For some time, I had been experiencing bloating and an upset stomach. I tried so many things to get rid of these issues; I eliminated certain foods and used digestive aids, but nothing was fully working. One day I looked into Intermittent Fasting (IF). I started watching videos and reading through several websites paying close attention to all suggestions and guidelines. Since commencing on September 20th, IF has been a game changer for me. No more upset stomach or bloating!
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle choice, and a scheduled way of eating that allows your organs enough time to cleanse, detoxify, and replenish themselves. IF also gives your body sufficient time to rest, instead of digesting food all the time. I have experienced dramatic health benefits, so there is no reason why not to keep up with it.
Physical and Spiritual Benefits
A lot of people intermittent fast for weight loss because in a fasted state, your body burns fat for fuel after using all the glycogen stores in your muscles. But there are even more benefits, including balanced cortisol levels (the stress hormone), stabilized insulin, and regulated ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Another positive result with intermittent fasting is that you also experience more mental clarity and a boost of energy.
Personally, I’m able to maintain my weight without effort, or I can continue to lean out by incorporating exercise. Another unexpected benefit since I don’t have to make breakfast is that I’ve gained an additional 30 minutes to my morning. I put that time toward working out, meditating, or sleeping in!
Fasting itself is common in many cultures and traditional medicines. For example, in Ayurvedic medicine, for example, fasting is usually done in the springtime, and in Taoist tradition, fasting is known as Pi Gu. In both cases, it is used to attain enlightenment. Even in the Christian bible, fasting is referenced as a way to get closer to God.
You can use the mental clarity, time, and energy that Intermittent Fasting gives you to meditate more or do something that enhances your spiritual practice.
Quick Guidelines for Beginners
The first 3-4 days of IF were not easy for me! This was the adaptation period, and it’s hard for everyone. All I kept thinking in the morning was how hungry I was, but then I would drink water or tea and realize I wasn’t really hungry; it was just the habit of eating breakfast that my mind was wanting to experience. Drinking lots of water throughout the morning helps with any possible food cravings. You can also have black coffee, or herbal tea, if you do drink coffee, keep it to a minimum. Do not add any calories during your fast time to drinks, not even milk or a bit of sugar.
Changing habits is not always easy, but I did not give up. Once I got over the psychological switch, IF became a breeze! And like everything else in life, it is important not to be rigid. There are days when I wanted to eat something in the morning, or I’m out for dinner and eat past 8 pm. It’s all good!
What my day looks like on Intermittent Fasting
I do the 16:8 Fast. This means I fast for 16 hours and eat between a six-to-eight-hour window. I choose to have my last bite of food by 8 pm and I do not consume any calories until noon or 1 pm the following day.
This is what my day typically looks like on Intermittent Fasting:
• As soon as I get out of bed, I have a tall glass of water (room temperature) with 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar and/or lemon juice.
• I go to the gym or for a trail run for one hour.
• At 12:30 PM or 1 PM. I eat a salad with protein (salmon, chicken, tuna, quinoa, beans, or eggs). I usually have green tea with my meal.
• I drink more water!
• I eat a banana, pineapple or an apple between 3-4 PM.
• Between 7-8 PM, I eat a salad and/or vegetables or soba noodles, with avocado and protein. For dessert, I’ll enjoy fruit or something dairy-free.
• No more food after dinner. I continue to drink water, and I’ll have a herbal tea.
In addition, I use the protocol that my functional doctor put together for me. I’ve been following it with about 80-100% compliance since the beginning of July. I do my best to avoid; dairy, gluten, sugar (this one is difficult), coffee, and alcohol.
As I mentioned, I watched lots of videos and read a lot of information before starting. Here are several of my favorite videos and one channel dedicated to IF. They have everything you need to know to get started:
Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting: The 7 Simple Rules of Starting IF for Fat Loss – Primal Edge Health – https://youtu.be/YW_oGL3Ui1A
The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting + How to Do It – Dr. Josh Axe https://youtu.be/8xv2cWhnkPU
Fledge Fitness – YouTube channel devoted entirely to Intermittent Fasting https://www.youtube.com/user/EVMysterious