Body and metabolism “resets” are becoming a hot topic. There are a variety of ways to jump-start your metabolism, but Intermittent Fasting (IF) is one of the most effective and recently the most talked about and recommended eating strategy by many doctors, nutritionists, dieticians, and health coaches. I call it an eating strategy rather than a diet because one does not really need to restrict what they are eating, instead one restricts when they are eating, although I do recommend eating whole foods and avoiding heavily processed foods. Here’s how I have been using intermittent fasting to help reset my body and my metabolism.
What happens when we STAY fed?
Most of us are in a constant state of being fed. While the body is in this “fed” state, it is working hard to digest, breakdown, and assimilate the nutrients. However, there are no calories being burned.
We are often told to eat small portions frequently, which actually puts our bodies under more stress with a never-ending cycle of sugar and grains. As a result, our body is working hard with little to no outcome. In other words, the body works nonstop with no time to repair or reset a healthy metabolism, ultimately bringing it to a halt.
What happens when we are NOT fed?
When you don’t eat, your body has a chance to initialize repairing processes, allowing natural cell death called apoptosis. In a “non-fed” state, the body will use its glycogen and fat stores as fuel in a process called ketosis. This is the point where metabolism becomes more consistent as the body gets enough time to rest, recover, and use the calories it has stored.
Intermittent Fasting: the best strategy to reset your body
Intermittent fasting is considered to be period of between 16 and 24 hours during which the body receives no food. There is no need to panic; you will eat every day. You will just go longer in between eating. For example, I would have dinner around 6 or 7 p.m., abstain from breakfast, and then eat lunch 11 a.m., or at noon, depending upon if I was doing a 16 hour or 18 hour fast. For a 24-hour fast, I would refrain from eating anything until dinner the next day. Intermittent fasting affects both insulin and growth hormones. In the non-fed state, insulin levels decrease, allowing the body to access fat reserves as fuel. Meanwhile, growth hormone levels increase, allowing the body to build lean muscle tissue.
Basic guidelines for successful intermittent fasting:
- Increase your fluid intake one to two days prior to fasting. This may include water as well as herbals teas.
- Start with small changes, like pushing your breakfast back an hour or two so you ease your way into fasting. As your body adjusts and becomes more comfortable with fasting, you can work up to longer fasts.
- While you are fasting make sure to drink plenty of water during the fasting hours, this will keep you hydrated and feeling full. You can also drink unsweetened black coffee, black tea, and herbal tea, just do not add any dairy, sugar or sweeteners of any kind.
- If you are not one keen on drinking plain water, it is okay to add a slice of fresh lemon (this will actually help with your digestion too. I personally like to have a glass of warm water with some freshly squeezed lemon (1/4 to 1/2 of a small lemon) and a pinch of cayenne pepper first thing in the morning upon waking up. I find this to be a great morning detox and it helps to give me that little boost to wake up, even before having any coffee.
- Try to stick with whole foods, especially raw fruits, vegetables whenever you can as well as nuts and seeds. You should try avoiding anything with gluten (white flour or any gluten containing flours or grains), sugars, dairy, or any processed foods.
- Start by fasting a few hours a day, then gradually increasing the duration.
- Ideally, you should fast during the morning as it helps the body rev up for another day by eliminating the waste collected while you slept.
As you grow accustomed to intermittent fasting, you will begin to become less and less aware of it. You will soon be able to identify when your body needs a “reset” and an intermittent fast. Intermittent fasting has made a huge impact on my health and weight loss goals; give it a try and enjoy a happier, healthier body!
However, you choose to fast, remember to eat normal-sized meals, and try to avoid snacking during your eating window. To help you feel satisfied between meals, make sure to include a high-quality protein source and plenty of non-starchy vegetables at each meal.
If you would like to know if Intermittent Fasting is for you, please schedule a one-on-one strategy session, or sign up to join my amazing program: Intermittent Fasting (IF) The Easy Way today!