By Guest Blogger Jennifer Hurst, Certified Wellness and Nutrition Coach

I know it’s frustrating, but here’s the good news… It’s not your fault! Diets simply aren’t sustainable long-term. They’re just a quick fix not a lifestyle change so as soon as you stop dieting and go back to old habits you’ll gain back the fat and weight you worked so hard to lose.

Now here’s the rest of the good news there’s a new health trend that’s creating quite a buzz in the fitness world. Ever heard of Intermittent Fasting? Stick with me here! People immediately think the worst when they hear the word “FAST” but it shouldn’t be that way at all.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s simply an eating schedule. Your body is always in one of two states : fed or fasted. When your body is in the FED state (which means any time you are digesting food), your body’s insulin levels make burning fat a challenge. In the fasted State (8 to 12 hours after your body finishes digesting), your insulin levels are lower and your body is better able to reach into its fat stores for energy.

People rarely go into a fasted state throughout the day. Were you taught to eat several small meals throughout the day to lose weight and burn fat? I was too! But unfortunately, when you eat many small meals throughout the day, it’s not going to give you great results because eating several small meals a day keeps your body from ever reaching a fasted state. Not only that, eating these small meals throughout the day regularly spikes your insulin levels which in turn hinders fat loss.

Intermittent fasting isn’t new, but it’s creating quite a stir in today’s health industry! A big part of that is because fasting has many benefits other than fat and weight loss. Some of these benefits include :

  • improved hormone profile
  • increased life expectancy
  • maintenance of skeletal muscle mass
  • decreased blood glucose levels
  • decreased insulin levels and
  • increased insulin sensitivity
  • slowing of aging biomarkers

Intermittent Fasting encourages your body to burn fat while maintaining lean muscle mass. Unlike restricting calories, Intermittent Fasting doesn’t lower the body’s basal metabolic rate long-term; in fact it increases it!

How does it work?

I’m sure you’re wondering how Intermittent Fasting works! After you eat, your body works hard to digest your meal. As your food breaks down in your digestive tract, nutrients are then released into your bloodstream. This means your body often has excess fuel and that excess gets stored as fat. When you fast, your body has to rely on this energy stored by burning fat. Think of it as a way to train your body to burn fat instead of storing it.

What will it do to my metabolism?

If you’ve ever heard that Intermittent Fasting will cause your metabolic rate to plummet, this is simply not true! In fact, studies show that Intermittent Fasting can actually raise the metabolic rate anywhere from 3.6 to 14%!

I recommend a 16/8 IF protocol, Which means you’ll fast for 16 hours of the day and consume all of your calories with an 8-hour window. Fasting periods do not negatively affect metabolism if you are consuming the normal amount of calories your body needs. Your body will never reach starvation because you simply aren’t starving yourself. You can also enjoy coffee and tea while fasting, if you make sure to stay under 50 calories.

So what does this all mean?

Many people aren’t sure how to implement a healthy intermittent fasting lifestyle. There is so much information and misinformation out there it’s hard to know what to do. So I suggest you try this approach, and as you allow your body the time it needs to rest and repair itself – and build lean muscle, calorie- building muscle,  you’ll start seeing significant changes to your overall body composition. Bottom line… You will gain more lean muscle and lose fat if you Intermittent Fast.

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