5 Tips to Improve Intermittent fasting Results
Intermittent fasting has been popular in recent years but was a way of life for our ancestors. Lately, intermittent fasting has gain mainstream momentum, whether people are practicing 16:8 or alternate-day fasting. Many people are finding benefits to intermittent fasting, from sustained energy and blood sugar levels to leaner physiques. I go to great length in my Intermittent Fasting 101 guide, and many of you readers asked for more!
Common Reasons for Fasting
- Rebalancing hormones and blood sugar levels
- Sustained energy levels
- Autophagy– a process in the body where broken proteins, DNA and other cellular debris are “eaten” up the cells. This is a way the body is able to repair itself.
In this article, I am delighted to share will you 5 tips to maximize your fasting window, and weight loss results!
Here is Part Two to everything you need to know about intermittent fasting.
#1 Find the Right Feeding Window for You
Are you an early riser, or more of a night eater? Do you get a slump of energy usually in the afternoon, can’t go to bed hungry? Curate your feeding window to what your body naturally leans towards. Some people, oftentimes late sleepers, can do well with skipping breakfast and focusing on only two meals later in the day. Fitness and fasting expert Blake Horton, began his fasting journey with the OMAD diet; having just one MASSIVE meal right before bed. Since it’s their only meal of the day, fat storage isn’t so much of an issue. The body needs ample time to rest to digest so many calories.
Working alongside your body’s preference will be an easier ride than pushing itself too much from its natural predilection. A person practicing intermittent fasting is already introducing small (beneficial) stress on the body, overstressing the body may make the body slow down the metabolism in order to protect itself.
I tend to do better eating during the day, then close my feeding window early in the evening. I prefer going to bed on an empty stomach because it optimizes cell regeneration and improves my sleep. As a mesomorph, I tend to store weight easier than ectomorph body types, and eating even a few hours before bed will most likely make me store more fat. Also, sleeping helps the time go by faster! That’s 6-8 hours without being tempted by food.
I’ve said it many times and will say it again, there is no universal diet for humans. Our backgrounds have become even more diverse and varied due to globalization and genetics. You will need to experiment to find what makes your body sync. This is why if you are able to, working one-on-one with a dietitian or certified nutritionist to help design the best diet for YOU.
#2 Use Artificial Sweeteners Sparingly
In recent years, artificial sweeteners have been shown to still create an insulin response in the body similar to sugar. What makes that worse is depleting your pancreas to make insulin for true glucose for it to process. Hands down, your best bet is stevia or monk fruit powder. Try to avoid the chemical ones, including sucralose. They still produce an insulin response in the body, and when there is no true sugar for it to absorb, insulin just runs haywire through the bloodstream. This can be more detrimental than sugar itself!
Artificial sweeteners are technically safe during fasting, but skipping them all together will make weight loss go quicker. They not only confuse your taste buds but your digestive system too. Don’t worry though, the more you improve your diet, the more your tastebuds will adjust. Soon, you won’t be so tempted by sweet-tasting substances.
When in doubt, go without!
By the time you feel thirst, you are already dehydrated. Keeping proper hydration levels is important for cleaning out the cells, and keeping the body in balance. Electrolytes such as sodium and potassium are the key elements to all cellular exchanges and water is the lubricating channel of multiple bodily functions. There is a reason why our bodies are made 60% of water!
Drinking too many liquids during a meal on the other hand, can disrupt digestion. It is recommended to consume less than 8 oz of liquid while eating, to not dilute digestive enzymes. Your fasting window is a wonderful opportunity to get in your daily water intake. There isn’t any digestion to disrupt, which makes hydrating easier too. Optimize your fasting window by getting the majority of your daily water intake.
Hydration Rule of Thumb: Divide your weight in half, and that is how much water you need in ounces. 1 cup = 8 oz. A 150 lb individual should consume a minimum of nine cups of water per day!
Adults who drink alcohol and coffee on a regular basis almost always have hydration issues. If you drink caffeinated beverages on the regular, you will need to add even more water to your daily required intake.
#4 Take Advantage of Tea
Green Tea does contain caffeine but is a great tool to increase boost autophagy during your fasting state. Regular consumption of green tea has been shown to help balance glucose levels. This primarily has to do with how rich green tea is in anti-oxidants, key players being polyphenols such as tannic acid that speeds up metabolism, and antioxidants that are known as catechins. Catechins in green tea have been shown to suppress hunger. ECGC, epigallocatechin gallate, is a powerful antioxidant abundant in green tea.
Unsweetened herbal teas are also some of your safest beverage options for when you are fasting. Plus, they count as water intake! Herbals are oftentimes overlooked because they aren’t mentioned hardly in advertising and food companies. Yet they provide a bountiful of health benefits. What can herbal teas offer if they don’t provide some sort of stimulant or nutrient? They provide plenty of botanical benefits. Some of your healthiest herbal teas include hibiscus, nettle, lemon balm, and red raspberry leaf. Peppermint is known as an appetite suppressant as well as soothing irritable tummies. Try having kava tea to wind down in the evening, as it’s known to have a relaxing effect similar to alcohol– without the hangover!
#5 Break Your Fast with Protein
After 16-20 hours without eating, it is tempting to raid the fridge as soon as the feeding window is open. DON’T.
You’ve worked so hard, now don’t screw it up! Filling your body up with multiple food groups, especially highly refined and processed items, may counteract some of the benefits of fasting. Especially weight loss and autophagy.
Breaking your fast with high quality, high glycemic carbs can be useful for athletes and endurance trainers. Unless you are an athlete or training for a triathlon, this will most likely not apply to you.
Otherwise, if you are intentionally planning to carb load, anything starchy or carbohydrate-rich will stimulate fat storage.
Because you break a fast, the body is in full-on storage mode. It’s been hungry, stressed, and depleted of some of its stores. So this is the wrong time to pig out and put the wrong kind of foods into cell storage. You don’t want to fill out freshly cleaned cells with additives, dead carbs like corn syrup and unhealthy fats. Research has shown that the best way to break a fast is through lean protein. Poultry, seafood, or eggs are the best options. Try to eat the protein on its own and wait at least an hour before introducing other foods.
I hope you found this follow-up to be helpful, and please let me know what you’d like to see more of!