Intermittent fasting is a way of eating that restricts your calorie intake, but only some of the time.
Two popular versions include
- Overnight fast: where you don’t eat for between 12 and 16 hours per day. Some people feel a real benefit from this type of fasting and it also gives our digestive systems a change to rest and recover. Typically involves having your last meal at 6pm and then not eating again until 8am or later the next day
- The 5:2 diet: where you eat 500 calories per day for 2 days every week. On the other 5 days, you are recommended to eat healthily. Many people find this an easy way of eating to adopt, once they get past the initial week or two. It has the added benefit of raising awareness of where calories and treats may be sneaking into your diet without you realising. And boy will you enjoy your food the day after a 500 calorie day.
Research currently shows that intermittent fasting is effective for weight and fat loss and can also help to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, help reduce fatty liver, may protect the brain…..
That all sounds great, but what’s the downside? To keep weight off, you need to be prepared to stay on a maintenance version of this for life. That might mean shortening the time of your overnight fast or switching to 6:1 i.e. one low calorie day per week. It’s also not suitable if you are very stressed (fasting puts your body under additional stress), have hormonal issues or are trying to conceive or pregnant or if you are diabetic. Of course, you also need to combine any eating pattern with regular exercise to succeed in the long term.
So if you are tempted to give this a try, decide which version suits you best. If you want to try the 5:2 diet, there are lots of meal plans available online, or try our simple version below.
|Breakfast||1 poached egg with steamed spinach or kale|
|2 tbsp. low fat natural probiotic yoghurt with cinnamon, handful berries and 1 tsp ground linseeds|
|Lunch||Easy vegetable soup – ½ pack fresh or frozen prepared vegetables, garlic, vegetable stock, handful red lentils (serves 2)|
|Pre-prepared fresh soup e.g. Fusion Kitchen tomato soup with coriander, red beans and corn|
|Dinner||Shredded fennel, red cabbage, celery and pomegranate seeds dressed with lemon juice with grilled fillet of sea bass|
|Cos / iceberg / nori seaweed ‘wraps’ with low fat cottage cheese, cucumber, grated carrot and sprinkle of seeds|
Drink lots of water and herbal tea throughout the day.
For help in establishing healthy eating habits, give us a call on 01 4020777