Extra LSR: Intermittent Fasting 101.

A quick intro to intermittent fasting + how I IF.

You guysssss! Welcome to the first (and super wordy) installment of Extra LSR. You voted health + fitness as one of the highest-ranking content pieces you’d like to see as part of Extra LSR. This weekend we’re covering intermittent fasting and I incorporate it into my life.

intermittent fasting
Image: LifeHacker

Quick and simple definition of intermittent fasting: IF is alternating intervals of not eating (i.e., fasting) with windows of time where you are allowed to eat. There are different types of fasting (or intermittent fasting protocol, IFP); fasts can last anywhere from 16 hours all the up to 36 hours. (A whole day and then some, crazy right?)

Okay, that’s great. But why fast?

 

Well, fasting is associated with a host of health benefits:

  • Weight loss (if you’re blocking out windows of time where you aren’t eating, then you aren’t consuming calories; do this on a regular basis and you can reduce overall calorie intake)
  • Improved insulin sensitivity (the more sensitive your body is to insulin, the more you are likely to lose fat + gain muscle)
  • An increase in human growth hormone (more GH = more fat loss and more muscle gain)
  • Reduced inflammation in the body

If you want to read more about this + some of the science behind it, start here. And then here. These guys not only know their stuff, but link to a bunch of studies + scientists who also really know what they’re talking about. And science is cool.

So why do fast?

The short of it: I was looking for a way to cut calories overall to see more gains. If you’ve been a gym rat your whole life, you learn that

If you’ve been a gym rat your whole life, you learn that so much of how your body looks (and feels, frankly) is actually diet-dependent. You can work out like a monster, only to undo it with food choices. I’m at a phase where my body is strong, but I want it to be stronger. I have muscle tone, but I want to add to it. IF helps with all that because it not only reduces overall calorie intake, but boosts the levels of things like GH and insulin sensitivity, which add to muscle growth.

Leaning out is something I’m never going to turn my nose up at, either. Oh, hi, fat loss? Yeah, sign me up. Being in my early 30’s means I’m subject to the lovely slows in natural metabolism due to hormone shifts, so being diligent about diet + exercise is the name of the game.

I have a bad knee (years of volleyball + tore my meniscus a few years ago), so I’m always looking for ways to naturally combat inflammation. Icing and ibuprofen helps, sure, but a diet that fights inflammatory reactions overall? Double whammy.

Also, because I’m shallow like that: inflammation in the body wreaks havoc + ages you faster. Guys, I’m not about that life. Let’s slow that aging roll down as much as we can, thanks very much.

Note: IF accounts for many, many different types of approaches, and there is room in each protocol for customization to what the individual wants/needs. Also, I’m not a doctor/certified dietitian. (I’m just some random Midwestern girl with the Internet and a curiosity about something with some scientific backing that I wanted to try.) If this is something you want to test drive, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to do a lot of research and check with your doctor first.

So there you have it: a little IF intro + peak into why I follow an intermittent fasting protocol. I’ll dive more into how I actually IF in a future round of Extra LSR.

Have questions? Comments? Do you follow an IFP? I wanna hear about it!

71 Comments

  1. More of these health articles please, Ashley – so interesting! My husband has done intermittent fasting but I tend to get a bit too hungry. How do you curb hunger pangs?

    1. Hi Suze! I’m currently on the Isagenix 30-day, which has products that support you on cleanse/fast days. A full rundown is coming, but I’m only about halfway through now. Logged 2 fast days and achieved 24+ fasts each time- the products are amaaaazing at nourishing + curbing appetite without breaking the fast!

    1. It’s definitely a process that can take some time to tweak and figure out what works and what doesn’t. I hear you, lady!

  2. I love that you’re sharing some of your life outside of fashion! Health/fitness is something I really enjoy, so I’m excited to read what you’ve got coming 🙂 IF has never seemed to quite work for me + my lifestyle, but I know it definitely works for some people and am glad to hear it’s been good for you.

    Kathryn • Simply KK

    1. I’m so glad to hear this, Kathryn! IF is certainly a shift in approach, that’s for sure- and finding what specifically works/doesn’t work for you is the key. I’m still learning!

    1. It’s something that piqued my curiosity and so I thought, “Why not give this a try?” I’m still on the journey + still learning, so more to come. 🙂

  3. Never heard about IF before, but it seems to be very helpful! Thanks for sharing!
    Adi xx
    fancycorrectitude.com
    instagram.com/fancycorrectitude

  4. Very interesting post, Ashley! I didn’t know that insulin-sensitive people are more likely to lose fat and gain muscle. I am one of those people – woohoo! Thanks for sharing, beautiful! XO
    Janea | theSTYLetti

    1. Insulin sensitivity is the goal- the more insulin resistant, the more difficult it is to burn fat + gain muscle. The typical American diet is very geared toward insulin resistance; it can be quite the battle to shift! But IF is definitely a solid tool. 🙂

    1. I was really amazed when I read about the benefits- still early in the process for me, so tweaks are needed and more time to gather personal results- but I’m hopeful!

  5. Woah this is awesome! I no joke woke up this morning determined to implement real change in my diet and fitness. Ive been so lazy this year and full of excuses (plus the legitimate under active thyroid issue doesn’t help!). I woke up feeling different this morning and not in a good way either. Ive attempted intermittent fasting before (didn’t realise it was a term actually) though as Ive aged it gets progressively harder and harder to stick to it. I actually started implementing this today, taking baby steps lol, making sure I didn’t eat between the main meals. I failed by 3pm though and snacked on a pear lol.

    Sxx
    http://www.daringcoco.com

    1. It can be hard, especially because fasting is such a foreign concept in the standard American diet. I feel you, lady! Keep me updated on how you’re doing with this!

    1. I only heard of it a few months ago- crazy because it’s been around forever (and was how our ancestors unintentionally lived- I mean, cavemen and women didn’t exactly have all their meals planned + accounted for at regular intervals, haha). 🙂

  6. An interesting post Ashley and I’m always interested to hear about food related fitness articles combing science.

    When it comes to staying trim I mainly do HIIT training which is 25 minutes per day, adding on some weight work for about 5 mins, toning for 10-15 minutes if I can fit it in.

    Food wise, I always have breakfast, coffee, I don’t wait too long to have lunch and prefer to have an earlier one or if I have a late lunch it acts as dinner, and I have a small healthy snack/shake in the evening,

    One thing that keeps me lean has been HIIT training, weights, balanced diet, lots of water, herbal teas, eating earlier rather than later.

    Interesting reading about this and I haven’t heard of IFP before.

    Laura xxx
    http://www.shehearts.net

  7. I tried fasting before but it really didn’t work for me, as I need the constant energy levels as food is fuel, so it wasn’t for me. Weight loss is a tricky one too as the longer I go without food the more it stores it when I do eat it.

    Raindrops of Sapphire

  8. I give you props for being able to fast – my willpower is horrible when it comes to food! I do try and stick to healthy meals most of time which helps. And there is no way you’re in your early 30’s- I always thought you were in your mid 20’s! Love the new fitness feature on your page!

    Annessa
    http://www.seekingsunshine.com

    1. Willpower is something I’m working on- girrrrrl, it’s TOUGH. And I think you gotta cave every now and again to stay sane, you know? And thank you, thank you- yes, I try to hide the fact I’m a total meemaw, lolol. 😉

  9. My uncle fasts and he always tells me to do so, but I’m always so scared to do so, I loved reading your take on it. Off I forward this post to my uncle I go. Have a lovely week 😉

    tipscapsule.blogspot.com

  10. This is a really interesting post. I have heard of intermittent fasting before, but didn’t realise there were other benefits than weight loss!
    I would love to reduce inflammation, but I have absolutely no willpower and the longest I ever seem to go without eating is 3 hours! To be honest, I think its habit rather than hunger, so I just need more motivation!
    Julia x
    http://www.thevelvetrunway.com

    1. It’s a tough shift to make- but it’s definitely doable. I never though I could do it before- but the products I’m currently using have helped. More on that to come; thanks for swinging by, babe!

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