Working with a Naturopath for several years has taught me a lot. Emma Lane from energizemindbody.com is a wealth of information and has helped me in so many ways. One of the tools I use to help me is intermittent fasting. Those of you that know me, know I need to eat and often or I get hangry. So, this type of fasting is perfect for us foodies who need food and now or anyone with blood sugar issues.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
1. Improved cellular health – when you fast for a short period of time, studies show cellular repair occurs which improves your metabolism and reduces inflammation.
2. Weight loss can occur. When your body fasts for up to 12 hours, there is little glucose available to metabolize for energy so your body starts to use fat stores for energy. This is an awesome benefit.
3. Reduces unwanted nighttime eating – When we eat based on our circadian rhythm (eating when it is light outside), it can keep chronic diseases away. This works perfectly with intermittent fasting as you eat when the sun comes up and stop eating when the sun goes down.
Other benefits I have notices is less bloat, firmer stools, longer restful sleep and more energy in the morning.
There are some cons to fasting…mostly with 16 hour fasting cycles or longer. What I am talking about is short 10-12 hour cycles of fasting so you don’t create more issues in the body. If you fast too long and your body is not ready for it, or you are not supervised by a doctor, things can go really wrong.
Cons to long bouts of fasting are:
1. It can cause a lot of stress on the body. So if you already have high stress in your life, do not do long bouts of fasting.
2. It can cause weight gain if you are starving your body too much. You don’t want to skip meals, just increase the time between dinner and breakfast. Starving yourself can also throw off your hormones causing emotional outbreaks, depression and eating disorders.
How do I do 10-12 Hour Intermittent Fasting?
The Intermittent Fasting I’m talking about here is only 10-12 hours between meals. So, if you have dinner at 6pm, do not have anything but water until 6am. Easy! If you are a late-night eater then simply start eating 1 hour earlier at night and… if you eat early in the morning, push it one hour later until there is 10-12 hours of no eating in between dinner and breakfast.
Once you start, it is easy to do. Keep it to 10-12 hours and DO NOT SKIP MEALS! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so eat a good, well balanced breakfast. Coffee and a piece of toast will not cut it. Get some fat, protein and carbs in there. Toast with avocado and bacon, or chicken sausage, spinach and rice. Stay tuned for more ideas on healthy eating.
If you are a late-night eater, taper off the food at night little by little until you are eating just dinner around 6pm and then nothing afterward. If you love sweets after a meal, have a hot cup of caffeine-free tea with honey or stevia to help satisfy the sweet tooth.
As you go through this process, be mindful of how your body feels. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Do I feel hungrier during the day or am I satisfied and full?
2. Have I seen negative changes in my mood or energy?
3. Have I seen a change in my menstrual cycle?
4. Do I get brain fog or have an inability to concentrate?
If you notice any adverse reactions to fasting, stop and talk to your naturopath or physician. This is your body telling you it is not time for you to fast.
Happy and Healthy Fasting.