Nearly everyone has heard of the Intermittent Fasting Diet by now or ‘IF’ing’, even if not necessarily clear on what it is. Some have heard about it from popular Bulletproof Coffee guru Dave Asprey, or exploring Paleo or Whole30, but don’t know much about it beyond that.
Considered as controversial as it is revolutionary, Intermittent Fasting has worked successfully for a tremendous number of people, and not so successfully for a good amount of others.
Which is why we’ve created the ultimate doctor-developed guide to understanding the benefits of IF’ing and provide you with a free Intermittent Fasting Cheatsheet to use this powerful protocol correctly.
The Ultimate Intermittent Fasting Guide
1) What is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?
Intermittent fasting is a style of eating where you stop consuming calories for a window between 12 to 20 hours.
2) What are the benefits of IF?
IF has been shown to boost fat-burning potential, increase metabolism, increase the rate of autophagy (which is the clearing out of old cells, replacing them with new, efficient cells), increase stem cell production, stimulate weight/fat loss, and to increase longevity.
2) What is the ideal fasting window?
If your goal is weight and fat loss, your last meal should be at least 3 hours before bedtime. Studies have shown that people who eat the same amount of calories in between a longer fasting window tend to lose weight, versus people who eat that same amount of calories throughout the day, all day, tend to gain weight.
Most of the IF benefits tend to begin around the 16th hour of fasting. However, this does not mean that you will not get benefits by doing less than this. Plus, even if you start with 12 hours (think 7pm to 7am), you can always increase this as your body becomes used to being in a fasted state.
(Note: one of nature’s fun gifts… Women tend to experience more hunger during fasting due to our reproductive capacity – the brain wants to keep us fertile! This can be helped by increasing your fiber in your meals, drinking coffee and green tea (natural appetite suppressants -yes!), and making your meals keto-based (higher fat). Certain herbs can also help to suppress appetite – see us for some of our great anti-craving blends!)
3) Can I drink more than just water during fasting?
You can! Coffee (caffeinated or decaffeinated) without sugar or cream, herbal teas, and sparkling water (with no sweeteners) are all fine during fasting. Bone broth is all the rage now (because it’s amazing! – organic only please), but only drink this during your eating window.
4) How do I prepare for my fast?
No preparation needed, just begin! Some people find making their last meal high in fiber, helps them feel more satiated for a longer period of time.
5) What is the best way to end my fast?
Make your first meal smaller, then you can eat a larger meal an hour or so later. This keeps you from overeating in your first meal. And again, if your goal is weight loss, make your first meal either a low carb with a higher protein and fat, or with a carb/protein combo and low fat. This prevents an insulin spike from occurring, increasing your fat storage in the process.
6) What supplements should I avoid during fasting?
Water-soluble supplements are fine, which include Vitamin C, and B-vitamins. You should avoid fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Co-Q10, glutathione, etc. If the vitamin is in a gelcap, it is likely fat-soluble. You should also avoid your BCAA’s (Branch Chain Amino Acids) and collagen-based supplements, as these contain calories and will break your fast.
7) Should I work out during fasting?
Absolutely! If you feel good and have good energy, go for it! Research has shown that if you work out with strength training right at the end of your fast, this gives you the highest fat-burning potential, and will help to boost your lean muscle.
8) Should I fast every day?
It is not necessary for you to fast every day. Many protocols and studies recommend only fasting 3-4 days per week, or fasting every other day. Ultimately the amazing results we see from IF are created from placing temporary stress on your body, where your body then increases your internal healing resources. Long-term (think months) daily stress of fasting without breaks can make you lose some of the benefits. However, engaging in shorter periods of fasting continuously (think weeks) – with small periods of breaks can also work.
9) Can I do anything else to help my weight loss?
Absolutely! We like to optimize your energy-boosting nutrients that stimulate metabolism and fat-burning. These are blends that included active-forms of B-vitamins, and amino acids such as methionine, inositol and choline. You can take them orally, or do one of our super B-fat burning shot series at our clinic!
If this guide has been helpful and you’d like to try out Intermittent Fasting yourself, we’ve put together a 5 step cheat sheet to help you get started the right way and avoid the common mistakes that derail most people.
Just click below to download your free cheat sheet.
If you’d like more customized help or want a medically supervised approach that takes a holistic and comprehensive view of your history, hormonal function, and food allergies, we offer personalized programs at Sage Integrative Medicine Clinic. Call (425) 245-5752 to book your free consultation.