Intermittent fasting is becoming hugely popular, and I'm so glad to see it happening!!
There are so many health benefits to fasting your body on a regular basis so this is one trend I'm happy to see being popularised.
Some of the benefits include:
- Insulin levels drops (reducing chances of developing insulin resistance)
- Human Growth Hormone increases
- Your body becomes more efficient at removing waste products from cells
- Genes related to longevity and disease protection express optimally
- Encourages fat loss from the abdomen (the dangerous kind of fat)
- Reduces inflammation in the body
- Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve several risk factors for cardiac events, including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers and blood sugar levels
- Increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF hormone) which is key to those suffering with depression and other brain health issues.
- Animal studies show it may help protect you from degenerative brain conditions like Alzheimer's, Huntingdon's and Parkinson's diseases.
It has a simple timer that you click on when you're fasting and again when you stop and it records your progress.
You get badges that tell you how great you're doing, which is super encouraging if you're someone who is motivated by achievements.
I'm personally not a fan of the 5:2 type fasting, where you restrict calories for a few days a week. I think it encourages binge eating on 'treat days' and calorie counting in general is often a gateway to an unhealthy relationship with food.
I prefer to fast daily, simply by keeping my meals in a small eating window, where I can eat as much healthy food as I like (still avoiding refined sugar and processed foods) but if I want a snack, I can grab an apple or drink some juice, without working out how many calories are in it.
3. Work with Circadian Rhythm
When I worked in nutrition I used to tell people it didn't matter when they fasted, so long as they did, and most people managed that by skipping breakfast, and honestly? That is still better than not fasting at all.
More recently though, as I have been digging further into the research on circadian rhythms, I want to retract that and encourage people to eat in the morning, and fast from the afternoon on.
I know that it's really antisocial to skip dinners, honestly, I do.
But remember that you don't have to fast every day. Most of the trials done with animals results are based on fasting alternate days.
Got an evening with friends? Enjoy it!
One day won't harm the plan and you just continue fasting again tomorrow.
This book, the Circadian Code, has some fantastic research and explains why your body doesn't function well if your eating window is more than 10 hours per day.
Working with your body's natural internal clocks (there's more than one!) will have a profound effect on your health.
4. Drink Water
And plenty of it! We've all heard people say that most of the time when you think you're hungry, you're actually thirsty.
I find this to be so true. A glass of water often satiates any need I thought I had, and often my body needs warmth too. If I'm craving comfort food, hot water will normally hit the spot.
Any the good news is because your essential oils are just lipids, which means that like your bulletproof coffee, there's no carbohydrates or proteins present, so you can consume it without losing the benefits of fasting.
My favourite options are OnGuard in hot water and Spearmint, Tangerine and Lime in cold water.
5. Get Your Family On Board
This part is easier said than done, but it's a hell of a lot easier to fast if everyone else is. At the very least, if they know that you are it's easier to say 'I'm fasting' every time someone offers you a cookie.
6. Diffuse to improve your mood
When you first start fasting, it can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. Self denial isn't always something we're used to in our culture today.
Try some of the following blends in your diffuser to help you through the early days.
- 3 drops Pink Pepper
- 3 drops Roman Chamomile
- 3 drops Grapefruit
- 2 drop Helichrysum
- 2 drops Black Pepper
I Love Me:
- 2 drops Patchouli
- 2 drops Geranium
- 2 drops Grapefruit
Keep Me Steady
- 4 drops Balance
- 2 drops Adaptiv