INTERMITTENT FASTING - WILL IT WORK FOR YOU?

Intermittent Fasting diets have been popular for a few years.  Recently researchers from Austin Health and the University of Melbourne compared the results of the popular 5:2 intermittent fasting diet with a standard kilojoule reduced diet.  The 5:2 diet involves eating only 2,500 kilojoules (or 600 calories) on two non-consecutive days a week and then eating normally on the other five days.  Both diets demonstrated similar weight loss and reduction in body  fat and girth over a 6 month period.  

Often clients ask me whether an Intermittent fasting approach would work for them.  My answer is - it depends.  It works well for some people. If you are like Client A  who has a busy job, not really into food, happy to fast for 2 days because they forget to eat much at work anyway and don't feel the need to "feast" on the non fasting days an intermittent fasting approach might work.  

However for client B who works from home, prepares the family meals, who gets a lot of hedonistic pleasure from planning and enjoying meals (this is me by the way) - going 2 days with only 500 calories ("what does that equate to anyway?!") would find intermittent fasting a challenge.  

Client C might be a  strict "If it fits your macros"  gym-bro who isn't afraid to sacrifice meals, avoids "cheating" when a goal is near, and is used to restrictive eating might be able to persevere with intermittent fasting while they get results and then might move on to the next thing if intermittent fasting non longer works for them.  

Really, any approach that involves eating less and moving more is likely to get results. However with any way of eating before you commence it you need to think about whether you can imagine doing it for the rest of your life because that's ultimately the plan that will work for you.  

I'd prefer people to tune in to mindful eating, where they notice and enjoy food and recognise hunger and fullness cues.  I'd love to see more families cooking at home and eating together  with parents modelling a balanced, healthy approach to food.  You can find out more about mindful eating here and my coaching approach here.  

If you do decide to try intermittent fasting make sure you talk to your GP first. There have been concerns around risks for some people on certain medications or with particular medical conditions – fasting might make some conditions worse. If you're on medication for high blood pressure or type II diabetes, you may need a different medication regime on that day or a whole change of medication. Also in some susceptible people, it can stir up their liver as the fat starts emptying out of it. This can actually make the liver more inflamed and trigger liver disease. A similar thing can happen in the gallbladder, too.

My 3 top tips for eating mindfully

Mindful eating is all about focusing our attention on the act of eating.  It means eating with awareness and using all the senses - sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.  

image source: eatingmindfully.com 

I love this image from the guru of mindful eating - Susan Albers.    Before you start eating take a few deep breathes and truly concentrate on the taste of food.  Savour the flavours.  As you progress in your meal you might notice that the pleasure in eating decreases and the speed at which you are eating increases.  When the food is not giving you pleasure it might be time to put down your knife and fork.  

Here are some of my favorite ways of bringing mindfulness to mealtimes: 

Eat slower

It’s a good idea to remind yourself (and your family) that mealtime isn’t a race.  By eating slower you are more likely to notice when you are full.  S lowing down and chewing food properly helps you digest your food and helps prevent food-baby tummy aches we get from eating too quickly.  

REMOVE the phone.  TURN off the Telly. 

 do you see a spot for your mobile?  I don’t either

Our lives are full of distractions, and often families eat with the TV on or with someone playing with their iPhone. Try making family mealtime an electronics-free zone. I’m not saying you can’t ever eat pizza in front of the TV, but if you do want to do that - make it a deliberate choice. 

Pay attention to flavor

The tartness of lime, the spiciness of chilli flakes, the crunch of a pizza crust — paying attention to your food can be a great way to eat mindfully. When you eat on the go or get through your meal in five minutes, it can be hard to notice what you are actually eating, let alone truly savour all the different sensations of eating. 

 

Mindful eating can be a simple commitment to appreciating and enjoying the food you eat every day. It can be practiced with salad or ice cream, an apple or a piece of chocolate, and you can practice it at home, at work, or even as you snack on the go -though you may find yourself doing this less often.

 

When the focus becomes how you eat, rather than what you eat, you might find what you want to eat changes too.

If you'd like to learn more about MINDFUL EATING and be supported along the way with lessons and recipes click here

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