I don't follow any specific diet plan, as I view all food as acceptable and part of a healthy lifestyle. HOWEVER, I do pay attention to when I eat. Intermittent fasting has completely changed my life, and it all started because I was scared.
Even though I am a dietitian, I need to monitor what I eat to avoid weight gain. In 2012 my A1C, a blood test marker used to determine diabetes risk, was very high.....5.8! An A1C marker of 5.9 indicates prediabetes. How can this be, I thought?! I was in denial, thinking the blood test was inaccurate as I ran through my diet and yelled "Not guilty!"
I started to do what most people do today....I searched the internet to determine what could be the cause of such a high A1C when I don't eat a lot of sweets, never drink sugary beverages, and try to avoid big portions of carbohydrates. I saw a lot of information about restrictive diets, but that is not me. I HATE rules and as soon as you tell me to avoid a food, that food is exactly what I want to eat. There had to be something else I could do to keep my A1C from climbing.
I stumbled across a research article about food restriction and longevity. This article stated caloric restriction, in mice, decreased the number of damaging oxygen free radicals and improved overall health. Hmmm.....I dug deeper into the clinical research and found one reference to breast cancer survivors and intermittent fasting. This trial followed survivors for three years to determine if restricting caloric intake improved survivor rates....and IT DID! Not only did it reduce recurrence, but the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes plummeted! OK, I thought....I am in!
I worked really hard to change my eating pattern. I was guilty of eating dinner at 9pm, then eating breakfast the next morning by 7am....crazy! That only created a 9 or 10 hour fast at best!! I followed intermittent fasting, starting slow with a 12 hour fasting period, and slowly worked my way to a 14 hour fasting period within a year. I got my lab work done again and guess what....my A1C decreased to 5.6! The intermittent fasting eating pattern was the ONLY change I made that year.
Now, in 2020, there are numerous research articles that show how beneficial intermittent fasting. But how do you start?
1. Start out slow - try fasting for a 12 hour time frame. Stop taking in calories at 7pm in the evening and don't eat breakfast until after 7am the next day. As a 12 hour fast becomes easy, push out the fasting period to 13 hours. The longer the fast, the more health benefits and weight loss you will experience.
2. Eat most of your calories during the day - make your last meal of the day the lightest. Metabolism is better during the day due to the body's ability to process sugar and fat.
3. Be consistent - everyone falls "off the wagon" and lifestyle change is difficult! However, doing something over and over again leads to the best chance for success.
4. Try to eat 3 to 5 hours before going to sleep - allowing your body to digest food will help set melatonin levels which will improve sleep cycles.
More questions? Reach out and contact me!
Durango Garden Girl
Healthy Food, Healthy Body, Healthy Mind