You know you’ve reached wellbeing nirvana status when you’re a step ahead of Gwyneth. You know, the Paltrow. That’s right. Well, that’s exactly what’s happening here, people.
On a recent interview, a propos of her new GOOP shop opening in Notting Hill, she said a number of things that were extraordinarily sensible – shocking, right? Like she can’t do juicing diets anymore. Or how walking is so good for you. Fine, she stopped short of not mentioning those golden handcuffs again (apparently sold out on GOOP website, whaaat?) and does go on a bit too much about the jayjay, but something else caught me by surprise.
GP has announced that her new interest is (*drums roll*): intermittent fasting. “I’m going to try that” she says. Newsflash: this fitster is already doing it! And whilst for the Paltrow that’s the equivalent of “Gwyneth goes IF” cookbook soon, I’ll boil it down to one blog post for you lovely ladies.
Having said that, if there’s an editor out there looking to publish “That Fitster Goes IF And This Is What Happened” I’d be all too happy to elaborate. DM me for deets.
What is Intermittent Fasting ? Well, it’s basically not eating for an extended period of time. There are different approaches to it:
The Ugly: Going for days where you only drink water or herbal teas. Sounds absolutely dreadful and nothing I’d voluntary put myself through. Note to publishers: unless book deal involved of course.
The Bad: Restrict calories for 2 days a week and then eat normally for the remainder 5 days, concentrating your food intake in a shorter hour window. The famous 5:2 diet. Since I can’t be asked to count calories never, ever again in my life, this just won’t do either.
The Good (ish): eating normal (healthy!) 3 meals a day every day, during an 8 to 12 hours window, fasting the rest of the time. Basically having a late breakfast and an early dinner.
What are the benefits of IF? Rather spectacular actually, according to recent scientific research.
It gives your body a chance to get rid of any waste, promoting autophagy. That’s a fancy word for out with the old, in with the new.
It also leads to a metabolic process called ketosis (another fancy one, soz). The result is that the cells in your body start burning fat as fuel, which is a much more efficient source of energy than glucose.
All this is doing is reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases, diabetes and even cancer. A slimmer waistline too, obviously.
And all this by doing, well – nothing, really.
Could this be the one of the simplest, yet most powerful changes you could make to have a healthier body? I think so.
Intermittent fasting has been on my radar for a while, as many of the MDs whose research I follow have been consistently raving about the virtues of going food-free-ish. I must confess however that what triggered my trial wasn’t so much a brain cleanse to sharpen my Sudoku skills but more a mission to squeeze back into my pre-Christmas jeans. Anyone else can relate??
Fast forward 3 weeks and I’m delighted with the results. Whilst I can’t attest for the impact it has had on me not going looney-loo (here’s to hoping), there are a number of visible, short term benefits:
- I feel more focused and productive
- My skin is at its best: clear and spots-free
- I can fit comfortably back into my skinniest of skinny jeans
What does a typical IF day look like? On a day when I’m taking it seriously I’ll have breakfast around 11am, after my morning workout. I’ll have a light lunch around 2pm and then dinner with kids at 6pm. Or if I’m not feeling super hungry I’ll just skip lunch altogether and have “dinner” at 5pm. and that’s it until breakfast the next day.
Sounds tough? Well, it’s not as easy as sitting down with your favourite box set sponsored by Lindt dark & mint, that’s for sure. You have to want to do it, babes. Can’t help you with that part, I’m afraid.
I can however share some tricks I’ve learned in the process to make it easier – I give you my 8 Top Tips for Intermittent Fasting, ladies:
- Be serious about the meals you do have. Not bunny portions, ok?
- Always, always have protein at every meal. I’ll have eggs, meat or a scoop of protein powder in my smoothie. Keeps you nourished and full for longer.
- Stick to 3 meals a day. Don’t snack in between. It’s like the more food you eat, the hungrier you get. If your body is “trained” to keep a 4-5 hour gap between meals, then that becomes the new normal.
- Ideally I’d love to keep a 14-16 hours between dinner and breakfast the next day. Most days that’s simply not gonna happen and I aim for 12 hours instead.
- Stay busy. Outside the kitchen.
- Go to sleep. If you’re up on a Netflix binge until the early hours, there’s hardly no getting around the buttery toasts or cookies n’ cream. Your skin will also thank you for the extra snooze.
- It doesn’t get easy (duh), but it does become easier – your body adapts to smaller amounts of food.
- Be kind to yourself. Can’t stress this one enough. Some days this works, some days it won’t. I’m not working towards a specific size/ weight, so I go with the flow. Typically on weekends there’s more going on – friends are over for lunch, there’s baking with the kids and snuggling up with hubby to watch a movie. Life before IF, ladies.
There’s gazillions of literature about Intermittent Fasting out there. My personal favourite is Grain Brain by Dr David Perlmutter, for all the science backed recommendations. On that note, if you’re interested in finding out more about how changes to your lifestyle can prevent Alzheimer’s, read my post ” How Healthy Food Can Prevent Alzheimer’s – The End of Alzheimer’s Book!” (spoiler: fasting is also on the list).
Have you tried Intermittent Fasting? I’d love to hear about it!
Ps1. This is not medical advice. If you try this and it doesn’t work for you, don’t kill the messenger.
Ps2. The picture does not relate in any way whatsoever with the title of this blog post. But what would, anyway? An empty plate???