I get asked a lot of questions about my eating habits. As someone in the fitness industry, I know what I’m supposed to say: make sure to eat breakfast, eat five or six small meals throughout the day, eat every 2-3 hours, don’t eat after 7pm, etc. But, the truth is that’s NOT how I eat…at all!
I eat when I get hungry, and that usually doesn’t happen until after noon. I typically eat one big meal in the evening, and the rest of the day I feed when my body tells me I need to. This can be very hard to explain to someone who is looking to you for guidance as to how they should be eating. It turns out there is a name for how I eat, and it’s called Intermittent Fasting. (Apparently I’m trendy, and I didn’t even know it!)
According to Fitness Rx for Women, Intermittent Fasting is planned periods of fasting (usually 16-20 hours) followed by planned periods of eating. The 16/8 Method is what I do almost every day. This method consists of 16 hours of fasting followed by 8 hours during which you eat. The fast begins after your last meal or snack, and it includes the hours you’re asleep. My typical fast is from 8pm until noon the next day, but the great thing about Intermittent Fasting is that it can be flexible to your schedule!
(photo credit here)
Intermittent Fasting works for me for a number of reasons:
– There is less food prep. (When you have two kids who keep you crazy busy, who has time to prep, prepare, and pack six meals a day??)
– I prefer to eat a smaller lunch or healthy snacks during the day and a bigger dinner.
– I enjoy food, and this allows me more flexibility when I eat.
– I can get more done during the day, because I don’t have to stop what I’m doing in order to eat a meal every few hours.
– I like to work out on an empty stomach.
Here’s how it works!
During the fasting period:
– No food
– You can (and should) drink lots of water.
– You can drink black coffee or tea. (Yay coffee!)
– Stay busy and active!
– Try to schedule your daily workout at the end of your fasting period.
During your feeding hours:
– Start your feeding period with a post-workout shake or other source of protein.
– Try to space out the rest of your meals or snacks approximately 3 hours apart.
– Continue to drink lots of water.
– Don’t overeat!
If you are considering giving this a try, here are a few tips to get you started:
– Start with one or two 16-hour fasts a week, and do them on days when you know you’ll be busy while you get used to it.
– Have healthy snacks available, so you’re not tempted by junk food.
– Make sure to prepare balanced meals to help avoid overeating.
– Keep your water bottle full and with you at all times!
– Remember to get your workouts in! Exercise and nutrition together are the keys to fat loss!
Intermittent Fasting is obviously much different than the conventional fitness industry method of eating five or six small meals throughout the day. BOTH methods can and do work! It’s a matter of finding what works for you and fits your lifestyle!