This month the weather is really hotting up here in the UK and we have been making the most of it by spending our free time on the beach. Looking good on the beach is always important and so many holidaymakers push to lose a few extra pounds before heading to warmer climes. Looking trimmer gives us a new found confidence. With this in mind we are focusing on weight loss during the month of June. We have all tried to lose weight and we have all very likely tried the latest fad diets. But, did you know that there is a science behind intermittent fasting, which has kept the secret to human health for centuries.
If you haven’t heard of this concept before, let me explain. The 16:8 intermittent fasting diet (or 16:8 IF diet) is basically a 24 hour day which is divided into 2 windows. 16 hours of non eating followed by an 8 hour eating window.
The 16:8 diet may be a great fit for you if you're pre-diabetic, need to lose that last 10 pounds, or want a diet where you don't have to constantly worry about eating the wrong foods (since intermittent fasting is more about when you eat, not what). An added bonus is that you won’t need to have those awkward conversations with friends, family and colleagues about being on a diet; which as we all know sparks all sorts of comments and dialogue, as everyone has an opinion.
So, here’s what you need to know about the 16:8 IF method. You may want to skip the 16:8 method if you use insulin, have ever had an eating disorder, are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or take medicine in the morning or at night that requires food in your stomach. Be sure to talk with your doctor before starting the 16:8 diet or any form of intermittent fasting to make sure it's safe for you.
Studies have shown that you unintentionally eat around 350 calories less per day whilst 16:8 fasting and therefore will lose a small amount of body weight, and also saw improvement in systolic blood pressure.
The beauty of the IF fasting method is that you can shift the eating window to suit your lifestyle.
If you start eating at: 7AM, stop eating and start fasting at 3pm
If you start eating at: 11AM, stop eating and start fasting at 7pm
If you start eating at: 2PM, stop eating and start fasting at 10pm
If you start eating at: 6PM, stop eating and start fasting at 2AM.
The benefits of IF are many and here are just a few examples:
IF can work for your weightloss goals. Although we know that not all calories are created equal, caloric restriction plays a central role in weight loss. When you fast, you are also making it easier to restrict your total caloric intake over the course of the week, which can lead to consistent weight loss and maintenance.
IF simplifies your day. Rather than having to prepare, pack, eat, and time your meals every 2-3 hours, you simply skip a meal or two and only worry about eating food in your eating window. It’s one less decision you have to make every day. It could allow you to enjoy bigger portioned meals (thus making your tastebuds and stomach satiated) and STILL eat fewer calories on average.
IF requires less time and money. Really, so rather than having to prepare three to six meals a day, you only need to prepare two meals. Think of this too, you simply only have to stop to eat twice a day. What a time saver! Rather than having to do the dishes six times, you only have to do them twice. Rather than having to purchase lost of food you just purchase less on your weekly shop.
IF promotes stronger insulin sensitivity and increased growth hormone secretion, two keys for weight loss and muscle gain. Intermittent fasting helps you create a double whammy for weight loss and building a great physique.
IF can balance your brain, including positively counteracting conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. Fasting studies show the benefits for optimum brain health.
Now I’ve shown you the positives, I can hear you asking if there are any negatives to intermittent fasting. There is an initial shock to the system where the body realigns from eating all the time to just eating within a specified window. Sometimes that can be hard for the first couple of days. However, the body will quickly adapt and within 2 days you won’t be feeling deprived.
If you eat breakfast every morning, your body is expecting to wake up and eat food. Once you retrain your body to NOT expect food all day every day (or first thing in the morning), the side-effects become less of an issue. In addition, ghrelin (a hormone that makes you hungry), is actually lowest in the mornings and decreases after a few hours of not eating too. This means that any hunger pangs will naturally pass.
It’s important to understand that Intermittent Fasting is NOT a cure-all panacea. Be aware that you won’t lose weight by skipping breakfast and then eat 4,000 calories of candy bars for lunch and dinner.
Personally, I view intermittent fasting as a blessing. It’s one less meal for me to worry about, which means one less opportunity to mess up my goals. It’s a great opportunity to shed those extra few pounds. Why not give it a try and let us know how you get on.
Written by: Mimi