If you’ve grown up believing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you might be a confused by the whole Intermittent Fasting trend. I mean, how can the importance of breakfast, an idea your mom petitioned your entire life, be a complete and total lie?! What gives mom? First Santa Claus and now this?!
Before we ignite a family feud, we’ll mention that the “magic” of your morning meal was a concept crafted up by cereal manufacturers as a sneaky sales ploy to fill more American bowls with corn flakes, sugar pops, and whatever other neon-colored cereal that hides behind a slightly creepy animal mascot (don’t try to tell me Captain Crunch doesn’t give you the heebie jeebies…he doesn’t fool me with his fancy uniform and curly mustache)!
Now that we’ve cleared your mom’s name, we thought we’d explore a few reasons why you might want to hold off on the Cheerios first thing in the morning. Today, we’re chatting about Intermittent Fasting so that we might illuminate why everyone and their dog seems to have exiled Eggo’s for the sake of this eating style.
Intermittent Fasting isn’t Actually a Diet, But it Can Help You Lose Weight
You might be thinking, isn’t skipping an entire meal kind of a diet? IF (as the pro’s call it) isn’t technically a diet since you aren’t being told what (or what not) to eat, but rather, when you can. Plus, you have options when it comes to how you approach this mealtime method. Just like the outfits you’ve seen at Coachella, there are a few different ways to go about scheduling your eating window with intermittent fasting.
✨ The 16:8 Method: Fast for 16 hours, eat within 8
- The most popular form of IF, the 16:8 method works well for most people, but particularly those who find they just aren’t all that hungry in the mornings (and may be munchier come nightfall).
- Example: Get your foodie fix from 11am and 7pm, and then fast for the hours in between that window.
✨ The 5:2 Method: Normal eating five days a week, & then majorly cut calories for 2
- This method can very easily look like a more drastic intermittent fast for 2 days out of the week, while going about your normal eating business for the other 5 (i.e. on your calorie restricted days, you can reduce your eating window so the cal cut might not feel as daunting)
- Example: Eat as you normally do, Monday-Thursday as well as Saturday. Then, consume between 500-600 calories total for the day on Friday and Sunday.
✨ The 20:4 Method: Fast for 20 hours, eat within 4 hour window.
- A more aggressive eating style, we’d recommend working your way up to this, if you feel so inclined. But hey, if another method of IF ain’t broke for ya, don’t fix it!
- Example: Munch between 5pm and 9pm, fast for the rest of the 24 hour period.
✨ The “Eat-Stop-Eat” Method: Complete a 24 hour fast, then return to normal eating.
- As the most extreme form of IF (besides multiple day fasts, which would involve it’s own post to dive into), this style can be modified based on how often the IF-er would want to perform a complete fast throughout the month. 4, 24-hour fasts? 8, 24-hour fasts? It’s up to them!
You get the gist – Intermittent Fasting is really just an eating schedule rather than an actual diet. However, it can definitely help you lose or manage your weight! Since you’ll be eating all of your food in a tight time frame, you’ll likely find it’s much more difficult to consume the same amount as you regularly would. As a result, most people are going to eat less by default, tipping them into the negative zone of the calories in vs. calories out equation. If you’re someone who feels like you relate to a black hole on a spiritual level, Intermittent Fasting may help you control your animalistic appetite. By reducing the time you have to pack in the snackin’, you’ll be able to either up your portions or increase your food-to-face frequency. Again, even the most voracious folks tend to eat less when they have less time to chow, ultimately lowering total intake for the day.
Think of it like this: IF is kind of like when everyone found out Jennifer Lawrence could sing when debuted her vocal chops in The Hunger Games. Next thing you know, she’s on the radio, topping the Top 100 charts. We’re guessing her plan wasn’t to become the next Pop sensation, but hey, she probably wasn’t mad about it! That’s IF in a nutshell – just a simple eating sched that blew up the diet scene since it just happens to come with some pound shedding prowess.
Fasting Keeps your Hormones Happy
Giving your body a break from digesting food is what the weekend feels like for the 9-5 hustler: when you’re out of the office for those 2 blissful days at the end of the week you’ve got time for other important activities, like mimosas at brunch or perhaps a bit of Netflix binging with a side of napping.
That’s what happens internally when you fast-your bod gets to focus on keeping your hormones and cells happy and healthy rather than on breaking down food.
Let’s get into some of the fun stuff your body gets up to during a fast.
✨ Insulin levels dip down while growth hormone levels tip up, a combo effect that allows your body to burn fat while preserving muscle – a major bikini bod bonus!
✨ When you fast, your body ramps up a cellular “housekeeping” process called autophagy. Your cells get to work cleaning and repairing, an action that promotes anti-aging, weight management, and illness prevention.
✨ Fasting has been shown to change up cellular gene expression to improve longevity and protect from future serious disease, so you’ll live longer, cancer free!
With all of positive PR, it makes since why so many people have begun dabbling with IF!
So, How Should You Break the Fast if You’ve Broken Up with Breakfast?!
If you’ve decided to to give a new eating schedule a shot, you might be wondering if there’s a particular way to go about breaking your fast.
The short answer? You do you, boo! Once your tasty time window commences, you can chow down on whatever you’d like (health conscious of course – firm believers in the 80/20!) – just keep in mind that you are still trying to hit your usual caloric goal, just within a shorter time period.
So while there isn’t a magic macronutrient ratio or specific munchie to go for, there are a few fasting tid-bits that can help you navigate your first meal.
✨ Drink up! You should be drinking A TON during your fasting hours, but it might also be a good idea to kick off your meal with a warm beverage that’ll help stimulate digestion once food starts coming in. Think hot lemon water, ginger teas, and any other warm beverage that’ll get your gut grooving.
✨ Find yourself some fruit! When you fast, your body dips into your glycogen stores, just like when you’re working out intensely. Thus, fruit provides the perfect marriage of natural sugars to replenish those stores, plus giving you the added bonus of being incredibly hydrating (which again, helps to get things moving once you’ve broken your fast)
With these post-fast foodie facts in mind, you really can’t beat a Live Pure smoothie/smoothie bowl as your go-to first meal. Your body will be in prime condition to soak up all of the superfood benefits while you rehydrate and replenish your nutrient needs!
So if you’re ready to ghost Tony the Tiger and the Lucky Charms Leprechaun for a bit, we say Intermittent Fasting is definitely worth giving a go!