Intermittent Fasting is basically “not eating”. It is not starving yourself. It is choosing when you will eat. You are omitting frequent meals and snacks. It is actually extremely easy to follow.
A lot of times, people will complicate the concept and they have all types of questions. They want to know if they can have their supplements, tea, coffee, water?
Yes, you can have these things but the point to a true fast is only water and nothing else. If you add supplements or tea or coffee, you can still consider that fasting and it will not hurt your fast.
To help understand Intermittent Fasting and to make it easier to grasp, you actually want to allow your body to dictate when it wants to eat or “feed”. You can also allow your body to dictate how long it is going to go without eating or “fasting”. This means that the times may vary because the goal is to eat only when you are truly hungry and to fast when you are not hungry.
It might sound super simple but it needs to be explained in detail because at the first hint of slight hunger, people start eating. This is not what we want to do.
Even in the morning at 8 am, you have a hormonal spike of cortisol. That is an adrenal, stress hormone. This will make you feel a little bit hungry. You may find that you wake up feeling hungry but that passes and you suddenly don’t feel hungry any longer.
Slight hunger is normal and can be ignored. A strong hunger will follow. You will feel your stomach rumbling and a bit of light-headedness. You may feel a bit grouchy and your head may be a bit sore. This means that it’s time to eat and break your fast.
The more your body gets used to this, the more you are going to go from sugar burning to fat burning more efficiently. This takes time to get accustomed to.
Another factor is the estimation of effort it takes to get into this hard-core. When you are fully into a ketogenic diet, you are comfortable and you have cognitive benefits. You feel focused. You have good concentration. You have improved memory. You can learn faster. This happens over time. For some people it can take three to four months. It can also take this amount of time for weight loss to occur and blood sugars to drop back to normal. It takes time because your whole life you have done it one way and now you are trying to undo the damage.
The idea is to turn to a ketogenic lifestyle and intermittent fasting for the long haul. Allow it some time to see the desired benefits.
So how do we start a ketogenic lifestyle with intermittent fasting included?
The first step is to lower your carbs. That is automatically going to help you be less hungry so you can go longer between meals and snacks. Now you are able to go for three meals with no snacks. This is the first goal.
It is really important to add enough healthy fat so you are able to go from one meal to the next. It is also important to add enough vegetables to help you go from one meal to the next. A big mistake that people make is to try to do this without enough vegetables. You require vegetables for the potassium, magnesium and other minerals and vitamins which help heal insulin resistance as well as the fiber that eats the microbes in your gut. This produces butyric acid which also helps heal insulin resistance, decreases hunger, decreases blood sugar, feeds the colon cells and helps the immune system.
The combination of healthy fats and vegetables is going to help you go from one meal to the next and be better able to dictate when it’s time for you to eat.
I think that we all need to make an effort to follow a healthier diet and also to add a bit of intermittent fasting to our lives. Once we give it a chance, we will be able to better understand the benefits that we can achieve with this way of eating and way of life.
About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.
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