It seems like everyone these days is talking about Fasting to some degree. From Silicon Valley moguls to celebrities like Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Aniston, many people follow a pattern of eating known as the 16:8 diet, a form of intermittent fasting also known as the 8-hour diet. But we’re not calling it a diet - cause we’re done with those, remember? Intermittent fasting (IF) is not a diet, it's a pattern of eating - a way of scheduling your meals.
Advocates of this type of fasting claim that restricting mealtimes helps with everything from weight loss to lowering the risk of chronic disease.
There are other types of fasting out there of course. For example, the 5:2 diet - eat normally five days a week, cut back to 20 percent of your normal daily calorie intake for the other two. For today, however, we’re going to focus on the simplest and most introductory form of fasting - the 16:8 plan.
Here's what you need to know before you get started.
What exactly is the 16:8 diet?
It bears repeating that Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it's a pattern of eating - a way of scheduling your meals. It doesn’t change what you eat, it changes when you eat. It’s pretty simple. During your 16-hour ‘fasting’ period, you limit yourself to anything with zero calories - tea, black coffee, seltzer water, etc. and during your 8-hour eating period, you eat what you normally eat. Most people do this by starting a fast at night, skipping breakfast, and eating their first meal in the middle of the day.
Note that if you’re currently eating 5 meals a day, you may end up cutting back due to the restricted eating times. That’s totally fine. If you decide to give this a shot, cut back as you need to. Slowly but surely you’ll ease into a routine if you find that this pattern of eating works for you.
"This sounds hard - Is it really worth it?"
There are TONS of benefits to Intermittent Fasting. These benefits include: prevention against Alzheimer’s, cancer prevention, improved heart health, inflammation reduction, reducing insulin resistance, and weight loss. Bottom line: Yeah, we think it’s worth it.
"What are the downsides?"
It can be tough to develop a new routine - and with any change you make, there’s going to be an adjustment period. You may experience hunger and a bit of moodiness in the beginning. This will change as you get used to a new rhythm.
Going out for late night dinners or gatherings can be tough as well. There are a few ways you can approach this:
Start your fast later than usual.
Decide to fast during the week, and take the weekends (or nights you usually go out) off.
Skip your fast altogether, and then get right back to it the next day.
You can choose whichever of these strategies will work best for you. You can also choose to stick to your guns, and commit to the process. Use it as a conversation starter, and maybe bring some sparkling water for yourself.
"How do I get started?"
First and foremost, we’d recommend you have a chat with your doctor about your plans. Especially if you have any medical condition or if you’re on any medication.
Next, it’s helpful to have something to help you track your fast and tell you when it’s time to start/stop eating. There are lots of apps out there to help you with this. We’d recommend (based on personal experience) a FREE app called Zero. Zero comes with 16:8 as a predefined fast but is also completely customizable, allowing you to define your daily fasting hours and days per week. It will remind you when it’s time to start fasting, and when you’ve reached your goal.
Finally, just get started. This will look different for everyone. We always encourage you to do what works for YOU, and this is no different. Whether you decide to slowly progress to longer and longer fasts, or you decide to jump in with both feet - just get started!
We want to hear from you!
Have you tried Intermittent Fasting? What’s been your experience?
“The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.” - Chinese Proverb