I’ve just started a 10-Day Vibrant Health Challenge, and we’re kicking off with a juicy topic, intermittent fasting (IF). Before we get in to it, I’d like to invite you to join us. It’s completely free, and for the next ten days it’ll be filled to the brim with how you can create simple healthy habits to improve your stress, energy, fat loss + weight management, skin health and more. Register here.
Now, let’s talk about intermittent fasting - it has become a hot topic of conversation lately, and for good reason! IF can be incredibly beneficial for improving your insulin response & even reversing insulin resistance, supporting fat burning and weight management, reducing blood pressure and reducing inflammation.
With over 64% of Australians overweight or obese, which is nearly a 10% increase in 15 years, it’s no surprise fasting has gained popularity. There are different approaches to fasting, such as the 5:2, 16: 8 and whole day fasts.
IF is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of fasting and eating
As a Naturopath & Nutritionist, I use gentle fasting with majority of my patients (minus a few key health concerns/conditions, as fasting IS NOT for everyone, such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, Type I diabetes, hormonal imbalances and some specific conditions)
Pros of IF:
Easy to implement for people that are time poor and busy – it involves zero prep
Improves insulin response + can reverse insulin resistance
Can lower blood pressure
Reduces oxidative stress
Energy -I get a number of patients telling me it’s helped them with energy and clarity (it helps me with concentration, for sure!
Cons of IF:
Some forms of fasting may be too restrictive and not done in a safe or sustainable way
Your diet can end up lacking in key nutrient requirements. For example, trying to eat your recommended intake of 5-6 serves of vegetables a day, in an 8-hour window can be hard for a lot of people
IF doesn’t focus or educate you on nutrients and eating a perfectly balanced meal, which is protein + fat + starch + abundance of vegetables. In the media, there can be less focus on what you are eating and more focus on when you’re eating, which I don’t agree with. It’s all about both, right?!
The current body of evidence suggests that fasting strategies are effective in losing weight and improving metabolic health, when it’s done safely
Fasting is one of the many strategies for getting into a fat burning metabolic state
IF supports hunger signals = GOOD! We should experience hunger.
My opinion (now I’m not your doctor, Naturopath or Nutritionist so I can’t prescribe a specific nutritional recommendations or diet for you) however, I personally practice IF for 4-5 days per week and I love it. Some weeks I do more days and other weeks I do less days depending on my mood, stress level, sleep situation, exercise commitments and general motivation!
I generally recommend GENTLE FASTING for most patients, which is a time-restricted eating window of 12 hour fast and 12 hour eating window every 24 hours
For example, finish dinner by 7pm and fast until 7am
This means after dinner you turn the lights in the kitchen off. There’s no cups of tea or bite of dessert when you’re in a fasting state
We can all give our digestive system a break! Most of us will benefit our digestive system by giving it 12 hours ‘off’ every 24 hours, if you can!
For most people it takes 12 hours for the body to start to dip into fat stores
If you want to get into a fat burning metabolic state and support insulin levels, you may be able up the ante and do a 14-16 hour fast
Ideally you fast in the afternoon and night to match your circadian rhythm – when you’re fasting matters!
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to nutrition and eating for YOU. You also don’t need to have a label, like Paleo or Atkins. Stick with whole foods – focus on a diet high in vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, starch – rice/potatoes, protein and omega-3 fats like olive oil, avocado and oily fish, and you’ll thrive!
To get personalised nutrition support, meal ideas, shopping list and recipes, reach out and we’ll tee up an initial consultation + dietary analysis!
Olivia McFadyen, based in Lane Cove on Sydney's North Shore, is a Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Herbalist and Homoeopath and doTERRA Wellness Advocate (aka essential oil lover). Olivia is your girl-next-door Naturopath; there's no calorie counting, deprivation or fad, just practical nutritional recommendations, which includes 7-day meal templates, meal ideas, recipes and shopping lists, and easy-to-apply lifestyle recommendations. She services her patients by offering in-clinic and online consultations and corporate workshops. Olivia also loves collaborating with fellow health enthusiasts; she offers essential oil workshops, that take place in the clinic in Lane Cove , or in the comfort of your own home, with your loved ones. She looks forward to connecting with you