Is Intermittent Fasting Suitable For Me?
Intermittent fasting has become extremely popular over the past decade as a means to lose weight, when in fact, it has been around since the beginning of time but mostly for religious reasons. After many studies have shown a relationship between intermittent fasting and weight/fat loss, it was and still is, by many considered to be THE KEY to getting rid of the unwanted kilos/pounds.
However, just like with any diet or lifestyle change, it really depends on you, your body and your circumstances if intermittent fasting is right and will work for you. But how do you know?
First off, if you have any medical condition such as diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, eating disorder, etc. and/or are pregnant/breastfeeding, intermittent fasting is probably not for you.
We strongly suggest you talk with your doctor first, before trying any fasting period.
Now, if the above health concerns do not apply to you and you are still debating about trying intermittent fasting, ask yourself:
Do I mostly eat at a certain time of day out of habit or social norm without even knowing or feeling if I am hungry?
Do I constantly snack on things, because at one point in time I read in a health magazine that eating many small meals during the day is healthier, speeds up your metabolism and in turn, burns fat?
Am I really willing to put in the time and effort to try something new for a few weeks to learn how my body responds to it?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, why not give intermittent fasting a try.
The most popular intermittent fasting method in favor of weight loss is 16:8. This means, for 16 consecutive hours of the day you will only drink water, tea, maybe coffee. During the other 8 hours of the day, you can eat food. Now 16 hours seems like a long time, but if you're smart, you make sure your sleep (which is a natural fast) is part of these 16 hours ;)
By increasing the fasting window, we are decreasing the workload for the digestive system and giving it more time to rest each day. Research has shown that this can have a very strong positive effect on your metabolism as well as your immune system. It might also improve blood sugar levels, decrease cholesterol, and boost longevity.
How does it work, you wonder?
Well, shortening the time window we have for eating will often automatically impact the amount of food we eat per day, causing a lower calorie intake. And while calories tell only part of the story, if we continuously take in fewer calories than we use on a daily basis, we will in most cases lose weight. Following a 16:8 approach can also make us more aware of what we eat, which can cause us to unconsciously make healthier choices, which in turn may lead to a lower calorie intake as well. But here comes the kicker, for quite some people, just changing the eating window to 16:8 without changing the quantity and type of foods they eat, also led to some weight loss.
However, just because you have only 8 hours to feed your body does not mean you can eat whatever you want within those 8 hours and still achieve your weight loss goal.
To be most effective and giving your body what it needs to thrive, you still have to eat a well-balanced diet; plenty of vegetables, a bit of meat, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, but avoiding processed foods, refined flour and sugar.
It can take a few days or even weeks for you to notice any changes in response to intermittent fasting. If you find the changes to be positive and in line with your health goals and personal life, great! Intermittent fasting is for you.
Just to be fully transparent: Please be aware, that this type of fasting is not for everyone and in some cases can even cause weight gain. Fasting may cause your body to feel stressed and produce the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to more cravings and fat storage due to over-eating and binge eating. Going too long without eating (typically 24+ hours) could also result in headaches, dizziness, digestive issues, mood swings, fatigue, low energy, poor sleep quality, dehydration or an unhealthy relationship with food. If you decide to try intermittent fasting and are noticing any of the previously stated side effects, please abort and consult your doctor.
So, you see, while intermittent fasting works great for many individuals, it is not for everyone. The only way to really know if it will work for you, is to try and closely monitor how you and your body respond to it over time.
Want to learn more about how we support our clients while intermittent fasting during their programs? Or do you also want to reach your optimal weight, lose excess fat, and/or simply have more energy? Then check out our programs here.
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