I’ve been a HUGE fan of intermittent fasting ever since I dug into the research three years ago–and I’m living proof that it really works!
I have personally had great success with intermittent fasting, especially in improving my energy, insulin levels, blood sugar levels, and brain function. All while giving myself an extra incentive to eat the right portions of the right foods at the right times.
And that’s just scratching the surface.
But before I dive into the three ways to make intermittent fasting easier for you, I want to briefly share what intermittent fasting is, why it’s so good for you, and what has been working for me so far.
What is intermittent fasting?
If you’ve ever tried other weight-loss diets, then you probably already know just how hard they can be to follow–which makes it even harder to succeed!
That’s simply NOT the case with intermittent fasting. Study after study has shown that people tend to stick with this approach better than others. Plus, common low-calorie diets can make you feel ever hungry and cranky or as I like to say, “hangry.”
Then there are low-carb/keto diets, which can cause intense cravings and constipation.
Finally, you have low-fat diets, but those are also tough to follow and, contrary to popular belief, they do not seem to prevent cardiovascular disease.
BUT enter intermittent fasting, a totally different approach to dieting that actually works!
Intermittent fasting restricts when or how much you eat — or sometimes both.
One version, time-restricted eating, allows you to eat only during a certain time window, usually about eight hours, over a single day. For example, you would ONLY eat during the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then fast during the other 16 hours. This is my personal favorite.
The other approaches, alternate-day, and whole-day fasting don’t actually involve strict fasting. Instead, you choose two or more days during the week when you cut way back on the food you eat, limiting yourself to just 400 to 600 calories per day.
On the other days of the week, you follow your normal eating pattern. In one popular version, the 5:2 diet, you eat normally for five days, then restrict your calories on two non-consecutive days. With alternate-day fasting, you eat a calorie-restricted diet every other day.
Plus, you get ALL kinds of additional benefits beyond just weight loss.
The many benefits of intermittent fasting
Aside from losing weight (which I have!), numerous studies show that it can have powerful benefits for your body and brain, too.
Here’s a short list of what you can expect:
- Positive changes in the function of hormones, cells, and genes
- Loss of excess unwanted weight and visceral fat
- Enhances energy and clears brain fog
- Naturally stabilizes blood sugar
- Reduction in insulin resistance, lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes
- Reduction in oxidative stress and inflammation in the body
- Improved cardiovascular health and function
- Cellular repair and regeneration
- Helps prevent cancer
- Boosts cognitive abilities (especially focus!)
- Could help prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s
- May extend your lifespan
How I make intermittent fasting work for me
In a typical week, I fast between 13-16 hours a day, and ideally, I don’t eat after dinner and at least three hours before bed.
That means I usually eat dinner before 6:30 pm so that I have time to take a walk on the beach before putting Kingston down for bed at 7:00 pm. And then I aim to be in bed by no later than 10:00 pm.
This allows my brain to get a deep cleaning via the glymphatic system. When we have a big enough break between eating and bed, our brain can devote more energy to cleaning up the proteins, plaques, and waste it accumulated throughout the day.
In the morning, I get up around 7:00 am and have a big glass of my belly slim-down water–which includes lemon, cucumber, and mint.
Around 7:30 am, I make an americano with cinnamon and then head outside to walk to the beach stairs, where I run 5 sets of stairs before meditating. I follow all that up with a quick 15 to 20-minute Peleton weight workout.
It’s important to note that the americano does not change my blood sugar levels, which hovers around 75mg/dl (an optimal morning range).
Why I workout in the morning
I ALWAYS aim to work out in the morning to take advantage of my naturally elevated cortisol levels and my fasting state, so that I am in fat-burning mode.
I try to work out as close to the end of my fasting window as possible so that I really use up a lot of my muscle glycogen stores and my body becomes more metabolically flexible.
I’ll eventually eat around 10:00 am (which feels great and I rarely get hungry before then even with the workout!), putting me at a 15-16 hour fast.
Your regimen and consistency are everything!
What I eat for breakfast
My breakfast tends to include a good balance of protein, healthy fats, and carbs in the form of veggies.
My focus here is protein though since it’s after my workout. I aim for about 30+ grams of protein because we need approximately 85-100 grams each day for our bodies to function at a high level.
Some days, I’ll rock a green smoothie protein shake with TWO scoops of my Essentially Whole Vanilla or Chocolate Bone Broth Protein powder.
Other days, I’ll dig into leftovers from the night before (last night’s dinner usually makes for a GREAT breakfast!).
I don’t eat carb-heavy breakfast foods – or anything that will spike my blood sugar – because I know that a blood sugar spike will likely cause more spikes later in the day. I also take my morning supplements with this first meal.
If you want to check out the BEST breakfast foods for boosting your metabolism, go back and check out this podcast episode: Change Your Breakfast with These Thermogenic Foods for More Energy All Day Long.
What I drink throughout the day
Real talk here: I drink a LOT of water!
But I also love to drink decaf iced tea throughout the day (I have an obsession with hibiscus iced tea right now). In case you’re wondering, I make my iced tea with Pelegrino, lime, and mint to taste.
My current nightly obsession is Numi chocolate rooibos tea.
If you want to know all of my BEST smoothies and shake recipes, including my favorite Chocolate Almond Butter Shake and Hormone Love Smoothie, check out my Recipe Guide here.
In a nutshell, I have found that maintaining this morning routine most days of the week sets me up for great success. And I usually feel pretty great, too!
By now you’re probably wondering how to make intermittent fasting work for you.
So here are the THREE EASY WAYS to set yourself up for success.
3 ways to make intermittent fasting easy
1) Make sure your last meal of the day is high in protein and low in sugar.
Before you start fasting for the night, have a meal that is high in protein and low in sugar or refined carbs.
This helps prevent you from activating those killer craving centers in your brain and sets you up for a smoother, easier transition for however long you decide to fast.
How often have you wanted to start intermittent fasting, but you ate a carb-heavy dinner and found yourself hungry AGAIN late at night before going to bed? We want to stop this from happening so that you can make it to the next day without giving in!
If your last meal has an adequate amount of protein, you are going to feel full for longer, setting you up for a more doable 12+ hour fast.
It’s SO important to get sufficient protein (0.75 to 1gram of protein per pound of lean body mass).
For instance, for a woman weighing 130 pounds who has a lean body mass of 100 pounds, I recommend getting between 85 to 100 grams of protein a day.
2) Break your fast with a savory meal that’s high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber
When you’re fasting properly, your first meal of the day really is the most important one.
You’ll want to break your fast with a savory meal that is high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Do not have a sugar-heavy meal because your first meal of the day sets the tone for your metabolism and you will find yourself on a blood sugar roller coaster if your first meal is cereal or toast and jam with some orange juice.
If you’re looking for some AMAZING blood sugar and hormone-loving recipes, go and grab my latest book, the EO Menopause Solution!
You’ll find a super sexy 21-Day Hormone Makeover program that you will love, plus a ton of recipes that will knock your socks off, and a food shopping guide.
These are recipes I use every single week, like:
- Turkey meatballs with spaghetti squash and pesto
- Iced matcha latte
- Grilled halibut with strawberry
- Avocado salsa
- Mexican chopped salad (some of my favorite summer recipes).
FYI, Kingston is obsessed with the strawberry avocado salsa!
3) Remove snacking, especially late-night snacking one week before you begin
Kicking snacks to the curb early will support more stable blood sugar levels and help you keep those killer cravings at bay, so you don’t fail out of the gate.
This point is so key because snacking is both a bad habit and potentially happens only because you’re already on the blood sugar rollercoaster…
As you know, I am a BIG fan of three meal magic because we need to give our bodies a good break between meals (like 4-5 hours each!).
Late-night snacking is THE WORST though. There are so many negative effects on the body, such as sleep issues, insulin resistance, mood issues, and waking up starving the next day, and it doesn’t allow the body to properly rest, restore, and clean up properly.
If there is one thing I recommend the most, it’s to have your last meal 3+ hours before bed. Ideally, try to make your dinner as early as possible, to fit into your circadian rhythm.
Now, do you need to incorporate all of these 3 strategies or a perfect morning regimen in order to have success with intermittent fasting?
No, you don’t.
The goal here is to create as much ease and grace as possible as you shift your eating window so that you are able to better balance your blood sugar, boost your metabolism, and truly experience the enhanced energy, mood, and focus everybody is talking about.
This is especially true if you are struggling with lagging energy, killer cravings, or feeling hungry all the time.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you decide to give Intermittent fasting a try, definitely let me know how implementing these three strategies goes for you. And if there is someone in your life thinking about it, pass this blog along to them!