⇨ Topic: Intermittent Fasting Plans
Is intermittent fasting really worth the hype?
Will “starving yourself” for a period of time actually result in health benefits?
And when we say “time,” how long are we talking?
These were the questions that came to mind when I first heard about intermittent fasting. Perhaps you relate?
It seems that intermittent fasting has become a hot topic for discussion and many people have various preconceptions of the idea.
And I doubt that anyone really jumps on board when they hear the word “fasting” because let’s be real, who would ever want to give up food?
So I’m here to tell you how four different intermittent fasting plans and their benefits to help you be able to decide if this method is something you wish to include in your lifestyle and/or weight loss journey!
But I will tell you straight up the truth -intermittent fasting has been proven to result in incredible weight loss!
Let’s dive in…
What Is Intermittent Fasting & Why Should I Care?
Intermittent fasting is nothing more than intentionally not eating for a set period of time – and that time varies depending on the intermittent fasting plans.
There are four primary methods that can be used to incorporate intermittent fasting plans into your life – all that will provide differing results (we’ll talk about those – promise!).
But first, let me lay out some of the many, many benefits of intermittent fasting (all backed by science!):
➪ Weight Loss
➪ Fat Loss
➪ Reduced Insulin Resistance
➪ Lower Blood Sugar Levels
➪ Reduced Inflammation
➪ Faster Metabolism
➪ Improved Hormone Levels (better moods!)
➪ Greater Cellular Repair (faster healing and repairing)
➪ Reduced Brain Fog
See, just like you and me, our body appreciates a good break and time to rest.
Our body becomes rejuvenated and replenished – operating more efficiently for you.
And there are four primary ways you can choose to fast intermittently:
▶ The 8:16 Method (my personal favorite for daily use!)
▶ The 5:2 Method
▶ The 24 Hour Fast (my personal favorite for kick starting a diet or cleanse!)
▶ The Warrior Diet
The 8:16 Method
The 8 – 16 rule means to eat within a window of 8 hours and provide your body rest for the following 16.
This may seem tricky but let me space out the time blocks for you!
You will wait to have breakfast around 10 am. This is especially easy for my non-breakfast lovers, but also, is the time when the motivation is highest for the day (so should not be too complicated to do.)
Then, you will continue to eat throughout the day and have your last meal before 7 pm.
This then gives your body 16 hours (most of when you’re sleeping!) to process your foods for that day before having to begin again tomorrow.
The hours can always be adjusted depending on your schedule, just keep in mind the 8 – 16 rule when planning out foods to maximize your weight loss success.
This is my personal favorite because you reap the benefits of fasting without actually having to go without food for an extended period of time.
16 hours can seem like a lot, but factor in the amount of time you spend sleeping, waking up, getting settled for bed, etc. and you’ll see that the time you spend actually withholding yourself from eating is just conscious moments before bed or when you first wake up.
Pretty easy-peezy – and I’m a girl who LOVES food. So if I can do it, anyone can. Especially you!
The 5:2 Method
The 5:2 method is a bit more complicated to follow (I promised I would always be honest with you guys), but if you have a lot of self control, this one could be the one for you!
You will spend two days fasting and five days eating meals of 500 calories for women – 600 calories for men. Make health conscious decisions for those meals
Personally, I would only use this to kickstart a diet (I am a stronger advocate for the 24 hour fast below – rip the bandaid and be done) because this fast lasts for a long duration and does not create a sustainable relationship with meal times.
The 24 Hour Fast
If you are looking to kick off a diet or come back from a cheat day, this is for you!
Benefits of this fast include:
- Allows your body a full rest period
- Cleanses the body so it can begin a healthy detox
- Ends after 24 hours – then I recommend switching to the 8:16 method
You will have your last meal at 5 pm the night before, and not eat again until dinner at 5 pm the following day.
Most people are amazed as to how easy this really is – especially if you live a busy lifestyle and can keep your mind occupied.
And some people may argue that this is bad for our bodies, but in fact, it allows our body the time it needs to repair itself and come back stronger.
Our digestive system is constantly being worked, and just like us, needs the occasional rest period.
This is, in fact, exactly how a lot of our ancestors ate every single day.
With being hunters and gatherers, they were not provided the luxury of opening the fridge and eating x-amount of times per day.
And yes, it is important to stimulate your metabolism every few hours, but that’s exactly why this is for the occasional use.
If you’re interested, Avocadu offers an incredibly successful weight loss program that kick starts the journey with the 24 hour fast, and then teaches you sustainable practices to incorporate into your daily life.
Be sure to check out the 21 Day Weight Loss Challenge if you’re looking to lose weight quickly (10-21 lbs in 21 days) while integrating intermittent fasting practices.
The Warrior Diet
Sounds pretty epic, right?
The guidelines for this diet is simple – fast during the day and feast at night.
“Feasting” does not mean to go ham on everything in the fridge, though. It still recommends that you stay below caloric boundaries and consume healthy, whole food based nutrition.
Lots of vegetables and raw foods.
Not my absolute favorite – I always believe that food = energy, and that is something your body should be provided throughout the day.
Before I leave you to decide which choice is best for you, I want to give you the most important dos and donts to ensure that whichever method you decide, you are doing so in a healthy manner.
Must Know Dos and Dont's for Intermittent Fasting Plans
🡲 Drink plenty of water – keeping your body hydrated during this time is going to be key. You are not providing your body as much food as normal, so ensure that you are replenishing yourself with the proper healthy fluids (aka – water and healthy detox methods – no artificial sweetener filled drinks, sodas, caffeinated beverages, etc.)
🡲 Get plenty of sleep – as mentioned above, food = energy, so if you are not providing your body with as much energy to go about your day, do not push your limits and listen to your body when it tells you it needs to rest – especially at night!
🡲 Listen to your body – if at any point you feel as though fasting is posing as detrimental to your health, do not continue your pursuit. There are other healthy alternatives to losing weight and being healthy, fasting is not the only way. Everyone’s body handles fasting differently.
🡲 Control portion sizes – make sure that whenever you do eat, you are consuming proper portion sizes. There’s no need to waste as much hard work that you put into the fast if your diet then comes and destroys it.
🡲 Eat healthy, whole-food based meals – fill your diet with healthy food choices that will replenish and energize your body. You will feel better about your decisions, which is a great way to keep the momentum flowing to continue your diet.
🡲 Focus on low-carb – carbohydrates cause inflammation and can store as fat incredibly easily. Reduce your intake and you will not only feel better, but be better off for it!
🡲 Stay within caloric boundaries – this goes hand in hand with keeping to portion sizes. If you binge on food when you are allowed to eat, it’s wiping away all your hard work.
🡲 Workout intensely – your body is experiencing a lot of change during this time, and without consuming much (if any food) during the period of fasting, you are likely to be putting yourself at risk if you workout on top of it. Walking, gentle yoga, light exercises are safer, healthier bets.
🡲 Fast without consulting a doctor if you have any pre-existing health conditions – a fast is not worth jeopardizing your health and well being.
🡲 Drink unhealthy beverages – be cognizant of everything you put in your body during this time. Calories, sugars, and unwanted chemical additives often sneak their way into coffee creamers, sodas, artificially sweetened drinks, zero-calorie beverages, etc.
🡲 Fast if you are pregnant – always, always consult a doctor first.
🡲 Consume processed, packaged, and unhealthy foods – enrich your fast with consuming a diet filled with healthy meats, vegetables, fruit, and plant based nutrition