Intermittent fasting made easy – tips and tricks

Have you ever wondered what in the world is intermittent fasting?

 Does it just make you think of not eating for an entire day? That’s far from the truth – though I’m working my way to a day fast if we’re being honest. Intermittent fasting is a cycling pattern between eating and fasting.  

Some people report higher energy levels, less brain fog, and curbed cravings. I used to be one of those people that got hangry, you know – hungry and angry? Like to the MAX. Since starting intermittent fasting I really notice a difference when it comes to my appetite and how to control it. 

Common cycles include: 

16:8 (16 hours fasting – 8 hour eating window.)

18:16 (18 hours fasting – 6 hour eating window.)

12:12 (sunrise to sunset)

Extended day fasts

With the paleo diet on the rise, it’s no wonder more people are picking up intermittent fasting in hopes of going back to our early human kind roots.

It’s common knowledge that we’d have to forage for food, and with foraging comes having to go days with little to no sustenance. In doing this, we get rid of all the broken down, old cell parts when there’s no longer enough energy to sustain them. It is a regulated, orderly process to degrade and recycle cellular components. Fasting is thought to help this process along, sort of like an induced apoptosis (aka programed cell death.)

Think of this as your cells cleaning up around the house, Marie Kondo style. They’re looking around at their surroundings, and figuring out what is essential to keep since energy is at a higher demand for more functional cells. Intermittent fasting prompts your cells to do this function more often than when you’re not fasting, because you’re functioning in a deficit. 

Along with cellular repair, intermittent fasting is supposed to have other benefits too. One that I can personally attest to is improved insulin sensitivity. Like I said before, hanger was a HUGE issue, and I felt bad for anyone in my path when the time hit. Nowadays, that’s not the case, I’m resilient – ha!

Now, if you’re just starting to experiment with intermittent fasting, I personally recommend to take it slow. 

say you normally have breakfast at 8 am and get hungry again around looking around the office for snacks around 11 am. Try waiting until 9 am to have breakfast. You can even use an app like @zerofasting to help track your progress. They have preset fast ratios to choose from, and you can even set your own – they make it super simple for you! I used to write it down in a journal, and personally find this app to be VERY helpful and informational.

Once you’re comfortable bumping up the time you wait until breakfast, act accordingly to adjusting the time you eat lunch.

You may notice that with not eating right when you wake up, your food cravings may change as well. For example, something I’ve observed in my partner is when he doesn’t start his day with a carb-centric meal, he has an easier time waiting until the next meal.

You should be mindful during this process, there is no rush to health.

Be sure to drink PLENTY of water, and notice how you feel after eating certain foods. Maybe even break your fast with some vegan pesto or some buffalo seitan + dairy-free blue cheese massaged kale. If you’re looking for more on-the-go snacks or meals and don’t want to sacrifice your health, my favorite site is Thrive Market (hint: it won’t break the bank either.)

Like I mentioned above, there IS the option for a full day fast. I wouldn’t recommend this for the novice. If you’re doing this, I would try to make sure it’s at most a once a week ordeal. Because you doesn’t want to cause too much stress on your body and have negative effects, you need to take it slow.

If you’re new to this, maybe start out with a sunrise to sunset fast! And don’t forget, to take it easy, there isn’t a race to health! Besides, who wants to be known as the hangry person trying a new diet?

I personally love doing 16:8 on week days, and not fasting on the weekends.

Have you tried intermittent fasting before? Do you have any other tips? Let me know in the comments below, especially if you have a good app recommendation – we’re all about accessability and accountability here!

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