What's the deal with Intermittent Fasting? (Said in your best Seinfeld voice)
If you follow health and fitness blogs, Instagrammers and Facebook pages like I do, you've most likely heard about intermittent fasting (IF). IF is a pattern of eating and fasting, sometimes for long hours every day and other times for a full day or two per week.
For those of you who know me, you know I like to use myself for my own scientific experiments (different diets, workouts, eating patterns, etc). After reading quite a bit about IF, I started doing it about two weeks ago. And well, so far I love it!
IF is not about cutting calories. It's about eating the same amount of calories within a shorter period of time. There is research showing that our bodies tap into our own fat stores for fuel in the absence of food (aka fasting period) and when doing short bursts of fasting such as 14-16 hours/day (which is what I'm doing) or 24 hours 1-2 times/week, you don't have the negative effects of the body thinking it's in starvation mode.
For me, my IF day means I skip breakfast which works well for me. I'm not hungry in the morning and with my all-or-nothing personality, once I start eating, I don't stop easily. I start eating for the day sometime between 12-1p and finish around 8-9p. It's not about exact minutes but more of a broad concept. If I'm feeling really hungry around 11:30am, I'll have something small. Same with the end of the day, although I know that most of my "hunger" at the end of the day is just habit or boredom.
I've gotten even more in touch with my true hunger hormones (versus my mind or mouth being hungry/bored/stressed) and am amazed that I really don't feel hungry in the morning, even when I'm up early to workout.
As with everything, IF is not for everyone. The research I've done says that if you are diabetic, have blood sugar issues or are preggers, it's probably not a good idea. Same thing if you are not in a generally healthy state of being. If you are mostly healthy but maybe just want to see how this might work for you, why not give it a try? It can take a week or two for your body to adjust to the new schedule so some tummy rumbles before you start eating for the day are normal. It's ok to be hungry for a an hour or two-nothing bad will happen to you. Once your body adjusts, you will have less of that.
I love Dr Mercola's article about IF for some more detailed info and science for all you research nerds out there: http://www.mercola.com/infographics/intermittent-fasting.htm