The Do’s and Don’ts of Intermittent Fasting

In today’s #healthbomb episode, I’m talking about the Do’s and Don’ts of Intermittent Fasting (in short IF).

As I’m always looking for effective ways to super-charge my health and to improve my energy levels, I’ve been playing around with IF the last couple of months and I’m super excited to share my experiences with you.

 

You may have never heard of IF and are now wondering… I thought we should have three or even five meals per day. Why on earth should I stop eating? Isn’t it dangerous? Is there any science behind?

 

I totally understand you and I’ve been very critical myself, that’s why I’ve been digging deep into the latest research and tried it out myself.

 

So what exactly is Intermittent Fasting?

 

Well, simply put, it’s all about eating, to stop eating and to start eating again.

 

With Intermittent Fasting, you’re scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. It’s NOT a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. So you focus more on WHEN you eat, instead of WHAT you eat.

 

Ok, makes sense, but why would you do that?

 

Well, magical things happen inside of your body once you give her the long needed break of digesting:

  • After 12 hours of fasting your body gets into a so-called fat burning state, your insulin levels decrease and your growth hormones increase. The fat that hasn't been accessible during the fed state, can be easily burned during the fasted state.
  • Studies have shown that Intermittent Fasting reduces inflammation within our bodies. Super important, because Inflammation is one of the main triggers of various chronic diseases.
  • Intermittent fasting is beneficial for your heart health and may reduce your blood triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, blood sugar and insulin resistance. These are all well-known risk factors for heart disease.
  • During the fasting state, your body produces a brain hormone called BDNF, which may aid the growth of new nerve cells and protects against Alzheimer's disease.
  • I consider Intermittent Fasting a secret (or-not-so-secret-anymore) anti-aging tool. Studies have shown that it extends the lifespan in rats for up to 40-80% longer. Boooom.

 

Keep in mind that research is still in ist early stages. Most of the studies were conducted with animals, short in duration and rather small. There’s a need for more quality human studies to answer some of the open questions.

 

So how do you start?

 

There are many different forms and variations of Intermittent Fasting and below you can find the three most popular ones:

 

  • The 16/8 method: It’s also known as the Leangain protocol and involves skipping breakfast. You’re fasting for 16hrs and restrict your eating period to 8 hours. So, for example, you’re having your last meal at 7pm and start eating the next day around 11am. This way you ‘fast’ for 16 hours in between.

 

  • Eat-Stop-Eat: This is one of the most popular Intermittent Fasting protocols and works well for some people.  You’re fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week, for example by not eating dinner one day until dinner the next day.

 

  • The 5:2 diet: You’re eating normally for 5 days and on 2 non-consecutive days of the week, you’re limiting your calorie intake to 500-600 calories.

 

I personally love the 16/8 method, I usually skip breakfast and only eat two meals each day. The first around noon and the second around 7pm. Then, I fast for 16 hours and start breaking my fast again the next day around 11 am. Easy.

 

Even though Intermittent Fasting is a part of my lifestyle now and I’m in love with the various benefits, I’m not fanatic about my diet. My main goal is to build healthy habits that guide my behavior 80% of the time so that I can do whatever I feel like the other 20%. A healthy balance is key.

 

Furthermore, I wouldn’t recommend Intermittent Fasting to anyone:

If you had an eating disorder it could trigger some old behavior and thought patterns, which is not worth the risk. Also, if you're pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive, step away from any form of fasting, as your body needs all the delicious nutrients it can get. Also, if you have diabetes, problems with blood sugar regulations or lower blood pressure make sure to consult with your doctor before trying Intermittent Fasting.

 

Generally, Intermittent Fasting can be a wonderful tool to boost your health without requiring a massive lifestyle change.

 

If you’re trying to lose weight I highly recommend to start eating according to your own body type first and gradually integrate and play around with IF later.

 

Why would I recommend that?

 

One baby step at a time! Eating according to your own body type gives you important information about how your body responds to food intake and your sympathetic nervous system characteristics. It determines how much fat, carb, and protein your body needs for each meal in order to thrive & operate on its optimal level.

 

This way you’ll make sure that your body get’s exactly what it needs during your eating window and you’ll end up losing weight naturally (and much faster).

 

Now it’s your turn! What are your thoughts about Intermittent Fasting? Are you going to give it a try? Please leave a comment down below – I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts!


PS: Do you feel a bit lost and confused and don't really know how to get started and what works best for YOU? You don’t need to do it all by yourself!

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