How many of us focus on when to eat?
No many rights? The focus and pressure have always been put on what to eat and that is important as well, but what if when we eat is just as important?
When considering when to eat, intermittent fasting is becoming more and more popular and for a great reason. Intermittent fasting is the voluntary act of withholding from food, therefore, it is something you must mentally accept before you physically succeed. Please believe me when I say that it IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK. Intermittent fasting is one of the answers to the question “When do I eat?”, which not many people ask. Meal timing is important to consider for a much different reason including reversing insulin resistance, emotional eating, and maximizing digestion.
Today, many of us eat breakfast when we wake up, then a mid-morning snack, then lunch, then another snack, then dinner, and then dessert. This means that we spike our insulin 6x throughout the day. These insulin spikes keep our insulin high throughout the day along with a persistent intake of refined carbs and sugar which leads to insulin resistance. Because 50% of Americans are pre-diabetic or diabetic and blacks are 77% more likely to be diagnosed compared to their counterpart, intermittent fasting is key to eliminate excess sugar from the liver. Intermittent fasting allows insulin levels to drop to low levels and remain low for an extended period of time. This allows sugar to be released from the liver and used by the body, thus beginning the process of reversing insulin resistance. Reversing insulin resistance is one key to losing belly fat.
For those of us who do not struggle with insulin resistance or belly fat still, benefit from IF. We gain more time doing the things we love like spending time with family, hobbies, and self care. We spend less money on food because we are not eating as often. We build a healthy relationship with food and with ourselves through self control and we optimize digestion by eating at consistent times that align with the sun.
How to start:
I recommend starting intermittent fasting with a 16:8 ratio. This means eating within an 8hr period and fasting for 16hrs. This is the same hours most of us work during the day. If you do not want to work all day, why would you make your digestive system work all day? Also remember that we are sleeping for 6-8hrs out of the 16hrs, so it not as bad as you may think.
During the fasting period, your focus will be on liquids such as water, tea, bone broth and coffee. I recommend at least 32oz of water during the fasting period. You may infuse the water with cucumber, oranges, lemon, limes, pineapple, watermelon, etc. The next option is tea. Tea can be black, white, green, herbal, or whatever you prefer. There should be little to no sugar added to the tea, if you do want sugar use stevia or natural honey. I personally love matcha green tea with peppermint. You will find your favorite teas quickly as the choices are plentiful. Last, but not least is coffee. The coffee should be black, bulletproof, or very little milk/cream. No sugar. Although coffee is allowed, I do not recommend drinking more than 2 cups because coffee is dehydrating, provides pseudo energy, and disturbs sleep.
The first couple of days you will feel hungry and at first, you might not be able to overcome this feeling, but please do not give up. In the beginning, it takes a little mental power. Please be prepared to have a little battle with the feeling of hunger and understand that IT WILL PASS. Being busy during this time helps take your mind off the sensations and taking fluids will also decrease hunger.
Intermittent fasting has made my life, eating healthy, and maintaining my weight and energy so easy. An important note that I want to end with is that those with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes should refrain from snacking during the eating period. I know this may sound impossible, but eating high energy foods such as fat, protein, and fibrous carbs will allow you to sustain blood sugars and hunger for longer periods of time.