Wednesday 22 January 2020

The 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Diet: Here's How I Do It And Why

Over the past few years, health and fitness have become major priorities of my life. I didn't think I'd ever get into writing about it, but since I'm quite focused on it, I thought it would be great to share. 

Today's post is all about a diet. And I know what you're already thinking when you see the word diet - ugh, no please, I'm about to hate myself. But think again because I'm talking about intermittent fasting, specifically the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet. 

What is intermittent fasting? Basically, you spend a longer period of your day fasting, abstaining from food and a shorter period eating and fuelling your body. This type of diet is considered to be far more flexible than other diets because you can essentially eat what you want during that shorter time period, but for proper results, you won't be stuffing your face with all the junk after fasting. 

Intermittent fasting has been around for a very long time, originally being practiced in religions and cultures worldwide, but it's now being picked up as a good plan for weight loss that celebrities love. Queen Jennifer Aniston recently revealed she's on it too. Have I caught your interest now? 

Now before Jen Aniston revealed her love for the diet, my Mum and I have done it for a few months on and off, probably starting from the beginning of the year so we aren't rookies here. We have been practicing the 16:8 intermittent fasting which is when we spend 16 hours fasting and 8 hours eating. 

The reason I turned to the diet is to manage my bloating more than anything. My tum-tum has a mind of its own and loves to bloat a lot. A lot. So in limiting my nutritional hours, I give more time for my body to digest fully that which is already inside, aiding the bloating. Of course, it also works for weight loss too so that's a plus. As well as this, the diet is also believed to "improve blood sugar control, boost brain function and enhance longevity."(Healthline)

So this all sounds fine and dandy right? It actually is! It's pretty simple and is super flexible. I've found that other diets can make you overthink everything you put in your mouth and even rethink plans to go out because you're not sure you can even eat! Now why would you want to live like that? I'm sorry, but life is too short to not eat pasta and chocolate.

That being said it's important to understand that you should still be healthy on this diet. Yes you can have your little bit of sugar and carbs, but make sure you balance that out with your veggies and protein - maybe make those two more of a priority. 

I also workout on this plan - I'm in the gym 6 days a week. So how do you balance intermittent fasting if you're a gym-goer? Well what I don't like to eat before the gym in the morning because it makes me queasy. So I plan my fasting like so:

Food intake period: 12pm - 8pm
Fasting period: 8pm - 12pm

I usually head to the gym between 8am-10am (depending on the day), spend two hours there working and sweating my butt off, then by the time I'm done my fasting period is over! I can come home and have lunch. Now this may not work for everyone because some people may need a little something before you go to workout. This is where the flexibility of the diet comes in - you pick your fasting time and eating time. It's all up to you. 

What if you get a bit peckish during the fasting time? Well you can drink water, plain teas and black coffee (no added sugar or milk). I drink a lot of water, so that keeps my hunger at bay. However if you really feel like you're low on energy and about to collapse, then cut your fasting short! It's not worth it if you aren't feeling 100%. 

Example Meal: I actually ate this today - an omelette filled with onions, tomatoes and green chillies and a mukunuwenna salad (aka dwarf copperleaf, kind of like spinach but not...)

When it comes to eating, I have a protein & veggie heavy meals with a bit of carbs when I really need them. I usually have 2 proper meals, maybe 3 sometimes if I'm really in need and I'll have snacks in between, just so that my body gets the full nourishment. I'm trying to decrease the amount of carbs and sugar I intake more now too, to see what extra benefits it gives me. I'll let you know what happens there. 

I now do this pretty much everyday because it really helps my digestive system, but to start off I'd suggest you go with once or twice a week to get into the flow of it. Once you feel comfortable, then you can up the amount of days you intermittent fast! Also, make sure you take breaks too. So if you're doing it for say 3 weeks straight, take a week off and allow your body to have a break too.

If you're rubbish at keeping track at these things, you can even try it with the DoFasting app, that helps you start off with different fasting periods & times, plus gives you a timer, recommended meals and even fitness plans. I'm not using it myself, but I've heard it can be quite handy!

I hope this gives you a good simple outline of the diet! What do you think? Would you like to know more or want me to record more of my process with it? If you want to learn more, I've got a few links here and here for you to read up on your own. If you're looking to go on a diet that doesn't make you want to die, I highly suggest this one!

Lots of Love, 

Emily xx

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