Intermittent Fasting 101: What to do and how to do it for health and fat loss

By Jennifer Smith, Natural Medicine Practitioner and Certified in Holistic Nutrition

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In intermittent fasting 101, I'm going to share with you the essentials of getting started with intermittent fasting and some tips to ease you into this life-changing pattern of eating. Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard of intermittent fasting. This is being mentioned everywhere, from social media sites to health TV shows like Dr. Oz.

If you read a weight loss, fitness, or health blog, you will most likely see it mentioned often there as well. Intermittent fasting is a way of eating that promotes weight loss, fat burning, muscle building, and many other health benefits through a very simple eating pattern. Here is more information about intermittent fasting so that you can decide if it is a good option for you.

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

Genesis 1:29

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 1:31

Intermittent Fasting 101

Intermittent Fasting is a Pattern of Eating

Many people call intermittent fasting a diet, but it is rather a pattern of eating or dieting for optimal success. It teaches you a lot, including how to listen to your body’s hunger signals, and to follow a healthy pattern of eating. You are following a specific pattern each day, where you only eat during a shorter block of time, fasting for the rest of the day, except for having coffee, tea, and water. This pattern helps your body to burn food more quickly, so that there is more time for burning fat. 

Many find this pattern of eating easier to stick to than traditional dieting where you cut out all your favorite foods and stick to a regimented list of approved foods and counting calories.

 Natural Growth Factors

There are Different Protocols

The next thing you will learn about in intermittent fasting 101 is that there isn’t just one way to do it, but several methods or protocols to choose from. It is very flexible, so you can look at the different methods and choose which one works best for your schedule and your lifestyle.

Intermittent fasting 101: protocols people like to turn to:

16:8 or LeanGains

This is a popular option, allowing you to eat for 8 hours, then fast for 16 hours. You try to do it as often as possible. It can be done every day of the week.

Some choose to skip breakfast, while others find it easier to skip dinner. Choose any 8 hour period that works for your schedule and preferences and fast the other 16 hours. 

I like using the 16:8 intermittent fasting protocol and I generally find it easier to skip breakfast because I like to eat dinner with my family in the evenings. I finish eating by 8:30 pm and then fast till 12:30 pm the next day.

I can still have my coffee in the morning and it is actually ok to have collagen hydrosolate or bullet proof coffee without messing up the weight loss benefits obtained through intermittent fasting. I also have an apple cider vinegar drink, with 1 tablespoon ACV, a few drops of stevia and 8 ounces of water. I drink this mid-morning for it's cleansing effects, but you should skip the honey in the normal ACV recipe since this many carbs will disrupt your fat burning efforts. 

5:2 Protocol

The 5:2 diet requires you to eat how you normally would 5 days out of the week, then have 2 alternating days of the week where you fast for 24 hours. You can often have a low amount of calories on fasted days, up to 500-600 calories.

Warrior Diet

With the warrior diet, you go 24 hours between eating, having just one large meal at the end of every fasted day.

Eat-Stop-Eat or the 24-Hour Fast

This is similar to 5:2, except you may only go 24 hours once a week. You also don’t have the calories, but a full fasting day with only water, coffee, or tea.

Tips for Starting Out Intermittent Fasting 101

Here are a few quick tips that can make this transition easier for you:

  1. Pick your protocol first, then do plenty of planning. You want to make sure you know when you will eat, what to eat, and how much.
  2. Don’t go extreme on the first day. It is best to start with the lesser protocols, like a 12:12 or 16:8 where you still have a pretty lengthy window of eating. 
  3. Wait a few weeks or even months before you go to the 24-hour fasting protocols. 
  4. Don't try to do intermittent fasting the week before your period. Or if you do, do a simple schedule 12:12 or 13:11, nothing too extreme for what your used to. 
  5. Listen to your body. The intermittent fasting method you are using might not work good for you, so if you notice bad side effects, cut down on your fasting time and work up more slow and incrementally. You can do this by increasing your fasting time by an hour or 2 and sticking to this for two weeks before increasing fasting time again.

About Practitioner

Jennifer Smith, NMP, CHN, FBCC , BHC

Jennifer Smith is a Natural Medicine Practitioner, Certified in Holistic Nutrition, Faith-Based Clinical Counselor and Biblical Health Coach. She has completed advanced certificates in Functional Nutrition, Functional Medicine, Natural Health Consultant diploma, Biblical Natural Medicine and Biblical Eating and Clinical Nutrition.

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