To those of you who think intermittent fasting is just another fad diet, I respectfully say, “Not so fast.” For starters, it’s not a diet because it does not restrict the foods you eat. Instead, it is a food eating pattern that cycles between time spans of eating and not eating. For seconds (see what I did there), fasting is an ancient practice that has been credited with several health benefits. Over time, the list of benefits has grown. Here are 10:
- Hormone balance.
- Reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation of the body.
- Better brain health and possibly the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Weight loss, specifically belly fat.
- Improved digestion.
- Improved sleep.
- Reduction of insulin resistance, lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Improvement of numerous different risk factors, including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers and blood sugar levels.
- The initiation of autophagy, a cellular waste removal process which involves the cells breaking down and metabolizing broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time.
- Possibly cancer prevention.
- Aim to have dinner at 6 – 7 p.m. so that breakfast is between 10 – 11 a.m. Note: This means no supplements, snacks or drinks after dinner that have more than 20 calories.
- In the morning, you can sustain yourself with low-impact options like detox tea (0 calories), plain (or with just a splash of no sugar added milk or creamer) coffee (~25 calories), 4 ounces of celery juice (~20 calories), and 4 ounces of kombucha (~20 calories) — just to name a few examples.
- Pick the days you want to fast. For me, I only fast Monday through Friday so that I have the weekends off. Also, I do not fast before a rigorous workout like running over 6 miles.
- Let those you typically eat with know you are on a fasting schedule and that there are other ways to commune such as sitting down and having tea together or going on a walk.
—Becca Edwards, founder of Female IQ
Note: For the full-length article, check out CH2.