Is Intermittent Fasting for You?
is intermittent fasting for me?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is eating with longer breaks between your meals.
It is not a new concept and it actually has been around for centuries. There are a few ways to do it and each style of IF varies, depending on individual preference and lifestyle. Some of the most popular intermittent fasting methods are: fasting for 12-16h (min 12 hours); 24h fasting a couple of times per week or alternating full fasting days.
Benefits of intermittent fasting
One of the main benefits that resonate with me is that when we fast, we give our body a break from digestion. Digestion is an incredibly energy-consuming activity for our body. And by having a break from it, our body can focus on 'cleaning up' and regeneration.Some of the IF benefits include:
regulated insulin and blood sugar levels
increased energy levels and focus
reduce the risk of diabetes
reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure
I heard somewhere that when practicing IF correctly, you should not be hungry - your blood sugar will be stable and you'll be getting a steady flow of energy.I have had tried IF a few times in my life, always seeing benefits and enjoying it. This time around I wanted to try it again to help to curb my appetite for snacking (new, hungry mama!) and give my body a break from digestion. It kind of happened naturally one day a few weeks ago, as I skipped dinner and I woke up feeling nicely hungry for breakfast. I decided to do it again the next day and watch how it makes me feel.But, at the same time, I was also hesitant to do it as I still breastfeed my few months old baby. I was a little worried that my breast milk supply would suffer or if I would be able to squeeze in all nutrition I need into shorter eating- time window (so far, second week and all good).*When you're pregnant or breastfeeding, IF done incorrectly can be harmful; do not embark on IF journey if you are pregnant or breastfeeding without speaking to a medical professional - see the disclaimer below)*.
My fasting schedule
I have only water (sometimes with lemon or apple cider vinegar) or herbal tea when I fast. And I try to drink LOTS during the fasting period. Some people like to drink matcha tea, black coffee or have some MCT/ coconut oil when they fast, but I prefer to do it 'clean'. Each fast day can be a little different for me, especially as I am a mum and cook for the family. I just shift the timings when needed. My preferred way of IF is to skip dinner, do an overnight fast and eat later breakfast. Usually, this is how it'd look:
eat my last meal around 4/5pm
drink water/ warm water as needed, usually hot herbal tea before bedtime
upon wake up, drink water, followed by warm water with lemon and apple cider vinegar (I take probiotic some mornings too)
continue with water as/when needed until breakfast time around 9/10am
my lunch and dinner meal times are adjusted depending on the 1st meal of the day, but somehow it works out to 2-3 meals per day
I do not snack in between the meals
I aim to the above schedule 3 times per week
Some days when I go out or have a late dinner (or wine!), I'd fast until 1/2pm the next day (I try to count a 16h food-free window). My first meal the next day can be either porridge or a favorite lunch meal! I sometimes also start with a spoon of flaxseed or psyllium husk with water and have my meal a little after that. Basically, I try to make it flexible and not think about it too much -- if I will not fast today, I can do it tomorrow or the next day.
Why I like intermittent fasting + benefits I've noticed
think less about food
my 'need' for snacking is gone
less tummy bloat
less water retention/loss of weight (although it can be temporary)
clearer, more glowing skin
no faffing around in the morning or thinking about breakfast as soon as I wake up
can have a breakfast meal for lunch or another way round :)
Is it for you?
Try to test it out and see what feels right - are you a morning person? Do you prefer to eat dinner over breakfast? What are you trying to achieve with IF?
Ask yourself the right questions and find a schedule that suits you and your lifestyle best.It's important to remember that IF isn't for everyone and if you've not done it before, try starting small. I like the idea of an overnight fast, as you basically sleep through most of the fast. And then boom - it's done. Maybe 10-12 h fasting window and then extend it over time?
Get in touch if you'd like to chat this through, I will be happy to guide you.
Important disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, and this post is not meant to be a substitute for professional advice. This blog post is based upon my personal experience and it is a guide only. Pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with chronic diseases or eating disorders should be especially careful when considering intermittent fasting. Do your own research, be clear about your 'WHY' behind the reason to start IF and speak to your doctor before making any changes to your eating patterns.