I would love to adapt a healthier lifestyle and try intermittent fasting, but I don't know where to start. How can I learn more?
Reading Shana's book, Fast To Heal, which covers all the basics of intermittent fasting, is a great place to start. She will explain the science behind fasting, review different fasting techniques, and walk you through how to get started with a healthier lifestyle. By joining the Fast To Heal Nutrition Support closed Facebook Group, you can ask Shana, and others following this lifestyle, questions directly. From there, you can decide if you would like to work with Shana further, or implement the learned strategies on your own.
How does intermittent fasting differ from calorie restriction?
Calorie restriction and increased exercise have been at the forefront of weight management for many decades, yet these approaches fail long-term 99% of the time. After several months of calorie restriction, energy output will decrease to match calorie intake, stalling weight loss. If calorie intake is decreased further, weight loss gets more and more difficult as the metabolic rate has slowed. The body responds with intense hunger, low energy and feelings of coldness in an attempt to conserve energy. The "dieter" becomes miserable. This is where weight loss attempts are typically abandoned, and weight is regained very quickly.
Intermittent fasting is refraining from eating for a certain time period, and then feasting when appropriate. Your body does not think it is calorie deprived, and the hormonal changes that occur while fasting stimulate fat burning. Weight gain and weight loss are controlled by hormones, not calories.
I have been overweight with health issues for decades, and have tried everything to improve my health. Will this strategy work for me?
The short answer is... yes, most of the time! When a person has had weight and health issues for many years or decades, their hormones have been out of balance for a long time. Both the food that is eaten and when it is eaten plays a huge role in bringing hormones back into balance. If you have been sick for a long time, it may take longer to see the results you would like as the body has more healing to do. Each person is unique and needs a tailored plan, but everyone I have worked with has seen some sort of improvements by eating in a timed window and improving their nutrition!
Can I exercise while fasting?
Absolutely, and you should! While exercise plays a small role in weight management and blood sugar balance, it obviously promotes a ton of health benefits! It may take a few weeks to months to get used to exercising in a fasted state, but as your body adapts from continually burning glucose for fuel and gets better at utilizing fat instead, your workouts may actually improve. Many report better workouts and being able to train harder while fasting. This is because growth hormone and adrenaline actually increase while you fast. Start out with shorter, less intense workouts and work your way up as your body gets used to regular fasting. Some will cut back on exercise as they begin intermittent fasting until their body adjusts to the new change, and then slowly add it back in.
Who should not fast?
If you are pregnant or nursing, this is not a good time to start fasting as you need more nutrition to support your baby. Anyone with an active or past eating disorder may have issues implementing this strategy and should be recovered from their disordered eating prior to trying timed restricted eating. Also, most children should eat more often, especially if they are very active. Some teenagers do very well with intermittent fasting. Shana can help with specific guidelines if your child is struggling with obesity or other health issues.