When I first heard about Intermittent Fasting (IF) I thought it was like anorexia got purchased by a big media company, went through a rebranding and then was hostility taken over by a church deep in the mountains of some unknown country in Africa. How could “fasting” be healthy? We’ve been told our entire lives that eating smaller meals more frequently was the “KEY” to weight management/weight loss. We’ve been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, low fat, watch your calories, blah blah blah. All of these notions went through my mind, but I kept hearing more and more about the benefits of intermittent fasting.
What is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?
Intermittent Fasting or IF for short, is simply restricting your eating “window” to a certain number of hours throughout the day, and not eating the rest of the time.
There is also the more extreme (and one I’ve yet to try out myself) multi-day fast, where you don’t eat for days at a time.
We’re going to focus on the intraday version of IF.
In order to get your attention, before we get into the sciency things, I’ve lost 20 pounds by adopting Intermittent Fasting and adjusting what I eat…And maintained the weight loss.
But the benefits that I’ve gained from intermittent fasting are not only the weight loss:
- My productivity has gone through the roof.
- I can focus for much longer periods of time.
- I spend less on food $$$
Let’s break down what does a typical day look like, and I want to be extremely clear here, this is not exactly how everyday goes. I enjoy a lot of flexibility with my diet and adjust things here and there frequently. That being said these are my basic guidelines.
My fast begins at 6pm the night before, that is to say, this is my last meal. This isn’t always the case, sometimes dinners are later in the evening, sometimes I have a handful of almonds or macadamia nuts, and definitely some wine!
By 10-12 pm I’m asleep until 6am. This is a 12 hour fast already! Very easy to get that first 12 hours of fasting in the bank, but the next few hours are the magic hours. The first couple of days are a bit challenging in the mornings, for most of us breakfast is an immediate thing.
Coffee, Tea and even Bulletproof Coffee (Coffee, grass fed organic butter and coconut oil or MCT oil) do not break the fast. If you want a mega boost of focus and higher level thinking then you should definitely get on the Bulletproof train…read more about BP Coffee here.
For me, the mornings have become my most productive times. I get a walk in, I write, return emails, I get plenty of work done, meditate for a few minutes and get a work out in.
The workout is the absolute last thing I do before I eat, or break the fast. At first I thought there was no way I’d avoid the emergency room if I worked out after not eating for 16-18 hours, but then something happened. My body craved a little bit of exercise, so I did it. I went for a lunchtime jog, and despite all the bad things I can say about jogging, I felt great! But seriously though, great! Nothing was sore, no aches and pains, my mind was free, and I moved across that ground in such a smooth and comfortable way. YMMV
The next big key to Intermittent Fasting success is what you actually eat when you do eat. Since your eating window is so small, 6-8 hours, you’ll need to ensure that what you do eat is nutritious and dense. For me this is organic, grass fed, clean, high-quality food.
- 1 ½ cup vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, celery, spinach)
- 1 scoop hummus
- 1 chicken sausage
- 3 whole eggs
- Ginger, Turmeric and Chipotle Seasoning and a dash of Himalayan Sea Salt
Usually I’ll eat 2-3 times within my eating window, meals that look very much like this.
Usually once or twice a week I’ll be really hungry/hangry, my metabolism is just so fired up that I need to eat something like a sandwich, slice of pizza or mmmm a breakfast burrito, but for the most part I stick with this meal plan everyday.
Now as promised, some of the sciency stuff!
Beyonce does it. Boom!