Fast or Fiction || The Facts Behind Intermittent Fasting

Fasting. A word that often brings to mind deprivation and starvation. But what about Intermittent Fasting? Based on the feedback from the Facebook LIVE I did with Drew Manning last week, many of you are curious about this latest nutrition craze—it’s health benefits, long term sustainability, how it works with other diets, and about a million other questions.  So let’s break it down a bit and uncover what exactly Intermittent Fasting is and isn’t and what it does and doesn’t do for our bodies!

*Click here for this super yummy Green Chili Turkey & Cilantro Rice Bowl recipe!

Intermittent Fasting is an eating pattern alternating between periods of eating and periods of fasting—it is not a diet in itself with specific foods you can and cannot eat. It is, in it’s simplest form, an eating schedule, focusing on the when rather than the what. Intermittent Fasting can be combined with just about any other diet or meal plan or not combined with any dietary restrictions at all! Intermittent Fasting is all about meal timing rather than meal content.


**Get the recipe for this amazing Strawberry Salsa Mahi Mahi here.

One of the most common misconceptions about IF is that it is some sort of starvation diet. This couldn’t be further from the truth! While adhering to an IF eating schedule, you are eating the exact same amount of calories you would eat in a typical day on a regular eating plan, but with IF your window of eating is condensed, making your meals larger and more calorie packed than if you were to spread out your caloric intake over 6 small meals. This can actually aid in decreasing binge eating tendencies as it aids in helping you feel full and satisfied with your meals. 

So how exactly does it work?! Simple. Like I said, instead of spreading out 5-6 small meals throughout an entire day, you’ll cut down to 2-3 larger meals during a period of time called your “eating window.” For example, if you choose to do a 16/8 fast, you would be fasting for 16 hours straight, then you would only eat during an 8-hour window. The flexibility of IF is amazing—you can literally choose whatever eating window works best for you whether it’s fasting all day and eating at night or vice versa! If you’re anything like me, breakfast is not a priority meal. I am so busy getting kids out the door, hopping on business calls, and sneaking in a workout, that I often forget to eat, and I rush to make up the calories I’ve missed. If that sounds like you too, you might do well on a 1 pm-9 pm eating window, leaving 9 pm – 1 pm as fasting hours.

Sounds kind of amazing, right?! By far the most incredible part of Intermittent Fasting are the health benefits. Here are some of the most important benefits of IF I’ve found: 

  • Most people eat all day long—from the moment they wake up until they go to bed. With Intermittent Fasting, you are no longer grazing all day. By only eating during your eating window, you are allowing your digestive system 12 to 16 hours of rest, which allows your body to process the nutrients you have consumed throughout the day more efficiently.
  • According to the experts, Intermittent Fasting can lower your risk of diseases like cancer, dementia, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • Intermittent Fasting can help control blood sugar levels.
  • During your fasting period, your body will start using fat stores for energy. 👍
  • Intermittent Fasting can reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.
  • Reduced blood pressure can also be a benefit of Intermittent Fasting.

So…how do you know if Intermittent Fasting is for you? Chris and I are all about trying new, well-researched methods to help us achieve our goals. And you know what? We are all unique! In fact, there are 16 different digestive systems (based on our ancestry and other factors), so it’s important that we discover what works best for our particular digestive system. Some people do well on carb cycling. Others do well on Keto. Others do well on a any number of other plans. As long as you’re getting the nutrients you need to appropriately fuel your body to help you achieve your goals, I say give a new plan a try for 6 weeks and see what happens!

And here’s an interesting tidbit: If you’re following one of our carb cycling programs, you’re actually already following a form of Intermittent Fasting since there are 12 hours between meal #5 and meal #1 the next morning. 😉 If you think you’d like to give a different eating window a try, go for it! Just combine your 5 carb cycling meals into 2-3 meals during your eating window for a true Intermittent Fasting experience.

One last thing: Don’t feel like you have to take the 16-hours-straight-fasting plunge into Intermittent Fasting. Start with a 12/12 fast, and then slowly increase your fasting period and decrease your eating window until you find the combo that works best for you. Intermittent Fasting might not be for everyone, but it just might be the transformation game-changer you’ve been looking for!

One more last thing: 😉 Drew’s come out with a brand new program—21-Day JumpStart—that’s a blend of Keto, carb cycling, AND Intermittent Fasting, and it gives you the baby steps you need so you can see if any of these programs will work for you! Check it out here!

Xoxo,

Heidi

Related reading:

Modified Keto + Intermittent Fasting || 21-Day JumpStart
Macros vs Micros: the Macro Myth Busted!
Eat More, Lose More: Settling The Fresh vs. Fast Food Debate
Macro Tracking For the Win! All of Your Questions Answered
Carb Cycling 101


7 Comments

  1. Jenn - December 1, 2017

    Hi!
    How does IF work with transform app? Would I eat my three meals (5 meals combined into the 3) according to high and low carb days per my app including the restart day? Ty!

    • Team Powell - December 4, 2017

      Hi Jenn: In the Transform App, you already have a 12 hour fasting window between meal #5 and meal #1 the next day. If you’d like to increase that fasting window, you’ll need to adjust your eating schedule to get all of your calories into your eating window by decreasing the number of meals/combining meals. We still recommend you have 2 1/2-3 hours between meals if at all possible. I hope that helps! 🙂

  2. Susan - November 30, 2017

    I’ve never been a morning eater either but am addicted to my morning cup of coffee. I usually add a tsp of sugar and half and half so it of course has calories. Will drinking just that mess up the IF? Any tips on breaking my morning cup of coffee addiction?

    • Team Powell - December 1, 2017

      Hi Susan: Yes, it’s best to leave out the sugar and 1/2 and 1/2 if possible. Have you tried stevia or another natural 0 calorie sweetener? And as with most addictions, try and break it by baby steps over time. You got this! 🙂

    • Susan Shropshire - December 2, 2017

      Thank you so much for the reply! What about Monk Fruit Sweetners? I had been seeing and hearing about it and so I tried it and really like it. I have been using Stevia. On the package it says its mixed with Dextrose. Is that ok? I believe I have started to find that Stevia may also be mixed with Dextrose.

    • Team Powell - December 4, 2017

      Hi Susan: You can use either Monk Fruit Sweetener of Stevia if you’d like – both should be great! 🙂

  3. T - November 15, 2017

    I’ve been IF’ing my whole life (even before it was called that). Never been a “morning person” so a cup of coffee is usually about it (don’t usually eat lunch either) but have a large healthy dinner. I’m sure some people think of IF as an eating disorder, but I’m just not a “grazer” and since I have an office/sit down job, I don’t NEED to eat/graze all day since I’m not really burning it off ( If I’m starving I’ll eat) but typically getting up at 7:30 am and eating dinner at 7:00pm is just my normal eating schedule. Glad to hear this is a “normal” thing. 😉

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