Most people have heard and tried the concept that eating 5 small meals is best for weight loss and management. I tried this way of eating for years with no success. I was always thinking about food and having to bring Tupperware every place I went. I never really enjoyed eating this way because I thought about food constantly. I have always though that eating so often, never allowed your food to completely digest before you’re eating again. I started researching other alternatives to the standard three to five meals per day. A consistent way of eating that people seemed to prescribe to was intermittent fasting (IF).
Fasting is nothing new; people have been doing it since the beginning of time for religious and health purposes. Ramadan which starts June 28th is a form of intermittent fasting. IF means eating your calories during a specific window of the day, and choosing not to eat food during the rest. Some examples of intermittent fasting are regularly are eating from noon-8 PM, basically skipping breakfast, and not eating late at night. Some people eat within a smaller window such as 6-hours or 4 hours. Another option is to taking a full 24 hours off from eating. An example of this after eating a normal schedule (finishing dinner at 7pm) so not eat again until 7pm the next evening. This is not a diet but more but more of a regular way eating. The goal is to get all of your calories with the prescribed eating time frame. This concept is nothing new, and human beings have been fasting since the beginning of time.
There are various health benefits to intermittent fasting according to, research presented at the 2011 annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans fasting triggered a 1,300 percent rise of human growth hormone (HGH) in women, 2,000 percent in men. The human growth hormone, is also known as "the fitness hormone," plays an important role in maintaining fitness health. HGH promotes muscle growth and boosts fat loss simultaneously.IF, when done correctly, can help extend life, regulate blood glucose, control blood lipids, and manage body weight. Sounds like the holy grail to me!
After doing a great deal of research, I decided to try intermittent fasting for myself. I followed the 16/8 schedule eating every day from 11-7 and fasting until 11 am the next day. I worked out daily one hour prior to my first meal and made sure my calories stayed in the 1400 range. I also still consumed between 75-100 grams of vegan protein daily. I ate plenty of veggies, high quality carbs and Garden of Life supplements like vitamin D, Raw One for Women , BCAAs, and MorEPA Platinium fish oil. I must admit I feel amazing eating like this. I sleep better, I am more focused mentally and my workouts are more intense. I have also lost 10 pounds in 3 weeks, I maintained my lean muscle mass and lost a great deal of body fat.
There is so much information on Intermittent fasting that could not be covered here, but I do hope you will investigate more. Some helpful sites with more information on the subject are Eat Stop Eat and Brad Garden of Life Pilon. Stay tuned next month as I do a raw and blended living challenge. I will make 60 percent of all meals using The Vitamix and Garden of Life protein supplements as well as concentrated fruit and vegetable powders I make myself. Follow me on Twitter for all the action.
Intermittent fasting may not be for everyone. You should consult your health care practitioner before trying.
Karim Orange is a health and fitness writer. She contributes to the Garden of Life blog as well as Lucky Magazine, the Huffington Post and Organic Spa Living.