Powerful Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting and How To Get Started
Most of us are familiar with traditional fasting. Who hasn’t heard of Gandhi fasting or about biblical fasting?
Intermittent Fasting is different and something I think you should consider.
I’m not talking about 40 days in which you only consume water and juice.
I’m talking about fasting for a period of time during the day to help you reduce junk calories, lose weight, and age more gracefully.
I started researching and implementing intermittent fasting about 3 years ago. I first learned about it from Dr. Sara Solmon and then I noticed Dr. Mercola was writing about it.
I’ve studied up over the years and my eating window changes according to my schedule.
Even if I stop for a few weeks I always return to it because I feel more in control of my eating and I eat less junk food. I also like the fact that when I do eat junk food I have a way to help my body burn it off.
I learned there are many benefits to it and it’s actually quite simple once you get the hang of it.
Related: 14 Powerful Essential Oils For Weight Loss
Let’s take a look at the benefits of Intermittent Fasting and then I’ll tell you a few ways you can easily get started doing it.
I’ll remind you that I am not a doctor. I have researched this but there is no way I can do an exhaustive post on everything I’ve read.
I will link to studies and other blogs so that you can do your due diligence before you try it.
Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
There are many benefits of Intermittent Fasting that struck me when I first heard about it. Here are just a few:
1) It Helps You Burn Fat
If you don’t eat for a stretch of 12 hours or more, your body is forced to burn body fat for energy instead.
There is no evidence that eating every few hours keeps your metabolism up. In fact, for some people eating every few hours is what is keeping them fat.
To burn fat you need to give your body time to do its job.
Your body can’t burn off the food if it is constantly working on digesting it. So when you stop eating your body can focus on using it.
The longer you go without food the more likely you will get to your fat stores and the more likely you are to lose weight.
When you first start fasting it may take a few weeks for your body to adjust to fat burning mode because it has been accustom to burning sugar.
Give your body some time to adjust.
2) It’s Anti- Aging
This is a big one for me. I will be 51 this year. I am fighting the aging process in every way I can.
Studies suggest that Intermittent Fasting increases the rate of HGH production. HGH has an important role in slowing the aging process.
Fasting also helps protect the body from oxidative stress and inflammation that increases the signs of aging.
To get the most anti-aging benefits you should reduce the number of processed foods you eat and increase your intake of good fat.
Exercising helps increased production of HGH so if you exercise while you are fasting then you are just pumping up that production.
I exercise when I’m fasting. Generally, I never have a problem feeling weak or tired. If on a certain day I feel like eating before my workout, I do.
3) Helps Reduce Sugar Cravings
Another great benefit of IF is that it helps reduce your cravings for sugar. As your body adjusts to burning fat it will be easier for you to fast for as much as 18 hours at a time and still feel full.
Your cravings for sugar will slowly go away and managing your weight will be easier.
4) Boosts Your Immune System
Fasting reduces free radical damage and as we learned above helps regulate inflammation. Those 2 conditions increase your risk for diseases like cancer. When you reduce free radicals you essentially starve off cancer.
Studies show fasting triggers cell regeneration of damaged cells and helps you recover from illness.
Intermittent fasting helps reset your body to use fat as fuel, and evidence confirms that when your body becomes adapted to burning fat instead of sugar as its primary fuel, you dramatically reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
5) Helps Your Body Naturally Detox More Effectively
Our body is constantly detoxing and cleansing from what we are exposed to but it can be slowed when your body is digesting food. Digesting food decreases its cellular duties.
Giving your body time to focus solely on cellular repair can be beneficial for cleansing.
How To Get Started Intermittent Fasting
There are many different ways you can intermittent fast. Here are some of the most popular.
Intermittent Fasting 8/16 Plan
You’re already fasting through the night as you sleep. An easy way to get the benefits of intermittent fasting is to simply go longer without food in the morning.
Skip breakfast and break your fast with lunch.
For instance, you will eat nothing until noon. Then you will stop eating for the day at 8. Stick to water, coffee, and tea the rest of the day.
This gives you an 8-hour eating window and gives your body 16 hours of rest.
Isagenix 30 Day Fasting and Cleansing Program
A popular company called Isagenix has a program specifically designed to combine intermittent fasting with a nourishing cleanse drink, meal replacement protein shakes, and real food.
Isagenix has been helping people implement intermittent fasting since 2009. They started with a 9-day system (see it here)but then realized people wanted a longer program.
I recommend the nutritional cleansing and fasting system to anyone who is new to fasting and to those who have been fasting without results.
I found out quickly when I started fasting that I needed a nutrient dense meal to break my fast that was quick and easy.
I don’t have time in the middle of the day to be worried about making a full meal that will fill me up.
I use the protein shakes and cleanse drink (see it here) along with their other support products to get the proper nutrients throughout the day.
I also drink the Isagenix coffee (see it here) that is infused with coconut oil and green tea.
The Fast 5 Intermittent Fasting program was developed by Bert Herring.
He initially wrote the book Fast 5 Diet and his new book is AC: The Power of Appetite Correction.
The Fast-5 Diet
This fasting is different than the 16/8 protocol in that you shrink your eating window to only 5 consecutive hours in a day.
I found his Fast 5 Diet book the most helpful in understanding why the shorter window works so well.
You can make that eating window any time of the day that works for your schedule. Then the rest of the hours of the day only consume no caloric beverages like black coffee and water.
Ideally, you would eat real food but the ratio is up to your appetite preference.
Allowing your body to rest for at least 18 hours allows it to really dig deep into your fat stores. Also, the longer you fast the more immune boosting benefits.
Herring suggests giving your body at least 3 weeks to adjust to fasting. This is the case with just about any diet change.
My Results with Fast-5 Diet and Isagenix Products
I first heard about Dr. Herring on Charlene Johnson’s podcast on the first day of our month in Florida last year and decided that since I would be indulging extra junk food during our trip I would shorten my eating window like he suggested and see what would happen.
I made a point to always open my eating window at 1 pm with an Isagenix shake (get yours here) and I always stopped eating at 6 pm. I also included the Isagenix Cleanse For Life and Accelerator.
About 3 weeks in I noticed I started losing weight despite the junk food I was eating. (yes, I took a scale on vacation)
It was the first year I hadn’t gone back home after our month in Florida that I wasn’t weighing an extra 5-10 pounds!
I’ve continued for a year with a 5-hour window and it’s really working out good for me.
I found when I keep my eating window to 5 hours I don’t binge eat and I don’t think about food all the time.
If I plan to be out at night with friends or family then I adjust my eating window. I’m not legalistic about it either.
There may be times fasting for longer than 12 hours is just not possible because of family or business events. I just stretch out my fasting window when my routine gets back to normal.
I drink black coffee, green tea, and water during my fasting window.
Intermittent Fasting 5:2 Plan
A different take on intermittent fasting has you eating about 500 calories of food for 2 days a week. This is called the 5:2 plan or The Fast Diet.
The Fast Diet
This one was developed by a British journalist and doctor, Michael Mosley.
Simply select 2 days of the week that you will eat only about 500 calories.
The rest of the week eat like you normally do.
Stick to water, black coffee, and tea when you are fasting.
Eat Stop Eat
This method developed by Brad Pion is simple. All you have to do is fast for roughly 24 hours long (split between 2 days) for once or twice a week (but never consecutive days).
Eat Stop Eat
During your fast, you can drink calorie-free beverages like the above methods.
Eat regular meals and healthy food the rest of the time.
I first read about Brad on Bulletproof.com. He lays out his plan for you in his “Eat Stop Eat” book.
Do Your Research On Intermittent Fasting
The Complete Guide to Fasting
Do some research on your own. There are many reputable sources.
I’ve already mentioned some books above but also another one to consider is “The Complete Guide To Fasting” by Jimmy Moore and Dr. Jason Fung.
Podcasts About Intermittent Fasting
Here are some podcasts I’ve listened to that you may find helpful in your quest to learn more about fasting.
Chalene Johnson Podcast – Chalene’s podcast is not about intermittent fasting but she’s interviewed several people about it. What I like is that she interviewed people with different fasting methods. Chalene is a big proponent of learning about what works for you.
Here are the links directly to each of her fasting interviews:
Bert Herring – Fast 5 Protocol
Jason Fung – Are 6 Meals A Day Making Us Fat?
Jimmy Moore – Fasting For Weightloss
Dr. Mcayla Sarno – How to Identify Emotional Eating and My 3 Day Fast
Melissa McAllister – High-Fat Diets and Fasting
Dr. Sara Solomon – Intermittent Fasting Flexible Dieting and Macros
The Intermittent Fasting Podcast – Gin Stephens and Melanie Avalon demystify the intermittent fasting lifestyle. Gin Stephens has 2 books about Intermittent Fasting that are really good. “Delay Don’t Deny” and the follow-up book ” Feast without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don’t Deny Lifestyle.
Passive Body– Maarten Schrader has over 14 short podcasts about Intermittent Fasting that I found to be informative and quick to the point.
What To Drink During Your Fasting Window
The best thing to stick with during your fasting window is water, tea, and black coffee.
Some people can get away with adding a little stevia to their coffee. Others can add cream without it breaking their fast and taking them out of fat burning.
I use this brand of stevia (this brand)in my coffee and it doesn’t affect my fasting.
You have to test it for yourself.
If you don’t find you are losing weight then you should evaluate what you are drinking during your fasting window.
Here are a few other liquids most people can drink without it affecting fat burning (but test for yourself).
Apple Cider Vinegar
Unsweetened Almond Milk (a little in your coffee)
Heavy Cream (a little in your coffee)
Again, test everything. See what your body will allow.
What To Eat During Your Eating Window
You will get different opinions about what to eat during your eating window.
Yes, it’s possible to lose weight when you intermittent fast and eat just about anything. Especially, if you shrink your eating window to 4-5 hours a day.
However, the best thing you can do for your health is to eat the healthiest food possible during that eating window so you get the most nourishment.
You will look and feel better on real food over fast food.
A person eating organic fruits, organic vegetables, and organic meat will look vibrant and healthy.
A person eating junk food all day will be pale, probably have dry skin, and won’t feel their healthiest.
If you aren’t in the habit of eating clean whole foods you can use this time to learn how to do that. After all, you won’t be making a ton of food when you are fasting.
Generally, I break my fast with a protein shake (this brand) with added greens then snack on nuts or berries until I have a healthy dinner with the family.
Tips To Get You Through Your Fasting Window
People always ask me how I feed the girls when I’m fasting. Here are some things that may help you.
Remember, it gets easier the longer you do it.
Tell Your Family
You want to be sure to tell your family you are fasting so they will understand why you aren’t eating with them. Don’t make it about weight loss. Make it about being healthier.
I’ve addressed the many benefits of fasting that have nothing to do with losing weight.
Sure, you may want to lose weight but ultimately we all want to be healthy so we can live longer, productive lives with our family.
Sometimes, family members won’t support your efforts if you say you are fasting for weight loss but who can argue with being healthier.
Be sure to talk to your kids about the health aspects of fasting rather than weight loss. The last thing you want to do is have your children worrying about what they are eating or if they need to lose weight, too.
Cook Meals Ahead Of Time
Cooking meals when you’re fasting isn’t easy. As much as possible cook and prep during your eating hours.
For example, if you’re fasting for 16 hours per day, make sure your eating hours are around dinner time so you can cook and eat with your family. Prep breakfast and lunches as needed or put your spouse in charge of those.
If you are fasting one day on, one day off, or fast two days per week, for example, have some meals ready to heat for your loved ones.
Get something started in the slow cooker for them, or prepare some freezer meals that don’t take much preparation other than heating up.
Drink A Big Glass Of Water Before You Start Meal Prep
If you do have to prepare meals, head to the grocery store, or go pick up some food for the rest of your family during your fasting hours, try drinking some water.
There’s nothing like a big glass of cool water to fill you up. It will help you resist the temptation to sneak a bite. You’ve got this and you’ll be so proud when you make it through your fasting time.
Instead of water, you could also try fixing a big cup of tea or coffee depending on the time of day and what works best for you.
If you are doing an Isagenix cleanse day, drink your Cleanse For Life.
Focus On Feeding Your Family
No matter how you feel, you’re not starving to death. You can make it without the food just fine, even if you’re fixing a big pot of pasta for the kids. It is a mind game your body is playing on you and it’s time to play hard as well.
Instead of getting caught up in how good the food would taste and how hungry you are, force yourself to focus on feeding your family, nourishing their bodies and the souls of your loved ones.
Prepare The Meal And Go For A Walk
When it gets really tough, finish cooking the meal and then excuse yourself and go for a walk while everyone else eats and cleans up.
Sometimes the best strategy is to simply walk away. I promise it will get easier as your body and your mind get used to this new way of eating.
Use Essential Oils
There are several different essential oils you can use to help you avoid eating during your fasting time.
Be sure to get my Free E-book that will give you 14 Essential Oils that will help you eat less and lose weight.
Cinnamon Oil – this oil has been shown to help balance blood sugar levels. (get it here)
Peppermint Oil – helps reduce hunger cravings. (get it here)
Ginger Oil – helps reduce inflammation and reduce sugar cravings. (get it here)
Content – this blend of oils by Isagenix helps curb cravings and can be added to your water or protein shake. (get it here)
Warning: Do not ingest oils that are not marked GRAS (generally regarded as safe) or are not labeled for supplement use.
Try These Tips To Get The Best Results From Intermittent Fasting
As a review, here are the tips to help you start intermittent fasting and get the best results.
–Start slow and don’t expect dramatic changes right away. It may take your body time to adjust.
-You will get the best results if you stop eating high sugar foods.
–Eat low glycemic foods and include plenty of fat, protein, and fiber.
-Select whole foods, grass-fed beef and eggs, organic whey, and nutrient-dense foods.
-Be sure to check with your doctor before you start if you have any health concerns.
–Don’t drastically cut your calories. This isn’t about eating less it is about allowing your body to digest the food you do eat.
-Don’t be legalistic. If your friends invite you to dinner. Go. Eat. Have fun. The next day you can just extend your fasting window.
–Stick to black coffee. I sweeten mine with a little stevia. Drink lots of water during your fasting window.
-Try fasting with the Isagenix Cleansing System (get it here). It will help you cleanse from toxins while adapting to fasting.
I Know I Made It Sound Simple
I made Intermittent Fasting sound simple but I know it can be overwhelming if this is the first time you’ve heard about it.
Actually, the methods are simple. Doing it is another story. 🙂
Fasting gets easier the longer you do it. It does take some time to adjust. Don’t expect the first time you fast for it to be easy.
You have to listen to your body. If you’ve been trying to lose weight and nothing is working then you should try fasting.
If you try it and it stresses you or doesn’t improve your well being then don’t do it. You have to do what’s right for you.
It takes some trial and error but I think it’s worth giving it a try.
Intermittent Fasting is about restricting your eating during a window of time to allow your body to burn off the food you eat.
Reminding myself of the benefits of fasting that extend far beyond weight loss has helped me make it part of my lifestyle.
If it’s something you want to try, just pick a method and get started.
Let Me Know If You Plan To Try Intermittent Fasting