I am back! Sorry for being gone for a few weeks, but work picked up a bit and I had to focus on that. Today I want to talk about this thing called Intermittent Fasting. Before I start telling you why it is so great, I just want to remind you I am not a doctor or nutritionist. These are just my thoughts and the research I have done.
What is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?
Intermittent fasting is a way of timing your meals. Most of you have probably heard of eating 6 meals a day. That is also a way of timing your meals. I chose to time my meals via IF because there is no scientific proof showing that eating six small meals a day speeds up your metabolism or helps you lose weight faster.
IF can be done in a few ways. You can eat within an 8-hour window and fast for 16 hours. There is also a method in which people eat normally for 5 days of the week and then reduce their calories to 500 on two days of the week. There are many different ways to fast. My preferred method is eating for 8-hours and fasting for 16. What this basically means is that I do not eat breakfast and I stop eating at around 7-8 at night.
These are a few things that will happen to your body when you start IF:
- Your insulin levels will drop, making it easier for your body to shed body fat
- Your human growth hormone, which helps with fat loss and muscle growth, will increase
- This is not always the case, but because you only have 8 hours to eat you generally will eat less
- If will also help your body become less inflamed! You will start noticing in the morning how flat your stomach looks!
- IF will also help you focus more because you will not get sluggish after eating breakfast
- It will teach you how to tell the difference between being hungry and being bored
I know I know, your all saying “what no breakfast?” Yes, no breakfast! When you go on any diet most people will tell you that you have to eat breakfast because of your metabolism. There is also no scientific proof that eating breakfast will speed up your metabolism anymore, then not eating breakfast. However, I do recommend that if you are workout while you are fasting, that you take some BCAS. BCAS are branch chain amino acids that help with muscle recovery. They also coat your muscles so that when you are doing cardio your muscles don’t disappear.
I am guessing your next question is probably, “what about my coffee?” Do not despair, black coffee, tea, and water are all allowed. Zero calorie BCAS are also good. There are some people out there that will disagree with me on a few other things but I also drink a zero calorie monster occasionally and if you put a splash of milk or cream in your coffee you will also not be breaking your fast.
Why is it good for grad students living a healthy lifestyle?
If you are living a healthy lifestyle or you are trying to lose weight, you know that what you eat is one of the most important steps in your lifestyle change. I chose to do IF because there was just no way that I could meal prep and plan 6 small meals a day. As a law student, I have no time for that!
I eat based on a certain macronutrient count every day. This means I have to put into my body a certain amount of proteins, carbs, and fats. If I had to meal prep for an entire day doing 6 meals, I would have to do all sorts of complicated equations and I would be super hungry all the time. Another reason I do IF is because I cannot eat in the morning before I work out. I can barely get to the gym, let alone put food in me! IF allows me to push my meals until 11 or 12 and that is just one less thing I have to worry about.
I also find that it helps tremendously with staying awake during the day. IF helps me not crash during the day, which if you know anything about me, you know that I literally fall asleep everywhere, at any time. I also find that I need far less caffeine when I am following an IF schedule. I do not drink coffee anymore, only sometimes when I miss the taste. I like green tea and my guilty pleasure is a white monster, I know I know not the best!
If I sold you on Intermittent Fasting, here are a few things to be wary of!
- IF is a way to time your meals! it is not a free pass to eat whatever you want.
- At the end of the day, if you want to lose weight you have to be in a calorie deficit
- IF may help you with this, but it will not guarantee it
- Start slow and work your way up to a 16-hour fasting window.
- Avoid binges
- This is not necessary, but try to count your macros or at least your protein intake
- At the end of the day, I find this is the most effective way to reach your goals
- Follow the triangle: That one to the right!
- Meal prep, so that you avoid binging
- Meal prep your lunch and dinner! Just think, now you can eat so much more at those meal times
I hope this information helped. I will add some great links down below, so you can read a bit more about the benefits of IF.