Are you curious about intermittent fasting (IF), and how do you get started? I started with intermittent fasting around two years ago, but during the first heavy lockdown, I got into the habit of snacking and began to gain weight. I quickly got back on track with my intermittent fasting (16:8) schedule and lost 3 kg in 3 weeks. Having said that, “IMF” is not a weight loss diet per se; it is a lifestyle.
Dr. Jason Fung is a leading medical expert on intermittent fasting. He has a very informative video on YouTube, and I’ll leave the link below. Before you change the way you eat, it’s best to learn as much as you can about intermittent fasting. If you have health issues due to being overweight and you need to lose more than 10 kg, please check with your doctor before starting this new eating regime.
There are three popular versions of “IF,” the easiest to start with, and perhaps the most popular version is a 16-8 schedule. This eating schedule is a 16-hour window of time where you will fast and the remaining 8 hours will be you’re eating window. For example, if you stop eating at 8 pm, you’ll be fasting until 8 am the next day plus four more hours and you’ll break your fast at noon. If you think about it we all fast when we sleep, all you have to do is miss the early breakfast and eat a hearty meal at noon.
You can choose the best schedule to fit into your life and work hours. The longer that you’ve been overweight, the longer this regimen will take to down-regulate your insulin levels, especially for people who have diabetes pre-diabetic or suffer from something called polycystic ovarian syndrome or P COS.
The next version is more stringent, and Dr Fung recommends this for people who want to speed up the process. This version is known as OMAD or the 24-hour fast, which means that you’ll skip two meals and only eat one meal a day “OMAD”. You’ll eat your dinner and then tomorrow you’ll skip breakfast, and you’ll skip lunch, but then you’ll have dinner again that evening. Also, you decide at what time of the day is the best for you to eat your daily meal.
The third version is a 36-hour fast, where you will skip three meals. That means tonight you’ll eat at 7 pm and then tomorrow you’ll miss breakfast lunch and dinner but then eat breakfast the following day. The 24 and 36 hours fast you can consider just doing it about 2 or 3 times a week. Eventually, you may get to a point where you lose enough weight that you can change to 16-8 every day, or on most days of the week. Long-term you can get to a point where you do the 16 8 every other day or several times a week.
During the fasting period, you can have black coffee, black tea, plain water or sparkling water. Avoid putting anything in there that includes sugar, honey, sweetened creamers and milk. During the eight hour eating period, you can continue to eat how you normally would. To improve your overall health and increase your weight loss efforts follow the tips below.
- Be aware of your portion size; do not overeat during these eight hours because that may mitigate all of your efforts.
- Do not snack in between meals.
- Avoid processed foods, refined sugars, bread, potatoes, pasta, rice and sweets.
- Choose carbohydrates with a lower insulin index level. The insulin index is a new term that you may not have heard. It means those foods that don’t stimulate insulin release as much as white carbs. I’ll leave a link below to an insulin index list.
- Be aware no juice even if it’s natural and no soda because there are hidden sugars in these drinks and weight gain is sometimes about what you drink more than what you eat.
- Product with high fructose corn syrup and sucrose are cheaper products. These sugars are exceptionally fattening.
- Choose natural fats, opt for things like avocados, full-fat dairy, nuts, extra virgin olive oil or butter for cooking and nothing else. Avoid refined oils such as trans fats, canola oil, corn oil, vegetable oils except for olive oil.
- Avoid processed lunch meats like sausage bacon pepperoni.
- Increase your fibre, it reduces the risk of diabetes, and it controls blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.
- Opt for carbohydrates that contain high fibre like fruits and vegetables.
- Limit alcoholic drinks to no more than two a day.
- Avoid dessert wines and mixed drinks. Beer is okay, and red wine is the best reward you can drink.
- If you have a sweet tooth right now be patient because you will find that intermittent fasting not only helps you lose weight and keep it off, it also cures the sweet tooth and sugar cravings.
Start a conversation if you have tried IF, let us know how it worked for you or ask your questions if you want to know more using the comments section below.