By now you surely have heard someone talk about intermittent fasting and how amazing it is. There are many different theories on fasting, meal planning, snacking, etc... The key is what is going to work for your body and how to incorporate that into your lifestyle. Some of us may not do as well with a 16-24 hour fast, 12 hours might be the sweet spot.
Here are my steps if you want to try intermittent fasting:
You must adhere to a clean diet and healthier lifestyle before you start to add fasting into your routine. I recommend 1 month of a good lifestyle change concentrating on improving diet before any fasting will start.
Try a 12 hour fast first, many people already do this between dinner and breakfast. It's like a small win, then you can tell all your co-workers how you did an intermittent fast for 12 hours! Eat dinner Sunday night and be finished by 6pm, then don't eat anything until breakfast the next morning after 6am!
Drink water! During the fasting period drinking water helps the body to stay hydrated and will also help with any hunger pains you may encounter.
Listen to your body, if you are trying for a 16 or 18 hour fast and you are starving and irritable at 10am grab a healthy snack (nuts, fresh vegetable juice, avocado, etc).
So what does intermittent fasting improve?
Glucose control and insulin sensitivity. Fasting helps to improve and reset your insulin and glucose control. The period of no food is a great time for the body to get back in balance.
Fasting increases production of human growth hormone (HGH). This hormone helps to heal the body from the inside out. As we age HGH production decreases.
Improves fat burning, when you aren't eating you don't have glucose for energy therefore your body will turn to burning stored fat for energy!
Many articles state that you can totally balance and reset your immune system in a 24-48 hour fast.
Fasting lowers Ghrelin levels. Ghrelin is your hunger hormone and has been shown to decrease in patients that intermittent fast. This also helps Ghrelin's antagonist Leptin, leptin is the hormone that signals that you are full and to stop eating!
There have been benefits to good cholesterol (HDL) levels increasing and LDL decreasing. This will help cardiovascular health.
Remember when you are considering adding fasting into your lifestyle routine to start at 12 hours and work up from there.