The single easiest way to implement intermittent fasting is to simply delay your breakfast!
What is an Intermittent Fasting Diet?
I used to be a hard-core breakfast eater. In fact, I would wake up at 5 a.m. and eat breakfast before I would work out. I FIRMLY believed it was vital to eat breakfast every single day.
Until intermittent fasting (IF) started gaining popularity, I wanted to do my workouts fasting but was too afraid to give it a try. I thought I wouldn’t get through a run if I didn’t have food.
The crazy thing about the first time I skipped breakfast was that I had more energy for my workout. The other thing I noticed was I didn’t need extra food. The meals I ate from 10 a.m. to bedtime stayed the same, but I had eliminated an entire meal. It was an automatic way to cut calories without feeling deprived.
Now, I still practice skipping the meal before my workouts. However, some mornings I’ll start eating at 8 a.m., while other times I wait till 11 a.m. Without fail, I always eat 300-400 calories more for the day when I start eating at 8 a.m. If I can put it off till 11 a.m., I eat less food.
So what exactly is Intermittent Fasting?
First off, it’s worth noting that intermittent fasting is less of a diet than it is a pattern of eating. IF is based primarily on when you eat rather than what.
There are quite a few ways you can incorporate intermittent fasting into your week, from fasting for two days out of the week (eating around 500 calories) to completely fasting two days out of the week. Some people will spontaneously skip meals or fast on alternating days, and I love that there are so many options available for people to find a timing method that works for them.
The more commonly known intermittent fasting diet and the one I generally follow is called the 16/8 method. I find this option better suited to my workout regimen (a.k.a., I need calories daily!). Plus, I like the structure, and it’s easy to remember and follow. I don’t have to keep a calendar and track days – I stick with roughly the same time window each day.
What is the 16/8 method?
The 16/8 method for intermittent fasting means fasting daily for 16 hours and eating in an 8-hour window – sometimes more like 14-15 hours for women, because we seem to do better with slightly shorter fasting periods.
In your 8-10 hour eating window, you will fit in an average of 3 meals. If it helps you keep this strategy even more simple, you can follow the rule of thumb of not eating anything after dinner and skipping breakfast.
It’s important to remember that as hungry as we may feel once our eating window approaches, if you eat in excess, that will defeat the whole purpose of eliminating a few hundred calories from your daily diet. Plus, overloading your digestive system can lead to bloating.
This is where mindful eating can really help out. I always try to take that first meal of the day slowly and appreciate how it refuels me. This goes for the whole day. Hopefully, you’re staying away from junk foods in the first place, but especially if you are only eating for up to a 10-hour window, you want to make sure you fit in all the nutrients you can.
As far as the time before breakfast and after dinner, you should drink plenty of water. Black coffee or tea in the morning and zero-calorie drinks in the evening will help you feel less like you’re wasting away, but rather fasting away…and you can do this!
How does intermittent fasting aid in weight loss?
Whenever we eat, our food gets broken down by the enzymes in our gut. Carbs get broken down quickly into sugar, and our cells use that for energy. But if we don’t use that energy, it gets stored as fat.
The key behind an intermittent fasting diet is focusing on our insulin levels – the hormone that our pancreas produces. Insulin is responsible for bringing sugar into the fat cells and keeping it there, so, with lower insulin levels, fat cells can release their stored sugar and be used as energy!
How do we lower our insulin levels? We allow them to go down as they naturally do, which is between meals. So, with intermittent fasting, we’re just taking this simple concept and making it work for our benefit. IF helps our insulin levels drop low enough and for long enough to burn off fat!
What’s happening here is known as metabolic switching, which research shows can help increase disease resistance. Studies show that IF can improve our overall health and longevity by fighting against oxidative stress and decreasing inflammation that contributes to various health conditions like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.
I also love what intermittent fasting can do for your hormones and digestion! Everybody needs a break from digesting food. As humans, we did not evolve to be feeding ourselves all day long.
What about the right foods to break a fast?
As far as the best foods to break a fast, your first meal of the day might incorporate easy-to-digest eats like:
- Fresh fruit and vegetable juices
- Vegetable soups or bone broths
- Fermented foods (unsweetened yogurt or kefir, kimchi, pickled veggies, sauerkraut)
- Leafy greens (spinach, kale)
- Raw fruits
- Healthy fats (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed butter, and ghee)
- Egg whites
This is the breakfast I eat most days of the week, even when the breakfast doesn’t start till 11 a.m.! Egg whites are my life! You get 4 grams of protein for every 17 calories. It’s virtually, pure protein.
This breakfast was delicious. Recipe below!
Scrambled Egg Breakfast
- 1 medium Egg
- 2/3 cup egg whites
- 0.5 ounce cheddar cheese
- 15 grams avocado
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- Whisk egg with egg whites. Spray a skillet and cook until not runny anymore.
- In a separate skillet, saute the mushrooms with butter flavored cooking spray
- Slice avocado and shred cheese.
- Top eggs with cheese till melted. Add cooked mushrooms and sliced avocado.