Intermittent Fasting Benefits
I am pretty sure I have tried every diet out there. Remember the cabbage soup diet? That one really sticks in my memory and I will never look at cabbage the same way after eating at least 7 bowls of cabbage soup a day while on that diet! Then we have seen Whole30, Atkins, low-fat, low-carb, and everything in between. It can be confusing because of so much information out there and we wonder what will work for us.
Have you ever been on a diet or cleanse and you feel like you’re constantly thinking about food and battling the urge to binge? If so, it is not a sustainable diet. It is when our hormones are balanced that our cravings go away and the tendency to overeat diminishes.
Since I am a food blogger, it is really hard for me to stick to a diet. I am constantly staring at food photos, creating recipes in my kitchen, and testing and re-testing recipes. I am constantly bombarded with food, so sticking to any long-term diet is a huge struggle. I always end up feeling frustrated and overwhelmed! If you are like me and love food as I do, diets can be extremely hard and rarely have long-lasting results.
I am also a book nerd. I love spending an afternoon in the library just perusing a gigantic stack of books…and after being diagnosed with several autoimmune diseases in 2010, I spent years researching health and wellness and learning how to heal my body through food, nutrition, herbs, and vitamins. As much as I love cookies and cakes, I equally love food that is healthy and good for my body. I wanted to figure out a way that I could do both…eat the foods that I love but still lose weight.
I remember reading all about intermittent fasting and how many people found success when they got their bodies used to fasting. I was intrigued. And since I have tried just about everything else in the book, I thought….why not try intermittent fasting? I decided to go big or go home!
My typical pre-intermittent fasting day would go something like this. When my four kids were in school, I would wake up at 5:45 am every single morning. This means I was likely eating breakfast at around 6:00 am. I usually fixed myself a smoothie or protein shake, but then I was hungry again by 9:00 am. I would then eat a snack, but was hungry and ready for lunch by 11:30 am. I would eat another snack around 2:00 pm and then dinner at 5:30 or 6:00. And we can't even begin a discussion on how many days I am recipe testing, which basically means I am grazing all day long….followed by a little snack before going to bed. I was actually eating every 3-4 hours.
Since an intermittent fasting plan begins with allowing your body to be in a fasting mode for a longer period of time, I decided to condense my eating window to be around 6 hours…from about 11:30 am to 5:30 pm. This means that I would have lunch, a snack, and dinner during that period of time. So let's do some math!
If I am skipping my typical breakfast at 6:00 am, my snack at 9:00 am, and my snack at 8:30 pm...those missing calories are adding up! They may equate to about 750 calories per day -- and when you multiply that by 7 days in a week -- it comes to 5,250 calories that I could eliminate.
But if my "snacks" were more like desserts, the calorie count could be more like 1000 calories per day. If you multiply that by 7 days in a week -- it comes to a whopping 7,000 calories! It is estimated we need to burn about 3,500 calories in order to lose just one pound. So without changing anything else in my diet…just eliminating the extra eating….I figure it could possibly equate to a 2-lb weight loss per week!
It all made sense to me so I decided to give it a try. What did I have to lose? Maybe my sanity because I love food...but I thought it was worth a shot! I decided to schedule all of my recipe testings during my eating window instead of testing during early morning hours or after dinner.
It was HARD. I am not going to sugar coat it and tell you it was a piece of cake…especially in the beginning. Your body has to adjust and get used to going without food. The intermittent fasting hunger was real! I was hungry and my husband would probably tell you I was a little HANGRY. Being a generally very happy person who loves food…it was really hard going without it!
But the good news is that it got MUCH easier in time! My body began to adjust and I became more accustomed to going to bed feeling a little bit hungry. I started sleeping better, as my body wasn't busy digesting the ice cream I ate at 10:00 pm.
A huge difference was the change in my appetite. My stomach began to shrink and my body required less food in order to feel full and satisfied. When I would go out to eat, my husband was amazed at how quickly I became "full." I started taking home a lot of leftovers because I couldn't finish my meals. I was consuming less food but I was still feeling full and happy.
Now let's talk about my good news! Everyone wants to hear about RESULTS and the weight loss benefits. I was honestly shocked by how quickly the weight began to come off. I was losing weight every single week and my clothes began to feel loose on me. I lost over 50 LBS. just by following this intermittent fasting protocol!
And the benefits weren't just weight loss! I was sleeping better, my skin was clearer, my tummy felt better, and I wasn't experiencing any arthritis autoimmune symptoms.
The beauty of intermittent fasting is that it is sustainable. I realized I could do this for the rest of my life! However, after being on the "quarantine diet"…which includes baking up every carbohydrate known to man…I am finally very excited to be back on my fasting plan and to experience all of the benefits.
What are the benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting benefits are many. They can definitely include weight loss…but there are also many other amazing physiological changes like reduced inflammation, better sleep, gut reset, hormonal re-balancing, enhanced mood, and something really cool called autophagy, which is the body’s natural cleansing process. Scientists are actively studying the potential benefits for fasting and autophagy and the connection between fasting and the potential benefits for fighting to fight against cancer, Alzheimer's, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and many other diseases.
What is a fasting cleanse?
Cleanses are all the rage, and for good reason - we eat a lot of processed food and yummy treats and feel the need to replenish our health. Juice cleanses have been popular for years, but juice cleanses work differently than a fasting cleanse.
In a juice cleanse you’re filling your body full of vitamins and dense nutrients. Conversely, in a fasting cleanse, you’re trying to get into autophagy, where the body discards toxins that were held up in fat stores and discards old and damaged proteins to make way for rebuilding. To do this, you need to only give your body very specific micronutrients and macronutrients that keep insulin levels very low
One very important reason that fasting works unlike any “diet” is that fasting is the counterbalance to eating. It’s all about staying in balance, especially hormonal balance. The chief hormone among these is insulin. To put it simply, when insulin is high, we store energy.
When insulin is low for a long period of time we cleanse and rebalance. We miss out on this natural benefit of fasting because we tend to eat so frequently in our modern world. I’m not going to go into all the technicalities here, but you can read more about the benefits of fasting in a 30-day intermittent fasting plan that I’ll talk more about below.
Fasting is the most powerful way to reduce insulin and other hormones that control hunger, so it is important that eating, and especially occasional indulgences, be offset by fasting. The best fasting programs also ensure you are eating the right foods when you DO eat, providing the right level of nutrition, and continuing to control hormone levels.
Why is fasting important for the body?
Even if we’re “eating healthy” all the time, which, let’s be honest – no one is perfect – our bodies still need to fast. They are designed to fast.
Our bodies need space between refueling, and sometimes a longer space than just overnight. During extended times of not eating, we burn off food energy and begin to access fat stores.
How does intermittent fasting work?
There are many intermittent fasting plans out there and you can tailor make them to fit your lifestyle. Many people do the 16:8 plans which allow for an 8-hour window for eating. I found more success in the 18:6 plan which allows for an 6-hour eating window.
Another intermittent fasting strategy is to do one meal a day for 5 days. OMAD is just how it sounds - you only eat one meal, and no snacks (at least not your typical snacks). This allows for more fasting time to unleash more health benefits. The other two days are on the weekends and you can eat what you want. Now that sounds pretty heavenly!
Products to help make Intermittent Fasting easier:
There is something that helps me tremendously while I am fasting. It is a new product on the market and it is amazing! It is called FASTWELL. The Fastwell Curb Wellness Shake comes in two flavors -- Madagascar Vanilla or Macadamia Chocolate and is perfect for me when I am struggling to make it through some fasting days. It’s called a “wellness shake” because it is NOT a “protein shake”. Protein shakes and bars will knock you right out of the fasted state. The Curb Wellness Shake is designed with a precise combination of macronutrients, ingredients, and calories to eliminate hunger cravings while keeping you in the fasted state. I usually drink it when I am heading somewhere where I know I may be tempted to eat. It helps to keep my cravings under control. Get Curb
They also have a product that keeps me hydrated. So many times when we think we are hungry, it is our body's way of telling us that we are actually thirsty. This electrolyte drink helps to keep me hydrated while fasting, without knocking me out of the fasting state. It is made with Real Salt brand sea salt, lightly sweetened with all-natural ultra low-carb sweeteners, this drink has a curiously amazing citrusy flavor. Start your day with this drink to ensure you’re well-hydrated at the beginning of the day - a major key to fasting success. Get Sustain
Can you exercise while fasting? If you have an exercise routine, be sure to keep it up during your fasting program. Working out during your fasting window can help maximize your workout and your fast. Boost is designed to give you just a little bit of energy and fuel for your muscles to support your fasted state workout while keeping you in the fasted state. Get Boost
Doing something hard is so much easier with the right tools! This has helped me while on my intermittent fasting regime.
If you would like to try out any of their products, use promo code ModernHoneyOMAD which give you their incredibly helpful and comprehensive fasting program PLUS 10% off your Fastwell purchase. What a great deal!
I can't wait to hear all about your experiences with this fasting program and the changes it has made in your life. It is going to be amazing!
Disclaimer: The information in this document is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult a physician or other health care professional for your specific health care and/or medical needs or concerns.
I'm doing the IF program and I love it. I was getting way out of line as far as my eating goes. I just always had to try your delicious recipes.
I feel so much better again. I have lost 22 pounds and that made a huge difference to me. I get up in the morning and start drinking water, twice a week I do just juice only, My fasts are about 17 hours long each day. When I break my fast, I do it with chicken breast and a small salad with cucumbers for the texture and water content. Lemon juice and Olive Oil only or sometimes I just eat baked or broiled fish.
Go Donna! That is seriously AMAZING! It takes some serious dedication but it always pays off in the end. Proud of you! I am going to get back at it again as I need to feel healthy again. You are inspiring me!
hi. did you start losing weight the first week or did it take a while for your body to adjust?
would love to hear more on this topic in general, were there any good websites or books you used as a reference?
Do you have a thirty day program of intermittent fasting on your website? You mentioned it but I can’t find it. Does it include a menu? Thanks!
I need to lose 100 lbs. So glad you shared your success. I lost 8 lbs doing the 12 hour fast.
Way to go Melissa! Congrats on amazing weight loss! I have been nerding our on intermittent fasting since the first of the year and I too was sold on it and began utilizing it. I lost 35 lbs myself and have maintained that for a few months now. It is so exciting, all the benefits from fasting and letting our bodies maximize their abilities to heal themselves. Dr Jason Fung has a lot of great information, most of which can be accessed for free on YouTube. There are many other professionals with great info as well 🙂
I love what I read on your blog today. I commented to my husband how healthy food has come so far. More than just pot roasts and roasted chicken with vegetables. The combination of fruits and vegetables dressing up the main course. I'm so glad I signed up to hear what you have to say. I have also printed some of your recipes but have not tried them yet. I will very soon.
I lost a lot on intermittent fasting too. I'm in my late seventies and too have been on every diet known to woman. This is first time it made sense: I'm never hungry before eleven so my window is till seven which is fine Only struggle is between ten and eleven p.m., when I'm starving but have a cup of herb tea and power through.
My blood levels are better as is my blood pressure but must tell you a few years ago gave up all sugar.
Vrry hard but it cut down on inflammation and never had another wake up with leg cramps. If I have a glass of wine or one beer, I wake up with cramps and am in agony..
Thank you so much for sharing this!!! This is so helpful. How often do you allow yourself to have a treat?
Can you share your intermittent fasting plan? With the amount of microS and macros.