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When it comes to achieving a wellness goal, we often only consider the rules we must keep - but we forget that some rules are made to be broken. So today we're discussing three Intermittent Fasting rules that you should consider BREAKING if you want to achieve long lasting weight loss and wellness goals.
Intermittent Fasting Rule #1: No Food
This might shock you, but the "cardinal rule" of Intermittent Fasting could actually be holding you back from achieving your long term weight loss and wellness goals. Most people think you can only have water, maybe black coffee, during the fast. And although it's true that there are some specific health perks for sticking to a "true fast", this might not be the best option for everyone.
However, as a Nutritionist working with thousands of people around the world, I've found that a true fast might not be the best option for those who are first starting their Intermittent Fasting journey. This is particularly true if someone has a degree of insulin resistsance.
One of the main studied perks of Intermittent Fasting is that it has been found to help naturally reduce insulin levels, which in turn aids in increasing fat burning and can therefore help to reduce belly fat.(1)
However, in the beginning of an Intermittent Fasting journey, it can take a few weeks to fully transition into effectively using fat as fuel - especially if already insulin resistant. This means for the first few weeks, you might struggle with hunger during the fast because you've already burned through muscle glycogen, but you don't yet fully have access to fat sources.
This is where I've found adding some type of pure fat during a fast can aid with this awkward transition period. It helps to naturally provide some high quality fuel sources while not spiking insulin during the fast.
Intermittent Fasting Rule #2: Keep a Strict Fast
This rule states that you must stick to the exact fast that you set for yourself. So for example, if you decide that you're going to fast for 16 hours a day and your eating window will be 10am-6pm, then you will only ever eat during those times.
This might be a good idea at first in order to help create a new habit. However, over time this inflexible fast may leave you feeling isolated and left out of social gatherings or special occasions. This is why I'm a big fan of window shifting. In fact, it's such an important component to long term success that I detail exactly how to use it (and why) in my Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle. And thousands of people using the Bundle programs have found this tool to be one of they keys to their long lasting success.
To get an idea of how window shifting works, I recommend you watch my short video above for the details.
Intermittent Fasting Rules #3: Longer Is Better
A quick scroll through the comments on my YouTube videos will demonstrate how many people who first start Intermittent Fasting think that they need to fast longer in order to see better fat loss benefits. And this is certainly not the case.
When it comes to losing weight (and specifically losing belly fat), we need to consider both fasting and eating. Fasting, as we have discussed, has been found to help the body tap into fat burning. However, if you don't break your fast properly or you don't allow enough time during your eating window to eat all of your daily nutrient needs, then this could actually reverse your progress made with the fast.
One huge consideration is getting adequate protein in during the eating window. Protein is the most important macronutrient for body recomposition.(2) Body recomposition is where you're losing body fat while maintaining (or increasing) muscle mass. Focusing on body recomposition while losing weight helps to primarily burn fat as fuel while keeping the metabolism high.
If you fast too long, this makes it extremely difficult to fit all of your daily protein needs into your eating window. This is because protein is incredibly satiating and sends powerful signals via hormones to the brain that you're full and satisfied.
Finding the balance between fasting and eating is the most often missed (and yet most important) factor when looking to achieve a long lasting weight loss and fat loss goal with Intermittent Fasting.
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Autumn Elle Nutrition