I’ve always been curious about intermittent fasting.
There are a couple of friends of mine that are doing it and love it. My favorite blogger does it as well and raves about it on her podcast.
So when Brittany and Jarrod offered to talk about it on my blog, I was all for it!
A few years ago fasting wasn’t even on my radar.
Intermittent fasting was a term as foreign to me as the words ketosis and gastrocnemius.
That is until ‘poor college student’ syndrome struck. I faced eating ramen noodles and spam or skipping a meal here or there.
Let’s just say that fasting won out.
Now older and wiser, I realize that fasting is a broad term which can be applied to many different situations.
It’s not a one-and-done thing or something to be taken lightly.
Thus…drum roll….I turned to my health coach husband to explain intermittent fasting. After an hour of endless questions on my end and extreme patience from my husband, I understood it.
And you will too.
Fasting: What is it?
Fasting occurs when there is a reduction or abstinence from drink, food or both for a length of time out of the realm of a normal day’s eating pattern.
There are many reasons in which fasting may be used.
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Some of the most common include losing weight (good-bye pesky baby weight), a religious observation, preparing for a sporting event or other special occasion, or as a medical necessity.
Intermittent fasting is not a scary or far-fetched idea. There are several benefits when fasting is completed correctly.
One of the highlights of fasting is called autophagy. It sounds like a tongue twister and mind-bender doesn’t it?
It’s actually simple to remember if you visualize it as a LEGO set.
Think of some LEGO pieces as old, dead, or worn-out cells. With LEGOS, you build a design. When it’s time for a new design, you tear apart the old set (the cells), and build a new creation (improved health).
Some of the LEGOS from the old set will work in the new design alongside new, healthy cells (other LEGO).
The cells not used are disposed of through the amazing work of the human body. The tearing down of the old gets rid of used and diseased cells, cleansing the body.
Another main benefit is weight loss. The result of any fast is a caloric deficit.
The restriction of calories leads to a loss in body mass because the body is burning more stored energy (fat) to make up for the lack of calories.
Nothing is worse than checking body fat percentage and realizing all you lost was water weight. Utilizing fat burn efficiently will result in a drop in fat called adipose tissue. Embrace the burn!
An often neglected pro, fasting can help reset hormones by better regulation of glucose and lowered insulin levels. These lowered levels allow fat to be pulled out of storage and used as fuel for the body. If not regulated, we store that fat like peanut butter smothering jelly.
Five Types of Intermittent Fasting
Let’s cover five options for intermittent fasting.
Time-Restricted Fast –
A time-restricted fast is when a person only eats during a short window of time (6-8 hours) during the day.
For example, only eating between noon and six p.m. or ten a.m. to four p.m.
When sticking with a specified time window, this helps train the body and mind to have self-control during eating and less chance to make unhealthy choices.
24 Hour Fast –
This type of fast consists of abstaining from all food and drink for a 24 hour period. Water is allowed but no liquids with caloric value.
Chunking fast is having a complete fast for up to 72 hours. This limit will not harm the body and it does burn a good chunk of fat.
For the chunking fast, once per month is best.
When we abstain from food for a set period of time, we can increase our mind-body connection by being more aware of how nutrients in our foods keep us functioning and healthy.
It offers us the chance to be grateful for the food we do have when we partake in meals and snacks.
Minimalist Fast –
A minimalist fast involves eating only a small amount of calories (400-600 calories max) for the entire day.
We recommend trying this fast no more than twice per week to make sure enough calories are still consumed in your diet.
Every Other Day Fast –
This type of fast sounds exactly like its title: a complete fast every other day excluding water intake.
This could mean three days of fast with four days of meals per week.
Be aware that this type of fast will likely put the body into a caloric deficit beyond what is healthy and is not the most effective type of intermittent fasting.
Single-Meal Fast –
Last but not least, a single-meal fast means eating one big meal per day with no other meals or snacks allowed.
This type of fast does have some glaring drawbacks.
Our body is not able to absorb all the calories we intake, especially if we are cramming a large amount of calories in one meal.
If this happens day after day, we will become malnourished and lack energy.
It is also probable that the body will go into starvation mode and store excess fat. When we don’t consume enough calories for an extended period of time (days or weeks), our body begins to believe it is starving itself.
To combat this, the body will store the fat which ultimately leads to weight gain and that ‘lovely’ muffin top.
What to do now?
When completed correctly, fasting can help meet weight loss goals, recalibrate the digestive system, and emphasize the mind-body connection.
As with everything in life, there are drawbacks to fasting, especially if going about it the wrong way.
Talking to a health professional such as a dietician or health coach will help lay the groundwork if you believe intermittent fasting may be the right fit for you.
More about Jarrod and Brittany –
Jarrod is a health educator and coach with certifications in exercise physiology, personal training, and yoga teaching. He has over 11 years of experience in the fitness and wellness industry working with both military and private clients. Brittany is a former mental health counselor and proud stay-at-home mom of two energetic kids.
We can be reached at JBWellNFit@gmail.com