Easy Guide to Intermittent Fasting

The concept of intermittent fasting has received a whole lot of attention lately.  Limiting your meals to only a few hours of the day may seem like a daunting challenge for some, however, the simplicity in this way of feeding your body is greatly underrated and does have great benefits.  Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about intermittent fasting.


What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting suggests you only eat during a select few hours of the day and refrain from eating for the remaining hours.  Don’t worry, you do still get to enjoy your java fix in the morning since you can have black coffee (without sugar), tea or water during the fasting segment of the day.

The ideal window for eating is an 8-hour period, whereas sixteen hours is spent on the fast.  An alternative, more hard-core regime (not recommended for fasting newbies) is fasting for 23 hours and eating only one meal per day within the window of 1 hour.


Benefits of intermittent fasting

Besides being an excellent way to lose or manage your weight, the fasting pattern also boosts your energy, improves brain functioning, removes cellular waste and promotes cellular protection.  Anti-aging, reducing cravings and regulating insulin levels are also benefits of giving your body an extended break between meals.


How does intermittent fasting work?

Your body favours glucose (carbohydrates) as its source of energy. When you fast, your body burns the available glucose first and then transitions to fat burning. This fat-burning state is called ketosis. Need I say more, who doesn’t want to burn fat?  But let’s dig a little deeper.  When you eat frequently, eat extra carbs and sugar, and ignore your body’s ‘I’m full’ signals, your body struggles to keep up, extra glucose is stored as fat and your pancreas works overtime.  This results in weight gain, possible diabetes, cancer risk, and insulin resistance.  When fasting, your body is given time to rest, clean up shop, and stabilize glucose levels.


The great thing about intermittent fasting is that you can adapt it to your schedule.  Your fasting day may look something like this:

  • No breakfast in the morning, however, you might want to try a cup of hot water with lemon, black tea or coffee. (Remember that your body is in ketosis so adding milk or sugar to your drink will reverse the effect and your body will again start burning glucose instead of the desired fat.)
  • Break your fast at midday and have your first meal.
  • You can have an afternoon snack, enjoy dinner, and make sure you stop eating by 8 pm.
  • Fast again until the next day noon and repeat, giving your body 16 hours in between meals.


Intermittent fasting tips

Start by doing intermittent fasting a few times per week as you are comfortable.  You can start with more or fewer hours of fasting and as you adjust, prolong the time you give your body in between meals.  Very importantly, you need to see how your body responds and find what works best for you.

Make sure that when you do eat, especially on breaking the fast, you are feeding yourself nutritious, good quality foods.  You need to ensure that your body gets all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients during the ‘feeding window’ so keep it nutrient-rich, and take it easy on the carbohydrates.

The more carbohydrates you do eat, the longer it will take for your body to shift into ketosis.

When should I stop fasting?

  • Firstly, you should not be fasting at all if you suffer from blood-sugar irregularities, are pregnant or have a past of disordered eating.
  • Listen to your body’s cues and note red flags such as restless sleep, fatigue, dizziness, and weakness which may indicate that your body needs energy more often. This is especially important if you are fasting for longer than 16 hours at a time.
  • Women may experience a disruption in insulin response and reproductive hormones with extreme fasting. If you notice negative changes or shifts in your cycle consult your doctor.
  • Check in with yourself regularly to see if your schedule feels right. Fasting, although initially challenging, is supposed to bring you vitality and good mental function.


An effective transition to fasting means training your body to function with a different routine.

Catching your mindless eating habits of grabbing a snack ‘just because’ is really the hardest part of it all.  Once you’re rid of those bad habits, it’s really not that hard.  Whether you’re eating for one hour, or 6 hours in the day, enjoy good nutritious food using it to nourish your body and mind.


Good luck!


**Consult with your healthcare provider to determine what may be best for you as with changing any diet or exercise plan.

I’m Chenaye and I’ve been hunting the globe for the past 6 years to bring you the latest health news, best solutions and advice to live your greatest, healthiest and most fulfilled life.