There is so much confusion around something as simple as fasting. So this guide is for beginners who want to venture into the world of intermittent fasting. As I have mentioned before, the goal of any good weight-loss diet should be to keep the body’s insulin levels low. The current science shows a move away from fad diets that advocate multiple meals a day, towards eating only 2 or 1 meal a day. This is called intermittent fasting.
So, what is Intermittent Fasting?
In today’s life the big learning is that we are constantly eating! Fasting is simply a pause from eating. Fasting is not starving yourself. Fasting is not depriving yourself. It is a “pause”.
There are many many fasting protocols, but we are only going to focus on the 12 to 16 hour fasts. This is the least intimidating form of fasting. There is a “fasting window” and an “eating window”.
Start your fasting journey with a simple 12-hour fast: Where you eat for 12 hours and fast for 12 hours.
Once this becomes easy do a 14-hour fast: where you eat for 10 hours and fast for 14 hours.
Then advance to the 16-hour fast: Where you eat for 8 hours and fast for 16 hours. This is the ideal fasting time.
During the “eating window” eat as much food as you are hungry for. Do not eat less than you normally would. The idea is not to lower the number of calories you are consuming. Eating less food will put you in a starvation mode.
During the “fasting window” the following are okay to consume:
Water: Drink water every time you feel hungry; this is actually the body telling you that it’s thirsty.
Black Coffee/ Green Tea- These two are okay to drink. Do not add any sugar or milk (not even a drop). Do not have herbal or flavoured teas as they often contain fruits or sugars.
Apple Cider Vinegar: This is okay to consume during your fast.
Himalayan Pink Salt: This is important as it replenishes the minerals we lose through the day. If you get a headache, licking a pinch of this salt will help.
Bulletproof Coffee: For those of you who want to try this, it is butter and coconut oil in coffee blended together. It’s quite tasty and froths up like a cappuccino.
How to break a fast?
Remember that while you are fasting the body is busy repairing itself. The digestive system is sensitive. So do not break a fast with spicy and heavy food. Do not jump into the “eating window” with a huge meal! Don’t have something sugary or a fruit juice. The sudden rush of sugar may make you feel dizzy.
I like breaking my fast with either a clear soup or some eggs. The body is very responsive to nutrients at this point so feed it well.
When should you fast?
Typically you will end up missing a breakfast or a dinner. Some people enjoy a nice heavy breakfast and prefer to start fasting from the late afternoon onward. Other like to have dinner and skip breakfast.
I normally finish eating by 8 pm and will break my fast at noon the next day. This is what I have found works best for me. The beauty of intermittent fasting is that it is flexible to your needs. So feel free to play around with the timings until you find the 8-hour window that works best for you. As long as you fast for the desired number of hours at a stretch, consistently, you're on the right track.
Lastly, it is okay if you have a late night once in a while and eat past your eating window. Just get back on track and begin eating at your normal time the next day :)
Intermittent fasting is a beautiful way to learn restraint. Our life should not revolve around food, but we must enjoy everything we eat without becoming a slave to it.
Ashdin Doctor was LIVE in conversation with us about Intermittent Fasting. Watch the interview here.
Ashdin is a 'habit coach'. He believes that having an awesome life is easy. All we have to do is identify and create the right habits, routines and rituals. His technique is based on his personal journey fighting ill health and excess weight. It all began four years ago when he was living the dream. A new business and stressful and sleep-deprived days led to stress eating and he grew to an unhealthy 90 kgs which resulted in severe issues around his health. He decided enough was enough and took matters in his own hands. He started experimenting on himself deciding what worked, what was practical, or impractical for daily life. Was the effect tangible or not? He informally studied various perspectives on health, nutrition, fitness, exercise, anatomy, nervous system, habits, motivation, lifestyles and sleep. Today, he is fitter than ever before and has made it a mission in life to share this knowledge and wisdom and help transform other lives too! He partners with thought leaders, doctors and expert in various fields related to lifestyles and health in his two ventures FitterBee and Awesome180.