Intermittent Fasting Dos and Donts

Intermittent Fasting

Fasting  is a hot buzz word today, but it really isn’t a new concept. Everybody’s doing it! Fasting has a multitude of health benefits, but there are a lot of way it can go wrong. You can actually work against the goals you’re trying to achieve.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

IF is not a diet, it is simply an eating schedule. It is beneficial for your body to be at digestive rest for a longer period of time vs always being in a “fed state”. So when we iplememnt this strategy, you have a longer fasted period and a shorter feeding window. 

There are many different fasting protocols- 12:12, 14:6, 16: 8, 20:4. The most common form of intermittent fasting, and the form we encourage in the FWTFL is “16:8 protocol”. You will eat all your meals in an 8 hour “feeding window” and spend 16 hours in a “fasting window”. Most people decide to skip breakfast and eat their first meal around 12 PM, consuming all their food before 8 PM before closing their window. Keep in mind, this is not one size fits all- some people may need to stick to a 12:12 or 14:6 window based on their specific needs/goals.

Benefits of IF include:

  • increased energy
  • mental clarity
  • reduced cravings
  • better sleep
  • improved digestion
  • learn to eat to live rather than live to eat
  • you will rely more on hunger cues and eat when you’re hungry rather than eat just b/c you think you’re suppose to!
  • decrease in insulin levels paired with an increase in human growth hormone
  • both facilitate fat burning-increased insulin sensitivity which lowers risk of type 2 diabetes-while you are at digestive rest, your body will have longer to heal
  • therefore boosting your immune system
  • you will become leaner/accelerated fat loss
  • you have a shorter eating period, so you’re most likely consuming less

Fasting allows your body to shift from being a sugar burner to now becoming a fat burner. Instead of burning off glycogen, you will now be able to burn fat (or TG’s) for fuel. 

Many of you are coming to the FASTer Way to Fat Loss after years of each 6 mini meals a day. You’ve been told by the wellness/fitness industry that you should do this to rev up your metabolism. However, There is simply no evidence or research to prove or support this concept. In fact, we are able to optimize/maximize your metabolism & accelerate fat loss with this strategy of IF. 

  • Glucose and glycogen is the preferred energy source of the body. It takes roughly 12 hours to fully digest your last meal & burn through those glycogen stores. When you are eating 6 small meals a day, you never completely burn through those glu/gly stores and are not allowing your body to dip into the fat stores. 
  • Also, when In the fed state (anytime your body is digesting food), your body’s storage and building hormone, insulin, is high and prevents you from using body fat to make the fasted state (8-12 hours after your body finishes digesting), insulin is low and you are better able to use body fat to make energy. 

BIGGEST MISTAKES I see people make with fasting

  1. Pick a IF protocol w/proper research: 12:12, 16:8 (most common), 20:4 (may work well for guys, but would not recommend for women), 24 hr fast every other day (DO NOT recommend for women). Mistake people make- people pick one of these strategies without doing the research. Not really understanding WHY they have chosen a particular type of fasting. We want to take advantage of the benefits of IF while not risking hormonal or metabolic problems
    1. Do your research & educate yourself before trying
    2. Too extreme.
    3. Too hard too fast- can be too difficult for you. ease your way into fasting with a slow transition
    4. I see this a lot- you start fasting and its so EASY to just not eat, so you stretch your fasting window out a little longer every day- you end up fasting 18-20 hrs a day. This is simply not necessary. Its nearly impossible to get enough to eat in a 4 hour window. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing!
  2. Not drinking enough water- drink a glass of water right when you wake up. Electrolyte water will ensure that your body is able to retain that hydration & provide the minerals that your body & your hormones need to be balanced.
    1. Speaking of liquids- pay attention to what you’re consuming during your fasting window. Alcohol, artifical sweetners, sugar in your creamers, over 40 calories.
    2. Insulin stops fat burning, actively storing fat.
  3. Don’t eat enough during eating window or over-eating during your eating window
    1. Difference b/w choosing to eat within a certain window as opposed to just not eating.
    2. Eat until satiated during your eating window. If you dont’ eat enough you’ll never be able to turn off your hunger hormone grehlin – so you’re just hangry, your body never gets enough food during your fasting period.
    3. Binge and restrict- eating too much b/c you’re starving when you break your fast
  4. Eat the wrong types of foods, wrong amounts – macros/micros
    1. This is why we track our macros in the FW
  5. Over exercising in addition to fasting.
    1. Overstressing your body by under-eating & over-exercising
    2. Not eating enough, not tracking, extreme exercise-adding in additional stressors, in addition to IF- run yourself out of hormones
  6. IF w/extreme low carb lifestyle or an extremely HIGH carb diet. I don’t recommend these two strategies together. Can cause suboptimal thyroid function, adrenal fatigue. You may feel fantastic for the first few weeks, but eventually it will catch up with you. Great energy, lose a lot of weight really fast, etc. but then you hit a wall. Fasting will just make it worse.

On the flip side- fasting is a strategy that helps to manage your insulin levels, which is our fat storing hormone. So if you’re over-consuming carbohydrates, your insulin level is going to be high and you’ll be even hungrier even if you’re eating until you’re full. High carbs means you’re prob eating less protein and fat. Protein and fat slow down the release of carbohydrates into your body so you don’t have the spikes and falls in your BG levels and therefore you’re not hungry every couple of hours.

  1. Not being flexible with your fasting/eating window. This is KEY to creating a sustainable lifestyle. Becoming overly rigid or letting fasting rule your life is not the point! This is a lifestyle. It can be flexible.
  2. Not getting enough sleep- when you don’t get enough sleep, your body never fully recovers from the day before- increase cortisol and increase ghrelin (hunger hormone) the next day- you have increase hunger hormone because your body is trying to compensate for the fact that it didn’t get to repair during sleep, so its trying to get more energy from food instead- so it makes it really hard to get through your fast the next day. 

All of this is not to scare you, it is just to make you aware that you need to have a plan and a purpose with your fasting protocol. 

If you want to learn how to intermittent fast the proper way I would love to invite you to join my next round of the FASTer Way to Fat Loss where I will walk you through all of these principles. Register HERE

**NOT RECOMMEND doing this on your own long term without tracking macros. It is important that you have a purpose, a plan, and a guide.

* before you try fasting, consult your doctor.

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