Talk to Me About Intermittent Fasting (IF)
There’s this new dieting method that’s gaining a LOT of attention— it’s called intermittent fasting.
Wait, what? Fasting, like not eating— for long periods of time?
Sounds awful right? And counterproductive— I mean, haven’t we been told that fasting slows metabolism and leads to dietary backlash?
For years I’ve been encouraging clients to participate in a healthy breakfast first thing in the morning, and to curb an unruly appetite by eating 6 small meals a day— so I was certainly skeptical. Regardless of my skepticism, intermittent fasting continued to tell her story and spread her success.
My Experience with Keto
IF was the new it girl— so as Health Coach I HAD to give her a chance, and girrrrrl have I got a story for you!
I’ve always had to work at my weight. Growing up I noticed that my girlfriends could get away with eating all sorts of sugar-laden, processed junk food and not gain a pound, while I was over here lifting all the things, eating all the greens and still maintaining a wider waistline. WTF?
As I crept towards my 40’s I could have blamed genetics, hormones or stress levels for stubborn weight, but I knew very well that ALL such factors are heavily influenced by dietary decisions. So I decided to assume responsibility and fully commit to the ketogenic diet.
Keto was an absolute game changer! My digestion improved, my tummy tightened and my energy skyrocketed. But I was still battling an exceptionally ravenous appetite. I tried all the tricks in the book— eating 6 small meals a day, upping my dietary fat, limiting my workouts— you name it— I just couldn’t get a handle on my appetite.
My Experience with IF
So you could imagine, when I stumbled upon intermittent fasting I wasn’t so much curious as I was downright terrified.
You see, I don’t respond well to that whole let’s not eat approach.
The concept alone seems to contradict entrenched nutritional beliefs that fasting disrupts metabolic function. The only selling point (beyond its popularity) lie in our anthropological history. Intermittent fasting is not a new dietary technique— it’s a Paleolithic way of eating. Before the time of limitless access to food supply, our ancestors relied on fat stores and ketone production for fuel during months of famine. Fasting was, at one time, as natural a part of life as breathing.
However, in today’s day, the concept of fasting as a primer for optimal health is a tough pill to swallow— and one that may require a bit of myth-busting.
Myth #1: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
We’ve all heard it. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Beyond the obvious energizing effects breakfast has on the body, it’s also thought to set you up for dietary success throughout the day. Over the years this sort of convoluted information had me forcing down steal-cut oats with sliced banana and fresh oj in order to “jumpstart my metabolism.”
For the record, the “healthy” breakfast mentioned above is equivalent to eating 4 glazed Dunkin’ Donuts. 😳
Let’s be honest— all I was really doing for myself was spiking my blood sugar and setting myself up for some serious hanger in the hours to come.
So what you’re saying is, DON’T eat breakfast?
Well, not necessarily.
What kind of horseshit answer is that?
Myth #2: Eating 6 small meals per day helps boost metabolism
Metabolism encompasses millions of chemical processes that keep your body alive and well. Metabolism is related to weight because it influences the body’s energetic needs. Take in more energy than you need, and the excess will be stored as fat.
Optimal meal frequency is a widely debated topic in the fitness world. As of late we’ve been told that eating 6 small meals throughout the day may help combat cravings and boost metabolism.
Wrong-o! Research is now suggesting that eating many mini meals has absolutely no bearing on metabolism whatsoever. More important than frequency is quantity and quality of meals.
Now that we’ve finished myth-busting, let’s have a closer look at intermittent fasting.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
As intimidating as it sounds, IF is not nearly as challenging as you may be thinking (especially once your body is in a state of ketosis). Though there are various methods of intermittent fasting, I’m only going to discuss one method today. It’s likely the simplest and most common form to implement— it’s known as the 16/8 method. This method is as as simple as it reads. It involves an 8 hour window of feasting followed by a 16 hour window of fasting.
Don’t get all bent out of shape just yet. For most of us, 8 of those 16 hours are spent sleeping. By extending the fast a few hours before and a few hours after you’ll easily hit your 16 hour fast.
Which hours are best for fasting?
This all depends on you my friend. Your schedule. Your appetite. Your lifestyle. I would recommend selecting a time frame that works best for you. And here’s the thing— you don’t have to be militant about it. Occasionally I wake up with one hell of an appetite, so I start the feast early. Just keep in mind that if the feast starts early, so does the fast. Here’s a quick snippet of what my window looks like.
A Day in the Life of Coach Katie
Remember, your schedule doesn’t need to micmic mine. What’s most important is that you design a schedule to fit your specific needs. Also— and this is the MOST important piece—sometimes you’re gonna blow it.
Occasionally I’m out late hu-rahing around town and I have a glass of wine (or two) and a bite past 7pm. Who cares! Enjoy your occasional indulgence and let it go. The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up over falling off schedule. Sleep off the wine and get back on track the following morning.
Why not? IF is good for everything from accelerated weight loss to improved brain function. But don’t take my word for it, Dr. Joseph Mercola lays out some serious fasting benefits in his latest book, Fat for Fuel. In summary, the following list contains the top 10 benefits of intermittent fasting as described by Dr. Mercola.
Are There Any Risk Factors Associated with IF?
There certainly are. I would caution all diabetics and hypoglycemics to tread lightly. In fact, the better plan of action would be to avoid any period of calorie restriction until blood sugar and insulin levels have been regulated.
Intermittent fasting is also not advisable if you’re:
- Pregnant or breast-feeding
- Suffering from adrenal fatigue
- Battling Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia
- Malnourished or Underweight
- Under 18
- Current diet is filled with processed food products
Addressing the quality of your diet is crucial before venturing into fasting.
To learn more about cleaning up your diet and regulating blood sugar levels check out out my Keto Diet Masterclass.
How Does IF Accelerate Weight Loss?
Believe it or not, fat is actually an organ within the endocrine system. It’s designed to fuel and protect us. Therefore, it has become really good at hanging onto itself— even when in a state of ketosis (fat-burning).
Intermittent fasting is keto’s secret weapon.
When paired with the ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting helps prompt the body into ketosis and works to keep it there. Once your body has shifted into fat-burning mode, it will be easier for you to fast for up to 18 hours and still feel satiated. And once you’re fasting with ease, your cravings for sugar will slowly dissipate and managing your weight will be MUCH easier!
I’d love to hear all about your journey with intermittent fasting. Feel free to share your story in the comments below.
xo, Coach Katie
Whether you’re well-versed or brand spankin’ new to keto life and looking for some help, you should check out Katie’s coaching program. Coach Katie lives keto all day, errryday. She keeps up to date on the latest science, so you don’t have to. But more importantly, she addresses your specific goals to help you achieve ultimate success on your keto journey. And it’s always better to have someone in your corner, guiding you along. So if you’re ready for total life transformation and ultimate keto success, schedule your FREE initial keto consultation today!