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Staying on track with Intermittent Fasting (IF)

Staying on track with Intermittent Fasting (IF)

There are a lot of diet and eating plans out there. One of the most popular and successful is intermittent fasting (IF), but it’s not a traditional diet. Instead, it’s considered an eating plan or “eating pattern,” because it focuses on when you eat instead of what or how much you eat.

IF can be tricky to navigate if you’re new to the idea. Fortunately, once you get the hang of the pattern and find tips and tricks that work for you, you can easily make it part of your daily health routine.

What is intermittent fasting?

IF is an eating plan that revolves around periods of fasting, or not eating, followed by specific periods of eating. During periods of fasting, you’ll eat nothing or just a very small amount of food. IF is often simple, healthy, and sustainable in the long term—which is why we recommend IF as part of the LOVIDIA Way.

There are many ways to do IF, but the most common method is fasting for 16 hours, followed by eating within a period of eight hours, known as the 16:8 method.

The goal of IF is to force your body to rely on stored energy (like fat) for certain parts of the day. This helps promote weight loss and more.

When you follow an IF plan, your body undergoes a few changes. Your stored body fat becomes more easily accessible, meaning it’s burned off faster. Your cells also begin a cycle of intense repair.

Benefits of intermittent fasting

The biggest benefit of IF is weight loss, for a few reasons. First, IF can help you reduce your caloric intake because you are not eating at all times of the day. When you reduce calories, you naturally reduce the amount of weight you can gain. Second, the changes your body goes through make it easier to burn off stored fat for energy. This means that your fat stores deplete faster, resulting in weight loss.

Beyond weight loss, research shows IF may have many other health benefits that promote life-long health. For example, it may help reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, and improve heart and brain health.

Staying on track with IF

Although IF is relatively simple, sticking to the eating plan can be challenging. Hunger pains and tempting snacks offered outside of your eating period may force you to break your fast. And, once it’s broken, getting back into the routine can be even more difficult. LOVIDIA can help you succeed with IF by taking the edge off hunger during fasting periods.  Here are some other useful tips to help you stick with IF:

  • Plan ahead: IF is much easier if you take time to plan ahead and work around your fasting windows. Plan to fast when you are most likely to not eat (like when you are sleeping). Many people eat from 1-9 p.m. and fast through the night and into the morning. This period allows you to eat a late lunch and normal dinner, which can accommodate social plans.
  • Plan around your lifestyle: You can also adjust your fasting window to match your lifestyle. If you’re an early riser, you may want to make the eating period earlier to accommodate when you will be awake. Or, if you go to the gym at a certain time, you can plan to break your fast before then, so you have energy.
  • Adjust the method: You also have the freedom to adjust the length of fasting and eating periods to match your needs. If the 16:8 method doesn’t work for you, another IF method like 12-hour fasts or alternating days might work better. Starting small and working your way up to longer fasting periods may be easier if you’re new to the eating plan.
  • Remember to drink: Fasting does not extend to non-caloric or low-calorie beverages like water, coffee and tea. If you’re feeling hungry, try drinking a cup of something. Just make sure you’re not adding sugar or creamer that contains calories!
  • Distract yourself: If you’re starting to feel hunger settling in, you might be more likely to focus on the hunger and even break your fast. To help keep your mind off food, find things to distract you, such as work, a hobby, a brief walk, or light exercise. Some people find meditation beneficial in clearing the mind and pushing off feelings of hunger.
  • Make healthy choices: Some people give up on IF early on because they aren’t seeing results just from fasting. Remember, making healthy food choices is still an important part of IF. Loading up on junk food and lots of calories during your eating period may cause you to keep weight on and feel worse. Eat nutrient-dense foods to keep you fuller for longer and prevent nutrient deficiencies during your fasting period.

Fasting is a great way to get your health back on track in more ways than one. Just make sure you’re sticking to a fasting schedule and being smart about what you eat. Keep yourself accountable and your dedication is bound to pay off!

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Unlock the Many Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Unlock the Many Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Fasting—the practice of abstaining from food for extended periods of time—dates back centuries. In fact, fasting is still common in many situations today. Patients fast before undergoing surgery to avoid complications from general anesthesia. Muslims fast during Ramadan as part of their religious observance. Now, people are beginning to fast as part of a healthier lifestyle.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is restricting the time you eat, either on a daily or weekly schedule.  Time restricted eating can be a powerful weight loss tool due to hormonal hunger control, a lessening of blood sugar spikes and a propensity to eat fewer calories overall.  In addition, Intermittent Fasting is simple, leading to sustainability.  As more people turn to fasting for health, they’re also beginning to realize benefits beyond weight loss.  

Sticking to an intermittent fasting regimen could have you experiencing improved focus and mental clarity, lower blood sugar and insulin levels, reduced inflammation, better cholesterol levels and much more.

The science behind IF

On the surface, intermittent fasting is easy enough to understand. Not eating for long periods of time means not taking in calories while your body is expending them. Part of weight loss is a simple equation: fewer calories in and more calories spent means a calorie deficit, which can lead to weight loss.

But under the surface, intermittent fasting is much more complex.  If done right, a person fasting intermittently will change their body’s metabolic processes.

When faced with fewer calories and a more controlled eating schedule, the body gets smarter about how it uses the calories it’s given. This means burning those calories for energy with as little waste as possible and, when necessary, dipping into fat stores to burn those calories. Over time, you’ll see weight loss, more energy, less lethargy and lower inflammation. Your body will start converting fat into energy!

You may have heard the term “ketosis,” popularized by the Keto Diet. The goal of intermittent fasting (and the Keto Diet) is to induce ketosis, optimizing the body’s metabolism of fat. When your body reaches ketosis, the true benefits of fasting start to kick in—improved focus, memory, mood and mental clarity.

What’s the schedule for IF?

Intermittent fasting only works if you stick to a consistent fasting schedule.  To achieve ketosis and experience the full benefits of intermittent fasting, you’ll need a fasting schedule that works for your lifestyle longterm. Here are some of the most common:

  • 16/8: Fasting for 16 hours and eating 2-3 healthy meals in an 8-hour window
  • 5/2: Fasting for 24 full hours (eating less than 500 calories) 2 days per week
  • 1/7: Fasting for 24 full hours (eating zero calories) once per week

These are the simplest intermittent fasting schedules, but by no means the only ones. Typically, ketosis sets in about 8-12 hours after your last meal. To develop your own IF schedule, plan to fast for more than 8 hours at a time and space fasts far enough apart to resume normal eating habits in-between them. For example, other common fasting schedules include alternate-day-fasting ,with fasts every other day, and feast-and-fast, which involves eating one big meal at night and fasting throughout the day.

What can you expect while fasting?

The idea of abstaining from food for long periods of time can be a little scary. Will I get light-headed or pass out? Will I feel disoriented or sick? Can I still walk my dog or go to the gym?

These concerns and more are valid. Intermittent fasting takes a little getting used-to. The good news is, skipping meals a couple days a week won’t impact you as much as you’d think. As you adjust to the schedule, you’re likely to be a little cranky and at first, your energy levels might take a dip. It takes your body about two weeks to get used to fasting habits. After that, you should feel more energetic, happy and healthy!

A few fasting tips to keep in mind

Intermittent fasting sounds easy enough, but a surprising number of people cheat and prevent their body from entering ketosis. For the first few fasts, you’re going to crave food. Resist these cravings! Instead, give these tips a try:

  • Drink more water to satiate your body. Plus, the hydration is good for your skin, hair, nails and general wellness.
  • When you break your fast, eat lots of protein. Protein is a slow-burning source of energy that’ll leave you feeling full for longer into your next fast.
  • Try to keep yourself busy. You’ll be less likely to notice your rumbling stomach if you’re occupied by something else.

Give intermittent fasting a try!

If you’re trying to lose weight or want to explore some new opportunities for personal wellness, intermittent fasting is a great option. Most people can do it, so long as you stick to your fasting schedule. That said, everyone should consult a physician before fasting. Some groups of people may need to take special precautions, like those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes or anyone taking prescription medications.

Intermittent fasting is more than a weight loss trend, it’s a lifestyle shift with so many benefits beyond weight loss!