Fasting, like calorie restriction, has been shown to help with weight loss and, potentially, life extension. Some other benefits include more energy, improved mental function and better numbers for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides. Best of all, you can forget having to count calories.
Time-Restricted Eating (EASIEST): No food after dinner for 10 - 14 hours. For example, if you have dinner at 8 pm, you have nothing to eat or drink (except water and prescription medications) until breakfast the next day. Plan to have breakfast between 6 am and 10 am.
16:8 Fasting OR 18:6 Fasting (my favorite): Consume all your calories for the day within 6 to 8 hours. These fasting plans are fairly easy to follow long term. For example, if you’re using the 16:8 program, have your lunch (or brunch, if you prefer) between 10 am and noon. Finish eating all your calories for the day between 6 and 8 pm. If you’re using the 18:6 program, have your lunch/brunch between 10 am and 2 pm. Finish eating all your calories for the day between 4 and 8 pm. Arrange your times to best suit your lifestyle.
Eat-STOP-Eat: Fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week. This is an easy and effective plan for weight loss. For example, if dinner is at 7 pm, you will not eat again until 7 pm the next day. If you prefer, these fasting days can be spaced every 1-2 weeks.
Crescendo Fasting: This is fasting 12-16 hours, 2-3 days a week, on non-consecutive days
To begin seeing and feeling the benefits of Intermittent Fasting, start with a short fast of 12 hours and gradually add time. Decide which type fasting works best for you and your schedule. Every time you feel hungry during your fast, have a glass of water.
At the meal before your fast, have protein to help you feel full, fiber (lots of vegetables) to slow digestion and good fats for slow-burning energy. To break a short fast (12-16 hours), have a normal-sized meal of healthy, organic, whole foods. To break longer fasts, begin with bone broth.
During your fast, drink lots of pure water. If you wish, add fresh lemon or lime juice for flavor. Purity brand coffee and organic teas are OK. If the weather is warm and you perspire a lot, consider adding 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ancient seabed salt to your first glass of water each day.
Pay attention to your body. Fasting isn’t for everyone. If you begin feeling sluggish or out of sorts, modify your fast or stop. Some other symptoms telling you to change your fasting routine include: poor sleep, mood changes, hair loss or thinning hair, loss of libido, irregular or missed periods, poor athletic performance or recovery, frequently feeling cold, etc.
In women, fasting decreases the hypothalamus’ production of kisspeptin, a hormone necessary to make reproductive hormones. The result can be hormone imbalances, loss of menstrual cycle, infertility, or thyroid issues. Also, because women produce less leptin than men, they may feel hungry more quickly and intensely when food is restricted.
Very lean, extremely active women with low thyroid function, hormone disorders, a history of eating disorders, or who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive should probably not try fasting.
Healthy women usually do better with shorter, less frequent fasts. They might also consider avoiding extremely intense physical activities like CrossFit and long distance running while fasting. Low-repetition strength training; low-intensity cardio training like hiking, swimming, biking, etc. and movement exercises like yoga and Tai Chi are some of the better choices.
Restorative sleep is essential when fasting. See this article for dozens of suggestions.
Ketogenic diets help convert your body from using glucose (sugar) for its energy needs to using ketones. Ketones are released when your body breaks down fat cells (think weight loss). These ketones are rapidly used for fuel by your muscles and brain (think more energy and mental clarity).
A typical beginner ketogenic diet is 75% fats, 20% proteins (1/2 gram/pound) and 5 % carbohydrates (50 grams or less/day). If you’re very `active, consume more protein.
For example, if you weigh 150 - 160 pounds, you would eat about 2 ounces, or less, of carbohydrates and 2 to 3 ounces of protein each day. The rest of your daily food intake would be healthy, organic fats such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, butter, ghee, etc. and all the organic, non-starchy vegetables you wish. Cook with the healthy fats and use them to make salad dressings and “Super Coffee/Tea.”
An extremely important part of ketogenic diets is taking time to regularly "reload with carbohydrates." I prefer increasing my good carbohydrates at least one day each week without counting calories or grams.
C8 Medium-chain triglyceride oil. Begin with 1 tspn or less. Increase gradually to 1 T
Organic butter (Kerrygold - available in most grocery and health food stores) or clarified butter (ghee). Begin with 1 tspn or less. Increase gradually to 1 T
Optional: Stevia, Cinnamon, Ginger and/or 1/4 square of a 100% chocolate baking bar, etc.