Intermittent Fasting: The Plan (A.K.A. How it works)

Last week I shared a little about my journey with Intermittent Fasting. One of the questions I get most when I talk about intermittent fasting is “How does it work?” I’m no expert by any means, but hopefully sharing my experience in this post will give you an idea of what’s involved.

Actually, it’s not much. There are different forms of intermittent fasting, but they all have the same idea. You fast from food for an extended period and then you eat within a certain period and you fast again. That’s it. 🙂

If you look around the ‘net, you will find different versions of the above. One of the popular plans is to eat within a 24 hour period, and then fast for a 24 hour period. Another popular way of fasting is the plan I follow, The Fast-5, which was formulated by Dr. Herring.

Basically, all you fast for 19 hours (including your sleeping hours) and eat within a 5 hour period. What you eat within that five hour window is up to you. There are no restrictions. However, many followers of the Fast-5 also eat a Paleo or other low-carb diet.

Is it hard? In truth, fasting for 19 hours can be a challenge. For me, some days are harder than others, but it more of a “mental thing” rather than a “hunger thing”.

When you read Dr. Herring’s book, he encourages his readers to gradually work up to 19 hours by gradually increasing your fasting time over a week or two. For me, it was easier just to go cold turkey, like I mentioned in last week’s post.

What works for me

For many people who follow the Fast-5, their eating window is usually 5pm-10pm. However, do what works for you. For me, my best eating window is 4pm-9pm.

When I started in January, I would break my fasting with a snack at 4pm, usually cheese, a handful of nuts, fruit or whatever. Then I would eat a nice-sized dinner around 5:30-6pm. Finally around 7:30 or 8pm I would finish off an apple with some cheese or sliced ham. I also gave myself “permission” to take Sundays off. If I wanted to have breakfast or lunch or whatever, it was okay.

After a while, I realized that I wasn’t really all that hungry when my window opened. I was just eating because I “could”. I dropped the snack, and so now I open my window with a hearty dinner (most of the time having seconds) around 5:30-6pm. Then around 7:30 I have my evening snack. It is almost always an apple with cheese. Sometimes I add a treat, like a piece of chocolate (M&Ms!) or small ice cream or something. Also, after a few weeks, I didn’t feel the need to cheat on Sundays – although I do give myself more of a leeway in what I eat during my window.

As of now, my eating window has naturally shrunk to three hours. Not on purpose. And it may change in the future but it’s what works for me for now. And what works for me may not work for you.

If your are curious or interested in Fast-5 or intermittent fasting, I encourage you to do your own research. Sign up for the Fast-5 Yahoo group. Pray about it. Ask questions. Feel free to email me privately (carol @ simplecatholicliving dot com) or leave your questions in the comments.

Next week I’ll share what I believe are the pros and cons on Intermittent Fasting.

Linked to We are That Family because fasting works for me!

 

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