I should think you have all heard of IF – Intermittent Fasting. If not, then hopefully this post will educate you on it and its proven health benefits.
Yes, it is fasting which unfortunately means we don’t eat for long periods of time.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern during which you refrain from consuming any calories for an extended period.
Some people swear by the eating pattern, finding that it helps manage their appetite & weight & supports their overall health.
However, intermittent fasting might not be right for everyone — you may need to avoid it for medical reasons, if you’re underweight or if it proves too stressful to maintain.
The two most popular methods of IF:
· Time-restricted eating. Involves fasting every day for 12 hours or longer and eating in the remaining hours. A popular example is the 16/8 method. It features a daily 16-hour fast and an 8-hour eating window wherein you can fit in 2, 3, or more meals.
· The 5:2 diet. This involves eating as you normally do 5 days of the week and restricting your calorie intake to 500–600 K cals on the remaining 2 days.
In my opinion, the 5:2 diet can prove too stressful on the body so is my least favourite option of the two, especially for those going through the peri – post menopause transition. Up regulating the stress response during this stage of life often drives the body towards a state of inflammation, heightening menopausal symptoms.
Time restricted eating is a gentler approach, remember you don’t need to dive straight in to a 16/8 window, you can start with a 12 hour fast until your metabolic flexibility improves, then build up to 14 or 16 hours.
Intermittent Fasting has so many benefits, not just for the waistline but for long term health too:
· It’s been proven to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.
· It improves your metabolic flexibility promoting weight loss- restricting food for short periods of time will train your body to go into ketosis, burning fat rather than glucose for energy.
· It increases longevity and reduces risk of cancers and dementias by
stimulating a process called autophagy, this gives cells the opportunity to recycle damaged parts and replace them with healthier parts.
· It helps repair and rejuvenate our organs and tissues, releasing anti-inflammatory signalling molecules that strengthen our immune system.
· It improves sleep and helps get your circadian rhythm in to a pattern, reducing stress levels and improving daily energy levels.
· It’s been proven to have positive impacts on gut health as well as kidney function.
Intermittent fasting can seem like a challenge but with so many proven health benefits, I believe it’s worth giving it a shot!
My advice would be:
· Start with a 12 hour fast 2-3 times a week (dinner at 7 and breakfast at 7, no snacking!) and build up slowly.
· Within the eating window, ensure you are fuelling your body sufficiently and not restricting calories.
· Focus on plentiful meals high in protein, complex carbohydrates, fruit, vegetables, and healthy oils.
· Avoid training before you have eaten.
· Stay hydrated throughout.
· If the process leaves you feeling tired, stressed or overly fatigued, reduce your fasting window and eat more protein throughout the day.
Good luck let me know how you get on – Anna xx