Fasting means to go without. Did you know our time from dinner to breakfast is a natural fast? Hopefully we are sleeping during that time. It’s a time for your body and brain to recover, rest, and digest.
Sometimes our digestion needs a break beyond that typical 8 – 12 hour overnight window that people tend to go without food. Intermittent fasting allows for extra or longer breaks in eating. The practice has grown in popularity due to its various health benefits.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
✔️ Burn more fat
✔️ Reduce inflammation
✔️ Metabolic reset
✔️ Increased focus
✔️ Higher energy and performance boost
✔️ Reset your digestion
✔️ Regulate insulin levels
✔️ Stop focusing so much on your next food/meals
The last two are near and dear to me. I actually didn’t think fasting was something I could do. I experienced low blood sugar most of my life and felt the need to constantly eat to manage it. I was surprised to learn that intermittent fasting can actually help with this issue.
The relief I got from planning, thinking about, making sure I have food is unreal. My eating window is smaller, so it’s simply not an option — which means it’s not a worry. I have found it to be more of a mental game — not willpower, but a game that expands my personal bandwidth — which I’m all about.
Intermittent Fasting Schedule
I follow a 16/8 schedule, meaning fast for 16 hours and eat within a window of 8. There are different fasting schedules and approaches out there, but this is a pretty popular one.
Here’s what it might look like: Dinner at 6 p.m. and then no more food until you break your fast at 10 a.m. You can determine what window works best with you schedule. Maybe it’s 9 – 5, 11 – 7, or 12 – 8 for you. I would advise you not to eat too late in the evening. A large meal before bed can cause digestive discomfort and slow your metabolism.
For people who are hungry first thing in the morning, this schedule may be hard to get used to. However, many breakfast skippers instinctively eat this way.
Fasting doesn’t have to be every day (hence: intermittent). For example, I’m in our Nutrition Response Testing practice three full days per week and it’s easy to do — I’m distracted. If I feel a bit of hunger I’ll grab a cup of tea or drink some water, but the hunger that might show up here is way different than the shaky, lightheaded, clammy feeling of my low blood sugar days. This is like a “hey, I might be feeling a little hungry” kind of nudge, and it’s so easy to manage. My fourth workday is from home, and I’m on the phone from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. straight, so it’s easy for me to fast that day as well with an ongoing mug of warm tea. I may take a Perfect Amino shake in the afternoon.
My three home days, I’ll start eating between 10 – 11 a.m. instead of after the noon hour, and by Monday I feel ready to begin my fasting routine again.
What Can I Drink During My Fast?
- Apple cider vinegar
Some camps say that any beverage with calories will break your fast. Other camps will tell you that any beverage below 50 calories is OK (ideally high-fat, moderate-protein, no-carb). These would include:
- Bone broth
- Bulletproof coffee (with MCT oil and grass-fed butter)
- Perfect Amino shake — my choice
Breaking the Fast
You could have 2 – 3 meals inside those eight hours. For me, I have found I am completely satisfied with two meals, sometimes less.
Do whatever feels right and intuitive. This is where I love the freedom of intermittent fasting. There are foods I need to avoid and foods I feel best eating, so I stay within those reins myself. But some find more freedom with their eating having given their digestion a nice, long break!
Your Relationship With Food
Many people find a new comfort level with food with intermittent fasting. They aren’t so hung up on food all the time. They have structure to their day, and they don’t allow food to enter their brain space when it simply isn’t “eating time.” But when it is eating time, they allow themselves to eat freely. I encourage you to see intermittent fasting as a technique to improve health and digestion, not as a diet. You still need to fuel your body with nutrient-dense real food.
If you are struggling with low energy, brain fog, weight loss, or wonky digestion, schedule a discovery call today.