Over the past month, I’ve been discussing many different aspects of intermittent fasting:
- what it is
- how does it work
- who should do it
- why they do it
- some of the great benefits
Now, I’m going to get into the “how to’s” of intermittent fasting.
If you have missed any of my posts or videos on this topic I encourage you to check out my Intermittent Fasting Series on my video channel Intermittent Fasting Series or previous blog posts on this topic starting with Navigating the Basics of Intermittent Fasting.
There are different ways to “do intermittent fasting”, which can be grouped into two categories: timed fasts and caloric fasts.
Timed Fasting Approaches
A timed fast is when you do not eat for an extended period of time. Timed fasts bring your blood sugar levels down, gets rid of stored sugar (glycogen) resulting in insulin levels declining. This sends signals to the brain that you need fuel and this kick starts the body into ketosis, the burning of body fat.
Generally, to get this process going we need at least 12 hours with no food. People often start with a 16-hour fast, and the easiest way to do this is by not eating breakfast. And yes, I said it aloud: we’re breaking the cardinal rule that you must eat breakfast. When fasting in the morning, you are activating fat burn, so your body has fuel and you don’t need breakfast. If you’re skipping breakfast, but having a muffin at 10am, this unfortunately does not count as fasting.
People often say to me, “but isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day?” Well, that first meal you have when you Break… Your…. Fast is in fact, the most important meal of the day – but it doesn’t need to be in the morning!
You want that first meal to be healthy: proteins, vegetables, fruit and some fat. You do not want your first meal to be a super carb-heavy meal, because it will spike-your-blood-sugar and increase insulin and you will be riding that rollercoaster ride all day. So, in terms of timed fasts, you can complete 16 hours of fasting, then you would eat lunch, snack, dinner, or just lunch and dinner. You eat your food in an eight hour window.
Extended Time Fasts
Another method is to extend the timed fast. The 16-hour fast can be extended to a 20-hour fast. This means the first meal would be a bit later, perhaps mid-afternoon, snack or lunch followed by dinner a few hours later. Of course, the length of your fast depends on your lifestyle. Then there is a 24-hour fast, which is from dinner to dinner. Generally, we don’t do 24-hour fasts on an ongoing daily basis, but you can do it few times a week, depending on what the goals are whether it is for weight loss or for other therapeutic reasons Typically these are the options for timed fasts: 16, 20, or 24 hours of fasting.
The other category for intermittent fasting is a caloric fast. This is when you shrink your daily calories down to a very low level, usually about 500-600 calories. Again, you’re eating food, but it’s such a small amount that the brain still thinks you don’t have enough fuel from glucose, so it starts breaking down fat. In a caloric fast you can either eat breakfast and dinner, or eat lunch and dinner, but each meal is shrunken down to your low-calorie goal. This caloric fasting is another example of a type of fasting that is not typically done on an ongoing basis, but perhaps only a couple of times per week unless you are being supervised.
Is Intermittent Fasting Right for You?
In terms of starting out with intermittent fasting, it’s important to consider if this is right for you. While it is very healthy for the average person, it is not suitable for everyone. People with severe health conditions, or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not do intermittent fasting. If you have issues with blood sugar levels, it is very effective for helping with that, but will require supervision particularly if you take blood sugar medication. If taking any other medications they may need to be managed appropriately, and if they must be taken with food intermittent fasting may not be appropriate.
If you have none of the health risks noted above, this is how one can do intermittent fasting. It’s very important to stay hydrated, drink lots of water, and you can even drink some nice vegetable broth or chicken broth. Most people find it isn’t nearly as difficult as they were expecting.
Dr. Bovay FastLane Reboot System
The intermittent fasting approach I use in my weight loss programs with my clients is more intensive. We have 3 phases for the entire process. In the first phase, we’re priming up the fat burning system so the transition into fat burn happens very quickly. The second phase is the “Losing Phase”, where we use a combination of timed and fasting. Lastly we enter the “Locking In Phase” which is a stabilization phase to transition the body from using fat for fuel back to using food for fuel while stabilizing their weight for long term maintenance. So it’s a three-phase supervised process.
A major advantage of intermittent fasting is that it can work with any preferred healthy diets, whether you’re eating a Mediterranean, Paleo, Keto, Plant Based or Vegan.
I hope this information provided you with some tips for starting out intermittent fasting, and I wish you luck if you try it. If you have any questions or want to know more about what I do, check out my Facebook Page and Instagram accounts. Feel free to join my private Facebook Group Fastlane Mind Body Reset Mastery Group where you can learn more and join a community of health conscious people.
I also offer introductory complimentary consultations using Zoom to discuss your goals, your history and to determine if this would be the right strategy for you.