Connect the Dots Ginger | Becky Allen: Intermittent Fasting: How It Works

Monday, June 19, 2017

Intermittent Fasting: How It Works

I have a LOT of friends who are doing intermittent fasting, and getting AMAZING results, 12 pounds lost in just 1 month. Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but more of an eating pattern. Which means you eat all the calories you are supposed to eat during a specific window of time during the day, then nothing else during the rest of the day.

There are a couple of ways most people are doing this: 

  • Eat during a specific window in a day. Most common is an 8 hour window from noon-8pm. But there are 6 and 4 hour windows too, 
  • Skip two meals one day a couple of times a week taking a full 24 hours off from eating. So say you ate 3 meals in one day then skip breakfast and lunch the next day, and then eat dinner. 
  • By cutting out an entire meal each day you are on average consuming fewer calories per week.
  • Body spends more time burning the energy in the food you are eating and during the fasting state your body will more likely take the energy needed from your fat stores.
  • Could help your body learn to be more efficient in processing foods and burning the calories you just ate.
But what about eating 6 times a day? 

I can see the draw to this style of eating because, it seems easier. Some of the work taken out. Don't feel like you are eating all the time. And when eating 6 times a day, portion sizes is so important. If you are eating too much for each meal, it won't work. But fasting, you can eat just 3 meals in the 8 hours. 

Can I do this while Breastfeeding?

Believe it or not, I have actually seen some moms doing this, or wanting to do this while nursing. I get it. As a nursing mom, who is STUCK with 5 pounds left to go to reach her pre-pregnancy weight, the more I hear about this the more I wish I could do it. But...and that's a BIG BUT, doing fasting of any kind you risk losing your supply. Your body needs food and fuel to produce milk. And by not giving it that, then your body can't make it. Unlike energy use/calorie burning, your body can't make milk by pulling it from fat cells. It actually needs food. For my church, we are encouraged to fast 1 Sunday a month for 2 meals. Pregnant and nursing moms are excluded from that. So I have personally never fasted while pregnant or nursing. Your body burns up to 500 calories nursing. If you combine that with exercise you are in a deficit of calories already, which means, as long as you are eating what you should be and not all the "extra" stuff, you will lose weight. Most moms hold onto weight, me included, because I sometimes eat extra desserts, or extra carbs, or extra whatever.

What you can do while breastfeeding or even if you aren't breastfeeding is to eat certain types of foods by a certain time. This serves the same purpose, with your body using the energy the foods creates to burn and then you burn your fat later in the day when your body doesn't have the fast burning foods available. Which foods do you eat and by when? Eat your carbs by lunch. On the 21 Day Fix Nutrition Plan I am supposed to eat 4 yellow containers a day of carbs (I am in the highest bracket for the fix). That is about equal to about 2 cups of carbs a day. My goal is to eat a cup at breakfast (1 cup of oatmeal) and a cup at lunch (1 cup of brown rice) and then no more carbs the rest of the day. And you would just adjust the amounts as needed per what bracket you fall under. Where you get your energy from the rest of the day is through your protein which is a slower burning source of energy for your body. Meaning my afternoon snack is usually a protein with fruit, dinner is a protein with veggies, and after dinner snack is a fruit. Check out my chart in the yellow to see what counts as a carb. Because some things you think are veggies are actually counted as carbs. 

My take on which plan to follow

If you are eating the right amount of calories, the right types of foods, exercising (not going through the motions but actually working) and not indulging too much. YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT regardless of what plan you are eating on. The key is EATING. It all goes back to portion control. Even while fasting you are still eating the same types of foods, and the same amount of calories but just during a window of time. It's not like you are eating anything you want then fast for 16 hours. You have to put the right foods in your body no matter what. This is truly the reason why I do the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan. It finally taught me how much food my body needs and what types of food I really should be feeding it. You can get access to the entire 21 Day Fix program, and containers, plus your year membership of Beachbody on Demand and your first month of Shakeology with the Beachbody On Demand Annual All Access Pass Challenge Pack (yeah, it's a mouthful but totally worth it! 

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