Intermittent Fasting as been a bit of a buzz word in this year and while there are a number of ways to do it, one of the more popular ways is to eat for only 8 hours of the day and fast for 16.
For example, you may have had your last meal at 6pm and your first meal 10am. I have had a number of clients do this and they have had incredible benefits from weight loss, to sleeping better and boosting their mood.
Studies suggest that intermittent fasting helps to balance hormones and encourages the body to run on fat for energy instead of relying on carbs and processed sugar, but note that this is not about ‘dieting’ or deprivation. You can still eat all of the food that you would have in a day but it’s about timing. Furthermore, by eating within an 8 hour window you can also cut out the bad snacking habits as you are less likely to be as hungry during your eating hours.
There are further studies that show eating too often may be harmful due to increasing liver and abdominal fat due to the high calorie diets that many of us live by. When deciding if it’s best for you to eat smaller meals, more frequently with three-square meals a day, or even employ intermittent fasting, it’s best you get the advice from a nutrition professional like a dietitian.
In the meantime, here are the intermittent fasting Do’s and Don’ts.
- Focus on fats from nuts and nut butters, eggs, ghee, avocado, olive oil. This will help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and keep you full for longer
- Start slow. You don’t have to do this every day, just try it out a few days a week to keep your body guessing
- Get the help of a professional. When changing your diet, I always advise seeking the help of a professional, not only to ensure that you do it safely, but also so that you can get all of the tips to get the best results
- Don’t crash diet or diet excessively. You still need to eat well to gain results
- Don’t over train because there is no point in burning out. If you are completing a lot of HIIT training through the week, intermittent fasting may not be a good thing to do on those days
- Don’t do something like this without professional supervision if you are pregnant or have a health condition. Make sure your practitioner or doctor knows about it
- Eat normal portions, just because you didn’t eat in the morning, it does not mean that you need to over indulge on supper to make up for it
- If you’re hungry, eat. You don’t need to be a hero. Listen to your body and do what’s right for you
A Little More Help
Ben Lucas, a former professional NRL player, is the owner and co-founder of Flow Athletic, a yoga and fitness studio based in Paddington, NSW, Australia.