Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is an "eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating."  This is not your typical no-fat/no-carb/no-sugar/no-air diet, but more so a lifestyle change, cliché, I know.

You don't necessarily have to restrict your food choices because what really matters is when you eat.

Some people use intermittent fasting to lose weight or to gain more control over their eating habits, but how does it really work?

Here are some popular methods to incorporate intermittent fasting into your week. 

1. Alternate Day Fasting

This method involves eating as you typically would for a day, fasting the next day and alternating between these two types of days. Fasting for an entire day is often difficult for many, so I wouldn't recommend this to everyone.

2. Fasting One Day a Week

While this method isn't optimal for weight-loss, many people report feeling mentally and physically cleansed after one day of fasting.

3. 16/8

This method involves an 8-hour eating window starting whenever you want followed by a 16-hour fasting window. This helps many who overeat or snack because it restricts their eating time. Different variations of this type of intermittent fasting are common, so find what schedule works best for you.


A common practice for those who are trying to eat healthier is to eat 6 small meals a day but, many experts are now questioning the validity of doing this. says periods of fasting are more natural for humans rather than constant eating, because "ancient hunter-gatherers didn't have supermarkets, refrigerators or food available year-round. Sometimes they couldn't find anything to eat. As a result, humans evolved to be able to function without food for an extended period of time."

Our ancestors in ancient times were not eating nearly as much or as often as we do, which is likely a contributing factor as to why our generation today is much more obese than previous generations.

Intermittent fasting aiding in weight loss makes sense when you think of the physical process of eating. Now for the science behind it. 

According to Monique Tello, MD, at Harvard Medical School, "carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains are quickly broken down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. If our cells don't use it all, we store it in our fat cells as, well, fat."

Sugar can only enter cells in the first place with insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. Tello says "between meals, as long as we don't snack, our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can the release their stored sugar, to be used as energy."

Insulin levels going down and releasing stored fat is how intermittent fasting can help people lose weight and get healthier.


Additionally, while intermittent fasting is not recommended for those suffering or recovering from an eating disorder, it can help those who frequently stress-eat.

Having a guided eating routine might prevent you from grabbing that unhealthy snack before bed when you know you're in your fasting window. Stress-eating is also a source of weight-gain, so intermittent fasting aids in weight-loss independently and in conjunction with aiding in stress-eating.

So, don't be scared away by the word "fasting." Intermittent fasting is a great method for many. Before initiating any significant lifestyle change, you should consult with your doctor, but experiment with what method of fasting works best for you if you're seeking a change in your health.

Intermittent fasting might yield better results for your health than that other crash diet you just Googled.