What’s the big deal with intermittent fasting anyway? Why is it such a hot topic, and why does everyone you meet seem to be trying it out? Is it a great way to lose fat? Is it a great way to help with digestion? Does it help you stick to your macros easier? I’ll cover all this and more in this blog post, where I’ll give you my top 3 reasons as to why I think you should try intermittent fasting. You can get my free intermittent fasting kickstart here which will help you learn how to get started with intermittent fasting.
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Why To Try Intermittent Fasting Reason #1: Helps End Food Obsession
Have you ever counted down the minutes, even seconds until your next meal? Have you ever finished your meal and STILL been hungry? This was me all day everyday when I was eating 6 small meals a day (and under eating might I add).
I become OBSESSED with food.
It was all I thought about, day and night, and my entire day revolved around when I could get my next meal in, and where I had to be in order to have the right proportions of food. It literally ruled my life, until I realized that that was NOT A LIFE I WANTED.
Once I found out about intermittent fasting, and started implementing it the RIGHT way (woof, the first time I tried I made more mistakes than I’d like to admit–you can read my full blog post on those mistakes to avoid here), I was hooked.
Ending the Food Obsession
I stopped focusing on when my next meal would be, because I was actually FULL and satisfied from my food. My day no longer had to revolve around me having all these meals to stop and eat, and I became WAY more productive and even ended up doubling my income in 2016.
*My blog post on how I did that is here.
*If you’re more of a visual person, you can watch my live video about it here.
Feeling SATISFIED & Sticking To My Plan
When I was eating bigger meals because of intermittent fasting, I was truly satisfied with my food, even when I was trying to lose weight and in a caloric deficit.
*If you need help figuring out how much you should specifically be eating, you can get my free find your macros guide here to get started <3
Because I was satisfied and full, I never felt like I was “dieting,” especially since I also implemented flexible dieting. These two things combined: macro tracking and intermittent fasting made me look at losing weight in an entirely different way, realizing I could eat the foods I wanted in moderation, and eat them in larger quantities…AND STILL LOSE WEIGHT.
Once I got that into my head, I just stopped thinking about food less, because I was finally satisfied with it. We’re like kids…the more we’re told we CAN’T have something, the more we FIXATE on it. Being able to have BIG meals and eat the foods I wanted totally got rid of the food obsession for me. And while the fat loss was awesome, THIS was truly the best benefit and why I still do it to this day.
Why To Try Intermittent Fasting Reason #2: Helps Stop Emotional Eating
I have an entire blog post on stress eating and how to overcome emotional eating that you can dive deep into here.
I’m going to make this point short and sweet because it’s really quite simple. As humans, we try and avoid stressful situations. When we become emotional and are feeling feelings we don’t want to, we try and mask them, whether that’s with alcohol, food, drugs, tv, sex, you name it….MOST of us try and avoid actually FEELING the feelings, and food is a huge way a lot of us cope in these situations.
When I started implementing intermittent fasting, I also started doing a CRAP TON more personal development, and most importantly started realizing that I was constantly soothing myself with food. I was trying to avoid FEELING and that was the main reason I had gained weight in 2015.
With intermittent fasting I actually learned how to tell if my body was hungry or not for the first time in a long time. I learned ow to listen to my “hunger cues” and in return, could tell immediately when I was hungry or just wanting to emotionally eat.
This realization alone changed the game for me.
After that I dived deep into learning how to change these emotional eating habits (which my entire Ditch the Diet course is based on).
But I don’t know if I would’ve gotten to that point if it wasn’t for intermittent fasting and learning what true hunger vs emotional eating actually meant. Most of us go through our lives stress eating without even realizing we’re doing it, so the pure acknowledgement is the first step to undo the habit.
Again, utilizing intermittent fasting for fat loss is great, but this realization and changing of this habit? PRICELESS.
Why To Try Intermittent Fasting Reason #3: The Many Intermittent Fasting Health Benefits
Intermittent Fasting Benefit #1: Improved Gut Health and Digestion
Why Gut Health is SO Important
An unhealthy gut can contribute to a wide range of diseases including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autism spectrum disorder, depression, and chronic fatigue syndrome, to name a few.
There are two closely related variables that determine our gut health: the “gut flora”, and the “gut barrier.”
The gut barrier is your gatekeeper that decides what gets in and what stands out.
“Leaky Gut” is when that is compromised.
What is Leaky Gut?
Leaky Gut is when large protein molecules ‘leak’ into the bloodstream. Since these proteins don’t belong outside of the gut, the body mounts an immune response and attacks them. This can cause a ton of different auto-immune diseases and be the main reason so many people have digestive issues.
Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
- DIGESTIVE ISSUES LIKE BLOATING, GAS OR DIARRHOEA
- SUGAR CRAVINGS
- BAD BREATH
- FOOD ALLERGIES OR SENSITIVITIES
- MOODINESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
- SKIN PROBLEMS LIKE ECZEMA
- AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE AND SUPPRESSED IMMUNITY
So How Does Intermittent Fasting Improve Digestion
Studies show reducing or eliminating nighttime eating and prolonging nightly fasting intervals can improve various health parameters, including your gut microbiome. Among its benefits, fasting gives your overworked gut a break from energy-intensive tasks like digesting and assimilating food.
Intermittent Fasting Benefit #2: Fat Loss
I lost 10lbs in 2016 (really in 2 months) and I truly credit it to intermittent fasting. My body composition totally changed, and I saw results faster and more importantly, they STAYED. This was a way of eating that I realized I could do permanently (until I become pregnant!) and I never felt like I was on a “diet” even though I was eating in a caloric deficit for a few months when trying to lose weight. I became the leanest I’ve ever been right before my wedding because of this and was eating more calories than I was the year before when practicing the 6 small meals a day model. I felt like I was eating FEASTS everyday and looking leaner and leaner and getting stronger and stronger. It was freakin fabulous–and I wanted everyone to know about it, which is why I started actively talking about it last year.
Intermittent Fasting Benefit #3: Adherence To Diet/Keeps You Satisfied
The only things I changed about my diet in 2016 was implementing intermittent fasting and flexible dieting (counting macros) into my lifestyle, and for the first time in a long time, I felt in control of my food choices, I felt satisfied, and losing weight become easy and effortless.
When I was eating every 2-3 hours I was CONSTANTLY hungry. I ate just enough to satisfy myself, but then was hungry about an hour later. I knew I’d eat in a few hours, but I was CONSTANTLY thinking about my next meal because I wasn’t fully satisfied from the last one. I found myself “cheating” on my meal plan, and ended up eating more calories than I should have for fat loss.
I also found the weekend’s almost impossible to handle and felt like I “fell off the wagon” every single weekend when I went out with friends or my husband. Without fail, ANYTIME I drank alcohol I’d come home and eat WAY too much, because I was so unsatisfied during the week. I personally found this style of eating super restrictive, and I always wanted more.
If you are like me, and LOVE big meals and feeling full (not stuffed and hurting) and satisfied after a meal, than intermittent fasting might be for you. When practicing intermittent fasting, I eat a large meal at 12PM and am satisfied and happy (and not distracted) for about 4 hours. If you don’t like big meals, and your stomach can only handle a little at a time (this is my mom to a “T”!) than intermittent fasting might not be for you, and that’s okay! It’s not going to be for everyone!
If you are trying to lose weight (or better yet, fat-don’t focus so much on the scale–that’s a whole OTHER blog post for another time!) and struggle to stick to your calories and macros for the day and find yourself always wanting to go over, one way in which you can stick to them more easily is by implementing an intermittent fasting schedule of eating. I went from barely being able to stick to my calories to easily sticking to them once I got the hang of intermittent fasting. Like anything else, it takes time.
Intermittent Fasting Benefit #4: Increased Focus/Clarity
Before I started intermittent fasting I was eating 5-6 small meals a day starting with my first meal around 7AM and having my last meal around 8PM. I was eating all day, every few hours, and had to constantly stop to heat something up or cook something. This is extremely inconvenient (and almost impossible) if you don’t work from home or work for yourself. While I know a lot of people who love this way of eating and swear by it, I felt like my day revolved around food and found that I was constantly THINKING about food and distracted by what my next meal would be.
There are many benefits of intermittent fasting, but the #1 for me was increasing my FOCUS for work. I woke up roughly around 6 or 6:30AM most days and got my best work and writing done from 7:30 (after my morning routine) till about 12PM EST when I would break my fast. I wasn’t stopping to eat two times (like I would be doing the 6 small meals a day model), thinking about food, or interrupting my creativity flow. I was basically done with everything important I had to do by 12PM. 12PM! That’s crazy, and I think was one of the main reasons 2016 was the biggest growth year for me in terms of my business, monetarily.
Megan Yelaney | Life + Business Coach
PS. Be sure to join my next how to do intermittent fasting workshop! Join here.
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