Before intermittent fasting vs. after intermittent fasting
I was introduced to intermittent fasting (IF) when I started to work with a doctor who prescribed it to most of his patients. My initial thought was that it would never work for me since basically every morning I felt like I needed breakfast. While working with his patients, I saw remarkable results including weight loss and more energy.
I’m a science-oriented person and I love quantitative data that backs up qualitative data. Due to this, I did my research. I found that studies show IF slows down the aging process by counteracting disease processes. In addition, IF is proven to induce autophagy. Autophagy is the process by which the body self-eats any defective or diseased cells. IF particularly induces autophagy in the brain meaning people regularly see an improvement in cognition and mental clarity.
Once I read the research and realized how much it was helping people, I decided I needed to give IF a shot. Around this time, I was struggling with my weight. I had gained nearly 40 pounds after discontinuing a medication I had been taking for years. Despite my plant-based diet combined with healthy organic meats, I still gained weight. My pants increased by four sizes in less than one year!
I began practicing IF 4 days a week while following a 14 hour fasting window. I did not eat between the hours of 8 PM and 10 AM. I have since worked my way up to a 24 hour fasting window once a week. For 4-5 days a week, I follow a 16-18 fasting hour window. I have energy like I have never had before! I no longer experience the mid-afternoon crash, I sleep better, and I am able to focus (which is something I have struggled with my whole life).
I now look at food differently. I realized that certain foods exhausted me and that certain foods energized me. I now view food as fuel. Here are my 5 steps to successfully introduce IF into your life!
5 steps to successfully introduce IF into your life:
Start with a small fasting window and work your way up from there. If you normally eat within a 12 hour window, move it up to 14 hours at first. Ultimately work yourself up to a window that works best for you. I feel my best with a 16-20 hour fasting window 4-5 days a week and a 24 hour window one day a week.
Drink a ton of water. I try to drink a gallon a day (hints the gallon water bottle, HA!) A gallon may be a bit excessive for you, but pick a water goal and stick to it!
At first your stomach WILL growl. This is normal. Set yourself up for success by keeping busy during your fasting period.
Plan your meals. Successful lifestyle changes require planning!
Pay attention to how you feel after eating certain foods. I feel amazing when I eat a vegetable-based diet combined with organic red meats and pasture-raised chicken. Grains make me feel tired and groggy. Listen to your body to figure out which foods best fuel you!
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