 schedule segments your 24-hour day into 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. This allows the participant to align the 16 hours of fasting with their sleep cycle and choose the best 8-hour period for them. For example: if you work an 8AM – 5PM day shift, try running your fast from 7PM – 11AM. If 16-hour fasting is too difficult as a starting point, try initiating a 14-hour fast and working your way up over time.

2. Alternating Days Schedule

The alternating days schedule has the participant alternating their days of the week with eating and fasting (24-hour eat/24-hour fast). An intermediate method to intermittent fasting as going through a complete 24-hour cycle with no calories is difficult. If 24-hour fasting is difficult as a starting point, try completing a low caloric fast and limiting yourself to a max of 500 calories during the fasting period.

3. 5/2 Days Schedule

The 5/2 days schedule segments the week into 5 days of eating and 2 days of fasting. It does not require the participant to use two specific dates for the fast and it is lenient to the individual’s commitments week to week. Similar to the alternating days method, this is another intermediate of intermittent fasting that requires a full 24-hour fast. If 24-hour fasting is difficult as a starting point, try completing two low caloric fasts during the week as a replacement.

Dealing with In-the-Moment Cravings

Intermittent fasting goes hand-in-hand with hunger cravings. Until you’re accustomed to this lifestyle change, your success will be dependent on how you deal with these cravings. The answer? Drink a lot of water. Your water intake should already be around the 2-3 litre mark a day and intermittent fasting is a great way to accomplish this. If the water is insufficient, move towards non caloric beverages such as tea and coffee (both black). These beverages will help suppress your hunger till the next eating period.

This is all the information you need to get started with intermittent fasting! If you are concerned about how your diet may be affecting your health, schedule a dietary consultation.

If you are interested in finding the right diet plan for you, you can email me and schedule a meeting at the Lifetime Wellness Centre on North Service Road.