Dirty Guide to Holiday & Party Eating: Intermittent Fasting

 Fun fact: Tigers can comfortably fast for a few days before needing to refuel!

Fun fact: Tigers can comfortably fast for a few days before needing to refuel!

What is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?

It’s a way of eating where you eat your daily food in a certain “window” of time. For example, you fast for 14 hours and eat in a 10 hour window.

Let’s say you finish your evening ice cream cookies or dinner (who doesn’t eat ice cream or cookies at night?) around 7PM. Then you don’t eat anything until 9AM in the morning. That’s a 14 hours “fast.” You eat all of your food in the next 10 hours…BAM, that brings us back around to 7PM as your last meal.

You can also make it 16/8 or 20/4 split. Really up to you how you break it up. There is some research that suggests it’s better for women not to go longer than 14-16 hours without food, but I have done 22/2 and been perfectly fine. Test it out for yourself and see if it works for you. I, personally, prefer 16/8 split or around 15/9 split. And I do what's convenient and try not to stress myself. 

What are the Benefits?

Fasting has been shown to have some benefits. When you’re in a fasted state you can focus on your work! Your body is not too busy spending the entire day digesting your food.

Other benefits include:

  • reduced blood pressure
  • less oxidative damage to various tissues – pretty much means that you’ll age slower & live longer
  • better insulin sensitivity – translation: stuff that you eat will help you build muscle and other non-fat tissues, instead of going to building fat.
  • improved brain function – we all need that
    • Science, if you care: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12558961

How Do You Use It Properly?

Intermittent Fasting is a great strategy when you have an event planned where you know you’re going to be tempted by a lot of good food.

I have been doing some form of IF for the last the 7 years, and I will be the first to admit that it is not for everyone. It can get hard to control hunger during the fasting window. Some people will fast and then when it’s time to eat they will overeat because they are way too hungry. They will eat everything in sight without regard.

If you are following LunchBox Fitness Nutrition Plan then you can save your macros and eat them in a smaller window which will help you enjoy some treats without losing your gains!

Sample Fasting Protocol:

  • Last meal, night before at 7PM.
  • 6AM: Wake up, drink water.
  • 7AM-9AM: Skip breakfast and only drink coffee, water, tea. Don’t drink anything that has calories.
  • 9AM-11AM: Break your fast (Females, 14-16 hours)
  • 11AM-1PM: Break your fast (Males, 16-18 hours)
  • *Eating Window*
  • 7PM: Finish your last meal and repeat.

Notes:

  • Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water – 8/10 times when you feel “hungry” you’re just thristy.
  • You will feel hungry for the first few days of doing it but your body will get used to it.
  • This protocol is especially useful if you prefer eating bigger meals instead of snacking.
  • There are ways to customize it if you’re training at certain times in order to improve performance and maximize fat loss.