The Easiest Guide to Intermittent Fasting
It’s a widely-accepted myth that major transformations take time…or that they are painful. But what if a full body reset could happen in just a couple of weeks, with a few simple tweaks?
Enter: Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting is a popular approach to health and weight management, but it’s also very misunderstood by those who are new to the concept. We’re here to set the record straight and show you - in the simplest terms - why this method of eating is an easy way to support your mind, body, and soul.
But first: let’s dispel a few rumors, shall we?
“Will I have to starve myself?”
No. Intermittent Fasting is about following specific periods of eating vs. not eating to allow for natural processes to take place.
“Will it affect my mood?”
No. If done the right way, Intermittent Fasting has been reported to make people feel more energized, upbeat, and generally content with their lives. (See ya later, hangry mood swings!)
“Will it work for me?”
Every BODY is different. Studies have shown, however, that Intermittent Fasting can lead to incredible benefits, including lasting and positive ones for weight management. (1, 2, 3)
Now, let’s take a look at how you can quickly empower yourself to take charge of your health in a holistic way with Intermittent Fasting.
Intermittent Fasting Made Easy
The best way to describe Intermittent Fasting is to think of it in the way our bodies naturally operate as we sleep.
When we drift off to dreamland, we aren’t consuming calories, fats, sugars, carbs, or any of the other things we eat or drink. The body and brain are given a period of rest, and it’s a crucial time for detoxification, digestion, elimination, and rejuvenation. Upon waking, we tend to feel a sense of being cleansed; we can feel more energized, more focused, and ready to take on a new day.
Intermittent Fasting works in similar ways.
By alternating periods of not eating (aka “fasting”) with periods of eating, we are able to encourage the same benefits that we could get from a good night’s rest.
Why is this better than traditional diets for weight management?
The biggest distinction is that this method is designed to increase the amount of time your body experiences a fasted state (aka the “reset period”).
Also, the emphasis is more on WHEN you eat, rather than WHAT. No more excessive calorie-counting or low-fat-finding. Intermittent Fasting is all about scheduling, not restricting.
Here’s a breakdown of what an Intermittent Fasting schedule could look like:
No Eating Period → Eating Period → No Eating Period → Eating Period
No, really. It’s THAT simple.
There are a few different approaches to this method. The most successful plan is one that doesn’t add additional stress to your life - which would defeat the purpose entirely. And it should be something you feel you can stick to, though it’s not recommended to engage in Intermittent Fasting for long periods of time. For some, the positive effects can be felt in a matter of days - or less.
Types of Intermittent Fasting Schedules
Timed Eating: this approach involves fasting every day for a specific amount of time, alternating eating windows and fasting windows at specific intervals.
- The 16:8 Method: this is the most common approach, which involves fasting for 16 hours, and eating only within an 8-hour window. There is no required timeframe for your 8-hour window; you can simply find what fits your schedule best, though many people choose to have dinner as their last meal of the day, then skip breakfast the next morning and continue their eating window between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.
- The 14:10 Method: similar to the 16:8 method, this approach involves fasting for a 14-hour window and eating within a 10-hour one. Some people find this one easier to manage, especially if they are new to fasting, due to the longer eating window.
Alternate Day Fasting: this schedule involves fasting every other day. There are several different ways to set up this plan, with some allowing about 500 calories on the fasting days. Other plans may opt for close-to-zero calories on fasting days. The ultimate decision is based on your health goals - as well as current health factors.
Whole-Day Fasting: a more advanced level of fasting involves a 24-hour period of no eating, once or twice a week. For example: some people may eat breakfast at 8 a.m. and then fast until the next day. It is not recommended to do this on consecutive days, and it is highly recommended to consume around 500-600 calories on fasting days.
A Quick Note:
Results may vary; what is right for some may not be right for YOU.
Please consult your medical professional or nutritionist
prior to making any major changes to your diet.
Helpful Tips for Intermittent Fasting
As stated above, there are a few different ways you can begin - and end - an Intermittent Fast. The tips below can enhance the outcome of your experience but are not set in stone.
Foods to Eat:
The most helpful thing to remember during your fast is that the eating window is NOT a free-for-all. While it’s not a particularly restrictive system in terms of what you eat, it’s also not great to gorge on things like pizza, pasta, sweets, or junk.
This could be shocking to the system, especially before or after a fast. It’s best to maintain a balanced diet that is nutrient-dense and rich in things like protein, good fats, fiber, vitamins, and more. It’s also important to consume enough calories during eating windows to encourage proper metabolic processes and other bodily functions.
Some things to stock up on if you’re planning an Intermittent Fast could be:
- Grass-Fed or Pasture-Raised Meats
- Wild-Caught Fish: salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, sardines
- Organic, Local Fruits & Vegetables
- Nuts & Seeds: preferably soaked/sprouted
- Healthy Fats & Oils: olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, grass-fed butter
- Organic, Fresh Spices & Herbs
- Fermented Foods & Drinks: sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha
- Beneficial Beverages: water, organic black coffee/tea, bone broth, organic juice blends
How Intermittent Fasting Can Support Weight Management
While it’s not the only benefit of Intermittent Fasting, weight management is most certainly a core reason that many people choose this route. Below are some common benefits that could be experienced.
- Lower Calorie Consumption: by limiting the eating window, people naturally tend to consume fewer calories overall. This can create a calorie deficit, which can be essential for processes that lead to weight loss or management.
- Reduced Snacking / Mindless Eating: by engaging in a more structured eating schedule, this method can promote more conscious food choices. It may allow people to slow down and enjoy mealtime experiences, and can also help create awareness around portion sizes.
- Fat Burning Support: because our bodies primarily use glucose (sugar) as a main energy source, excess glucose that is not being used for energy is typically stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver. During fasting periods, the body has the opportunity to deplete these glycogen stores and will seek out alternative sources of energy - such as stored fat - to help power up. This metabolic shift can force the body to use fat stores as fuel.
As you can see, Intermittent Fasting can be a great tool for a short-term reset with lasting effects. While it’s not a magical solution (nor is it something that should be an ongoing routine for long periods of time), it can be incredibly effective for kick-starting changes you wish to see.
The Secret to a Successful Fast?
If you want to make your fasting schedule even more simple, try Organifi’s Complete Health Bundle! We handpicked our best superfood blends for this 5-part system to help you ease into - and come out of - an Intermittent Fast, with nutrients to sustain your transformative goals.
The information used in this article came from peer-reviewed studies, publications, and/or research.
For more information, please visit the links below.