We all fast every day from the last thing we ate at night which is hopefully dinner to when we break our fast in the morning or whenever we first eat something. Intermittent fasting is just extending the fast to 12-20 hours, depending on what your are comfortable with. Some people do longer fasts and tolerate them very well.
Why do intermittent fasting (IF)?
It helps your body burn your own fat instead of sugar. When you eat 6 small meals a day your body is burning sugar and storing fat due to the hormone insulin and you don’t lose weight as easily. When you fast for 12 hours or longer the insulin level is low and your body still needs glucose to carry on brain and bodily functions, but there is no glucose around so your fat stores are used for fuel.
Questions people often ask about intermittent fasting:
Isn’t this dangerous? No, most people have plenty of fat stores on their body to do this safely and I don’t recommend it for longer than 24 hours.
I thought breakfast was the most important meal of the day for our brain and energy? This is a myth. I have coffee with heavy whipping cream in the morning for breakfast since fat does not raise your insulin much and satisfies my hunger.
Won’t I feel tired? Most people that have been off sugar and flour for a few weeks can tolerate IF without feeling tired or weak. In fact, you may think more clearly and get more done. Sometimes I feel a little hungry but the feeling passes quickly. I do intermittent fasting on my busiest days 1-2 days a week for 20-24 hours and other days are 17-18 hour fasts.
If you do fast for 18-24 hours, you will need to drink a lot of water. I also use bone broth, or any kind of broth if I get tired of just drinking water. Intermittent fasting helped me lose weight and kept me from having weight loss plateaus. I plan on continuing my 18 hour fasts and doing 20 hour fasting once a week in maintenance.
Have you every tried IF? I’d love to know your experiences.
If you want more information on intermittent fasting, read Dr. Jason Fung’s book, The Obesity Code.