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What is Intermittent Fasting?

Introduction:

To some extent we have all heard of the idea of intermittent fasting (IF). What is your knowledge of it? How does it affect the body? What does it to do the body and the brain? What are the pros and cons to this form of dieting? All of the questions that you have and the ones above will be answered below. You’ve probably considered this diet plan but maybe heard horror stories of it or just think its some trendy diet plan that won't work for me. Just because the celebrities do it doesn’t mean that its going to work for you as well. The purpose of this blog is to give you the info about it and let you make the educated decision whether to do it or not.


What is IF?

IF is a diet regimen that cycles between brief periods of fasting and periods of normal, unrestricted eating. Supporters of IF say that it is a hugely valuable tool when it comes to body recomposition, weight loss, and improvement of a wide range of health markers that are linked to disease (such as cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation).

Although there are a number of different types of intermittent fasting (for example the 5:2 diet and 24 hour fasting), the most commonly followed one is the 16:8 method. Here, you limit yourself to an 8-hour feeding window, fasting for the remaining 16 hours of the day. The easiest way to do this is by skipping breakfast, then allowing yourself to eat from 12PM-8PM. It’s relatively easy to stick to, as it just requires you to get used to missing one meal.


Potential Benefits to IF

Most notably when it comes to IF is weight loss. The way this works is pretty cool. Think about your body as an energy battery. If you have more energy coming in a.k.a food, then that has to go and be stored in a cell like an adipose tissue cell. On the flip side if you use more energy but your body still needs it then you’re going to have to pull it from somewhere. This is where our natural body fat comes into play! We can’t just magically get energy from somewhere, therefore the body will burn your fat in order to provide energy. By burning fat we therefore lose weight.


Secondly, is the process of inflammation reduction.

Inflammatory responses in the body are a vital part of the immune system. They help to heal injuries, defend against viruses and bacteria and repair injured tissue. However, low-level, chronic inflammation is problematic and has been linked to a long list of health problems (including heart disease, autoimmune conditions, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, digestive problems, anxiety, depression, brain fog, and hormonal imbalances).

IF has shown to change and benefit the gut in many ways, but mostly it shows reduced insulin resistance, Increased immune response in cells, and Increased production of β-hydroxybutyrate.


When we intermittently fast we also tune into your bodies natural signals to eat or not eat. Most of us never truly experience hunger. We wake up and eat breakfast, a few hours later we eat lunch, we grab a few snacks here and there, then we have dinner. It is rare that your stomach ever actually growls or tells you that you’re hungry. Intermittent fasting is a great tool to learn what it feels like to be hungry. And let's face it if you aren’t hungry then your stomach is mostly full meaning more energy on board meaning no weight loss. So that stomach growling that you feel is actually a positive to it all.


One of the biggest benefits to IF is the brain activity that occurs when we are doing this. Every time that you eat, your brain uses power to tell the body that you need to process that food. Think about every time you eat or drink and what the brain says? Imagine if you just cut out half or a ¼ of that time where the brain is processing what you’re eating. When you aren’t processing what you’re digesting, all of that extra brain power actually is geared towards your job and what you’re working on. Believe it or not you are actually more productive when you’re intermittently fasting.


Key takeaways when trying out IF for the first time

  • If you’re trying to do this for weight loss, be sure that you aren’t over eating during your feeding window in an attempt to get calories and that battery fills up for your non feeding time.

  • IF can not be exchanged for unhealthy eating. We can’t eat unhealthy for 5 days of of the week and just practice IF 2 days a week to make up for the bad eating of the week

  • It is crucial to stay hydrated during your period of fasting. If you try to do it all and don't do any liquids it is a possibility for your body to go downhill very quickly.

  • Ease into IF. Don’t try to be a hero and try for a 24 hour right off the bat. Start with 5 hours of no eating or start with the 16 and 8 rule.

Personal experience and tips

  • Personally I have done IF with clients and had great results. The key is not over eating during your feeding window and making sure that when your feeding window closes to stay hydrated.

  • I have all my clients weigh in before they fast and after to see what the body did during that time. Was what we lost just water? Or did we actually burn some fat?

  • Another form of fasting can be fasting from the things you consider addicting! Such as taking a 24 or 48 hour fast from alcohol, wine, sugars, sweets, coffee etc…..

Closing thoughts

The purpose of this article is to give you an idea of what is intermittent fasting and the benefits to it. You have to make sure you do your due diligence when it comes to this stuff. If you already under eat and are in possible storage for calories then this is not the plan for you. If you’re considering doing this plan, feel free to reach out and ask me your thoughts. If you need guidance along the way, Wittfit Health is here for you and to guide your path.



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