I love coaching clients!
I love health protocols!
...and I love results!
I mean, who doesn't love results?
One of the best ways to reduce inflammation in the body is through fasting. When we give our gastrointestinal tract some time off from digesting food, we decrease insulin in the body and give our digestive system a well-deserved break.
Fasting, actually intermittent fasting to be specific, is one of my favorite protocols to introduce to clients who want to boost their energy, lose weight, and focus on lowering their blood sugar.
Is IF right for you? Hard to say. But it is NOT right for you if you have had an eating disorder; if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Most men do beautifully on intermittent fasting protocols. They seem to settle right into the groove. Many men can adapt a 16 hour fast from the jump and quickly work their way up to 18 hours, and some do well on 20 hours fasts. Their "eating window" is respectively 8 hours, 6 hours, and 4 hours. My female clients have noticed mood swings and hormone disruptions when embarking on longer fasts. Many report a fasting window of 10 to 14 hours as being optimal. This is not an exact science and I always encourage my clients to listen to their bodies and to pivot accordingly.
If you are new to intermittent fasting, then the easiest way to look at it is to take the 24-hour clock, and then consider the time from when dinner is finished, through the night - while you sleep - and then the hours before breakfast in the morning as the fast. So if you finish dinner just before 18:00 and break your fast at noon the following day, you would have fasted for 18 hours. If you allow yourself an "eating window" between 12:00 and 18:00, you are following an 18:6 protocol.
Is this making sense?
My intention with this blog post is to arm you with the basics so you can try on one of the best-kept secrets in wellness and anti-aging. Although there is a lot of information out there, it isn't always easy to understand intermittent fasting and whether it is right for us or not.
I will be fully transparent and say that many, including myself, are drawn to IF because it offers a way to adapt the body to optimize fat burning as fuel.
Let's talk a little about fueling our bodies. What we metabolize - depends upon a considerable number of factors like food and drink, quality, quantity, and composition - our vitamin and mineral balance. Our mental health, exercise levels, and sleep patterns, as well as the day to day function of our body, for example, our gastrointestinal tract health, pancreas function, and insulin sensitivity. We are complex beings, and there are many factors to consider when we start to talk about metabolism.
Please consider what happens in your body when you are in a fasted state and why you can benefit from allowing your insulin levels to decrease.
"IF makes intuitive sense. The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut and eventually ends up as molecules in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains (think white flours and rice), are quickly broken down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. What we do not use, we store in our fat cells as, well, fat. But sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. Insulin brings the sugar into the fat cells and keeps it there.
Between meals, as long as we don’t snack, our insulin levels will go down, and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy. We lose weight if we let our insulin levels go down. The entire idea of IF is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off our fat." - Monique Tello, MC, MPH
So by allowing our insulin levels to lower during our fasted state or between meals for that matter, we allow our bodies to recover and become more insulin sensitive again. We also begin to optimize our fat burning, which is why many people experiment with intermittent fasting in the first place.
You can test out intermittent fasting easily enough, but I will encourage you to consult your family doctor or chiropractor, whomever your primary health care provider is, before starting this or any other protocol.
Nutrition Consultant & Lifestyle Coach
Mother of two