Intermittent fasting, how to do it.


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How to fast the right way

We have heard about intermittent fasting for some time now – and since the original approach which suggested dieters have 2 days in which in which their calorie intake was particularly low (500-600cal) there has been a number of different versions of intermittent fasting to support weight loss. We have known for some time that there are a number of health benefits associated with regular fasting but the reality is that fasting is often easier said than done. While there are a few individuals who can eat literally nothing for days at a time, most of us are tempted by every type of food that crosses our paths, and the mere thought of dietary restriction is enough to drive our appetites and focus on food.

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In my clinical experience there are 3 types of fasting that actually work to support weight loss, if you can remain focused enough to implement them properly. So if you are looking for a dieting alternative to a traditional lower carb, calories controlled approach, here are a few options you could try.

1. Low calorie days

In my experience this is the most difficult type of fasting to actually do, as for it to work you really need to keep your calories to 500 or less, and most people simply cannot do it. Most of us tend to get our calories to just 800 or 1000 and this is not a level of restriction that will give you the metabolic benefits more significant calorie restriction will. To give you an example of a 500 calorie day, you would be looking at a piccolo coffee, one hardboiled egg; a soup or plain salad at lunch and just 70g of fish with vegetables at night. The clients I have had who have been successful with this are extremely mindful of calories, very focused individuals in general who also have a big event they are preparing for and more traditional weight loss approaches were simply not working.

2. The Overnight fast

We are talking 12-14 hours without food overnight – and rather than dinner at 8 and then not eating until 12pm the next day, you will get the best results if you eat dinner by 5-6pm and then not eat again until 9 or 10am in the morning so you can still reap the metabolic benefits of consuming calories in the first half of the day. This approach is much more user friendly, can be a great way to reunite you with your natural hunger and suits office based workers or shift workers who are in the office late and as such can eat a light dinner at work.

3. One light day

Not technically ‘fasting’, dedicating one day each week to a low calorie intake is an easy way to help buffer the regular days we have in which we significantly over-consume calories and can be as easy as having a shake for breakfast, salad for lunch and soup for dinner. While the calories may not be a tight as that on the 5:2 approach, you will still benefit from keeping your calories relatively low at least once each week.

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