I’ve already talked quite a lot about weight loss and about asanas for people with some overweight, but a week ago now I started doing Intermittent Fasting. In this article, I’m going to tell you a bit more about it and we’ll see if it’s actually something combinable with a yogi lifestyle.
And on top of that, I’ll be sharing my process every week as well for the next month. So if you’d like to stay up to date, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter!
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Well, in its broad term, it’s about fasting during certain times of the day. And during the day you’ll be getting a window where you are allowed to eat. There are many methods, so let’s have a look at those first.
Intermittent Fasting Methods
There are quite a lot of different methods when we are talking about intermittent fasting, these however are the most common ones.
Alright, you might see a lot of numbers already and you’ll be thinking: what the heck is this type of diet! Don’t be worried though, it’s quite easy and it’ll all make sense when we dive a bit deeper into it.
We’re starting with the 16/8 method, which also is the type that I’m doing at this moment.
Very simple: you’ll be fasting for 16 hours a day, while you can eat in a window of 8 hours.
The times you can choose yourself, if you need your daily breakfast you can start at 7 AM, and then you continue until 3 PM.
Or if you are more of an evening person you can start with lunch and have your eating window until the evening.
That’s the thing about this diet, you can tweak it to your likings. You just have to make sure there are about 14 hours in between your next eating window if you’d really like to get the full benefit of it.
What you can eat during these 8 hours? Well, what you’d normally have for food during your day. There are not a lot of restrictions when it comes down to what you can and can’t eat during your eating window.
Although, you do have to be conscious about it. It doesn’t mean that you can have what you desire. Having fast food for 8 hours in a row isn’t gonna give you a lot of nutrients.
Similar to the previous method, you’ll be fasting for 18 hours and have your window for 6 hours.
This method wasn’t really something for me as there is too much time between my eating and snacking periods.
However, if you’d like to have more and faster results, this might be a better solution for you.
The rules are the same, you can have what you’d like, you just have to make sure that you don’t go panic eating.
This means that you fill yourself up completely during your eating period. Which won’t help you at all.
With these two methods, you don’t have to count your calories, but it might be helpful at some point. This is if you are seeing that you aren’t really losing any weight. Which might mean that you are putting a lot of calories into your diet.
This one is a bit more rigid. With this method, you can only have One Meal A Day. Which is why they made the abbreviation OMAD.
Within this method, you’ll be losing weight quite fast. But it’s also said that it’s harder to continue because, you know, it’s just one meal a day.
If you are opting for this method, it’s always advisable not to dive in head over heels. Just start with one of the previous ones and build your way down to this one.
This one sits a bit in the middle. It’s not as restricting as the other ones, but it can be quite tough as well if you don’t do it correctly.
With this method, you’ll be eating normally for five days and then you’ll be fasting for another two.
Again, it will give you the liberty to choose your own days. So, maybe it’s best not to have your fasting days at the weekend if you’d like to go to some dinner parties.
During the two days of fasting, you don’t have to stop eating. You just have to make sure that you’re not eating more than 500 calories during these days.
And this is the tricky part about this one. You’ll have to count your calories.
So, if you choose to have a bar of chocolate during your fasting day, you’ll be running out of calories quite quickly.
Best to go for salads and fruits that are low in calories during these days to make sure that you are still having a full feeling and all your nutrients for that day.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Even though a lot of research still needs to be done, these are some possible benefits someone can have from doing Intermittent Fasting.
It’s also good to mention that this is actually not a very new method. During centuries people have actually eaten like this already without putting a name on it.
It’s something from the last decades that tells us that we have to consume more as we have more availability of food options.
During the periods that you are fasting, you’ll be using your reserves. This will cause some weight loss. Regarding which method you are using this will go fast or a bit slower.
My tip for you is always to go a bit slower, as most of the times this has lasting results.
How this exactly works is quite complicated, so I’ll break it down a bit for you.
When you are eating your body releases insulin. Which then decides where your energy will go to. If there is too much energy, your body will store it somewhere.
When there is no insulin, your body has no other option than deciding to use the reserves. Which then causes weight loss.
Might Reverse Pre-Diabetes
This benefit is correlated a bit with the previous one. We mentioned a reduced insulin production before already.
Out of research from the University of Alabama got concluded that Intermittent Fasting reversed pre-diabetes with a small group of obese men. Even though they didn’t lose any weight, they still reaped the benefits of Intermittent Fasting on their health.
The Mount Sinai Health System did some research on how fasting can work as an anti-inflammatory. It’s quite technical, so I’d just suggest that you read the abstract of the research here.
This research has been conducted on human cells and those from mice, so they already have a good idea of how it works. However, more research is still needed, as Intermittent Fasting is still growing.
Risks of Intermittent Fasting
As with any diet, there are things you need to be cautious of when you are doing Intermittent Fasting. This means that it might not be for everyone.
Which is also normal. We all have different bodies and habits. Before you jump into a diet, make sure you consult your physician to make sure that he is aware of what you’re about to do and to give you guidance and observation.
When you are eating less, you get fewer fluids in your body from the intake of food.
Yes, you also get water into your system by eating food.
Nutritionists say that when you are following this diet, you should drink more water. This makes sure you won’t get dehydrated.
We’ve all been there, those times that are hunger turns into anger.
Which is normal, as the same biochemistry in our body that regulates our mood also regulates our hunger.
So, being hungry and being moody are closely connected to each other.
If you are prone to have these episodes during your fasting periods, try to change something in your diet. Maybe you’re not completely full after the meal you had and you might need to look at what you’re eating.
Not For People With An Eating Disorder
This probably goes for all diets, but it’s good to mention it anyway. If you or someone in your family has an eating disorder, it might not be the best time to start this diet.
When you’re having an eating disorder you’re already too focused on food anyway and you might do more wrong than good.
Also, if you are prone to develop any kind of addiction, this diet might not be suitable. An eating disorder is often also seen as an addiction, so it’s better to be careful then.
Intermittent Fasting in Spirituality
Even though a lot of people are seeing this as a new method of losing weight or just to be healthier, fasting has been around for ages already.
I called it spirituality, however, religion also has the term fasting.
In a lot of religions or spiritual practices fasting has been embedded for a long time already. Here it’s not seen as something that will lose you some weight, but it has more to do with devotion.
As there are many religions and spiritual practices, I’m not going to talk about them all. I’ve put a couple of links down here for you if you are interested though:
Actually, my Intermittent Fasting story started after I’ve seen the next video from Sadhguru.
Of course, it’s not because a guru says that you have to eat a certain way that you have to listen to him.
Within yoga, we also have to mention that fasting is kind of advised. Within the sacred scriptures, it’s been said that abstaining from food every once in awhile detoxes your body. Which is one of the goals in yoga.
You have to make sure that your body is cleared of all toxins to make sure that you get to the point of complete self-realization.
My Intermittent Fasting Story
It’s been one week now since I’ve started intermittent fasting and so far everything’s been going really well for me. I do have to say I always hated eating breakfast so I started with my eating window from noon till 8 PM.
This window actually works pretty well for me. I do have acid reflux, so for me, it’s better not to eat too much anyway before I go to bed.
I did see though that I still have issues with heartburn every now and then, but the episodes are smaller and probably connected to what I eat as my last meal.
During the next week(s), I might try to put my eating times from 11 AM till 7 PM to see if this changes.
Regarding my IBS, I see a huge difference already. Last Monday I ate some lentils, which are really bad for me. I did have a very small flare-up, but it got away already after a couple of days.
Normally when I get a flare-up of IBS it lasts for one to two weeks and changes my entire rhythm. Now, everything was fine and I had little to no pain or digestive issues at all!
The hunger level was quite alright so far. Around 11 AM I do feel I could eat something, but not in such a way that it makes me aggravated.
I also haven’t cheated at all so far.
Another week has passed and I’m getting really used to the fasting periods.
It really starts to feel as a normal thing to do and I don’t really think about food anymore.
During my eating window, I sometimes struggle with wondering if I have eaten enough to get my daily nutrition, but a personal trainer that I consult on this said it’s hard to get malnutrition.
This is of course if you are eating normal, like meals with veggies and stuff.
I do have to mention that I have cheated a little this week. My partner came in the door at 8.15 PM and gave me an ice-cream. As it was still massively hot outside I didn’t think and went for some refreshment.
The great thing is though, you can cheat a little without feeling guilty. The focus is primarily on the fasting, so I had to make sure that now there would be 18 hours in between my eating window and my fasting.
This week I gradually changed my eating window to 11 AM and 19 PM. I was still experiencing some heart burn and I wanted to see if eating earlier would resolve this.
So far it does work!
Weight-loss I can’t say anything about yet. I forgot to weigh myself when I started the whole process. Which, I know, was very stupid to do when you are starting some kind of diet.
I did do it this week and I’ll check from now on my weight weekly again (even though I’m not such a big fan of weighing myself).
That’s more or less about it when it comes down to Intermittent Fasting. And it might just be thé diet for yogis as there are quite some scriptures that are saying that it would be good for us.
When you are doing yoga the golden rule is also to do your asanas on an empty stomach, so we have to be a little bit aware of what we eat anyway!
Every week for a whole month I will write about what Intermittent Fasting is doing for me, so make sure you stay up to date on this whole process!