Let me see your hand if you want the secret to a longer life with beautiful skin, toned belly and a sharp brain…
Welcome to the intermittent fasting post, originally sent as a 3-part email series where your (fav) natural skin care gal spills the beans on the What, Why, and How of intermittent fasting.
I’ve divided the post like this:
- WHAT Intermittent Fasting Is
- WHY You Should Consider Intermittent Fasting
- HOW To Do Intermittent Fasting
What Intermittent Fasting Is
Put simply, intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of fasting and eating.
It’s not a diet in the traditional sense since there're no restrictions on what foods you can eat.
*Cough* only plant-based foods 😉 *cough*
Fasting is of course not something new. We’ve fasted for thousands of years. Believe it or not, where was a time with no supermarkets, no refrigerators, and no access to foods from other parts of the world.
I know, hard to believe! Today with a few clicks, you’ve ordered a tasty falafel from JustEat that gets delivered to your doorstep before the next Netflix episode is over.
However, it wasn’t always so.
Until 1834, there were no refrigerators, making it difficult to keep the the otherwise fresh food from going bad. Back then, it wasn’t unusual to fast for days until the next meal was available.
Intermittent fasting doesn’t have to be so strict. In fact, the 16:8 protocol is 16 hours of fasting with 8 hours of eating.
Let’s see how we can implement this 16:8 method:
I’ve always found the 11am-7pm split to be easy to follow. You’ve got 16 hours between 7pm and 11am. This may be the one you wanna try but wait to decide until I’ve shared the other options in the how section of this post.
The WHAT is simple.
The WHY is (funny enough) the reasons you would alter your entire eating pattern. It’s not a slight change by any means so it helps to know the all health benefits you can experience.
Why Intermittent Fasting for Skin?
Granted, we‘re missing more actual human studies, but the anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness is nothing short of staggering. A quick Reddit or Quora research and you’ll find women after women SWEARING IF has cleared up decades of acne breakouts, eczema and other unexplainable skin issues otherwise impossible to fix.
Here are a few Reddit comments:
Just imagine yourself being free from whatever skin issue you are dealing with, looking at yourself in the mirror and not seeing a single break out. Surprised by how smooth your skin looks, you give a radiant smile and step out of the bathroom, proud of your how your skin has transformed.
And are you ready for the best part? It’s FREE!
Truth is… You don’t need any fancy products or weeks of education. What’s important is committing to read this post...If you do that, you’ll be ready!
If you’re like me, hearing the skin benefits from real people like us makes you Wanna do this!
And if after 2 weeks you don’t like it, you’d still have lost inches around your waist as a side bonus. Win win!
But I get it. Fasting seems HARD.
But let’s look at the facts… How long do you have to be without food?
As you’ll see, the possibilities are many, but here’s one method called 16:8.
- A 16-hour window of fasting (water is okay)
- An 8-hour window of eating (and drinking)
Now, 16 hours may seem like a stretch, but let’s see if it’s really that crazy of an idea…
If you start eating at 11am.
Eat and drink for 8 hours.
That means you have to stop at 7pm. Just after regular dinner.
Your next meal will be at 11am, meaning you have to sleep, wake up, skip breakfast and that’s about it.
You won’t even feel hungry before you go to bed. In the morning you may feel hungry, but that’s because your body is in the habit of wanting food.
It’s signaling to your brain saying, “Hey, where’s the food? We always eat food”!
After a few days of adjusting, these signals won’t even enter your brain and skipping the breakfast will be the easiest thing in the world.
The good news is you can drink ALL the water you want, helping you to feel energized and clear-headed.
That’s another benefits you’ll notice. A SHARP mind, not bogged down, constantly digesting food. You’ll experience being more alert, ready to tackle your tasks with vigor and excitement.
Now, on the topic of skipping breakfast, not mentioning coffee would be an unsubscribe reason for many I can imagine!
- “Nobody is taking my morning coffee away from me”
- “I’m dead without my morning coffee”
- “My day starts when I’ve had my first two cups of coffee”
And you’d be 100% right…
For the first 2-3 days, you’ll feel you “need” the coffee but lo-and-behold… After about 3 days, your body will adjust and you won’t even want that morning coffee anymore.
So if you can get through those few days… You got the key to the skin you’ve always dreamed about…
- “Thats the magic of autophagy! I've struggled with bad acne myself, even to the point of getting meds from a derm to clear it up. IF has made almost all of it go away, and I'm certain the rest is on the way out too.”
Now if this feels at all interesting to you, be sure to keep reading!
How To Do Intermittent Fasting
By the time you’re done reading this section, you have learned about 4 intermittent fasting methods and how to implement them into your life.
In the last two sections, we went into all the reasons IF is an amazing choice, granted, if you can fit it into your lifestyle.
So without further ado, let’s slide right into method number one:
The 16/8 method
It’s of course the method I’ve already elaborated upon over the past two days, but if it’s still unclear, this is basically fasting for 16 hours, eating for 8.
Nothing complicated at all, and you’ll find this method to be the easiest as a complete IF beginner since the fasting period isn’t over 16 hours.
A few examples of how 16:8 would pan out:
Start eating at 11am until 7pm. That way, you only really have to skip breakfast the next day. These hours have always been the easiest for me to fit into my life.
Another option is to start your day with breakfast, let’s say 7am and then finish your last meal at 3pm.
Some people don’t enjoy going to bed hungry, me included. Other people don’t mind it. So check in with yourself and pick the one that’s easiest to stick with.
If you’re feeling extra motivated, you’re going to love the next methods as they will require going longer without food - possibly increasing the benefits.
Fasting for 1 or 2 days a week is known as Eat-Stop-Eat. It involves eating no food for 24 hours at a time. You can have water, tea, and other calorie-free drinks (e.g. detox waters) during the fasting period.
On non-fasting days, you return to your normal eating pattern.
Eating this way is effective in terms of reducing your total caloric intake, making it an excellent weight loss protocol as a side bonus.
Note, a 24-hour fast can be a challenge, and it may cause fatigue, headaches, or irritability. Many people find that these effects become less extreme over time as the body adjusts to this new pattern of eating.
If this is all new to you, consider going for the 16:8 method before transitioning to 24 hours.
By following the 5:2 “diet”, you eat standard amounts of healthful food for 5 days and reduce calorie intake on the other 2 days.
During the 2 “fasting” days, women generally consume 500 calories.
Typically, you’d want to separate the fasting days to non-consecutive days like Monday & Thursday as an example. On these days you limit yourself to 500 calories and eat without restriction on the non-fasting days.
I haven’t tried this method myself, but if 16:8 is too difficult, this one seems to be easy enough.
They made a study on this diet involving 107 overweight women and found that restricting calories twice weekly led to weight loss. The study also found this diet reduced insulin levels and improved insulin sensitivity among the participants. (More about the study in this book: Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power
This is excellent news for anyone who has diabetes in the family.
This insulin response has shown itself across all the methods, not just this one.
Alternate day fasting
And lastly we have the alternate day fasting plan, which involves fasting every other day.
For some, this means avoidance of solid foods on fasting days, while others allow up to 500 calories. On non-fasting days you can eat as much as you want.
Alternate day fasting is quite an extreme form of intermittent fasting, and it may not be suitable for beginners or those with certain medical conditions. It may also be difficult to maintain this type of fasting in the long term.
So which one should you begin with?
If you are a complete beginner, I recommend going with either the 16:8 version where you fast for 16 hours and eat for 8, or the 5:2 where you fast for two days in the week with an allowance of 500 calories during the day.
Gun to my head, it would be 16:8 because you give your system a complete rest for 16 hours whereas the 5:2 you still eat during the day.
Feeling extra frisky, you can try going for 24 hours without food. Who knows, maybe this stuff is easy or you!
Just picture yourself experiencing these same benefits:
- “... And my ugly ass rough flaky skin has become so smooth like the smoothest is has been since I hit puberty (10+ years) it just happened after 1 week of IF.”
- “I have cellulite plugs around both my arms and my skin becomes dry and flaky. After a week on IF my skin just began shedding like crazy and it all cleared up. Same soap. No products. I’m a super low maintenance girl, I do nothing to actively improve my skin.”
- “I had skin problems all my adult life (I'm 38) My skin is amazing now so much clearer than I ever remember.”
- “My face especially. Yes. Edit: I'm 50, looking like forty. Lol…”
Ask them in the group and I’ll be right there to help you out. I’m even considering doing a 30-day IF challenge if enough of you are up for it. We’ll make a thread in the group, check in once a day, support each other, give tips on what works and all that good stuff. Let me know if you’d want me to put that together 🙂