Skip to main content

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss and Better Health

By September 29, 2016Nutrition Information


What exactly is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. It isn’t about the foods you eat but rather when you should eat them. There are several different intermittent fasting methods, all of which split the day or week into eating periods and fasting periods.

Intermittent fasting is about cutting way back on food for short time periods. Doing so seems to affect your hunger and cravings over time.

The idea: As your body adjusts, it burns fat as it’s primary source of fuel,
instead of sugars.

Your hormone levels change to make stored body fat more accessible. You become satisfied more easily with smaller portions. You lose your cravings for sugar and snacks.

We all do a certain amount of intermittent fasting every day when we sleep. By extending that fasting period you get these incredible benefits.

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

  • Normalizes “hunger hormone” ghrelin which ends cravings
  • Increased insulin sensitivity so you stay slim
  • Decrease in your stress hormone so you burn more belly fat
  • Increase in your brain function for better memory and concentration
  • Boost in your metabolism & energy
  • Reduced risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • Faster weight loss
  • Decreased inflammation, your joints heal & feel better
  • Rapid cleansing & renewal of your body at a cellular level
  • Triglyceride levels decrease

Most of the benefits of intermittent fasting come from the changes in the function of hormones, gene expression and cell function:

  • Insulin levels: Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning (1).
  • Human growth hormone: The blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold (2,3). Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, and slows the aging process (4, 5).
  • Cellular repair: The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells (6).

There are a few different ways to go about intermittent fasting. Below are the ones I have tried and find the least complicated. What’s important is to choose one that is right for you. In order to get the health benefits intermittent fasting needs to be sustainable in your life, not something you only do once.

3 Ways To Do Intermittent Fasting 

1.  8 Hour Eating Window

This is a scheduled eating plan where you eat your normal daily food within an 8 hour window of time. This plan was made popular by Martin Berknan from Leangains. It is also recommended by David Asprey in his well known Bulletproof Diet.

One way to do this type of intermittent fasting is to skip breakfast, wait until 11am to eat your first meal and finish dinner by 7pm. You only drink water or herbal teas after dinner and before lunch. You eat food between the hours of 11am and 7pm

This schedule of fasting works for many people but if you are like me with adrenal and thyroid issues, I need to eat within 2 or 3 hours of waking or else I get weak. When I do this type of fasting I skip dinner. I eat breakfast and lunch. My eating window is between 8am and 4pm

I find this healthier and easier for me. Skipping dinner gives your body a chance to do a deep detoxification throughout the night. It also helps balance your blood sugar. If you want to lose weight skip dinner 3-4 nights a week for 2- 4 weeks. You will get great results.

When you do the 8 Hour Eating Window plan you can choose any 8 hours you like. Listen to your body and see what works for you.

2.  One Day Fast

As the name implies this is a one day fast of 24 hours.   I have adapted it from the program Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon. For some people this is a realistic and sustainable way to get the benefits of intermittent fasting. This can be done in any number of ways.

  • Eat dinner and then eat nothing until dinner the next day.
  • Eat breakfast and then nothing until breakfast the next day.
  • Eat lunch and then nothing until lunch the next day.

The good news is even though you are fasting for 24 hours, you will still be eating every day.   Also instead of being hungry multiple days a week you are only hungry one day a week. This method helps you lose weight and improve the markers associated with good health and longevity.

3.  Daily 12-14 Hour Fast

We fast every day when sleeping. In this version of intermittent fasting you eat dinner by 7pm and then nothing until 7am or 9am the next day. Ideally you eat 3 meals a day with lunch being your biggest meal. According to Ayurveda the ability to digest begins to decline around sunset. Digestive strength seems to track cortisol levels, which also decline in the early evening. The key here is to eat at least 3 hours before going to bed.

The word “breakfast” is named after the concept of breaking a nighttime fast. The word “supper,” in French, is spelled “souper,” which is related to the word “soup,” suggesting supper was a smaller meal and traditionally eaten early.

Numerous studies suggest that eating dinner late causes high blood sugar levels in the morning. (2) In another study, eating a bigger breakfast versus a bigger dinner was linked to reduced risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome, which is defined by high cholesterol and triglycerides, belly fat, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. (3).

If you want to lose weight, eat only soup for dinner 3 or 4 days a week. If you find that too difficult add in cooked vegetables or salad. The key is to lighten up the dinner, which allows your body to get use to burning fat.

Intermittent Fasting Additional Tips

  • Intermittent fasting will help your body adjust from burning carbs to burning fat. Shifting into one of these types of intermittent fasting can take a few weeks and should be done gradually. Once your body has successfully shifted into fat burning mode, it will be easier for you to fast and still feel satiated. Your craving for sugar will slowly dissipate and managing your weight will be easier.
  • It is important to fill your diet with pure food. Aim for each meal to be 70% vegetables and the remaining 30% healthy fats, clean protein and carbohydrates. Fill your diet with vegetable carbohydrates, healthy protein, and healthy fats such as eggs, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, and raw nuts.
  • ALWAYS be very aware of your body and energy levels when you begin intermittent fasting. Individuals who are hypoglycemic, diabetic, or pregnant (and/or breastfeeding) should avoid any type of fasting until your blood sugar or insulin levels are regulated. Don’t force yourself, ease into it. If you put your body under stress you won’t get the health benefits

plate-and-forkI follow the Daily 14 Hour Plan. Then once a week I skip dinner, usually on Sunday. If I want to lose weight I eat only soup for dinner 2 or 3 days a week.

To do a deeper detox and restore my organs, once each season I do my own “Nourishing Foods Cleanse”. This cleanse is a great way to ease into intermittent fasting.

If you need guidance let me help you create an effective eating plan and schedule.

Do you do any type of intermittent fasting?  Please leave a comment below I always love hearing about your own health journey.



Rate & Comment

Your email address will not be published.