Intermittent fasting is a popular way of shedding weight with many health benefits. A healthy body and healthy mind go hand in hand when it comes to having a good quality of life. When considering weight loss options and programs, I have a safe and effective method to share with you that’s proven to work miraculous wonders in my own life.
Not only has intermittent fasting become a health trend but it’s backed by a biblical principle of fasting and in modern day situations, there’s a ton of research, guidance and even communities contributing to it. So, I know you may be asking,
“Girl..what is intermittent fasting?”
I’m so glad you asked!
“Fasting is like food for the soul.”
Oxford defines fasting as abstain(ing) from all or some kinds of food or drink. This ties in with biblical interpretations of fasting as well. There are other things you can fast from, however, we are only focusing on abstaining from food today.
When we fast intermittently, we are creating an eating pattern that consists of periods of fasting followed by periods of feasting. The beauty of intermittent fasting (IF) is that it does not specify what you should eat or abstain from so you can choose to follow whatever dietary lifestyle you desire to follow. Personally, I’ve adopted the keto-carnivore lifestyle for almost 2 years now and have incorporated this with IF.
Fasting is still primarily related to religious customs but for those who may not be Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc., fasting is no longer solely linked to doing so for religious purposes. Now, it is often practiced as a health trend and a key to massive weight loss.
There are several approaches and methods of intermittent fasting – of which I have done all of them and still continue to use. Let’s take a deeper look at them so you can decipher which method may be best for you to use, if any.
Different Ways to Do IF
Intermittent fasting causes weight loss by limiting the window of time a person eats.
The 16:8 method is the most common method used because of how it easy it is to incorporate into anyone’s lifestyle. With this method, you would fast for 16 hours and then eat during the remaining eight hours, which is called your eating window. Depending upon your preference, you could choose to begin your fast at 8pm, sleep peacefully, skip breakfast and break your fast around 12 noon.
Sounds simple, right? This is why I said it is the most commonly used method amongst fasting enthusiasts. This method helps to steadily shed weight and improve cholesterol levels over time.
Alternate day fasting (ADF)
This one has become my personal favorite as I have used it for the majority of this year since being in quarantine/on lockdown.
With alternate day fasting (ADF), I choose not to eat the whole day. There are a few variations of ADF, too. You can do 36 hrs, 48 hrs, or 72 hrs of fasting and then follow those days with feasting (simply means eating food without restrictions). During these fasting days, you can drink water, coffee, herbal tea (no sugar or honey!) and sparkling water.
Depending on the reason for your fast, you could choose to use a few drops of liquid monk fruit or stevia, and even Dr. Fung – the father of published fasting protocols outside of religious textbooks – said that 1-2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream could be used if it doesn’t cause a spike in insulin. This should not break your fast but if you dump a whole cup of cream in your coffee??? 😂 Yeah…fast OVER!
5:2 is another ADF method, also known as the “fast diet” popularized by British Journalist Michael Mosley, but it’s a bit different in that it can be done in two ways.
#1 – Eat for 5 days; fast for 2. Depending on your experience level with fasting, you may choose to simply lower your caloric intake between 500-700 calories if you’re a beginner. If you’re more experienced with fasting, then you may choose to not eat at all and only drink the allowed liquids during those 2 days.
#2 – Fast for 5 days; feast for 2. Now this is the method that I normally use at least once a month. If I know that I have a social event approaching on the weekend, I will take the following week and give my body time to detox and repair itself from whatever I may had eaten or consumed during that weekend.
One meal a day (OMAD)
One meal a day (OMAD) is the method that I’m most known for because for the majority of 2018 and 2019, this was my eating plan. There’s a variation of eating windows for OMAD. OMAD is a plan where you restrict your eating window to one hour.
The warrior diet allows you to fast 20 hours a day and have a 4-hour eating window. This eating window gives you room to be able to space out two small meals or a large meal and snack/dessert if you choose.
I started following (and sometimes still do when I’m not doing ADF) the warrior diet back in 2018 while teaching in Hangzhou, China. I remembered bringing my meals to work with me because I would fast from 7pm to 3pm the next day. I would spread my meals out between classes and when I didn’t get a chance to end my fast at 3pm, I would end it at 4pm and begin again at 8pm.
Extended fasts (EFs) are the big guns of the show! These big boys will get the job done much quicker than the others, but usually the results will not last as long as they would if you adopted to a consistent lifestyle of intermittent fasting.
EFs can range anywhere from 7 days to 100 days or more. With careful observation and guidance from your primary care physician, partaking in an extended could prove to be extremely helpful in your health and wellness journey. Not only would you receive the same benefits with an EF as you would with any of the other IF methods, but you would gain a deeper sense of cleansing and connectivity with yourself and – for me, a deeper connection with God – have clarity about so many things in your life.
Why should I try fasting?
“Intermittent fasting is like cleaning for your body.”
After reading this so far, you may be thinking, “but why should I try intermittent fasting? What will it do for me?”
This is a good question to ask.
Aside from weight loss, there are many other health benefits to fasting intermittently.
The benefits of intermittent fasting
- Weight loss and body fat loss (duh, right?)
- IF boosts your metabolism and increases the speed of fat burning
- It lowers insulin and blood sugar levels in the body
- It changes the functionality of cells, genes, and hormones
- It lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes
- It reduces stress and inflammation in the body (TRUE STORY)
- Beneficial for heart problems
- May help prevent cancer
- It’s good for the brain
- It can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease
- It can enhance your life span by regulating hormones and other chemical imbalances in the body
The cons of intermittent fasting
Depending on who you ask, some people will tell you that there are no cons to fasting intermittently, but I will say this:
Fasting is not easy. It wasn’t designed to be easy. It is literally the practice of denying oneself the pleasures they desire for a period of time to achieve a goal – whether spiritual, physical, psychological, etc. With that said, some of the cons associated with intermittent fasting begins with the first and most obvious one:
YOU WILL HAVE HUNGER PANGS!
Sorry, love, but there’s no way of getting around that one. You will definitely experience hunger pangs but the beauty of this is that if you endure through those feelings – drink all the water, coffee, tea, sparkling water you need to survive! – it will pass and the rest of your fast will progressively become easier for you.
MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR YOU
As with many things in life, fasting is not a one-size-fits-all but it can be tailored to fit your lifestyle with the proper guidance of a dietician or your health care provider. For this reason, I always strongly suggest that you consult a physician if you are considering joining the intermittent fasting club.
Take it from someone who has been consistently practicing a variety of these intermittent fasting methods since 2018 – IF can and will change your life if you stick with it.
I’m sure glad that I have and plan to continue to do so…