"WE WERE ON A BREAK!!"
Now I know this is in reference to the iconic on-and-off again relationship of Ross and Rachel, however, I can’t help but relate it to the iconic diet craze of Intermittent Fasting.
If you haven’t heard of Intermittent Fasting, well I’m honestly shocked. Same goes for the Keto diet, celery juice, and who knows what else is going on these days in the world of diets.
*Disclaimer* If you love to drink celery juice, or restrict your carbohydrate consumption, or only eat within a 4 hour window each day, and that’s what makes you feel good in your body, then awesome! I am certainly not here to bash the eating styles that you love, however, I am here to help out of the hole that the media might suck you into and make you feel like there’s no way out of it. I’m here to help you find the best eating style that makes the most sense for your life. For you to be able to eat every 2-4 hours (if you wish) without feeling guilty when that one coworker tells you how terrible it is to eat past 7pm.
So word on the street is that if you “take a break” with eating, or create a smaller period of fasting (aka intermittently fast), it will greatly help in fat loss. A typical pattern might be eating all your meals and snacks in an 8 hour window (maybe 12pm-8pm) and then fasting until 12pm the next day. The specific length of fasting depends on the “nutritionist” you listen to, or “diet plan” you come across.
Truth is, this DOES work for some people. Why? Because it’s creating an overall calorie deficit. As an example, these time restrictions don’t let you have those late night snacks or sugary coffee drinks in the morning. This isn’t to say that you cannot have a bed-time snack or a coffee treat in the morning, it’s simply saying that these items are not being consumed, therefore it decreases the overall daily calorie total. No matter how you cut it, slice it, dice it, fat loss happens when your energy IN is smaller than your energy OUT.
(side note: how small your energy intake should be for fat loss depends on many factors, and it’s important to talk with a Registered Dietitian about these things in order to keep your metabolism at its peak performance and prevent too great of an energy restriction. I’m sorry to break it to you, but My Fitness Pal, or any other “energy calculator” doesn’t know your life!)
Intermittent Fasting also DOES NOT work for a lot of people. Why? Because even if you only eat from 12pm-8pm every day, but you are STILL consuming more energy than you are burning, weight loss is not going to happen.
What you have to also consider is what the periods of fasting may bring to the table, even if they help you decrease your total calorie intake each day. Periods of fasting may cause irritability, low blood sugar, fatigue, muscle aches, dizziness, and headaches. Going too long without eating may even cause you to “cheat” (just like Ross did with that girl at the copy place) and over consume out of extreme hunger. While some or all of these symptoms may or may not happen, they can be likely, and honestly just not worth it to me.
Luckily, I’m here to tell you that you certainly do not have to eat all your meals and snacks within a specific time frame each day. Your timing of eating is completely dependent upon your body, your daily activities, and simply when you are hungry. Being more in tune with your body and your hunger & fullness cues is something that you may need improvement on, and that’s completely normal! Lastly, you can definitely still reach a weight loss goal without fasting. If you are wanting to learn more about how to do this, don’t hesitate to reach out to Enlightened Nutrition through our website, facebook, or instagram.
So my take away: you don’t have to “be on a break” with food to improve your health or achieve fat loss, at least if you don’t want to!