If you have tried every diet you can think of, and are still having problems finding long-term success, then perhaps it’s time to try intermittent fasting.
Unlike what you may imagine, this type of fasting is very versatile and does not feel restrictive if done healthfully. Fasting involves limiting the amount of time you consume calories each day to help aid weight loss.
There are many ways to incorporate fasting into your health regimen, and each provides health benefits. The key to making fasting work for your healthy lifestyle is to make sure you are feeding your body correctly during non-fasting hours and providing your body enough time to fast each day.
Intermittent fasting, by definition, is exactly what it sounds like, cycling between periods of fasting and non-fasting. No lemon juice and cayenne pepper fasting here!
You can still eat food during intermittent fasting. However, you are encouraged to use the hours of feeding for the most nutritious food possible to make sure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs for optimal health.
Intermittent fasting can be as restrictive, or lenient as you choose for it to be. The minimum recommended fasting period is 12 hours.
For example, you can fast for 12 hours, followed by 12 hours of eating your meals and snacks.
During the fasting period, you should drink plenty of water with low caloric beverages to stay hydrated like water (infused or plain), tea, and if you need a caffeine kick, coffee would be ok too (just limit the creamer and sugar!).
You can choose to engage in longer intermittent fasting periods, do intermittent fasting every day, or rotate a couple of intermittent fasting days with 5 days of non-fasting days.
Do whatever works best for you and your lifestyle and be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about what intermittent fasting variation would be best for you, especially if you take certain medications or have a chronic disease.
There is no specified time for your fasting period to start, but just schedule it during a time that will be most convenient for your schedule, so you can stick to it.
For example, if you know you have a vigorous workout in the morning, you wouldn’t want to start your fast right after this time. Instead, maybe start your fast at, let’s say 7 pm, then end your fast at 7 am or later. Then you can eat a balanced meal or meal replacement right after your workout to help your muscles recover.
The popularity of intermittent fasting has stemmed from the fact that it has been shown to help people lose weight. Although for some, just the avoidance of over-grazing throughout the day can help with this success, fasting is effective for reasons other than weight loss too.
Recent research has shown intermittent fasting to help with improving metabolic factors such as glucose and insulin sensitivity in the blood. In other words, this type of diet regimen can help reduce the risk of type two diabetes, high blood pressure, and other related chronic conditions.
While you are fasting, it is important to consume enough nutrients during your feeding period to help you stay nourished. This can sometimes be hard to do with busy schedules making meal prep difficult. Or you may just not be sure which foods to eat to get necessary nutrients.
One option is to get a pre-packaged meal replacement to specifically help those on an intermittent fasting regimen to stay on track and an example of this is the FastBlast smoothie made by The Nutra Company.
This delicious banana-berry smoothie provides a nutritious meal replacement that is vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and non-GMO, so it works with just about every healthy lifestyle. These are organic ingredients all packaged in a convenient on-the-go pouch, can make your intermittent fasting days easier and keep you full of natural energy.
Other important things to remember on your intermittent fasting regimen are:
Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN.