Fasting means abstaining from consuming food and is an age old tradition. We have been doing it for as long as people can remember for all different sorts of reasons. There are various forms of fasting. In this tool we focus on the most effective and most common form: intermittent fasting.
With intermittent fasting you fast for a certain period of every day. The essence: you determine a period when you don't eat and plan your meals around this. With intermittent fasting you don't necessarily eat less than you normally would. Sometimes that happens unintentionally in which case women tend to lose weight.
Ratio fasting - eating
The period of fasting should be at least 14 hours. Many women experience the division of 14 hours of fasting - 10 hours of food as the best. That means you eat all the meals of the day within 10 hours. For example, you can also choose the ratio of 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. Because of the female hormone balance and cycle, most women choose the ratio 14 -10. See what feels right for you. There is not 1 correct way. For example, you can choose to postpone your breakfast until later in the day or to start your dinner earlier. In the 'fasting time block' you do not eat anything. Drinking is of course allowed, as long as it concerns drinks without calories, such as water and tea.
Following is an example of a day with 14 hours of fasting:
- 08.00 - 09.00 breakfast
- 12.30 - 13.30 lunch
- 17.00 - 18.00 dinner
You don't actually skip any meals. You are also not supposed to eat continuously during the 'eating frame'. The time between meals is often shorter than a 'normal' daily menu. Of course, healthy eating is also important whilst fasting. Use the basic nutrition as starting point and combine this daily menu with the preference and inspiration list
Benefits of intermittent fasting
If you want to lose weight, intermittent fasting can be a help. Most people consume fewer calories. Many women find it easier to eat nothing at all so as not to be tempted. You also feel less hungry as your meals are closer together. This, however, does not apply to everyone. There are some people who claim that they are more prone to binge eating after a long period of not eating. Keep this in mind if you are planning to start intermittent fasting.
Beter insuline sensitivity
Your body produces insuline when you consume carbohydrates. Your cells are then able to extract and consume the glucose out of your blood. The more carbohydrates you consume, however, the less sensitive you become for this insuline. Your body needs to produce more to counter balance the sugars. This can lead to diabetes. When you refrain from eating for a long period of time, the effect is reversed. The insuline resistance diminishes and your body is beter able to process the carbohydrates. Intermittent fasting, thus, improves your insuline sensitivity.
More growth hormones
The production of growth hormones increases through intermittent fasting. The growth hormone plays an important role in reparing cells and tissues (and so also the production of muscle mass). This hormone also helps to extract energy out of the fat reserves. So it is easier to burn fat.
Beter cholesterol balance
Our body has two sorts of cholesterol: healthy HDL cholesterol and unhealthy LDL cholesterol. Whilst fasting, LDL cholesterol decreases. This means that not only does your cholesterol level decrease but the balance between the two sorts of cholesterols improves. This helps in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.