HOW TO PRACTICE INTERMITTENT FASTING

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My progress was amazing once I embraced IF as a way of life.



I was able to lose more than 30 pounds in less than eight months. My secret weapon? Intermittent fasting! With a little practice, anyone can lose weight with this easy-to-follow method.

INTERMITTENT FASTING CUTS CALORIES

Growing up, Americans were told to eat “three square meals” a day and NO SNACKING! Today, the opposite advice is given. Most diet programs now mandate users to eat every three hours in order to “stimulate metabolism”.

Intermittent Fasting–in which dieters abstain from ingesting any calories for at least 16 hours a day–is seen as counter-productive, because the body supposedly slows down its rate of metabolism when there’s not enough food intake.

Many of today’s most popular diet programs, such as the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan®, which I was on for about three months in 2017, call for six meals to be eaten throughout the day, every two to three hours. While I was on Medifast, my days became consumed with eating the program’s processed “meals” on a regular schedule. As a freelance writer, my days are anything but regularly scheduled. However, I managed to adhere to the program just long enough to drop 20 pounds.

According to Dr. Michael Smith of WebMD, “The Medifast 5 & 1 Plan provides only 800 to 1,000 calories a day. You will lose weight due to the severe calorie restriction, but it’s an approach that will be tough to stick with.”

The high cost of the food, which was upwards of $300 per month, was enough to make me question the long-term benefits to staying on this rigid, low-calorie diet. Even when I was on it, I had a couple of deprivation-driven cheat moments I’m not proud of. And once I stopped eating the fake food, I gained the weight back… and then some!

SCAMMED BY THE DIET INDUSTRY AGAIN

If I lost twenty pounds on the previous diet plan, I found that twenty and gained an additional fifteen on top of that; and I was miserable! In fact, I was so upset with myself that I literally planned to see just how fat I could get. I was surrounded by candy and processed foods, and I at them all! I munched on trail mix and granola by day and ate Chipotle burritos, hamburgers or pizza nearly every night. My clothes no longer fit as my body bulged in all the wrong places.

I began to experience excruciating, shooting pains in my left knee, and my self-confidence plummeted every time I looked in the mirror. What a horrible plan I had embarked upon!

I was listening to the radio, when the announcer spoke about a diet program called PS1000. In my desperation to be thin again, I recklessly spent more than $100 on two little vials of “drops”.

Designed to “help you suppress your appetite and cravings, balance your hormones, improve your thyroid function, improve your stamina, and protect lean muscle mass,” the company’s website further claims, “There are no side effects associated with these natural supplements.*”

That asterisk leads to the traditional disclaimer:

“*Results may vary by participant.”

This company claims that a concoction of 16 supplements will help you lose weight–along with a calorie-restricted diet. The ingredients include familiar vitamins, such as potassium, niacin and vitamin E; along with exotic ingredients such as the Peruvian “macca root” and something called “glucomannan”. The 800-calorie diet certainly helped me to lose a few pounds, but the drops apparently weren’t strong enough to help me endure such deprivation. In order to qualify for the money-back guarantee, I had to prove that I had followed the food part of the diet, and I couldn’t do that, so I lost all my money.

Then a friend told me about this “amazing diet plan” called Isagenix, which also cost a small fortune and provided a scientifically-based array of shakes and bars and other forms of processed foods. I adapted my days to eating and taking supplements every couple of hours until a “fasting” period.

I began fasting, but when it was time to start eating the Isagenix food again, I chose to stop eating the carb-laden protein shakes and bars. My weight-loss plan took shape. Each week, I gradually increased my time between meals from 16 to 20 to 24 to 36 hours and so on. My longest fast, which was last month, was 70 hours.

It’s not something you can just decide to do right away. Fasting takes practice.

Graph of my progress

FASTING IS FREE

Not only is fasting a great way to cut down on the high cost of food, it’s also a time-saver!

The Intermittent Fasting trend now has Silicon Valley executives utilizing “timed” eating as a great way to increase their productivity.

“There’s a mild euphoria. I’m in a much better mood, my focus is better, and there’s a constant supply of energy. I just feel a lot healthier. It’s helping me be a better CEO,” Phil Libin, former CEO of Evernote and current CEO of AI studio All Turtles said in an interview with The Guardian. “Getting into fasting is definitely one of the top two or three most important things I’ve done in my life.”

GOD APPROVES OF INTERMITTENT FASTING

All healthy Jewish adults are expected to refrain from eating and drinking for 24 hours on Yom Kippur. Those who are under the age of 13 are not required to fast, as well as those who are elderly or so ill that not eating would do them harm. However, everyone else is expected to eat their last meal by sundown on the night before this holiday. Their next meal won’t come until 24 hours later, after sundown the next day. 

The Yom Kippur fast is what’s known as a “dry fast”. For 24 hours, it’s forbidden for Jews to even touch water. This means no bathing, no washing your hands, and you can’t even brush your teeth. It sounds dangerous to those of us who were always told that that we’d dehydrate without water, and by day three; we’d be dead.

Judaism is not the only religion which mandates intermittent fasting. Christianity also touts the practice as a healthy way to clear mind, body and soul. According to PracticingTheWay.org, fasting is “one of the most abused and least used of all the practices of Jesus. Yet for millennia, it was a core practice of apprenticeship.”

Muslims consider fasting to be an obligation during Ramadan. In fact, the practice of abstaining from food is considered one of the five “Pillars” or “acts of worship”. During the month of Ramadan, devout Muslims don’t eat, drink, smoke or have sex from sun-up to sun-down. At night, they feast.

This is basically the same thing as the OMAD (One Meal A Day) Intermittent Fasting diet. During their eating window, OMAD dieters eat just One Meal A Day.

Have you had success with Intermittent Fasting? Let’s start a discussion in the comments section below!

©️Jill Cueni-Cohen