Intermittent Fasting is trending now, but it goes back to the ancient Greeks, who fasted primarily out of necessity because, as hunters and gatherers, there was an inconsistent food supply. In addition to food shortages, many people participated in spiritual fasting, which is still practiced among many religious groups today. I choose to fast for health and spiritual reasons, and I can’t do one without the other. There are also many health benefits to fasting. My top three reasons for fasting include 1) losing weight faster, 2) increasing my metabolic rate, and 3) disease prevention at the cellular level.
Losing Weight Faster
When you toggle between periods of fasting and eating, you lose weight faster over time because you force your body to use stored fat as the primary energy source instead of glucose.
Increasing Metabolic Rate
Intermittent Fasting increases your metabolic rate, which means you burn more calories even when you are not exercising. Once your body adapts to the Intermittent Fasting schedule, your hunger hormones will decrease while your muscle mass increases, causing your body to go into full fat-burning mode.
Disease Prevention at the cellular level
Research shows that Intermittent Fasting can aid in disease prevention and ensure optimal cell functionality that will reduce or eliminate chronic health conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It can also reverse insulin resistance for people with Type 2 diabetes. I can attest that Intermittent Fasting and a primarily plant-based diet have allowed me to reverse my diabetes.
Here’s what you need to know to get started with intermittent Fasting.
First, you need to choose the type of Intermittent Fasting you want to do. There are many types of Intermittent Fasting plans, but I’ve selected a few more popular ones. The 5:2 Fast is when you eat normally for five days and fast for two days with restricted caloric intake. The Extended Fast is where you drink only water or unsweetened beverages for several days. Another plan is the One-Meal-A-Day Plan, which is self-explanatory. My favorite is the Time Restricted Eating Plan, which entails selecting a time for eating. For example, I eat during an 8-hour window and fast for 16 hours, usually five days a week. You must decide which plan works best for you. I gravitate toward noon until 8 p.m. eating window because this time works best with my hectic schedule.
After selecting the type of fast, preplan your meals to improve your success in completing the fast. Filling your body with unhealthy foods while fasting doesn’t make sense, so select well-balanced meals that you can eat during your eating window. Also, it is a good idea to stick to drinking water only while fasting and unsweetened beverages such as green or black tea during your eating window. You can also add a few cups of hot vegetable broth during your eating window, which will help prevent you from overeating.
You should consult your physician before beginning any diet or exercise plan. If you want to learn more about Intermittent Fasting or nutrition and fitness tips, please email Coach@PGF.life. You may also join us for an aerobics class on Wednesdays at 6 a.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m. at the Refuge at 1418 W. Elm Street in Olney.
Ronni Walker is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in mass communication. She is committed to helping people transition to and maintain healthy lifestyles through the P.RE.T.T.Y. Girl Fitness project. You may contact by sending an email to coach@PGF.life.