By: Rick Bellanti – Dec. 2018
Intermittent fasting is quickly becoming one of the most popular health and fitness trends with favorable results for sustainable weight loss from diet centers, nutritionist and weight loss coaches. It is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and not eating (known as fasting). Fasting increases your bodies responsiveness to insulin, which regulates your blood sugar and helps with controlling hunger.
There are a couple different ways we use intermittent fasting, some will do a daily fasting and others choose to do a weekly fasting. Both of which split the day or week into simple eating periods and fasting periods. The most popular form of fasting is called the 8-16 Method (which is the plan I am currently doing myself). It is where you choose and eight hour period in the day where you will do all your healthy eating. Then fast for the other sixteen hours of the day, by not eating anything. Which means no calories should be consumed in those sixteen hours although you may have non caloric drinks such as water, black coffee or tea. You may still take medications (as long as they don’t require you take them with food, vitamins and supplements are okay to have as well, as long as they are free from calories.
Most people already fast for eight hours a day (by sleeping), after all that’s why your first meal of the day is called breakfast meaning “Break Fast”, and just by extending that fasting period a few hours before bed and a few hours after waking up, could reap some amazing health benefits. Studies have shown that by fasting intermittently daily, could not only help with weight loss but also help protect against diseases like Type II diabetes and heart disease by showing significant reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels, thus improving your quality life greatly.
There is a convenience factor of fasting that I like, knowing that the eight hour block I choose to eat is 11:00am and my last meal consumption is 7pm. I fast between 7pm and 11am only consuming my nightly supplements and plenty of water. You won’t miss eating much because the majority of those sixteen fasting hours you are asleep. Breaking the fast in the morning (in my case 11:00am with a nutritious protein shake). Followed by a lunch and dinner with healthy snacks in between, to keep your metabolism burning at high capacity during those eight hours of non-fasting.
You can also choose to try a weekly fasting method, where you eat like you normally would for five days and choose two days during the week to fast, which you would not consume any solid food with calories for two complete days. Also, known as a two-day cleansing. Where you would just consume a specific cleanse drink throughout the day cleansing your body (on a cellular level) and staying away from calories.
There’s strong evidence these types of cleanses bolster stress resistance and combat inflammation at a cellular level as you experience a metabolic switch in which the liver’s energy stores are depleted, and so the body’s cells start using fat and ketones for energy. I have tried this method and it did work with much success for me in the past. However, being recently diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, I could not go the longer two day periods with no calories as my insulin levels would drop to low, and I would experience dizziness. So I choose to do the 8-16 Method.
It’s not yet clear whether there are any potential long-term risks associated with intermittent fasting, but it is a good way to jump start a weight loss program for an overweight or obese person. Remember to always check with your doctor first before starting any type of fasting or weight loss program and remember there is no amount of exercise or fasting that will outrun your bad eating habits, so continue to eat healthy foods limiting daily carbohydrates and added sugars.
Rick Bellanti is a wellness columnist and is on a journey himself to lose 240lbs, and has lost 160lbs since the start of 2015. You can find Rick on Facebook at: Getting Healthy with Rick Bellanti ◊