Wendy Handy

Wendy Handy

Intermittent Fasting – what is it and what are the benefits?

What is intermittent fasting, is it right for me?   I created this short blog to hopefully answer some of the questions that you might have regarding intermittent fasting, and help you decide if it's right for you!   If you're looking to improve your health or lose or just maintain your weight, intermittent fasting might be your answer!

There's been a lot of buzz around this concept of intermittent fasting and yet still a lot of confusion about what it really is. I wanted to hopefully give you some clarity on what it is, as well as some of the benefits.

What is intermittent fasting?

First of all, intermittent fasting in simple terms is, shortening your eating window. Period.  Not complicated.    

For as long as I can remember, most diet plans that I have followed or read about myself,  put all the focus on what you eat. In contrast intermittent fasting focuses on when you eat.

With intermittent fasting because you only eat during a specific time and window, and you’re fasting for the remainder of the hours every day, naturally that cuts down on not only the number meals you eat, but also the calories you consume. This can help burn fat, because once your body uses all the fuel from your food, it turns to your fat stores.   YAY!!  And as an added bonus, there are some health benefits to it also which I'll talk about in a minute. 

The concept of intermittent fasting may be newer to you, it was to me until a few years ago, but it's been studied for well over 20 years. Over the centuries, we  have evolved to be able to go without food for several hours, or even several days.

But with all the technology, internet, computers and TV, we are now eating a lot more and more often,  And on top of that, becoming lazier.  There's more snacking while binge watching TV or surfing the internet. So with all the extra calories being consumed, and the reduced activity, guess what? The pounds pack on, and diabetes and heart disease have been on the rise! 

Intermittent fasting to the rescue! Well, it may not be the cure all, but it can sure help reverse some of the dire statistics.

So….how does intermittent fasting work anyway?

There are different ways that you can implement intermittent fasting, but they are similar in that you are choosing regular periods of time to eat. One example, the most common approach, is to only eat during an 8 hour window, and the other 16 hours, you fast. So for example if you eat your last meal at 7PM, you would not eat again until 12noon the next day.   Another option is to eat just one meal a day, two days out of the week. 

What happens to your body is that after hours without food, it uses up all it’s sugar and fat stores and starts burning fat! YAY!!

A lot of us have grown up with the idea of eating 3 meals a day with snacks in between. Or eating 6 small meals a day.  But from a fat burning standpoint, your body is only burning what you eat, and using that for it’s fuel and never tapping into your fat stores! So what was ingrained in a lot of us, turns out to be the opposite of what our bodies need and thrive on.  And certainly how to best burn fat stores.    Who knew??

What do I eat while intermittent fasting?

The times you are not eating or your “fasting window”, you can consume water - which I highly encourage, staying hydrated is crucial to your overall health, and helps you flush out toxins.  You can also drink black coffee or tea - NO FOOD and zero calories.

And during your eating window, you eat sensibly. So that doesn't mean eating as much as you can in the 8 hours you’ve chosen to eat, or if you are choosing the 1 meal a day for 2 days, that doesn’t mean eat until you’re stuffed or shovel in a lot of junk food. It’s not likely you’ll shed pounds or get healthier if you’re choosing the wrong foods or more than you need. Eating sensibly means eating whole foods, like lots of vegetables, some fruits and enough lean protein.  This will not only help you lose weight and get healthier, but your body stops craving the junk and sugar.  YIPPEE!

What are the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting ?

Here are just a few of the many benefits.

- Memory and focused thinking

Intermittent fasting has been shown to provide clarity and focus as well as improved memory.

- Heart health

 Intermittent fasting improves blood pressure and your resting heart rate. And it has been shown to lower cholesterol. 

- Reduces chronic inflammation

Just about every disease can be attributed to some kind of inflammation - intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce inflammation and help alleviate arthritis and joint pain, helps with type 2 diabetes and heart disease to name a few.

Is Intermittent Fasting for Everyone?

With  so many benefits to intermittent fasting, and the different reasons people turn to intermittent fasting:  for weight loss/management, or looking to the health benefits, the bottom line is intermittent fasting might not be for everyone.

For example the following groups should not intermittent fast:

-Children under the age 18
-Pregnant or breastfeeding women.
-Those with a history of eating disorders

Always always consult with your Dr. before turning to any diet or lifestyle change like intermittent fasting to make sure it's safe for you.  

If you're looking to shed some L-B's, or want to improve your health, give it a try and see how intermittent fasting can help!

To Recap Some of the benefits of intermittent fasting

Weight loss
Helps reduce chronic inflammation
Helps reduce high cholesterol
Helps improve blood pressure

My personal experience with intermittent fasting has helped me maintain a healthy weight as well as relieved joint pain and I have more energy.   I've also noticed that I don't have the cravings for sweets or carbohydrates and junk food as much.  That's a good thing!!  

Happy fasting!!

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